I started writing this blog a year ago today, on my 50th birthday, sitting in an apartment looking out over a sunny Reykjavik bay with the astonishing Harpa opera house to the left and the more astonishing mountains of Snaefellsnes directly ahead. The plan was to write an entry a day on any old thing…and have 365 to show for it by now, instead I have hit about half that average, so a failure against my own yardstick. But there is a limit to how many times – dull day weather not up to much, boss pissing me off, forgot to buy potatoes, can’t seem to get past the third line of this poem, why are Leeds so shit again – pass muster for ‘something interesting to say’. So it goes.

Then again this year has brought ‘my first’:

  • tattoo
  • published ‘collection’ (I know its not technically ‘a collection’, but ‘gathering’ or ‘accumulation’ just sounds weird) of my poems (thank you Half Moon)
  • time watching a pod of Orcas off the coast of Iceland, one late bright high latitude evening
  • ride in the back of an ambulance (I’m fine)
  • invitation to read my poems out loud, in public (as opposed to an open mic)
  • visit to Auschwitz – yes, it will probably also be my last, but I needed to do it and now I believe everyone should
  • …and the first time down a salt mine (which was just weird, thanks Myles)
  • self-imposed prolonged period of isolation – 3 weeks in the (very cold) northern Scottish village of Laide, with the sole purpose of writing (it was an indulgence)
  • 20 minutes spent watching a Golden Eagle in flight, in the wild
  • go at mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains (re-hydration is key)
  • request to sign something (not work/ID related) from a complete stranger
  • viewing of a Harold Pinter play in the West End; he’s not Beckett but he’s not bad
  • sleeper train journey in the UK (Paddington to Penzance)…which just proved that there are some defiantly weird fuckers out there
  • poem set to (astonishing) music (thank you Hannah)
  • seeing the first collected publications by several friends

It has also brought closer friendships with some people I previously only knew peripherally (and they are lovely people). The relationship with a couple of friends have drifted, but that happens, they will drift back, they’re friends.

In short, a lot of good stuff. I’m sure I have forgotten more good stuff.

Some things still needs changing…that’s a different post (briefly, the bastards are still in charge and that pisses me off enormously).

Now when can I go back to Iceland..?


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