sparkly by sarah

Review of 2014 survey

1. What did you do in 2014 that you hadn't done before?
Stayed in a really posh hotel. Brian got given a pair of free first class tickets valid anywhere on the Virgin Trains network as compensation for them not handling a complaint of his very well. We went first class to Edinburgh for free and splashed out on staying in the Balmoral Hotel which is the former station hotel right next to Waverley Station. While we were up there we also went on a trip on a ferry to Bute and back which was my first time visiting a Scottish island and travelling on a Scottish ferry.

Brian and I went on a Great Rail Journeys holiday to Switzerland and travelled all the way there and back by train as well. As a result I travelled on the Eurostar and double decker trains for the first time and also saw my first ever lorries travelling by train.

I went on the radio once in 2013 but did it a lot more in 2014. I also got rung up by one of the producers at BBC Radio Northampton who thought I would be a good person to go on the radio to talk about fear of public speaking. The irony was painful but I did it. More on that in question 8.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?
The only one I ever make is not to make any so I stuck to that no problem ;)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nobody did this year. A cousin is due in January so if the baby arrives early it could just sneak into this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Thanks to the previously mentioned Great Rail Journeys holiday this is the highest it's ever been. That holiday involved at least passing through France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
I can't think of anything material. More self confidence?

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
Can't think of one.

8. What was the biggest achievement of the year?
Going on BBC Radio Northampton's lunchtime phone in programme a number of times. I was on once in 2013 then didn't do it again for over a year. At some point the format changed from a combination of helping people with their consumer problems and phone in to a straight phone in. I have no idea if other phone in shows do this but on that show they have a policy of ringing back people who send them particularly good texts on whatever the topic of the day is and asking them to go on air. My texts must be quite good as they keep doing it to me. As previously mentioned, one of their producers even thought I was good enough to ring me up mid morning and ask me to go on later.

9. What was your biggest failure?
All the evidence would suggest that I'm rather good at going on the radio but I don't fully believe it yet as me going on the radio goes completely against the grain. The presenter of the previously mentioned phone in show, Helen Blaby, has been kind enough to say on two different occasions that I do being on the radio tremendously well and that I'm a natural at it. She presents a two hour phone in 5 days a week so must talk to hundreds of different people and I'm quite sure she wouldn't say either of those things lightly. I'll keep making myself do it as it's doing me the world of good. To do next, try to believe that I'm good at it and stop being nervous about it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Earlier in the year I had two episodes of back pain that were bad enough to stay off work with within 3 months. After the second one I got prodded into going to see someone about it by Debbie at work and had a few sessions with an osteopath. Touch wood that seems to have largely done the trick. I have had twinges twice since and had to go back for a top up but it didn't get anywhere near as bad as at the beginning of the year.

11.What was the best thing you bought?
I can't think of anything big. Books on my Kindle are always nice. I have the 3G model so I could even buy new books going up a mountain in Switzerland as the phone signal is much stronger over there.

12.Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Much as it pains me to admit to her being right about something, Debbie at work was right to push me into going to see someone about my back. Brian has been as lovely as ever.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Appalled and depressed is too strong but people fighting over televisions on Black Friday was pretty bad.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My savings account I hope. My largest expenditure will have been on petrol for my car probably.

15.What did you get really really excited about?
I can't think of anything much but the most unexpected events of the year were the two previously mentioned comments about how good I allegedly am at going on the radio.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Brave by Sarah Bareilles. It was released in 2013 but I didn't hear it until 2014 when it got played on Radio 2. Wikipedia informs me it wasn't released in the UK as a single until March 2014.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:
a) Not much change overall but probably happier.
b) Richer or poorer - Richer I should think.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
One can always read more books. If I'd watched even slightly more TV or films I'd have better answers for the questions on those coming up. Taking more photos would be a good thing too.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Brian would say deciding not talking is a good idea so I'll say that.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
The same way as usual.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I stayed in love with Brian. He's still as soppy about me as ever even though we've been together 10 years now.

22. How many one night stands?
Brian would get a surprise if I answered anything other than zero for this question!!!

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
I've hardly watched any TV this year. I did watch some 20 year old episodes of Gladiators on Youtube and Brian complained about all the whistling.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I wouldn't say I hate him but I don't ever want to see my former boss who only lasted 3 months in the job again.

25. What was the best book you read?
I read it for the first time last year but I reread Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that won't stop talking again and understood it better on rereading.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've looked at what songs I downloaded in iTunes this year and other than Brave the only other one by an artist new to me was Crying for no Reason by Katy B. This is another one I heard on Radio 2.

27. What did you want and get?
To save leaving this question blank, an episode of Gladiators I saw being filmed in 1994 turned up on Youtube so I got to see it again.

28. What did you want and not get?
More belief in myself?

29. What was your favourite film this year?
Shamefully, the only film I can come up with that I saw this year was Mrs Doubtfire after Robin Williams died.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
I took the day off work and went into Birmingham to buy myself birthday presents. In the evening I went to a Mexican restaurant in Rugby called La Casa Loco with Brian and had enchiladas and a strawberry daiquiri. I very rarely drink alcohol so the cocktail was nice but a bit strong for me.

31. What one thing would have made your life immeasurably more satisfying?
It's highly unlikely to ever happen but let's say having perfect eyesight. I had an eye test this week and got told that my eyes are very healthy and that I have better than 20/20 vision with my glasses on. As it stands at the moment I wouldn't have laser eye surgery as I would want to get vision that good and never need glasses again for anything which isn't possible with the technology as it is now.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
The same as it's been for the past 15 years or even longer.

33. What kept you sane?
Singing along to the radio in the car. Particular high/lowlights this year have been my attempts at the rapping in Wannabe and a Scottish accent in 500 Miles.

34. Which celebrity / public figure did you fancy the most?
I haven't yet got round to watching it but Benedict cumberbatch does seem to be quite good looking in Sherlock. That and Call The Midwife are two shows I keep thinking I should watch and don't get round to it.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Although I know enough about politics to follow the vast majority of what I hear and read about it, I have zero interest in it at all. The same applies to sport in general.

36. Who did you miss?
I can't actually think of anybody.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I can't think of anybody particularly notable who I met for the first time this year. That's not very good is it?

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Not talking is rarely the best policy.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up 2014.
I want one moment in time when I'm more than I thought I could be. Thank you Whitney Houston for that one.