2010. The year I stopped blogging here. (pretty much - less than 10 posts for most months of the year - terrible).
The year Molly stopped being an adorable primary school child and turned into an adorable secondary school child. Or at least she did right now, with the rose tinted spectacles that a reflective look back at the year always seems to provide.
The year when everything pretty much stayed the same, in all it's wonder and loveliness. Work was good, as usual. Computers, children and teaching suit me very well indeed. And the end of the year even saw me taking on a new, unexpected role - that of unofficial school librarian. Much more on that in the new year. Much more. Libraries, shelving, design, blagging huge amounts of graphic novels for the school library - this is going to be a great 2011 at work. As long as all of those lovely computers keep working.
Louise has had a good year, despite receiving very few mentions on the blog. Something she's both pleased about and annoyed about. As always when she complains that the blog sometimes reads like a single dad's memoirs I do remind her that she has always made it quite clear that she doesn't want her life talked about here.
And increasingly, as Molly gets older, I'm well aware that this blog is a quick google search away for any of her friends or school colleagues. Which means I may have to stop talking about her quite so much and in quite so soppy a tone. Which is a shame - and yet another horrible indicator of the fact she's growing up.
The secondary school experience has certainly been a wild ride. Not that the choice of secondary schools - that was so easy it was almost untrue. It was a big plus in moving up to Yorkshire in the first place - we still talk about the feeling of relief when we first talked to Molly's Pocklington primary school about secondary school choices and were told that she had automatic entry to not one, but because of the Catholic thing, two good secondary schools. That was quite amazing to us - and certainly not something we would have fall so easily into place back in Birmingham.
But once the decision was made - by Molly (although it was the secondary school we both hoped she'd pick) - then the problems started. Homework was the main problem. For September and October it was, frankly, utter hell. It took so long for us to fit into any sort of routine and only getting her a desk in her room rather than having to do her homework on the kitchen table seemed to sort it out. Or maybe it was just that she got used to it and I calmed down about it. But my top advice for secondary school - get a desk for their room in August.
It's a strange time, getting used to Molly growing up. But, just like every time she's changed, it's a wonderful experience, made all the more so by the fact she's a truly wonderful child. She's turning into a truly wonderful young person and Louise and I are continually amazed at what we managed to bring into the world.
On the comics front it's been a year of reviewing and more reviewing. For those few of you reading this that don't know, I'm a writer on the Forbidden Planet International blog. It's something that came about almost accidentally, as a result of many years working at Birmingham's Nostalgia & Comics store - read about me and N&C here and the taking Propaganda Reviews from the shopfloor to the FPI blog here and here.
The year started and ended with me desperately struggling to clear the review pile so I could actually do what I always planned to do - review the books as I got them rather than looking at the shelf next to my desk and deciding which of the oh too long overdue for review books I should look at next. And I'm still not there. But I still plan to be. Maybe if I'm writing similar moany words at the start of 2012 I'll just have to admit it's a futile aim and give up, settle down to my lot and just get over it?
The major problem is really one of success. Personally I think the majority of what I write is somewhere between not that good and oh my god I never want to see that again. But people seem to like what I write, my name's known in the (admittedly small) circle of comics in the UK and more and more I find I'm receiving comics and books in the post for review. Sometimes, I have to admit, too many. And because of my nature and my perfectionism, I feel I have to read and review everything I receive.
This means 2011 will progress much like 2010. Lots of comic reading, lots of comic writing. Luckily I enjoy it. I may not like most of what I write, but sometimes I'll finish something, some little piece of writing, and think it's a job well done. And that feeling is what makes it worthwhile.
The downside to writing more and more about comics is that something has to suffer. And that something is this here blog. Fictions has become a shadow of it's former self. I promise I shall try to do better this year.
Right, enough for 2010. A quick month by month and then onwards, onwards into the New Year..........
January - I started as I pretty much went on - apologising for not blogging as much as I should. A little on Molly's vomit and then straight into talking about the seemingly never-ending review list. Plus ca change eh?
February - almost nothing. Quitting mentioned. Didn't really work.
March - Molly chooses her secondary school - Louise and I profoundly relieved.
April - The Brutons went to Butlins. And incredibly, spectacularly, against all expectations - I absolutely loved it. In other news - pigs did fly, hell had a cold spell.
May - Molly's dreams came true - and she got "the boys". A beautiful pair of rats - Woody and Buzz.
June - There was a world cup. It was shite. And my dear little computer decided to sort-of give up the ghost.
July - Molly left primary school. Tears? Oh yes.
August - Bruton's holiday in Anglesey and Dublin. Molly finally gets to go abroad (or at least that's the way she was talking about it. fantastic holiday.
September - this was it - the end of childhood, Molly off to secondary school. Oh hell, the homework hell kicks in. As does the teenage-isms.
October - Computer stuff. And we discovered that the "boys" Buzz & Woody, Molly's lovely pet rats were actually the "girls". Pets At Home. Bless 'em. Plus British International Comics Show - great show, but more additions to the review pile.
November - Molly gets a desk for her room and finally, thank god, the homework hell seems to calm down just a little. Thought Bubble comic show was a great time but by god it adds to the review list.
December - That would be Christmas then.