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.
|At Kew Gardens|
|In Epping Forest|
|Hiking in France|
Life ticked along.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|At West Smithfield - on my way home from the Health Sciences library|
|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'.
|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 - in France, Easter 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: