It was the best of times. It was the worst of times …

That’s it then, another year gone and what a year it has been.  Talk about the curate’s egg, being polite about something bad, by saying you are sure that some parts of it were quite good.

Well I suppose that it wasn’t all bad is true, after all, following Bradley Wiggins’ brilliant Tour de France the Olympics were dazzling, from the opening of Danny Boyle’s extravaganza to the closing of the cauldron’s petals, athletes, volunteers, organisers and entertainers managed to convert a nation of impoverished and famously snarky, embittered cynics into a boisterous, grinning, Team GB.  Who’d have thought it, and still it lingers.  Add to that a few sporting triumphs like the Ryder Cup, English cricket and McLaren Formula One getting what they deserved for their lack of real support for Lewis Hamilton.

G4S, who had a disastrous Olympics, kept their £57million “management bonus” despite a staggeringly inept Olympics security performance that would have had The Thick of It‘s Malcolm Tucker reaching in vain for sufficiently toxic new swear words. The good bits for me were certainly utterly spoiled by the bad bits.

The BAD BITS now where shall I start?  On a personal note, I began the year by having a new left thumb joint and spending six weeks with my arm in plaster, and am ending the year with my right arm in plaster for a further six weeks, having had a repeat operation on the right thumb joint.  That is 12 whole weeks, three whole months, out of 2012, being a thoroughly hacked off, ungrateful, mean and grumpy patient.  The good bits are that this ruddy plaster finally comes off in just four days time and I will start 2013 as the thoroughly nice, compassionate and friendly person that I used to be.

On a general note 2012 has to be one of the worst in a long while.  The massacre in the form of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in other words the WAR has continued since October 2001 and we are still fighting.  That is longer than our troops were fighting in both WWI and WWII.  The war in Libya which we started in 2011 lasted until August 2012 after the West showed them who is boss.  We left lauding the turmoil that our leaders call the “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Algeria.  Obviously the world is going to be a much safer place now.

2012 has also seen the worst of weather with weird conditions in Europe and the Americas, culminating with Hurricane Sandy.  Arctic ice is at almost its lowest extent ever recorded in midwinter, disastrous droughts and searing heat in Africa, Latin America, and Australia.  One of the world’s biggest insurance companies is warning that climate change will increase damages, no change there then. 

The UK weather began with severe drought conditions which lasted until April when a jobsworth at Anglian Water declared the drought an impending disaster and issued an immediate hosepipe ban.  Since that very day it has hardly stopped raining and we finish the year with ground so water sodden that the rain has nowhere to go other than overflowing rivers, lakes and reservoirs.  Sodden Anglian Water jobsworths.

On the High Street, about half of our traditional names (including, tragically, Branston’s Pickle) were sold abroad to join Cadbury and Weetabix.  Comet joined Woolies in the history books, and tumble-weed now dances between ailing charity shops and Starbucks outlets. It’s possible that the UK still own Peacock’s and a share in the fire exit of Falkirk’s JD Sports.

For the BBC, the year should have been a glorious one. But their jubilee “pageant” disaster only really served to highlight how hard it could be.  Who on earth thought that using their resident airheads, Ferne Cotton, Matt Baker and the pneumatic Tess Daly would be a good thing only the Lord knows, Lord (Fat Pang) Patten that is.  It now looks as though no matter how magnificent their Olympics coverage truly was, it must have been by accident, thank goodness for Claire Balding but now they have lost her to Channel 4 Racing.

Going back to Patten (hasn’t the man gone yet?) the corporation turned out to have sat, unforgivably, on the Savile storm and then attempted to make amends by making child-abuse allegations of their own that weren’t, um, true. Then it ate itself in recriminations, and pay-offs and now recriminations about pay-off’s  and it all may never end. The press didn’t do much better, and Leveson still has much rumbling to do. Near the end of the year, after the suicide of a nurse, newspapers somehow attempted to excoriate a modern “blame culture” that is the product, almost entirely, of modern newspapers.

Also: not a necessarily happy year for Rebecca Brooks, Andy Coulson, Sally Bercow, fans of Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, badgers, ash trees or the dignities of personal privacy.

The European Union have had a disastrous year with the Euro. With Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece going into self-destruct mode.  The good news is that Silvio Berlusconi is offering to stand for a fourth time as Prime Minister to save his country.  That should do for Italy exactly what Silvio has been doing to all of the under-age females at his Bunga Bunga parties for years.

There was worse to come, with the massacre of the innocents at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, possibly the worst disaster of the year.  The blowback was when Helen Flannegan proved exactly how dumb she really is by posing on the internet with a gun to her head – to show her support for those poor people in America, shame that the gun didn’t go off.  Then to demonstrate our special relationship with America, the gun lobby are petitioning the President to have Piers Morgan deported back to the UK because of his anti gun rants on CBS.  What have we done to deserve that?

Oh my God I cannot go on writing about 2012, I am getting so depressed (no offence Piers) but as the song says; If you’re going through hell Keep on going, Don’t slow down If you’re scared, don’t show it You might get out Before the devil even knows you’re there

So, okay, basically we need to forget about 2012 as soon as possible. But just so we can remember exactly what it is we need to forget, let’s pour ourselves a stiff drink and don’t look back at the train wreck we’re staggering away from, let us all look forward.  

daren’t give the reason that it cannot get any worse because we had Edward Heath and said “It cannot get any worse,” but it did.  Then we had Margaret Thatcher and we said “It cannot get any worse,” but it did.  Then we had Tony Blair and we said “It cannot get any worse,” but it did.  Then we had Gordon Brown and we said   “It cannot get any worse,” but it did.  The French had Sarkozy and they said “It cannot get any worse,” but it did.  The Americans had George W. Bush and they said “It cannot get any worse,” but it did. 

 Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year, better than the last one, it cannot get any . . . . . . . .  OMG I nearly said it!  God Bless  

About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.

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