Monday, 31 December 2012

Where I was - 2012

How can a year be so wonderful and so hard all at once?  That was 2012.

I started the year at home, going for walks in my usual favourite haunts - Epping Forest, Kew Gardens, Mum and Dad's house in France, the streets of London.

Kew Gardens
At Kew Gardens
Epping Forest
In Epping Forest
Hiking in France
Life ticked along.

Waiting for the tube
Waiting for the tube - reading my Kindle

Then in June I decided to see if I might be able to apply for a place at University in 2013 to do a post-graduate nursing degree, despite my lack of any science A-levels.  I took Olivia with me to the summer Open Day, and thought to myself there's no harm in finding out. 

By the end of the day I'd had a first interview (with Olivia sitting by my side - solemnly reading her Beano) and had been given a date for my second interview.  Two weeks later I had my offer - for 2012, not 2013.  What I thought might take a year to sort out, took just a fortnight.

Livvy reading her Beano in the lecture theatre at City University
Olivia reading her Beano , as we waited for a lecture on student finance at City University

In August the sportsmen came to town, and we all went to the Olympic Stadium.  Cam went as a performer too.

The Olympic Park with Cam - August
In the Olympic Park with flags - Cam and me

In September I started University for the second time and became a student nurse - the best, most overwhelming, most interesting thing I've done in my adult life.  So many injections, so much work, so many biology workbooks, so many flasks of coffee, so many hours referencing essays.

Smithfield Park - October
At West Smithfield - on my way home from the Health Sciences library
First day at University - lunch and coffee
First day at university - lunch, a bottle of water and coffee

In December I left the comfort of the campus behind and started my first placement - working long shifts in a large London hospital.  On my first day, as I walked to the tube along dark, cold streets at 6am, I thought to myself 'this is the single most scary thing I've ever done in my life'.

Epping Forest with Graham - November
An early morning walk for me and Graham - late November

And before I knew it, it was Christmas.  Two people in the family were very poorly and I was reeling with exhaustion.  I've spent the last few days feeling thankful:
  • for lovely, long-limbed children, who are kind and who make me laugh
  • for my own health - I've learnt this autumn and winter that you can't take health for granted
  • for friends who let me doze on their sofa, and forgive me when I don't write and forget to post their Christmas presents
  • for corner shops that sell Green and Blacks and decent cheap wine
  • for the doctors and nurses who looked after my own loved ones so well - I hope other people might think the same of me one day.

Dad and Graham
Dad and Graham - in France, Easter 2012
New Year's Eve - me and Nigel Slater
Me and Nigel Slater - New Year's Eve 2012
Along the way there were also two new nieces, a second hip replacement operation for my Mum, the arrival of a slow cooker and the departure of the bread machine, a bit of journalism, plenty of sewing, quite a bit of knitting and numerous cakes.  Olivia took up the French Horn and Cam became a teenager.  I don't think there'll ever be another year like it for testing me, challenging me and rewarding me.

Where I was in previous years:


  1. Here's to you & yours and all the challenges of the New Year x I am incredibly proud of you my dear friend xxx

  2. Phew-an early night for you I think Madam, I'm exhausted just reading your list..and also feeling very lazy and and as if I should go out and do something crazy with my life. Maybe have a glass of wine first though.
    Happy New Year Nurse Nancy. Lots of your patients present and future are very lucky to have you. Even if you do poke them with

  3. I always love reading your year-in-review posts. Your photography is so inspiring, too. It captures just such perfect moments (love the shot of your dress, boots, and the green grass littered with beautiful leaves).

  4. It'll be difficult to top 2012 for excitement but I hope 2013 is equally enjoyable in other ways. Happy New Year.

  5. An incredible year for you Nancy, I hope that the new one brings you much happiness. I hope the family are recovering, take care xxx

  6. Happy new yearNancy. Hope the poorly ones are on the mend.

  7. What a truly amazing year! K x

  8. You have achieved so much this year. I am in awe. Hope 2013 is just as exciting for you!

  9. Happy New Year to you. I must admit I'm rather a lurker and don't believe I have commented on your blog before. I just wanted to say that I've been enjoying your posts about taking the big leap into re-training and starting a new career - very inspirational. As my youngest starts school next year I am also making plans (secret so far!) for a new working life - daunting but exciting too!

  10. Happy new year to you!

    hope it's just as great (and full of health)


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