2013 in numbers

Confession time: I’m a bit of a geek, and I like statistics.  Not that A-level maths module that I remember my classmates moaning about, but figures or images that simplify information into just a few numbers or shapes.  For example:

world

WordPress has already summarized this year in terms blogging stats (see post below). So to that end, I thought I’d summarize my 2013 in numbers.

  • 1 new job
  • 5 interviews
  • 2 new countries visited
  • Approx. 13200 miles travelled by plane
  • Approx. 4000 miles travelled by tube
  • 2 failed relationships
  • 1 Valentines Day card
  • 1 hour spent watching Beyonce perform live
  • Approx. 2210 hours spent in bed
  • 29 dates
  • 1 one-night stand
  • 1 day spent dressed as a pirate
  • 2 bouts of food poisoning
  • 1 new English city visited
  • 5 kilos lost
  • 3 kilos regained
  • 1 lost iPod
  • 3 haircuts
  • 2 new scars
  • Approx. 380 units of alcohol consumed
  • More than 730,000 calories consumed
  • Roughly 12 drunken visits to McDonalds
  • 37 blog posts
  • Over 4000 views (thanks everyone!)
  • 1 new blog platform (thanks to those Single Chicks gals)
  • 3 new online dating profiles
  • 2 booty calls
  • 3 lost Oyster cards
  • 26 new restaurants visited
  • Too many jaegerbombs to count
  • Too many hangovers to count

All in all, a great year!  I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store…

fireworks

Round Robin

Dearest friends,

Well, what a year this has been.  We didn’t think 2013 could live up to 2012 in terms of drama and excitement, but how wrong we were!

January saw us all troop up to London to celebrate Great Aunt Maura’s 95th birthday.  It was delightful to see so many family members in once place, and with only a few individuals who weren’t on speaking terms and just one person forcibly removed by security, we all thought the party was a great success!  The food was excellent – the work of our much-loved second cousin Chardonnay – I’d forgotten how much I love prawn cocktail and cheese-and-pineapple sticks!

In February, Jeremy and I became incredibly proud parents when our little Tilly celebrated her first ever Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend.  We really went the extra mile to help her celebrate this special moment – cards, flowers, acting as butler and waitress while she and Tarquin had a wonderfully romantic candle-lit dinner at our house, and even putting a little special something in the bedroom for afterwards.  I know many parents would do the same for their precious little darlings.  Sadly, Tilly and Tarquin are no longer together (they broke up shortly after Valentine’s Day, although for the life of me I can’t imagine why).  However, she now seems perfectly happy with the captain of the 1st XV rugger team.

As you will know, our eldest son Jake surprised us all by announcing his homosexual leanings at the beginning of last year, and since then he has moved in with his partner Wilfred and they used a surrogate to have a child.  With the arrival of spring came the arrival of our first grandchildren – twins!    They have named their little girl Judy (after Judy Garland) and the boy Elton (after Elton John), and use these things called Twitter and Instagram to post photos of the sweet little cherubs in a variety of outfits.  My favourite was Judy’s in a little pink bikini and Elton in a striped suit.  Jeremy has yet to find the time to visit his grandchildren, but what with the maintenance of the estate, the expansion of the shoot and the monumental effort of running the village summer and Christmas fairs, he has simply been too busy!

Given that last summer we decided to stay home in order to watch the Olympics, we decided that this year we deserved a jolly time abroad.  Jeremy and I took a villa in Antibes for three weeks, and we made some excellent chums whilst we were there.  A lovely couple called Henry and Jacquetta were in the villa next door, and we all hit it off straight away.  It seems that Jeremy and Jacquetta have a shared passion for sailing, and so they would spend most of the day together on a little schooner we’d hired.  One day there was no wind and they’d run out of fuel for the engine and so had to spend the night on board together!  What an adventure.

Not surprisingly, Tilly passed her A-levels with flying colours, and is very excited about going to Oxford Brookes next year to read Property Management.  After the summer, she and some pals from school headed off to Argentina to work at an orphanage, before flying over to Tanzania for conservation work.  Jeremy and I are incredibly proud that she’s become involved in humanitarian causes, and we cannot wait to have her back with us for Christmas.  She’s currently in Thailand studying the ways of Buddhist monks and taking a beginner’s class in spoken Thai.  We’re told that Koh Phangan is the best place to learn this and that each night they observe a ritual whereby everyone drinks from some sort of bucket.  It all sounds very exotic and exciting!

This year’s dry summer sadly took its toll on our kitchen garden, and those of the rest of the village, so this year’s Harvest Festival wasn’t quite up to its usual standards in terms of fresh produce.  I have a sneaking suspicion that Vivian from the Old Rectory might have had the assistance of Waitrose in delivering her ‘home-grown’ offerings, but one can’t turn one’s nose up too much at the mediocre attempts of others.

Jeremy tells me that this year’s shooting season is shaping up to be one of the best so far, although we did have a slight run-in with some animal rights activists a few weeks ago.  I thought everyone who wears Barbour jackets and Hunter wellies would have the same views as us, clearly I was wrong.  Jeremy saw them off in a most efficient manner by setting the dogs loose.

As I write this letter, looking at the hot-house geraniums on my windowsill and our acres beyond the garden, I feel the warm glow of achievement and satisfaction that my family brings to me.  It is rather unfortunate that Jasper, our middle child, continues to upset and disappoint us by continuing to work as a lobbyist for the Labour Party, or as Jeremy likes to call them, ‘those Commie bastards’.  Maybe his exclusion from this year’s Christmas supper will make him come to his senses and see that family values should come first.

I do hope that you all have had as an exciting and fulfilling year as we have.  We know how much you enjoy hearing the details of our family life, and we certainly look forward to your Christmas missives each year with great anticipation.  Learning of others’ trials and tribulations really does make one feel so fortunate in life.

With our warmest and happiest Christmas wishes,

The Stockington-Lyle Family (written by Miffy)

xmas2

Two for the price of one?

Given the rather prolific online dating activity I’ve been experiencing over the last few months, you’d have thought I’d seen it all by now.  The weirdos, the freaks, the nice guys, the bad guys, the ones with a foot fetish…  I thought there was little that the internet could throw up that would surprise me.

I was wrong.

bogof

Now is it just me, or is this just the laziest form of online dating ever?  I can only begin to imagine how that initial conversation went.

A: Mate, let’s try out this internet dating thing

B: Yeah mate, but I really can’t be arsed to write a whole profile.  That shit is loooong.

A: True mate, standard…. I know, we could just set up one page for the two of us

B: Genius idea mate!  Girls will love that shit!

etc…..

I understand that life is short, and I know well enough that many people are looking for a quick fix when it comes to finding someone for some casual fun.  But stating in your profile that your best quality is threesomes??  Come on.

Yesterday I received a message from buy1-get1-free, inviting me to go for a drink with the two of them.  Strangely enough, the offer didn’t appeal.  As much as I’m up for trying slightly out-of-the-ordinary dating scenarios (running, climbing etc.), the idea of going for what would essentially some bizarre interview/threesome situation just really doesn’t do it for me.

I’d love to know if these guys actually had any success with this BOGOF approach.  And then give the girls who went for a it a severe talking to.  Fools.