Yes, it is that time of year again, year end. That can only mean one thing, my annual review of the year! Let’s see if I can successfully save this one though after last year’s over-writing disaster! This year the format is slightly different – hopefully makes it easier to see the break-up of events over the year.
As usual, January was quite a quiet month. However, one fairly exciting event of note was a trip to The Houses of Parliament; hosted by our local MP (although a non-party focussed visit I should add), the full trip is covered in my blog post from Jan.
Having finally been round the house decorating once, I re-visited the hallway in February because it needed a refresh. I applied all of the techniques and learns from my previous rooms and the result was much better than before I started, always good! It was very tiring though – my least favourite room to decorate.
On a rowing front, I had my first race of the year at Hammersmith Women’s & Junior’s Head down on the Tideway. Sam took a usual selection of shots which are on Revado.
Another fairly quiet month, but as always it was WEHoRR time! We got three eights out again representing Broxbourne and I was in the first eight, starting 63rd out of the almost 300 boats. A full race report can be found here, the highlight being that we finished 60th – my highest ever placing finish.
We spent our Easter break en Paris visiting our friend Katie who moved out there in 2011. We were also fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with Carol, one of my oldest friends, who also lives there after her Easter plans changed.
We went out and about a bit, as can be seen in our pics, but we mainly just chilled out. The weather was unseasonally chilly both in Paris and at home so it wasn’t the nicest weather to be walking around. In fact, we spent much of April in the UK getting wet!
We also went on a most exciting trip on the May Day Bank Holiday weekend: Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour! It was wonderful to see so many of the props and sets used for the films, which I am a big fan of. The full set of photos are on Revado, but here is me outside the Potter’s House after Voldemort’s visit.
Then mid-May we did our London to Brighton Bike Ride again, this time for Care International UK. A full evaluation of the cycle (which was tougher than the previous two years for reasons more than just our lack of training!) is, of course, in a blog post.
The week after L2B, we had a week-off to go back to Brownsea Island, which is one of my favourite places because it has red squirrels! It was certainly a much needed break and we also stopped-off in the New Forest for a night on the way home. Pics are here, but here is a red squirrel because they are amazing.
A mere week after getting back from Brownsea, an unfortunate event happened: I came off my bike. I shall not recount the whole event (I already did that here) but I had a suspected facture in my right elbow. It rendered me fairly incapacitated for a while!
So, June started out in a quite sedate way, mainly because I couldn’t do much. We got a 4 day weekend at the start of June because of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This was fortunate because it was only a few days after my accident and it gave me longer before I needed to contemplate going back to work.
With a damaged arm, rowing was a no-no. So, I had to do something I don’t enjoy very much: run. It went okay, but I quickly deviated to using the cycle trainer as well. As the month progressed, I quickly became un-enamoured with running!
Another thing that happened in June: I turned 30. Sam threw me a surprise birthday party at my rowing club, which was brilliant. I was able to use my arm for basic tasks by then too, which made the whole event even better!
It was also Sam’s Dad’s 60th birthday the day before mine. So to celebrate, we went for a Watling Weekend Away to Leckford.
Whilst down in that part of the world, we went to the Hawk Conservancy Trust. It is amazing place and completely worth a visit. The range of birds they care for and nurture is tremendous. We also all unanimously agreed they had the best bird arial displays we’d seen anywhere. Plus, I got to hold Troy, a tawny owl!
July was exciting month, firstly because I got back on my erg and, after a couple of ‘recovery’ weeks, got back in a boat. This made me very happy. Especially so, because at the end of July a really exciting event came to London: the Olympics!
The moment the events started, my desire to train rocketed, conflicting with the fact I wanted to watch all of the events all day! The nation, or at the very least all of my friends and colleagues, were gripped by the events. So many of us had live streaming of an event going on our second work screen all the time! We were fortunate enough to have got tickets to see the Rowing at Dorney. Whilst we didn’t get to see any medal ceremonies, it was an amazing day. Later that week, we saw a stream of medals being won by Team GB Rowing, including the first ever Women’s Gold in Rowing. Then a second. Then a Third. Amazing!
The Olympics carried on through in to August and kept Sam and I busy every evening watching the events on TV. The atmosphere in London was wonderful; It could have gone wrong in so many ways, but everything went right. I found the Olympics had a really positive impact on so many, including me.
Aside from the Olympics, I spent much of August just trying to get back in to my training. It was nice to enjoy a little of the summer out on the water (although the sun was not always very present this year).
After the deflated feeling when the Olympics finished, the Paralympics came along and saved the day! We had tickets to see the athletics, which was great because we got to see the stadium – it was tremendous.
We then had a weeks holiday up in the Lake District. It was really lovely weather and we did some nice walks, including a rather harrowing 7 mile hill walk which went a little higher than I would have liked!
It got colder and windier. But, we went on a fun weekend away to Center Parcs with Lou, Graham, Lucy and Rosie. We played mini-golf, went to the water park, had a full-on game of badders and then did more water parking! All good fun.
I was also supposed to race my 4+ with Amy, Anne-Marie and Lou (which was going really well) at Upper Thames Small Boats Head in Henley. Unfortunately Lou was unwell that morning so, for the second year running, Sam and I ended up having a cold stroll in Henley before heading home again. I’m starting to worry I am jinxed where that event is concerned!
Another non-month for rowing: Lou’s illness returned after we thought she had recovered so we had to bow out of the Fours Head the day before. Unfortunate but, as I said in my blog at the time, you cannot put all your energies in to a single thing without risk of disappointment. The day after the race, Sam and I went on an exciting excursion to the British Museum (look at my awesome pics), where we have not been for ages!
We then went to Le Meridien in Piccadilly for afternoon tea, a kind birthday gift from my rowing squad. It was a really nice hotel with a very peaceful atmosphere. We sat in some funky chairs whilst we enjoyed our afternoon tea over the course of an hour and a half!
It was also our second wedding anniversary in November, so I booked a surprise trip to Warwick for Sam and I. We stayed in old hotel in the centre of Warwick and went to an amazing restaurant for dinner. We had burnt of plenty of energy before that looking round the castle. I did a travel review with all of the details and our pics are on Revado.
First two days of the month were spent on the Broxbourne Women’s Winter Training Camp, held down at our club. We decided that this is the time of year where focus is often hardest and the temptation to slob around eating chocolate is at it’s peak. So, we did 7 outings over 2 days (9k per outing meant a respectable 63k over all!) and really worked on improving our leg drive. It was a really successful camp and thoroughly worth the time and effort, despite being really hard work.
I made my first ever mince pies. Although I used pre-bought pastry for the first lot so I quickly followed-up with a second batch with home made pastry too!
From there on, December went down hill as I felt run-down on-off for the next 2 – 3 weeks. Everything came to a head the week before Christmas when I was hit with some tonsillitis type bug which kept me sofa-bound for 4 days. Fortunately I recovered in time for Christmas though and a good time was had visiting both the Cooks and then the Watlings. Mum Cook splashed out for Christmas Day and bought everyone Christmas jumpers!
So, that is my 2012 in a moderate sized nutshell. For any of you who are brave enough to have read this, hope you enjoyed it and all of the linked photos and blogs!
Happy 2013 Everyone!