One of the joys of this online, share-with-chums-and-other-interested-parties diary is that I can look back at previous New Year ramblings and reflect how things turned out, which is not always as I had expected. For example, in 2013, I went out on New Year's Eve muttering darkly about the discomfort of wearing a Maria Sharapova wig as it was a Russian-themed event. How prophetic, when I spent large parts of 2014 wearing an uncomfortable wig for a different reason.
This year has turned out to be year of incredible highs and lows both domestically and on the wider stage. Things have happened outside our little world which surely few could have predicted and if Ed Balls had won Strictly that would have been entirely in keeping with the rest of the madness which was largely the result of enfranchised responsibility being gifted to, in the words of child Number 2 'people who watch or appear on Jeremy Kyle, or indeed any other daytime television reality show' both this side of the pond and the other.
Anyway back to things at home. The high point of this year (and last year, though that was a different daughter) was The Big Wedding when number 1 and her lovely Valentine organised and executed a really fabulous day/weekend of festivities for their nuptials. Even looking back at the photographs from that day makes me a bit teary. It was awesome. This was bookended by two very, very good short breaks - the first to Marrakech for my not-insignificant (the sort with a 0 at the end!) birthday in February and then to Rome immediately after the wedding with our dear friends Nige and Sarah who were just about to emigrate to Cyprus. Precious times with friends who live a long way from God's Own Country now.
This was always planned to be something of a gap year for me. Now fully in control of my passport, we tried really hard to get the full family team out to Portugal in June but Number 1 was then treading the boards at the Royal Court with Dr Who so she and my new son-in-law couldn't join us but the rest of the family more than made up for their absence.
Then I had a surprising role to fill myself at the wedding of my goddaughter in Guernsey. Thinking this would be a no-responsibility event for moi, I was stunned when my goddaughter/the bride asked me to make a speech on her behalf - the one the father of the bride usually takes on. Nerves?! Standing on my feet in front of the assembled guests, I realised that most of them had attended Cambridge or Oxford and probably everyone in the room had at least one degree... apart from me. No pressure then!
The summer wouldn't be complete without a few days with the singing, dancing doctors in Mallorca and having drunk, danced, played padel tennis and karaoke'd, Number 3 and I headed home to recover. Then my beloved and I jetted off to Turkey to Apartment Antonia http://apartmentantoniakalkan.co.uk with Number 2 and JS who had made this momentous purchase earlier in the year (Wow! we have children who own property abroad!) and we had a chilled week getting to know Kalkan and enjoying their wonderful hospitality.
The autumn was full of rugby - Newcastle Falcons, England, Fiji, Australia, Ireland - and a trip to the O2 to watch the end of season tennis finals. We packed our home with friends on three consecutive weekends as well and felt ourselves running towards the festive season in a haze of exhaustion. We've had a cracking year, topped off by close friends becoming grandparents for the first time - a big welcome to Joshua Robert, can't wait to meet him!
As for the stuff going on outside the patch we call home: Brexit - madness! Lordy, I hope someone is holding the tiller. It doesn't feel like it. The worst gamble a politician has made in decades. Earlier in the year, meeting up with friends who live in Annapolis, I said: 'Surely Trump won't get the nomination?' My friend refused to ease my fears and quite rightly. I don't like extremes in politics - anyone who's read a history book covering the last century will know that this doesn't normally end well.
And the Grim Reaper, well, he's been running amok in the world of entertainment. The first concert I ever went to aged 16 was David Bowie and I can still remember how he performed the Jean Genie. He was electric. And Alan Rickman, one of my favourite actors who never picked a bad film and completely stole Robin Hood Prince of Thieves from Kevin Costner. And now George... we were lucky enough to see him in concert twice - an extraordinary talent but I suspect an unhappy soul.
But there was sport aplenty to enjoy and applaud and be proud of being a Brit. Really we do punch above our weight as a country but only if the Union holds. For me, one of the worst aspects of Brexit (and there's quite a few to choose from) is that this might break the Union which has held since 1603. Politicians on both sides of Hadrian's Wall bear a huge responsibility - let's hope the girls can get it sorted.
In the meantime, let's enjoy our rich and diverse nation, our differences and our shared interests and look forward to cementing our place in the world rather than smashing at it with all the sensitivity of a toddler with a hammer. Happy New Year!