Phweesh, what a crazy crazy year. It has been a wild ride. Occasionally frustrating, sad, stressful, as life can be, but overall…. Wow! Here’s what I have compiled to help us remember what we did and who we met. In spite of some sad things going on in the lives of friends and family, I’ve loved this year so much. Welcoming our daughter into the world with no midwives present was a really life-changing and defining event for us and made us step up in so many ways to what is important to us in life! The experience of taking on that kind of level of responsibility was intense beyond anything else that has ever happened to us, but it has totally strengthened us all and given us a lease of life, energy and passion that spurred us into action to do so much cool stuff!
Earlier in the year I watched a heartbreaking series of photographs a husband took of his beautiful wife over the months that she slowly deteriorated to cancer. It made me sit up and take note that life is unpredictable, short and precious. I have decided to really live life to the full this year and live truly authentically in my own power and by living more on my own terms, not everyone else’s… because we don’t know how long any of us will be here on this planet….we all live on borrowed time.
I’ve met some wonderful people this year in the process of producing a document called Birthplace Matters and becoming a grass-roots birth campaigner, and I will continue to campaign for others so they can have midwives at their homebirths, since not everyone want to freebirth like myself, eh?
I truly feel that putting off what's important to you or swallowing bitterly what others serve up to you is madness. And, in waiting to fulfil dreams and lifelong goals, we might not ever get to do them. We only have today, we only have the here and now... So this year has been a year of living, doing and daring. It’s been absolutely amazing and I don’t have a single regret.
Bring on 2015!
Who knows, I might get to do some hands-on doulaing again.... that would be fab!!!!!
So without further ado, here's the amazing list of 100 things our family did in 2014
1 Met the girl of our dreams (literally) when she swam up to meet us all in our birthpool at home, surrounded by just us, and she has rocked our world ever since. Love her soooo much
2 Celebrated 20 years together as a couple! Wow. I’m so glad to be with Pete after all these years, we’ve journeyed together through good times and shit times and I love him completely, with all my heart. He knows me inside out and loves me flaws n all. Woohoo for real love!
3 Our Winnebago burnt down in a glorious blaze….so…. we searched our hearts and decided life on wheels is part of our lives now…. and got a new bus!
4 We went around England and visited…. Wales, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City and Spain and traveled thousands of miles in our bus - with five kids!
5 We stayed in a real actual castle and celebrated 70 years of the lovely Dennis
6 We slid down wooden slides into the Salzburg salt mines
7 We canoed on the beautiful lake at Zell am See In Austria
8 We walked across the three dragons bridge in Ljubliana
9 Took a land train up to Ljubliana castle
10 Walked across the famous Rialto Bridge in Venice
11 Saw models of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions in a church that was in an Indiana Jones film
12 Took a super cool 70’s style boat taxi across Venice waterways
13 Met a long lost cousin at St. Mark’s Square, Venice
14 Went to the Peggy Guggenheim museum and saw Jackson Pollock paintings amongst others…
15 Took a funicular ride up to San Marino
16 Swam in a lake at a really cool campsite
17 Visited Emperor Hadrian’s Palaces outside Rome – Villa Adriana
18 Took an open-top hop on – hop off bus tour round Rome
19 Took a family Pizza making and Gelato course in Florence and got a certificate
20 Visited an artisan Gelato making café and had a private tour of their kitchen
21 Walked across the famous bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio and looked at the tat
22 Had an old-fashioned photograph taken by an American photographer who then sent us a copy months later
23 Visited The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and touched it, even though you’re not supposed to!
24 Went through 92 tunnels in one day
25 High fived hundreds of runners who ran past our bus on a fun run
26 Went to Parc des Lutins – an awesome treetop adventure playground park
27 Visited the most Fabuleuz gastro-circus-musical-eatery in all of France
28 Went cherry-picking on the family farm of an artisan cherry grower called Jeremy
29 Camped by an AMAZING river where the kids paddled and swam and birds and crickets sang long into the night
30 Turned up at a really cool campsite where there was an awesome pool party in full swing
31 Saw the World’s Biggest Tyre at the Michelin factory in Clermont-Ferrand
32 Took a train and stood on top of a dormant volcano and felt on top of the world at the Puy-de-Dome
33 Visited a pottery museum in an old chateaux
34 Visited the fabulous medieval castle Guedelon (BBC now showing a series about it) in France which is being built using medieval tools and techniques and saw demonstrations of all the crafts and skills
35 Walked around the medieval city of Troyes
36 Visited friends and family in Brighton, Worthing, Dorset, Nottingham, Norfolk and Suffolk
37 Went to The Green Gathering festival with friends
38 Operated a lock for a canal boat to pass through on the River Avon
39 Went to the MAD museum in Shakespeare’s Stratford Upon Avon
40 Visited the chocolate box town dubbed Little Venice, of Bourton-on-The-Water, in the Cotswolds
41 Camped up by the rivers Cam and Trent for two special birthday treats
42. Did some glassblowing at Caithness Crystal
43 Visited a lavender farm
44 Had fun with my sister and cousin who stayed at our house this year
45 Heard the Shantymen sing their beautiful songs in The Lord Nelson Pub at Nelson’s birthplace village with some dear friends
46 Hired a beach-hut at sunny Hunstanton for a fun day with friends
47 Went laser-questing, wild swimming and kayaking with The Styles family
48 Did archery, pellet-gun shooting targets, multi-climbing sports and multisports sessions
49 Became a grass-roots birth activist and produced a document of people’s feelings about Natural and Home birth called birthplace Matters
50 Made placards and organised a demo in King’s Lynn
51 Was in the Lynn news in an article about Birthplace Matters
52 Met some Witchez, in Brighton and learnt how to make Kopytka, inspired by said Witchez
53 Took a horse riding lesson
54 Hung out with my cousin and niece and auntie for some cuddly times
55 Spent hours and hours and hours smiling at my daughter and hours and hours feeding my tongue-tied sweetie, which has been incredible, intense and so beautiful
56 Climbed up Glastonbury For at sunset
57 Hardly drove my car since Poppy wails in her carseat unless I am literally right next to her!
58 Met the lovely ladies at The Fire Pit and Norfolk Sling Group
59 Paid our respects at a War memorial In Normandy
60 Walked around the streets near Notre Dame Cathedrale in Paris and soaked up the atmosphere
61 Visited the world-famous bookshop Shakespeare and Co in Paris
62 Took a ride along the Seine
63 Walked all 1710 steps up and down the Eiffel Tower – phweesh!
64 Walked round an abandoned and very magical sun-dappled castle
65 Visited Futuroscope a fantastic futuristic amusement/science park, on the warmest Halloween ever and time-travelled – bwaaaah!
66 Freecamped right next to the wild Atlantic ocean and got lashed by rain and wind
67 Went to WOW! Park – a really cool treetop adventure place with scramble walkways in the treetops and climbing frames in the sky
68 Camped on the top of a cliff near San Sebastian
69 Visited the fantastic Eureka Science Museum in San Sebastian and saw a film in Basque in the Planetarium
70 Blew bubbles in the street with a street artist in San Sebastian
71 Went to Madrid and hung out in the rather pretty Park del Retiro
72 Visited the Science Park and saw the Egyptology displays of Tutankhamun replicas in Granada
73 Visited Escape Park – and solved a Sherlock Holmes/Dan Brown style mystery in a staged apartment, saving the kidnapped man by working out a complex riddle of clues
74 Walked around The Alhambra complex and enjoyed the walk down to town from the top
75 Drove the hair-raising drive to a tiny village called Atelbietar and stayed in a gorgeous house high in the Alpujurras – no cars, just houses and a truly fabulous family living off-grid in a place of jaw-dropping beauty
76 Slept on a dam
77 Visited the National park of El Torcal taking the most awesome and scary helter-skelter journey up the mountain in our bus
78 Met up with friends by the sea and went fishing, swimming and playing
79 Quit my writing job for Education outside School Magazine
80 Went rollerskating
81 Went to an awesome indoor skatepark
82 Slept on a clifftop in Nerja and watched the sunset and sunrise
83 Watched an Alpha Romeo advert being filmed
84 Boys went to Wildwise camp in Devon and made Atlatl spears and learnt to walk silently and track animals, be careful with knives and fires
85 We got our bus stuck in Bovey Tracey and some lovely people helped us!
86 Visited the House of Marbles
87 Went Geocaching at Wandlebury Country park
88 Said hello to our old house in Littlehampton, the place where Herbie and indie were born
89 Learn how to make iron hooks by getting hands on at a blacksmiths
90 Gave thousands to good causes
91 Met for the first time, the wonderful…. Awen, Jess, Cameron, Lanaya, Josh, Vero, Jeremy, Alison, Lizzie, Rachel, Claire, Sadie, Nancy, Bessie, Ali, Josh, Ruth, Lucile and Fabian, some others I have sadly forgotten names of but were lovely, many awesome midwives and mamas through the process of writing Birthplace Matters, and will hopefully meet more before the year is through – Vanessa B you are next!
92 Improved our Spanish and French
93 Saw a bitch with her full-moon born pups just hours after the birth :-)
94 Cried big fat tears but laughed even more
95 Went to a 3-D Symphony Orchestra in Granada
96 Grew a bit fatter (not all of us… just me! oh well)
97 Offered a spot writing for Education Otherwise, the most well known Home Educators Charity in th UK
98 Offered and turned down a fab job because it’s not quite right, right now… maybe one day…..
99 Applied to two magazines for paid article work – watch this space!
100 Planning surprises yet to come….
Still planning more adventures for Herbie's 12th Birthday, Christmas and New Year.... as I write, we are in Spain... still travelling...so much fun to be had still... must keep remembering to live in the moment, count my many blessings and laugh lots....
Big kiss and merry Christmas y'all