In some ways I will not be sorry to say goodbye to this year in the hope that the next will be better. Round these parts, 2012 started out in drought but quickly changed to become the wettest year since records began. And it certainly feels like it, although i will grant you that I managed two dry walks yesterday. This morning's after-breakfast walk was also dry, but it's started raining again since.
The rain affected the garden as well. We had no fruit on the apple and plum trees, supposedly because the bees were unable to leave their hives to pollinate the blossom because of the rain. There were a few pears, but the jackdaws got them. There were also a few cherries, but it is many years since we last managed to pick one as the birds - again - always get there before us. The onions rotted in the ground and the slugs ate the runner beans. The parsnips didn't germinate and the rhubarb just didn't thrive; I picked three stalks about six inches long and hardly any fatter than my little fingers. The gooseberries were left to rot and I picked only a very few blackcurrants. We did fairly well, however, on peas, raspberries and blackberries, albeit with smaller crops than in other years.
I said that I left the gooseberries to rot and picked only a very few blackcurrants. That was a result of my worst year for health problems since I don't know when. It started in May when my breathlessness caused by my allergy to the aspergylosis fungus in the lungs became so bad that the Old Bat called an ambulance and I was whisked into hospital for a morning. Then I had not long got over that when I was hit hard by arthritis and spent three months of the summer pretty well crippled. I was eventually put on a different drug, one that can cause liver damage so I have been having monthly blood tests. The latest shows something gone off the scale so that drug has been stopped and I am to see the consultant again in a couple of weeks or so - after another blood test to see if things have calmed down. This morning I have had another chest x-ray as I have started coughing up blood.
On the other hand, 2012 has been a good year for us English in several ways. We celebrated the Queen's diamond jubilee in traditional fashion - under umbrellas - and then there were the Olympics. I had been very much a "don't care" beforehand, even so far as wishing that the games had been awarded to Paris rather than London, but even the Old Bat got caught up in the excitement after watching that marvellous opening ceremony. And Team GB won more gold medals than ever before.
So the year has been rather like the curate's egg - good in parts. But I will not be staying up to see in the New Year and I am refusing to make any New Year resolutions.
I sincerely hope we are spared scenes like this in 2013! This is the view from the bedroom window when the cattle in the field by the Chattri didn't look too happy.