2022: Closing. 2023: Let’s go.

Happy New Year to all. Fresh from City’s one all draw with Everton, I’m sofa-bound enjoying Match of The Day and a cup of tea. That’s how I roll. My first Christmas, since 2013, at home was wonderful.

The first King Charles Third’s Christmas speech apparently stated we should enjoy every minute with those who you love because we can never return to that time following loss. This is something I can attest to following the loss of grandparents and friends. Recently, some family members and friends close to me have experienced tragic loss, too. This Christmas has been pleasant in that I’ve spent time with family. For me, that’s what Christmas is about.

Has Christmas become overly commercialised? Undoubtedly. Does it need to affect everything and everyone in this everything now society? Not at all. Should it add pressures and weights to families and individuals? No. Is it that simple? Sadly not. Emotions and feelings, greed and desires all come round and round as advertisers push the latest must have, soon to be binned gadgets, devices or accessories.

I spent Christmas morning with Dad and Shaun before walking to Levenshulme via Clayton Vale, Ashton Canal, Stockport Branch Canal, Fallowfield Loopline and Highfield Country Park. No snow along the way, sadly. No white Christmas. Lunch and the evening relaxing with Mum, Paul, and Paul Jr. was a good way to enjoy venison and various luxury items on the plate. Gifts were exchanged, and a lovely Craghoppers jacket with an oystercatcher-orange zip has been well-received. A family gift sees us all seeing the Chicago Blues Brothers in spring.

Today’s memorial before kick off at the Etihad Stadium marked the passing of many lives related to Manchester and football. It is a fitting moment on a day of celebration at the coming of a new year ahead. 2023 will no doubt see loss, New life, suffering, and celebrations. All the best in the year ahead. Peace and love.

Happy New Year. 新年快乐

7 years and a day…

新年快乐 / Happy Lunar New Year

It’s been seven years and a day since I arrived in China. There should be a lengthy piece of writing about that, but looking back is already documented. So, let’s look forward together to joy, happiness, City being top of the league and all that wonderful uncertainty that we get to kick in the dick. Don’t let the bastards wear you down. 2021 is the year of the (metal white?) Ox and we’re off and running.

To those lunatics who follow the lunar New Year, I wish you a happy new year. To those who follow the sun, you commit lunacy by not obeying the order of the moon. Each to their own. Blue moon will be played over the noise of the fireworks outside or maybe Saving Private Ryan is more appropriate.

To the future. So, what now?

Ta’ra / 再见

Farewell 2020. Happy New Year.

Dear all,

All the very best for 2021.

Let’s not dwell on COVID-19 and it’s terrible spread throughout the globe. It’s been a challenging and upsetting year for many. The less said on this eve of a new year, the better. Stay positive.

With trips to Nepal, Thailand (as a Corona refugee), Suzhou and now Yunnan, I’ve been lucky to experience a variety of cultures and religions in different shapes and forms during 2020. All have stood the test of time and all have stories about being adaptable. 2021 for the human race will be no exception. I’ve been lucky to get some travelling in, during this new norm but unlucky not to travel and see loved ones. The future is tingling with uncertainty but when a reunion comes about, I’m certain it won’t be wasted.

Climatic change, political indecision, blundering idleness by an impenetrable elite, racism and divide, disease and worry. Twenty twenty’s themes will carry on into this year as we all live as best we can. The gloom of a serious Sir David Attenborough message should stay with us. As should Amnesty International. Black Lives will always matter. #MeToo? Where changes are needed things will always need to happen. Vaccines and immunisation can only cure so much.

2020 allowed me opportunity. I’ve been blessed to start work at Tungwah Wenzel International School. A few weeks of expensive quarantine and drastically overpriced return flights got me back into China, as others faced even tougher routes to work or pathways no longer open. It’s been a good ride at work so far. I can only see it getting better.

Football for and with Murray’s FC has provided a regular escape from a landscape tinged by trepidation. Having also joined Dongguan Bulldogs, for a few games of tag rugby, and several solo bike rides, freedom has been a privilege.

I’m writing from a cold bed in YuBeng village, Yunnan, China. I’d like to write more but like the new journal in my bag, there’ll be plenty of opportunity and positive days ahead for the writing of new well remembered days. All the best for 2021. Keep hope in your head and heart.

Peace and love x