Ring out the Old, Ring in with the New

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

Alfred Tennyson

I am writing this at a restful festive time after Christmas when most people tend to wind down with family and friends during the season’s celebrations. It is also a time when I mentally close off the year in my mind. I sort of remember things and memories by the year it occurred (be it by association by music, smells or other unconscious triggers). It is also a great time for shopping, spending money on presents, which is great news for the retail industry. I was considering a more serious topic such as what consumer and economic trends to look out for in 2018 as forecasted in some of our business information sources in the library. However, I decided to reflect on a light-hearted look back at an average, but at times, exceptional year for me. I will leave the traditional media and magazines to tell you about the official world review of the year. I am going to cover some of the little things that mattered a lot to me – my iPhone photos are like a visual journal of the year. So, I am ready to say goodbye to 2017.

January – I started with a blog post about ‘Beating the January Blues’, on reflection it seemed that I actually managed to do just that! I saw some amazing Ceilidh dancing at the Southbank on 1st Jan, made my first Gallette Du Rois, celebrated Burns Night with friends, and also had fun at the SLA Europe Quiz. I will be celebrating the Gallette due Rois again, and I am looking forward to the next SLA Europe quiz at a new venue in a few weeks time. You too can join us if you really want to.

February – I seemed to have baked a lot this year going by the photos I’ve taken. I made pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, and a lemon drizzle sponge during a break in February. I attended a Guardian Newspaper supper club at the Geffrye Museum, hosted by the amazing and beautiful Eleanora Galasso, who was also launching her cookbook. Her menu for the evening was interesting and the supper club dining company was friendly. I also went to see Mario Biondi at the Union Chapel. He was great live and used the LIVE feature on Facebook, which also prompted me to use it for the first time to the pleasure of a few of my friends who interacted with me.

March – Spring was in the air and it seems I was getting ready with my neighbours for some neighbourhood spring cleaning, E17 Art Trail plans, and more baking (must do a blog post just on baking!). I also went to Cardiff for the first time for a two-day training course at the Intellectual Property Office. I have now visited three capital cities in the UK, except Belfast. I still want to visit the countryside in Wales again after visiting Monmouthshire over a decade ago.

April – The days got lighter and the spring blooms were out. There were lots of places to see beautiful daffodils and blossoms. I was already beginning to channel the ‘Tree of Life’ submission for the E17 Art Trail by our neighbourhood. We organised a group of volunteers to clean, prepare and source plants for the garden with the advice from the local councillor. I attended Jonathan and Theresa’s fabulous wedding party with the John Ongom Big Band. I went to see the E17 Puppet Show ‘Vikings and Valkyries’ at the William Morris Gallery as they would be performing a street theatre in June for us. I also had a girly R&R (Rest and Relaxation) day with friends in Essex with cream tea as a treat.

May – I prepared a lot for the E17 Art Trail garden and it seemed to go according to plan. It is amazing when you depend on people to work with you voluntary…and you do actually pull off something out of nothing! My neighbours were brilliant and created fabulous designs on terracotta pots and donated plants for our garden. That was heart-warming. It’s December now, and the last time I looked at the garden, there were only about three plant pots that were missing or damaged. The space is used more than before and we have since received further funding to redevelopment and redesign the space. Luckily we have an expert resident architect to help and advise us with the redesign.

I also went to Dublin in May and it was an amazing experience! I was warmly welcomed by my friend Lina, and also the Irish library and information professional community as an SLA Europe representative. I blogged about my trip here.  I still think of the Irish green fields I saw on my trip to and from Dublin to Galway.

June – The launch of the much anticipated E17 Art Trail and we were pleased with our participation in Poets’ Corner E17. Walthamstow went wild for the 1000 Swifts and other collaborative and community creative activities and events. We had lovely weather for the ‘Vikings and Valkyries’ street puppet show on our newly pedestrianised street in the neighbourhood. We also held a fabulous street party.

July – One of the major highlights of my year! I went home to Trinidad and Tobago for my 30th School Reunion. My schoolmates chatted, praised, danced and re-acquainted ourselves, as well as made new memories. After 18 months of planning by a small group, it was amazing and much appreciated. It was also a special time to spend with family and friends. Regardless of all the problems in the country and this world – I see the beauty in this small Caribbean island and know that it is a place I can always proudly call home.

August – It is normally depressing coming back after a summer holiday but I had the Notting Hill Carnival to look forward to. After the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy – it was a devastating and shameful reminder of the disparity in one of the richest part of London in the 21st century. Notting Hill Carnival itself was good fun on a very sunny day and I loved our costumes to the ‘First People’ theme. Two annoying factors were the real threat of an acid attack, and the false reporting of an acid attack. You can never win here.

September – It was back to school, back to work and back to routine. I baked my first Coffee and Walnut cake for the library’s fundraising Macmillan Coffee and Cakes afternoon. As I wasn’t in the office – I still don’t know how it tasted! I also went to Derby for the first time to settle my son into university. It seems like a nice city, if a little quieter than other major cities. I hope to explore more of Derbyshire next year.

October – The darker months were here again and there were Halloween celebrations in town. I went to see the Basquait ‘Boom for Real’ exhibition and Banksy’s Basquait tribute graffiti, which were brilliant. Also at the Barbican, I saw Annoshka Shankar’s live accompaniment to the digitally restored 1920s silent film ‘Shiraz’. It was an unforgettable experience. I also had luck on my side at the SLA Europe gin tasting event, as I won a raffle for three flavours of gin, which I am hoping to try soon.

November – I was lucky and happy to return to Trinidad again for a family wedding and reception. I don’t usually go often and it was worth going to see a modern Indian-Trinidadian wedding and reception. The merging of the east and west cultural influences is special. It was nice to spend time with loved ones again and I had a mini reunion with some school friends. I witnessed some fabulous wedding business ideas and event planners for our unique Trini wedding. It was nice again to dress-up, have my hair and make-up done by professionals. I received nice comments on my outfits. The bride and groom looked utterly beautiful in all the wedding celebrations.

December – Back to work and lots of activities in the library. It was also a reality check to come back from the tropics to very snowy weather. I went to the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands for a Christmas Carols concert. I had fun at the YSBD Christmas Party theme disco, and so I danced to the end of the year. I have not taken part or planned much in my community this month as I was away, and we are taking a break. Personally and honestly, I feel that something is amiss.

So this sums up an average year for me and I am grateful for the good health and happiness we have. As the days slowly wind up in December, I looked to see what would be the serious United Nations theme for 2018, but apparently there is no theme. We can make it up as we go along! But I am looking forward to their theme for 2019, which will be the year of indigenous languages (hopefully I am still alive!). We do still have high levels of poverty, inequality, prejudices, environmental causes, Brexit, ever-present troubles in the Middle East and parts of the world to keep us preoccupied.

However, we can bring in some new perspectives, peace and control with our personal New Year’s resolutions and hopes. I always try a few new things. For example, I had always hoped to read more each year…and out of the blue recently – one of my neighbours created a book club, which I am a part of. I now make time to read leisurely and have read three books. This blog was also my resolution for 2016, and thankfully I have been able to carry it on for almost two years. The feedback received is motivating and makes it all worthwhile.

‘Old year’s night’ as we say in the Caribbean, is one way to say a fond farewell to another year. I understand in Italy they literally practice ‘out with the old, in with the new’ by throwing out rubbish on New Year’s Eve to be collected. I hope to do some of that! I still hope to exercise more, learn new skills, and visit parts of the United Kingdom in 2018 that I haven’t been before. I usually spend New Year’s Eve in a house party with close family and friends. In a Princely way…we will be partying like it is 2017 as we say hello to 2018! Soon, all across the world, we’ll watch images of the skies lit up with fireworks to ring in 2018 with a bang. There is nothing left for me to do but to wish you a happy and healthy new year.

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