In just a few days I will find myself photographing people
climbing lamp posts and generally gathered together enjoying
themselves at the Market House to see 2005 out and 2006
in. One of my favourite social occasions of the year.
all, 2005 has been a good year! It did have its moments
of sadness in June when mum died and I know of many others
who have undergone a similar experience. Friends and family
dying is one of those things which increases proportionately
with one's own age. This Christmas has actually not been
too good on a personal level. It was the first without Mum,
and Dad was rushed into Oldchurch Hospital, Romford (the
place where mum died) during the early hours of 23rd December,
remaining there for the Christmas period.
Christmas Eve however, having got my Christmas shopping
out of the way in half an hour max., beginning at 3:00 pm
and feeling in a particularly Ebenezer Scrooge state of
mind as I was home alone, I went to the Hope & Anchor,
a place I usually enjoy visiting very much. Unfortunately
however, there was this DJ there playing what can only very
loosely be described as 'music' and it absolutely did my
head in (personal taste and another sure sign of age). Luckily,
some 'Ghosts of Christmas Past' showed up in the form of
Rob and Dave Nicholls - two people my age amid a sea of
youth and I somehow managed to get very drunk. The rest
is a blur. Thanks for the lift home, James!
three times this year I have drunk beer and I'm not going
to feel guilty about making tonight, Wednesday, a fourth.
I shall be visiting the Vine
Tree, where there's going to be some live music and
Tina and I are meeting up with friends Paul and Ali Randell
on our first night out together this Christmas. That's going
to be a long walk home afterwards! Especially as I will
probably have to keep Tina on the straight and narrow. The
good, old fashioned 'pavement pizza' is one of Tina's specialities.
Do you happen to be going as well, James?
have been trying to think back over the year and decide
which have been my favourites out of all the events I have
photographed. Choosing favourites is a little tricky as
there were so many good ones. Carnival Day was great, as
was Rock-on-Wye but I think there were two events which
really stood out for me personally. Paradoxically, one of
them occurred on Christmas Day and was the 'Christmas Dinner
for the Elderly'. This stood out above all others as being
the happiest and most friendly bunch of people I have seen
together in one room this year. The volunteers came across
as being absolutely genuine and not in it just for Brownie
Points. Those who went for their Christmas meal were just
fantastic and were really enjoying themselves. Money collected
by Ross Lions throughout the year at events such as the
firework display really does go to good causes and it certainly
made a lot of people, who might otherwise have been very
lonely, very happy this Christmas Day!
was also very apparent to me on this day was just how absolutely
genuine the Mayor and Mayoress, Gordon and Margaret Lucas
were when they said what a wonderful morning they had spent,
visiting the various retirement homes in Ross. Margaret
was not just smiling when she said it - she was smiling
with her eyes and there is a big difference!
other event I really enjoyed photographing this year was
'Class of '64' at Monmouth. I enjoyed this one out of a
purely selfish sense of nostalgia, remembering my school
days in Barking, Essex. The band were made up of members
of the Hollies, Kinks and Tremeloes and provided a great
night of entertainment, which included songs such as 'Lola,
Silence is Golden and Call Me Number One' for an audience
of thousands from Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye and many other locations.
Brian Pool and the Tremeloes were older than I but went
to my school, so they were very popular and I still keep
in touch sporadically with Graham Scott, one of the original
members of the band. Graham recently wrote to me after seeing
the page on Wyenot News and, although it is more a personal
letter than a 'letter to the editor', I have published his
email to show that people do actually come across and read
this weekly news magazine and discover the town of Ross-on-Wye
as a result.
wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous 2006!