Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: A year in review

Reconsecration of Deane Road Jewish Cemetery, Kensington, Liverpool

Another year draws to a close and with it comes my annual reflection.

I have looked back across the blog and found the entries from 2011, 2010, 2008 (I appear to have forgotten to review 2009), 2007 and 2006.

Keen eyed readers will have long realised that I don't write on here half as much, or even a quarter as much as I did before the days of Facebook and Twitter, but as long as I think it serves a purpose - mainly to promote news concerning Kensington and Fairfield, I shall soldier on and trust you to keep reading - I am still averaging at least 100 readers each day.
Anyway, having established my own annual tradition, I think it merits my perseverance, although this year is the one that I never wanted to write. So with your indulgence, it will be relatively short of items.

Let's start with the positives shall we?

The first significant event of the year for me was resigning a lucrative and 4 year long post in the Marketing team with Wilson Henry LLP Accountants (great new website by the way guys) in order to go it alone as a sole trader with my own marketing business. I made a short promotional film with Alun Parry which sits on my home page and has been evidentially responsible for bringing several new clients my way. Who wouldn't want to work for themselves, manage their own diaries, choose their own clients and  work on projects that bring them pleasure?

The election results for Labour in Liverpool in 2012 have been simply magnificent. As I sit here at the close of the year, the people of Liverpool are represented by a Labour Mayor, Joe Anderson, a Labour Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy and 74 Labour Councillors (34 of them women) - there is even a Labour Councillor in Woolton would you believe! I am fairly sure I was the 27th Labour Councillor when elected in 2006, oh how times have changed.

I had a lovely holiday in August with my wonderful sister Maxine and her equally wonderful sons, Alex and Joel, visiting our Dad and his wife in Cornwall, happy happy times, loving and supporting each other. She and her husband also invited me to spend Christmas with them this year, and there was nowhere else on earth I would rather have been.

In September the six year long quest to restore the marvellous Deane Road Jewish Cemetery  finally came to fruition at a grand reconsecration ceremony, to celebrate the successful spending of nearly half a million pounds of Heritage Lottery Fund monies on essential conservation work and the building of a new visitors' centre. There has been much talk this year of "legacy", with the success of the fabulous London 2012 Olympics (no need for me to review that, you were all here, you know it was awesome), and I hope that if nothing else is left to posterity of my time serving my constituents, people will at least be able to say, Louise Baldock put Kensington on the National Heritage Map.

In November I joined an international band of people striving to write a 50,000 novel during the 30 days of the month. National Novel Writing Month sets out to give aspiring writers the impetus to actually get on with it and write the novel we all believe we have inside us. As it happens I didn't get to the end of the 50k, with a couple of residential work assignments I am afraid the days got away from me, but I did manage 30k before the hammer came down on the 30th of November. But undaunted I have carried on. As things stand today I have written around 45k words but have learned from literary agents that a publishable novel would tend to be around 85k words long, so I am persevering. I am enjoying it very much and I do hope to finish it during the first quarter of 2013 and take it to a copy-editor friend of mine so that it can be ready for the market before the summer. Watch this space, maybe it will be in your Christmas stocking next year, you never know.

Also in November I finally sold my house. It is a dear house, don't get me wrong, a lovely house with beautiful features and the room where I sit now and write this blog is not only my favourite room in this house but possibly my most favourite room in any house that I have ever lived in. But a combination of itchy feet (I have lived here for  nearly the longest time I have ever lived anywhere since I was born and I have lived in 15 places so far) and a desire for more room so that I can invite larger numbers of  family friends to stay and bigger groups of friends to dine with me, has driven me to look further afield. I wont jinx the offer I have had accepted on a new home by telling you too much about it, I have already lost one I had my heart set on, but I am confident that the review of 2013 will be written from somewhere quite different.

In December I accepted the annual request to speak at the North West's United Against Fascism Conference in Liverpool. It was my third time and I was delighted to share a platform with Howard Gayle who those readers who have been with me for a very long time will remember I first met in 2007. I talked about racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and sexism within football, particularly focusing on the work of Kick it Out, and Howard talked about his personal experiences as Liverpool FCs first professional black player and the rest of his footballing career at other clubs. He was extremely moving and eloquent, I was more of a warm-up act, but it was great to be addressing the conference alongside him.

And so on to the negative...

We all know that we measure our life and its events by reference to key dates in our timelines. "That was before we moved from that town", or "That must have been just after I was married", or "We didn't have the kids yet when that happened". I know that 2012 will always be a landmark in my life as it defines the year when my very much beloved Mother died.

As I see it, there is a kind of natural hierarchy to one's relationships with others. I do absolutely appreciate that what I am going to say is not going to be everyone's experience, but I hope that it is sufficiently common that many readers will be able to associate themselves with it. The first and most intense relationship we have is ordinarily with our mothers. And then as adults we may take a partner who will vie in our hearts for the top-dog position, and if children follow I understand they tend to usurp all others and become the most dear. And of course we have other family members and much-loved friends who take up all their own relative positions in the hierarchy.

As an often single woman with no children, my mother's ascendancy has rarely, if ever, been in doubt. And her loss was the most crippling and difficult thing I have ever had to face. I think it would have been much easier had she not been the most healthy, energetic woman, who followed her own very precise guidelines about how to live as long as possible. She aimed to live to 100 years old, to beat her own father by the four years that were all that were necessary. She was never out of the gym - for 30 years most days - and ate only the food that the best of the Guardian supplements might advise. Good nutrition was her by-word, she hadn't smoked in 47 years, she gave up alcohol entirely several years ago and was the epitomy of a text-book approach to long life.

She was youthful, stylish and attractive, and a dead cert as a recipient of the Queen's telegram.

So what a hideous, unforgiveable and vile thing it was that cancer unaccountably struck and took her away from us all at the tender age of 74. There are somethings in life that it is simply impossible either to predict or to understand. It would have been much kinder for those of us that remain if she had been lost in a traffic accident, but sadly, life takes it own quirky turns and we have no way to understand or affect them.

I have tried to be upfront and bold with this entry, not to shy away from saying what needed to be said and not to avoid talking about something so intensely private. One cannot create a blog of nearly 8 years duration and then shy away from difficult subjects, so I felt I needed to write this for you but I trust you will understand that it is not easy and I am a long way away from finding it easy to discuss. If you are struggling with bereavements of your own then you might find the Cruse website helpful.

For myself I continue to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to hope that the different ways I find to distract myself will continue to be useful to my fellow men and women.

Here's to 2013, God bless.


scouseboy said...

Have a good new year Lou x

GetHealthyUK said...

Thank you so much Louise for sharing 2012 in such a personal, beautiful & poignant way. I'm sure it wasn't easy to write, took a lot of courage, but will touch & add value to so many people in the way it has for me. Much love

Lin@GetHealthyUK xxx