The Good, the bad and the just plain ridiculous

a.k.a. 2013 a year in review.

The Good.

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The Boyfriend at Loch Ness

The highest point of the year for me came in August, when I was accepted as a reviewer for Crimesquad.com after meeting up Chris Simmons, the man behind it all in July.  Crimesquad is a cracking website with regular reviews of all your favourite new books, and a huge archive of previous reviews so if you’re looking for a worthwhile opinion on a book it’s a great place to look.  If you’ve never seen the site head here to check it out, and if you’re interested in my reviews, you can find some of them here.

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Other highlights of my year were all mainly travel related, there was a week roaming round The Highlands of Scotland and Northern England staying with good friends, and even spending time at the Inaugural Crime & Publishment weekend in Gretna Green.  Of course Crime and Publishment wasn’t the only inaugural event that I got to attend this year, being in on the first ever IcelandNoir was also something I would never have missed for the world, and it left me with some wonderful memories.

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The Harrogate book haul.

Finally there were the usual annual trips to both CrimeFest and the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, which always bring with them happy days, and my favourite thing of all free books.  This year was a record haul with just five books purchased, but twenty five brought home.

The Bad

The year started off badly with the loss of my beloved 94 year old Grandmother, a little over a week in.  She was a wonderful woman, the most remarkably positive person I ever knew.  Sadly the trauma was made a little harder to bear due to an uncooperative work colleague of the Boyfriends meaning I had to attend the funeral alone.

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A beautiful soul

I’ve had  a fair few lows as the year has gone on but I’ve come back from most of them relatively unscathed, and I have a plan in place for 2014 to try and avoid getting into the dark places in the beginning.

Of all the long running bad things, this rant was possibly the best.  The catalogue of errors faced when I bought my car was shocking and irritating, but the response to Rant the Fifth being published on the interchoobs and posted on twitter was great.  17 minutes from tweet, to initial phone call, rant resolved the next day.

The Just Plain Ridiculous

Doing this journey.

Twice.   In the same day.

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a 1,027 mile round trip just so I could have a specific breed of pedigree cat.

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Blue Lagoon

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The Blue Lagoon is one of the strangest most surreal experiences you can ever have.

When I was there a few days ago and took this picture, the temperature was 2 degrees C, the rain was lashing down, the winds were howling across the waters which were of the brightest blue hue you can imagine.

It was magnificent.  I first went to the Blue Lagoon back in 2001 and I never thought I would get the chance to go back there.  A fortunate turn of life events however meant that this year I would.

The whole experience was even better this time for several reasons.

Firstly I got to visit with my other half. He is a great person to travel with.  He is someone with boundless enthusiasm for everything and who wants to see and make the most of every possible opportunity. 

Secondly I got to visit with some really good friends.  Friends I only get to see a handful of times a year, whose company always lifts my spirits and reminds me of how blessed I am in life.

Finally I got to enjoy what I missed out on last time.  Last time I didn’t appreciate where I was, or how fortunate I was to be there due to reasons that at that time meant a lot to me.  I’m glad to say those reasons aren’t there now, and I truly got to appreciate how lucky I am to be somewhere so beautiful with the people I care about.

Yes! We will be there.

Back when I was at Crimefest in May, I became vaguely aware of an event that was going on in Iceland later this year. I thought little of it.

Whilst I was at the Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, known simply in crime writing circles as Harrogate, I heard more about IcelandNoir.

It caught my attention, a little.

Holidays for the boyfriend and I are currently on a not about to happen basis. It has been almost three years since our last overseas holiday, and since then we’ve only had one other break away of at least a week, when we travelled round Scotland and The North, back in March.

Our next planned foray overseas was to be in 2015.

The thing is I can’t wait until CrimeFest next year to see some of my friends again, and it’s too long to go without something to look forward too.

We would normally go to FantasyCon, hosted by the British Fantasy Society, but this year, since the UK is hosting World FantasyCon, it’s too big a thing for us, and also at the wrong time in my shift cycle for me.

The alternative, or so we thought, would be Bloody Scotland, but again the timing is ill-fitting with my shifts.

Then a friend told me they would be attending IcelandNoir. Then another couple of acquaintances also mentioned they would be there, and my mind began to churn.

How long is the festival? How long would we need to go for? How much would it cost to go? Could we afford it? In short? We couldn’t go, was the first answer I came up with.

Then my heart got involved, which in turn inspired the money talks, the what have we gots, the what can we do withouts, the things coming up, and the things coming in….

The talks finally ended in a maybe, just not yet. Lets get some potentially large bills out of the way and see what happens.

Then I got a phone call out of the blue. The result of which means we ARE going to IcelandNoir, we are going to strike at least two things off the Boyfriends Bucket list (already off mine) and yes, as of today we are both registered with the festival and we WILL BE THERE.

W00T!!!!

Alien Sky

I never get tired of playing around with this app.

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I took the original shot when the Boyfriend and I were at Thorpe Park last week, just after we had come off this roller coaster. I liked the idea that this signified just about the exact point that the big adrenaline rush kicks in.

Road Trip

The Boyfriend and I are heading off on holiday on Friday for a week driving round Scotland and the North of England catching up with rarely seen friends.

It’s our first holiday together since we went to Egypt in 2010, and with both of us off for two weeks, it’s actually the longest time we have spent together since we met way back in 2008.

It may well all end in tears….

(but we’ll try not to think about that shall we?)