It is customary for me to review my personal experience of last year while wishing all my friends, family, constituents, colleagues and readers all the best for 2009. On the other hand, those tiny few anti-social misfits who also like to read the blog in order to send me rude and insulting messages can play like a Christmas Turkey and get stuffed.
The best things about 2008 - in no particular order - are
1. The birth of Alice
2. Liverpool European Capital of Culture and the resultant visits from my Dad, Brother, Mum and Roger and numerous pals - I cannot think of anything better than showing people who are special to me round the city which is special to me.
3. Liam Robinson taking the third seat in Kensington and Fairfield for Labour (or should I now learn to call it "Fortress Fairfield and Kensington"? Snort
4. Christmas in Portugal with my mates
6. Berlin with Lisa to celebrate our 30 year friendship
7. My great new job with great new people - it will be a year since I started in just a few weeks' time
8. Citizenship Ceremonies
9. Becoming a shadow cabinet member
10. National Carbon Monoxide Awareness week coming to Liverpool
11. Two Liverpool Murals
12. The Boro Man City result in May
13. Meeting the Irish President
14. Operation Black Vote - and meeting Caroline and Natalie in particular
15. Deane Road Cemetery open day
16. Cath and Steve finally getting married after all these years
17. Isaac loving going to school
18. Supporting the congregation of St John the Divine in their efforts to save their church and spire.
19. Going back to St Andrews Methodists in Tamworth where I used to worship 30 years ago.
My funniest story for 2008 dates back to January and the National Holocaust Event at the Phil - not in itself remotely funny of course and in fact deeply moving. However, while we were waiting for the event to start, I was looking round and spotted a bearded man in one of the boxes close to the stage. He looked very familiar and I was trying to think where I knew him from. Was he a regular at the Richmond quiz? Was he perhaps a neighbour? I thought he might live in Fairfield and then that he was either a resident of Fairfield Crescent or perhaps was a worshipper with Jim and Deb at St John's. Anyway, having thought for a while unsuccessfully, I stopped looking at him and let my mind wander, something Wendy always advocates when she cannot think of someone's name. Then bam! I had it, he was the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, whoops!
Things I didnt like in 2008
1. Breaking my coccyx - which still hurts from time to time
2. Wendy's terrible fall - which was beyond awful
3. Missing out on victory in the Picton, County and Knotty Ash wards - the latter two by only tiny slivers of a margin
4. Losing the battle for the Prescot Road/Drive Houses - I cried at the meeting and after it
5. Dylan being in hospital with a lump on one of his lymph nodes
And my hopes for 2009?
To consolidate our position in Liverpool Wavertree, and in Kensington and Fairfield in particular, by developing new and innovative ways of communicating with our residents about all the work going on in the area.
To lay the groundwork for a 2010 local government victory across the whole of the city - taking control of the council
To prepare for victory in all five Parliamentary constituencies so that we are ready when the PM calls us up to the mark.
That Liverpool can be as exciting to residents and tourists alike this year as it was in our special year and that people will still come and will keep on enjoying themselves.
And that the final year of New Deal in Kensington can deliver as much as possible before time and the Labour Government's money runs out in March 2010. My personal hope is for anything to help with jobs and employment and self-employment, and for a campaign to keep the wardens service and the local new deal police force going afterwards.
Thanks to all my readers this year - 30,000 of you hit the blog in 2008, without you there would be no entries, I need to know that someone is listening if I am to keep writing!
Special best wishes must go to Scouseboy, my most regular reader, may 2009 be everything you wished for and more.