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Monday 31st December 2012

The final Me1 vs Me2 snooker frame of the year was recorded this morning and probably demonstrated why I should probably not do these if I am tired (and probably shouldn't do them when I am alert). The play and commentary was pretty weak, but the denouement was pretty exciting. Listen to all 27 frames here or on iTunes. Will these carry on into 2013? Will they carry on to 2014? Will they ever stop? Not as long as there is breath in my body.
We are enjoying the life of leisure that finishing our respective writing has afforded us. This afternoon we went on another walk from Andrew Duncan's Walking London. This one was a bit more local, starting at Westbourne Park and ending at Notting Hill (though we walked home from there) and not quite as interesting as the one we did in the City a few weeks ago. Also it was a bit rainy (and very rainy as we got back to Shepherd's Bush), but I still enjoyed it and suggested to my wife that we should make the most of it as we're really going to miss this kind of wet coldness in the Maldives for the next fortnight.
Most of the more fascinating facts were about things that were no longer around to see. Portobello Road had been a farm track until the 1860s, which is hard to envisage and there used to be a race track in Notting Hill, with a grandstand on Ladbroke Grove. It was only there from 1837-1841 and the jockeys found the course too dangerous so it closed down. There's a road called Hippodrome Mews which is the only real clue to this extraordinary fact. Near to that road was one of the main surprises of the walk (that was still visible), an old pottery kiln. This was in the heart of one of the most notorious slums in Victorian London apparently, again hard to believe with the area's present day posho reputation. Of course if Richard Curtis had made his film then he would probably have chosen to ignore that as well.
Closer to Notting Hill Gate (so called because there used to be a toll gate there in the 19th Century) we went up Campden Hill Road to see a lot of posh houses that I was unaware of, including the impressive Aubrey House, a country house still standing in 2 acres on the hill. It's amazing how much of London is hidden away and unknown and how difficult it is to imagine what this city must have looked like 150 years ago.
As we got drenched with rain at the end of the walk we were glad we'd chosen to stay in for New Year's Eve. I am not a big fan of the enforced celebration of this night at the best of times, so was really looking forward to staying in with my wife for our first New Year as a married couple. Five years ago, just after I'd fallen in love with her, but before we were together I had stayed in alone and hoped that I might be with her the following year. And thankfully I was and still am.
We had a curry, played Scrabble, drank champagne and watched Parks and Recreation season 3. Nobody had a better time than me on this last night of 2012.
2013 weirdly feels like a much more futuristic year than any of the 2000s so far. I can't really work out why - maybe because the world was supposed to have ended by now. There are now some teenagers on this planet who were born in the 21st Century (or at least the 2000s for those of you who correctly date the start of the century at 2001). It's going to be hard to top 2012, the year I got married, but my aim is to get married twice in 2013, or get married once to twins. And then spend my live in another exponential nightmare as I try to trump the previous year's happiness.
Happy New Year everyone. Wonder what this one is going to bring.

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