That was 2018, eh? Doesn’t feel like we’re in the future, but we sure ain’t in Kansas…

So, in addition to watching a shitload of telly in 2018 – I figured since there’s no way I’m ever gonna get round to blogging about things I’d done individually, the next best thing would be to make a list… because in spite of some surface rhetoric about it having been a pretty shit year, my friend Lizzie’s post on Facebook about her year really made me stop and think that actually – yet AGAIN – I’ve had a pretty damn good time in amongst some of the tedium and dross…

So, in 2018, I:

  • became the atheist-equivalent of a godparent (we’ve still not really settled on an official title for this yet)
  • helped raise a wonderful little Labrador pup into a loving, polite, happy and fun doggy – including lots of lovely walks with friends, puppy training school, pub lunches in the country, and getting out and seeing a bit of outdoor Bristol
  • was honoured to be a judge on the panel of the World Whiskies Awards, for my fourth year
  • attended 2 of the finest whisky festivals in the UK and experienced some purely magical whiskies, and had the pleasure of spending time talking to many friends & some of the most passionate folk in the whisky scene
  • spent a few days in Campbeltown for a joint 40th of 2 very good friends, again having priceless and memorable whisky moments (even if getting home afterwards was something of a mission)
  • went bowling with some former workmates
  • got new fences put up in our back yard
  • had a wonderful weekend in London seeing loads of friends, taking in a photography exhibition (Gursky, at the Hayward Gallery – AMAZING!), and having a marvellous dinner with a friend I very seldom get to see
  • had a weekend in Tuscany with Timmo & Immo, seeing how their lives out there are going and soaking up the sun, love and culture
  • judged on the panel at the Scotch Whisky Masters for The Spirits Business magazine
  • went to Bali for 2 weeks for a wonderful holiday with Liz, her family, my family, and a few friends – and randomly ran into one of my old Adelaide Gang Show mates in a waterslide park
  • pulled down our crappy old decking and extended the back patio to make a Barbecue Zone of Excellence
  • ran and had an amazing time at The Ultimate Dramboree – our final instalment of the weekend festival that Jonny (a whisky pal) and I instigated in 2013
  • went kayaking in Wales
  • took Larry away with us for a weekend on the Devon coast, including his first trip to the beach
  • had a wonderful weekend away to the countryside of Herefordshire with my amazing wife to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary (we also took Larry)
  • went to the launch party of an exciting new distillery here in Bristol
  • was extremely lucky to be again invited to the launch of Diageo’s Special Releases whisky series for 2018 – a very exclusive, painstakingly selected range of premium bottlings – and then afterwards spend the evening in the company of some of the finest folk I know
  • got to go to my first Bristol Craft Beer Festival with my brother-in-law and some chums (including my first housemate from London)
  • (along with a couple of other fine fellows I’ve met since moving here) started a new whisky tasting group in Bristol
  • GOT TO SEE BRIAN BLESSED LIVE DOING A ONE-MAN SHOW
  • went up to Manchester and visit our lovely chums Lizzie, Adam & Lily, see their new house, take Larry for some walks, and generally have a marvellous time with them
  • saw Robert Plant do a gig in Wales, with Dr Love – one of my best mates & indeed Best Men
  • brewed my first ever batch of home brew
  • went to St Ives in Cornwall with Liz & Larry for a magnificent cosy wintry beach weekend
  • had an architect come around and talk to us about plans for extending our house
  • went for a weekend in Sussex in the town of Rye, spending it with some of my oldest friends, and in the pub of my favourite landlord in the world – who runs an absolutely world-class gaff and who absolutely isn’t a massive arsehole
  • got a new job (with a company that turned out to be one of the least organised, half-arsed shambles of an outfits that I’ve ever been anywhere near)
  • got another new job 6 months later (looks MUCH more promising)
  • been to 3 weddings – 2 for very dear and longstanding friends, and one for a slightly more distant but longstanding friend for whom I was delighted to have the chance to reconnect
  • farewelled 2 friends at their funerals, sadly, but was grateful for the time we were able to spend together
  • had many, many wonderful lunches, dinners and assorted time spent with our excellent cadre of chums here in Bristol – including back-to-back “Fake Christmas” events immediately before Christmas
  • hosted lots of friends from near and far, old and new, in our spare room – including an absolutely bumper run of some of my favouritest people on the entire planet during Nov & Dec: Dr & Mrs Love, Lynn, Richie, and Tim+Imi
  • been to 9 comedy gigs (Tim Vine, Andy Zaltzman, Sarah Millican, My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast, Stu Goldsmith, Alan Davies, Reginald D Hunter, Daniel Kitson, Robin Ince)
  • been to 6 band gigs (Calexico, Tragedy, The Herbaliser Band, Muse Drones if you count cinema broadcast, Okilly Dokilly, and Greta van Fleet) – and Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, of course
  • painted our front door and our downstairs bathroom PURPLE

And last but by no means at all least, spent the year with my amazing wife in our lovely house – with her sharing most of the highlights and supporting me through any of the low points… and without whom I’d be lost, and life would be considerably less rich & fun.

I think that covers most of it.