If last year wasn’t full of enough change for you, then this year has continued at an epic pace. So, after the last season finale didn’t leave you wanting more and with questions as where the story was going, then this season picks up right where the last left off, with Christmas, my first Christmas with someone special to share it with. In December we went into London and went ice skating amongst fairy lights outside of the Natural History Museum – and I survived – something for which I’m quite proud having never been skating since I was aged five and skating around the pond near where we were living at the time in New York. We were back in London again on New Year’s Eve to watch the celebratory fireworks. We couldn’t get down to the river in the end, but following the advice that if you can see the wheel then you can see the fireworks, we found a spot in St James Park, just outside of Buckingham Palace from which to watch. We had brought a small bottle of champagne with which to see the New Year in, and we made further use of it when I surprised Emma with a ring and a wedding proposal!

Emma said yes, and we watched the fireworks whilst standing drenched in rain and champagne from the people next to us. Our parents were naturally delighted, and a venue and a date slotted into place very easily. Indeed, its coming up fast, and with less than six months to go, you find me writing this whilst sending out invitations. The day after my 36th birthday, on 23 May 2009 at the hauntingly beautiful Craflwyn Hall, nestled to the foot of Snowdon. A few day’s after our wedding, we will be off for possibly one of the biggest holidays of our lives – when we honeymoon in Namibia. We’ve got it all booked through a local company who organise tailor-made holidays, so that should be fun!

So that’s the really BIG, headline news of the year – what else has been happening? I continue to work at OUP, but now splitting my time between online academic books, and the digital archive of journals. Emma, meanwhile, gave up her locum veterinary nurse work in July, and started at Bicester Vets – who are all very welcoming. Defying the trends of the housing market, we sold my little house at the end of September and bought a new (and dramatically) bigger house which involved moving, umm … a hundred or so metres and into the next street. Currently the garden is pretty much a blank canvass of gravel and two circles of grass, but by the time that Spring has come, all that will change. Certainly there’s room now for our menagerie of five cats (Ronald, William, Nellie, Bella and Arthur), three fish (George, Antoine and Alfonse) and two chickens (Guinevere – sadly Delysia succumbed to next door’s cat – and Wiggy).

In June we had a nice holiday in a little country cottage that we happen to know of in the New Forest – well my parent’s did want someone to house/cat-sit for them! J We had a nice, relaxing time in good weather, gallivanting round the local countryside. Then in September we both headed up to North Wales again to do some more drystone walling at Craflwyn, which was good fun (if amongst a bit of a weird group, and staying in the bunkhouses rather than the hall itself). We also took the opportunity of meeting our wedding caterer – Deniol of Blas ar Fwyd – who it turns out have catered to royalty (ie. the Queen!) and tasted the food – delicious!

Last, but by no means least, my novel – still currently called Blood & Fire, although I am considering other titles (The End of All Worlds, anyone?) – is nearing completion, with just the last 25 pages awaiting revision. So then I have to compose a synopsis which could well be the hardest task yet, and start sending it out to places.

I’m writing this letter, whilst procrastinating over those last few pages of the novel, sending out the last of the wedding invitations and de-tiling the kitchen in preparation for a new kitchen to be fitted a week on Monday, and just in time for the whole of both families to descend on Christmas Day! I hope your year has been as full and enjoyable as mine, and look forward to hearing all about it!