Bowery Mural

Looking Back To Be Able To Look Forward - a study of the year just gone

Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009. What a year! Looking forward to 2009 was the most excited I’d been about the dawn of a new year for quite some years. This was to be the year of BIG adventures!! Little did I know it would be a BIG adventure in more senses of the word than one.

It was the year I intended trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas. It was the year I would scale some mountains here in the much loved homeland. It was the year that everything might fall into place. Now here’s what actually happened...

Yes I did trek in the Himalayas. Sadly no I never made it to Everest Base Camp but wow! What a journey. Although there was huge disappointment on that particular journey, I often think about it and hope that I will return there one day. Now too I can also see that I met some wonderful people in Nepal as well as my trek buddies some of whom have now become great friends. I don’t know what I enjoyed best about that trip. It was all so magical. Words cannot begin to describe seeing actual Mount Everest for the first, for yes, whilst I never made it to Base Camp I was faced with the sights of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam on a daily basis on the trek. It truly was the best thing I have ever done in my life so far. But I do not want it to end there. I hope to go back one day when finances allow. For now though I am excited to tell you that trek buddies Kate and Ruth have booked to go back and climb Island Peak with Saran our very brilliant trek leader. They are heading off to climb in November 2010 and I wish them all the luck, good wishes and love in the world. I know they will do it as they are two of the most determined people I have ever met... and I’m hoping some of that steely determination will rub off on me!

Yes I did scale some mountains here in Scotland but not as many as I’d hoped. But they’re not going anywhere so there’s plenty time for that. On that journey though and through the power of communication and via the world wide web I have met some good people and been to places I’ve never been before here on our very own doorstep. I thank them for letting me join their playtime in the hills.

Things never really fell into place in the way that I would have liked but they sort of got started on their journey. I’m not really one for resolutions and the like I just prefer to hope that the New Year that is dawning will be better than the one just gone. It’s got a lot to live up to cos 2009 was probably the best year I’ve had in a long time. I mean come on, I trekked the Himalayas for f**k’s sake!!! How many other people can say that? I am really proud of that journey and also all the fundraising that was completed in 2008/2009. £4000 is no mean feat in this day and age.

Here’s my mini-rundown of 2009, the best year I’ve had in a long time:

January: The post Christmas blues, back to work and more cake-baking to get my fundraising up to the target and beyond. This worked with the help of the loyal few and I am forever in their debts.

February: A weekend away with the OMC. It was then that I decided that this club thing really wasn’t for me. It was also more working, hitting the gym 3 or 4 nights per week and the final preparation for the trek. Jags, money, last bits and pieces of kit. Exciting!! It was also around this time I discovered outdoor blogs and asked for some last minute advice.

March: A gathering on my birthday (6th March) for family and friends. So I could say thanks for everything and goodbye before the trek. It seemed like the best thing to do. It was my 32nd birthday and I have to say I didn’t dread it as much as I’d done in previous years. Last minute prep for the trek. More fundraising – by now that target was well and truly met. Nerves, nerves, nerves about the long flights ahead....

April: The trek! 3rd-18th April to be precise. I spent about 2 days before I went crying saying goodbye to people who’d stuck by me, believed in me, sponsored me, sent me good wishes and who loved me. Highs, lows, ups, downs. But ultimately I wouldn’t have changed anything (except maybe the awful cough!). Then I was home. The space, it was un-nerving. I didn’t go into my bedroom for a good few hours as I felt too overwhelmed at all the stuff I had after living out of a big yellow kit bag for 2 weeks. It was the weirdest feeling for me! Even driving home from the airport, the road was so quiet I felt after the toot-toot, busy, busy, weird and wacky racing in the streets of Kathmandu. Strange... I never returned to work either when I was supposed to. My ribs ached, I still had the cough and I was completely exhausted – physically, and I’ll admit, mentally too. I think I still am... is that possible?

May: By now I was back at work but I still had a bit of the Khumbu cough. Ribs were still sore so I was laying off the gym by this point. What did I have to train for? My fundraising page was about to close and with one final donation of £13.65 from PTC I reached the total amount of £4000 for Marie Cure Cancer Care. Thanks again man. I ventured out into the hills around Crianlarich for the first time since coming home. We never got that far up as the day was minging. Claggy, grey, raining non-stop... after a couple of hours we headed home. It was the best decision.

June: I was feeling a bit better but felt there was something missing since returning from Nepal. I’m still not sure what it was/is. Then I was hit with some startling news that totally knocked me for six. It blew me away in a way that I thought my world was about to fall apart! But thanks to people I could trust I slowly came around to the idea. Heck to this day it is even the object of a good laugh with me and Linda in the office. Yeah you know what I’m talking about Linda – ‘fuck knows!!!!’... Midway through June I ventured out again for a proper walk up the hills since coming home, at night too. It was Ben Lomond and it was good. A wee tonic after the previous week’s events. I liked it a lot.

July: July was my annual 2 week holiday from work. I was never as glad to get it. But it rained a lot. Except for one Saturday where I went on my first solo hill-walk. Ok it was up Ben Lomond again but it was solo and I went for it. I was well proud when I got home that night. A night out at Hampden with my Da to see Bruce Springsteen. It was brilliant. 3 hours solid he played for – now that’s a turn for you. Lance Armstrong (my hero!) made his Tour de France comeback and did not too bad either. Bradley Wiggins’ 4th was also very special. End of July seen my first ever visit to London – another highlight of my year. To see Ruth and Kate as it was Kate’s 30th birthday. It was a great weekend and the hospitality I was shown was great. I thank you Ruth and Kate and can’t wait until you visit me here in Scotland.

August: Lance Armstrong posts a little 140 character paragraph in Twitter and I’m sent into a spin! He’s flying into Glasgow on 18th August, what do you do?? You go to work, that’s what you do if you’re me and you’re daft!! Then you sit whilst both your very brilliant office friends tell you to ‘go, go, go, get on the train and see if you can see him’. I do and it’s too late by the time I get there. It was Paisley and they’d taken off before I got the chance to leave Glasgow. I wasn’t going to go on a wild goose chase on foot around Paisley so that was a big regret. However, Andrew out great friend and work colleague was there and got a smashing picture!! Jealous, much, me? AYE!!

September: I became an aunty for the second time. Connor is his name. Yes I know he’s not been mentioned on here much. Well he has if you know where to look! It was a joyous time. It was also the start of a new semester and busy time at work. No hill walk’s this month but plenty of gym time – although somehow I wasn’t as committed as before. Then it was off to Hampden again to see Coldplay and, wait for this, Jay-Z!! Yes. Jay-Z! It was amazing. I just love Coldplay. I don’t care what anyone says, they are still one of the best live bands I’ve seen.

October: A quiet but good month. A night out at the Caird Hall in Dundee to see another of my favourites – Paolo Nutini. I have to say his album – Sunny Side Up has been one of my most played this year. Love it! The seasons were beginning to change, there was a wee nip in the air, and the leaves were turning brown. STILL no hill-walks but I did take the boy out to Loch Lomond for a wee day out. He loved it and we spent a few hours on the shore while he threw stones into the water. We ate Mars Planets and drank a Wee Bru. Just lovely. He also got to see ‘the boys on their bikes’.

November: A quiet month but busy at work. Work. It was really starting to annoy me before the Christmas holidays. I’m glad of this break. Hopefully people can start to... er... get on with each other, appreciate what they’ve got. After months of searching I finally chose and ordered my new bike. I am so excited about it and can’t wait for it to be delivered.

December: The month of preparation for 1 day - Christmas day. Really thankful for the holidays coming up. It was much needed for me. But I’m getting that itching feeling again. I feel again that it’s time I stood up and did something for the greater good. The feeling I got when I was first starting to think about doing the trek. Who knows what this means? I don’t even know but what I do know is that I’m going to do something else. It may not be as grand as the last adventure but it’ll be an adventure of one sort or another, oh yes, you better believe it.

2010: Well there are little flickers of plans that have been circling my head for a while. There are places to be seen/climbed/visited/marvelled at. There is a bike that will hopefully be delivered in the next few weeks. There are the twice weekly spin bike classes at The Peak with Elaine. She motivates me to go on and I thank her for that. There is a load more to come from me. For I am declaring that 2010 WILL be the year that everything is going to fall into place. There may be ups, there’ll probably be downs but you’ll hear about them all here for I’m not going to edit my life just because sometimes it may not be as happy as it’s meant to be all the time.

One last word about 2009. I’m calling it the start of my journey of self discovery. And I’d like to thank those who were there with me through the ups and the downs - you guys are really special. Mum, Dad, Karen, Ryan, Connor. My larger than life family. Linda. Brigitte. Dorothy. Ruth. Kate. Andy. PTC. Martin. Elaine. Chris. Donna. Bernie.

To BigBananaFeet, Bobinson, Henrik, Moggy, Bonita and Kristian from Oz I don't know if you still read here but I thank you for being the few who do on occasion comment on my (sometimes) weird posts. And to the other readers of this here blog - I know you're out there and I thank you too for reading my ramblings (even the crap ones!). 

Oops, I nearly forgot about Twitter and all the folks on there too who reply and those who keep me amused of a day with their '140 character' posts.  @sacca, @nksheridan, @AnnieBee, @craigzielinski, @stewyphoto, @csleight, @owenp, @theclimbergirl, @cupcakemafia, @kmanietta, @idmoore, @macrobert and finally a big massive shout out to @cyclingamericas - our very own Mr Mark Beaumont who has been Cycling The Americas since May and is about to start climbing Mt Aconcagua in Argentina after 10,000 miles cycling.  Awesome!

So... to end this post I’ll simply say Happy New Year. Have a good one whatever you are doing. Me? I’ve got a bottle of Irn Bru and a copy of Moon that the postie delivered today so I’ll be watching that when the clock strikes 12... See you all on the other side.

Ange xxx 


  1. All the bs for 2010 Ange, I hope it's a good one.

  2. all the best for 2010 even.

  3. You see, that's a proper round up of the year. I cheated :o)

    All the best for '10

  4. Cheated? nah!.. I just don't know when to shut up :o)

    It's not the post I intended posting though. But it'll do for a round-up.

    2010... it's going to be a good one I think. A nice round number.


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