I have now worked my my last day of 2011st year, and so it seems like a fitting moment to provide some account of the last year (although what follows was actually written a few days ago).

Has it really been a year since my last rambling, wittering review of the year? This year you find me writing this a shade off 2 stone lighter than I was last year, thanks to the Slimming World diet that we are both doing fantastically on. Emma continues to vet nurse at Bicester, or be it in recent months on a new rota that is seemingly incomprehensible to anyone other than her fellow vet nurses and sees the practice offering 24 hour nursing care, and one week in nine me not seeing anything of Emma when she works ‘the twilight shift’. More excitingly, Emma completed her course in Feline Friendly Nursing with Distinction – thus reaffirming (in case there was any doubt) her position as Cat Whisperer!

I had an uncertain Spring and frantically busy Summer. A university reorganisation led to us all having to reapply for our own jobs or jobs similar to our jobs – in the end I got lucky and was ‘slotted’ into my new role as Web and Digital Media Officer, with being on facebook and twitter written into my job description. Whilst fretting over applying for a job I might or might not have, I did have to completely redo the one school website into five department websites and a faculty one, all by 1 September – so no pressure then!

It’s been a funny ol’ year as regards the weather and garden. After the surprise of all that snow just before, and over Christmas it’s been oddly warm and caused all kinds of garden weirdness. We’ve not had such the prolific crop of veggies this year – mainly it has to be said – thanks to the slugs and snails. We’d nurture the seedlings on the windowsills and in the little greenhouse and then as soon as we planted them out, the little blighters would be out to munch them and raise them to the ground on the first night. Still, if I (and my trusty tent peg) found any out there, the chickens love nothing better than a slug kebab… *grins mischievously*

Speaking of chickens, the menagerie that is Bicester Zoo continues to keep us in eggs and cuddles and entertainment – who needs television when you have fencing cats, or miaowing felines? In the fishtank Alfonse and The Minnows continue to rock amongst the Malaysian Trumpet Snails.

We had two nice holidays this year, each end of the (aforementioned busy) summer. A week in Cornwall with Emma’s parents, Grannie, sister and her partner, staying in two adjoining cottages on a farm near Port Isaac and we explored the area in varying sizes of groups, meeting up for a meal at the end of the day.

Our second holiday wasn’t until October (although I think we actually had better weather than in June) and was housesitting for my parents in the New Forest whilst they were away. Most of the time we ventured out further afield, spending quite a lot of the time down on the coast getting our sea air. As a mid-holiday treat, we treated ourselves to a meal out at Mat Folas’ Wild Garlic restaurant in Beaminster. For any Masterchef fans, Mat won the 2009 series and his take on real, local, flavoursome food really impressed us. After the lunch we ended up in Lyme Regis (so almost all the way to Devon and had chips on the cob in gorgeous sunshine and a double rainbow.

In September Emma’s sister, Helen gave birth to her first child, and our first niece, Lily, and Emma has been really enjoying being an auntie for the first time properly.

The ever-curious tale of Mr Tumnal continues to go well, as I enter the final quarter of his story. I’m still really enjoying writing it and pulling in various literary and pop culture references for readers to investigate. Whilst working on this book, I’m currently almost finished re-reading/final-editing The End of All Worlds ¬– my fantasy adventure set in Iceland, involving climate change, and based on the old norse mythologies of alfar, þursar, and the huldufolk. As the moment, having investigated the technical aspect of it, I intend to self-epublish the book for the Kindle (and other ebook readers). Watch this space…