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I have read a fair few of these surveys and have eventually got round to writing my own before this year is out. Not bad, eh?
1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
ALMOST wrote my car off – had minor bumps before whilst driving, but nothing like this. I had planned a nice day out shopping with my mum and Craig, my little boy. Five minutes into the journey, if that I came across an abandoned farm forklift vehicle that was sticking out half across the road. As there was a car coming towards us, I slowed the car, or should I say attempted to slow the car down to pull behind the forklift, but instead went skidding right into the path of the oncoming car. My whole life flashed in front of me as I prepared for us all to be wiped out by the 4x4 in our path, but at the very last second my car swerved out of its way… smack bang into the forklift. It turns out the forklift had spilt hydraulic oil after its tank burst, it had travelled about half a mile along the road from where the oil spill started so of course I had driven right thorough it. With the road being damp nobody would’ve seen it. The driver of the forklift was nowhere to be seen but the police were soon on the scene. The car was a mess, but thankfully my mum and Craig were fine if not a bit bruised and sore. What followed was a lengthy battle between insurance companies as the forklift driver denied it was his oil. Luckily a week before Christmas we received our excess cheque back plus a letter saying our case was now closed and the other driver was at fault. The car was in a sorry state and has only just come back from the garage after being there for just short of 4 months. It cost over £4000 to repair.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for this year?
Nope, never make ‘em as I have terrible willpower and never stick to them.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not this year which is strange as normally there is a huge flock of storks flying over our house informing of us of another new arrival.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, sadly my best friend Nicola. I wrote a review about it a few weeks ago. We lost her to cancer, she beat it first time round, but it came back bigger and subsequently more evil. It was out to get her and sadly it won – she knew she was fighting a losing battle and chose to let her take her. This year was a very sad time, it’s the first time I’ve felt loneliness despite having people around me and I spent a large part of last year in a big depression. However, with the love and support of my fantastic husband I am getting stronger and can now look back on the time I spent with Nicola without crying. She was a great friend, and if anyone can say they have a friend like her then they are very lucky. Her husband and daughter, Eva (almost 2) are preparing for a new life in Ireland. They have family over there and I think it’s the new start they need. Whenever I see little Eva it’s weird because she does things that Nicola does.
5. What countries did you visit?
We went back to Rhodes at Easter last year and spent a nice week there. We opted for a caravan break during the summer and spent 2 weeks touring North Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire, where we’re planning on moving later this year. A big move which is exciting, if not a little daunting. We are going to Olu Deniz in Turkey this June as I think we will be well needing a holiday after our mammoth move from Scotland and to wind down after completing our loft conversion that we are half way through.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A little bit more cash would be nice. Barry recently went self-employed so a large chunk of our savings went into setting his business up. Also we have spent quite a lot on our loft conversion. We have done most of the work ourselves and have saved a fortune, but still our bank balance doesn’t reflect this.
7. What event from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Obviously the death of my friend will be a memory that I won’t forget for a long time, but other monumental events include the dreadful Tsunami that rocked Asia, my brother was there a couple of days before it happened but decided to go back to India to catch up with some friends. We only heard from him last week so you can imagine we were out of minds with worry over Christmas.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting a job after being a stay at home for just under 3 years. While I have plenty years of experience and knowledge under my belt, I had not spent more than 2 hours at a time with another adult without talking about Tweenies, toilet training and teething problems. It was refreshing to know that after being a bit stale on the work side of things I was able to bag a job and I start in a few weeks time – nothing spectacular, but it’s a little bit of independence and silver in my purse.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting my husband loose with his credit card buying things for the house.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No just minor whiplash after my car accident. Sore for a few days, but nothing major.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Definitely my holiday – booked it in August and already getting marginally excited.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Without a doubt, John, Nicola’s husband has shown such courage since Nicola’s death. Despite being grief-ridden he has been a rock to little Eva and on the day of the funeral he gave an amazing tear-jerking speech. I don’t know how he managed to get through that day, so my medal goes to him.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Probably my own at times as I find myself moaning about the smallest of things when there are people out with problems bigger than mine getting on with it.
14. Where did most of your money go?
On our house. But we know when the time comes to sell we will get it all back plus more, so it’s been a good investment.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The day I booked our summer holiday I got really excited as I knew that we had something good to look forward to. Already I can feel that this year is going to be a bit kinder.
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Ermm, ermm, nope sorry nothing really stands out here.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder?
I’m a bit happier. We have a lot to look forward to – our big move with my parents back down south, a much-needed holiday to Turkey and my husband’s business is doing well. Much better than first anticipated as it was a big move.
ii. Thinner or fatter?
Just the same – I managed to keep my eating habits under control despite a few little gliches.
iii. Richer or poorer?
Definitely poorer, but not depressed about it. Money doesn’t buy you happiness.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spent more time with the kids, as we have been so involved in getting our house ready to go on the market that we’ve been a bit pre-occupied. This holiday is beginning to sound more appealing than ever.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Arguing my case with my car insurance company that was supposed to be on my side, but was making things very difficult with the other parties involved. Luckily my husband and father were able to put their views forward and it was dealt with after that.
20. How will you be spending Christmas 2005?
Probably at home with my husband, children and parents. That’s the norm, and it doesn’t seem right to break tradition.
22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Yes, over and over again with my husband.
23. How many one-night stands?
None. Don’t like them and don’t have a need for them. I’m in a happy stable marriage and would never do anything to jeopardise that.
24. What was your favourite TV program?
It’s a toss up between Holby City and Casualty. I watch these without fail, boring I know, but I’m easily pleased.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hating people is such a waste of time. It’s a pointless emotion.
26. What was the best book you read?
I actually got to read the whole set of Harry Potter books which I daughter received for her birthday and enjoyed them all which surprised me.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing sticks out
28. What did you want and get?
I really wanted the job applied for and I got it.
30. What was your favourite film of 2004?
I have two favourites: Shrek 2 – I took my daughter to see it and it was the first time in ages that we did something together – just the 2 of us. The film was brilliant too, but what made it better was spending quality time with Gemma.
My second choice is Bridget Jones – The Edge of Reason. I was dreading seeing it as I thought it would be a bit of a flop after the first one, but I am pleased I was wrong. It was brilliant – Colin Firth didn’t let me down.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I had a slap up meal with close friends and family at our local Cantonese restaurant. I celebrated my 30th birthday in October and just wanted something simple. It was lovely and well appreciated.
32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
My friend still being here for one. I miss her terribly, but I know that’s being selfish.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
I don’t follow fashion, I can’t afford to.
34. What kept you sane?
Who says I’m sane? I certainly don’t feel it at times. My husband and family keep me grounded and on my toes so without them I’d be a wreck.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I really have a thing about Colin Firth, despite him being a bit older. He has that little something about him.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are far too many to name. I hate politics
37. Who did you miss?
Again, my friend, Nicola.
38. Who was the nicest new person you met?
My daughter’s friend’s mum. I met her for the first time a couple of months ago, it turns out she is also one of the McMillan nurses that looked after Nicola during her last few weeks. It was comforting to know that I was able to speak to someone who understands how I feel. She’s a lovely lady.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
To live each day to the full. Never take life for granted as it could end just like that.