As 2011 draws to a close I wanted to look back through my first year of blogging and revisit the stories that meant the most to me this year. It’s been a year of highs, lows, trials, tragedy and of course a very special wedding.
I didn’t start blogging until May so big events from the beginning of the year didn’t make the blog. I must mention the tsunami in Japan which devastated the community and raised fears of a nuclear disaster after the nuclear reactor at Fukishima was damaged.
April saw the fairytale wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I camped out overnight to ensure a prime spot outside Buckingham Palace. I had such an amazing day and will never forget cheering the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as the kissed on the balcony.
One story that has shocked me most this year was the plight of the millions starving in the Horn of Africa. Drought caused the harvest to fail. Footage of people starving in the 21st century is heartbreaking. Other stories pushed this out of the headlines but we should never let it be forgotten. People are still suffering and still dying.
I have posted so many stories this year regarding homophobia it seems to be a sad sign of our times. We’ve seen more teen suicides in the US such as the story of Jamey Rudemeyer who took his own life after months of homophobic bullying. There was also the story of Stuart Walker who was found tied to a lamp post in Ayrshire. He’d been tortured and murdered. It is easy to be complacent about homophobia. We have come a long, long way on the road to equality but we must remember that there are still people willing to kill us for who we are. We have to be aware, we have to be strong.
The Arab uprisings have dominated headlines throughout the world this year. 2011 will be the year that is remembered for the year of people power. Most notably the people of Egypt and Libya took to the streets and demanded change. The people of Syria are still struggling. Even when a leader falls that is not the end of the story. The Egyptians are still fighting for the change they want despite Mubarak leaving office earlier this year.
People power has also shown itself in the way of the Occupy movement. The protesters who started by occupying Wall Street in New York created a worldwide movement which is still in force today. Protesters calling for an end to “corporate greed” set up camp in London. I visited their camp in October and saw a warm, and organised community.
July saw the loss of one of the UK’s greatest talents of recent years. Amy Winehouse was found dead at her Camden home. Whilst sadly not entirely surprising it was still a tragedy. She was on the road to recovery from drug and alcohol abuse and had so much more to give.
We were all shocked in August when we were hit by rioting in many cities up and down the country. The riots and looting which started in London soon spread to Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol to name just a few. It saddened me to see people wrecking our communities. It was mindless violence and criminality. I had tears in my eyes watching the news footage at the time. I hope that lessons have been learnt about our society from those few days.
In October Apple founder Steve Jobs passed away. The visionary who revolutionised the technology world will be remembered for bringing the iPhone, iPod and iPad into our world.
On a purely selfish note I have to mention the post that gave this site over 100 hits in one day. I was delighted to attend a Q&A session with Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes along with several cast members. In a TV schedule full of mock reality shows the outstanding period drama has captivated viewers. The stories from a bygone era are maybe the escapism we need on a Sunday evening!
November marked the culmination of the Conrad Murray trial in LA. The physician was found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson in 2009. He has since been sentenced to four years in prison.
I have been too busy to blog in the past week but my thoughts have been with Prince Philip and the Royal Family. His seemingly sudden heart scare on Friday was very worrying. I was pleased to see him leave hospital today looking healthy and happy.
Personally 2011 has been both tough and rewarding. I have had some struggles at times but I’ve also been the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I guess I can call 2011 a life changing year for me. It was the year I turned 30, the year I defied my own doubts to run the London Marathon and also the year I moved to East London!
I can’t help but be excited about 2012. I have many hopes and plans. As a country we will be the focus of the world as we host the Olympic Games. The royal family will be in the spotlight once again in 2012 as we celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. As a Madonna fan I am of course excited for the forthcoming album and tour in the coming months. There will be the epic movie releases including “Titanic” in 3D, “W.E” directed by Madonna and the long awaited “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. Whatever else 2012 brings I will continue to share my views with you.
Happy new year to all of you. I hope you all have a truly wonderful 2012.