Welcome to this weeks blog post and the last blog post before Christmas. I would like to say I am surrounded my a festive glow and smugness that everything is ready for the big day. The truth however is far from it and I am not feeling Festive and I still have lots to do for the big day. Hopefully you are all more organised than I am. Anyway to take my mind off it all here is what I have been up to and had been thinking about this week.

This week I broke up from work for the Christmas holidays. It is a bit earlier than normal but I had some holiday to take so thought it was a good time to take it. I am ready to have some time off and tried to get as much done as possible before finishing. It has been a busy year at work and I have learnt lots. I have had some highs and lows in the last 12 months but there has always been some great people around me and that has helped lots.Hopefully when I go back in January I can be ready for the year ahead.

My last day at work this week all coincided with a senior colleagues retirement event. The event was held in the Great Hall of the Castle. It was a very grand setting and to be honest I felt a bit of a scruff having gone to the even straight from work, hopefully I got away with it. This was my first visit to the Castle. Durham CastleAlthough I have worked in Durham for over 9 years I had never even entered the courtyard of the Castle never mind go inside. It is a fantastic building and certainly has that Hogwarts feel about it. The event was just a drinks reception but having a glass of ‘champagne’ and cheese roll seemed a great way to finish the year at work and to celebrate the work of my colleague who was retiring.

It was nice to go to the drinks reception as it was also to be the only party I would be going to at work. I decided that I wasn’t going to go to the work Christmas party this year. It is the first time I have missed one since starting there in 2005 but I did have mixed feelings about going this year. There are various reasons but the main one is me. A year ago I wasn’t in a good place and I didn’t it. That had nothing to do with the event it was more about how I was feeling and all I remember is looking at my watch and being glad when I could leave. Things have improved since then but this still played a part in me deciding not to go this year. As well as that at the time it was announced this year I had a lot going on at work and in my personal life and I felt it was best for everyone to sit it out this year. I do wish I had worked through these feelings and gone and nearly said to the organiser let me know if someone can’t go last-minute but I didn’t. Judging from Facebook everyone had a good time which is great to see. As someone said to me “you are just having a Gap Year”. This is probably the best way to describe my decision. A Gap Year is when you take time out to learn more about yourself and to stop and reflect on things. To come to think about it that is almost what my life is like at the moment too.

I said at the start of this blog post that I wasn’t feeling Christmassy. I don’t know why it is just that I don’t feel that festive at the moment. It has been the same for the couple of years as well. I know it makes me sound like Scrooge but it is not for a want of trying. I am listening to Christmas music, reading Christmas stories, sending Christmas cards, buying presents and I just don’t have that special feeling. Maybe I am trying to hard. Instead of feeling festive I am feeling reflective. That’s common for this time of year but it is not always a good way to be. I am looking back over the last 12 months and many hopes for the year that I had have just slipped away and that is tough to deal with. What I do about them next year is yet to be decided.

Well that is it for this week. I have a busy few days of shopping and wrapping ahead of me before the big day arrives. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope you all have a great day wherever you are.

Top Programme of the Week – Gotham

Top Song of the Week – Cast of Billy Elliott – Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher

Book I Am Currently Reading – Aunt Sass Christmas Stories by P.L Travers

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