Well that crept up on us all. Where did 2016 go? How on earth has 2017 arrived already?
It’s that time of year – my review of the last 12 months. It is fair to say it has been an eventful year… and one in which I have acquired a taste for travelling around Europe.
January saw me driving to Iver in Buckinghamshire, to go and watch the recording of a TV show at the Pinewood Studios – ‘Insert Name Here’, which was broadcast several weeks later.
February saw my first foreign trip of the year. Having done the bigger German cities of Munich and Berlin in 2015, I went somewhere different: I went to Freiburg in Baden-Württemburg, and fell over in the snow in the mountains of the Black Forest. Broke an iPod shuffle in the process. Them bloody Germans didn’t clear their paths like they’re supposed to.
By March, I had stopped writing ‘2015’ all the time, and I went to the Country to Country music festival at the O2 in London. On the way, my car (the rusty old J reg) broke down.
April wasn’t good. Grandad passed away in hospital in the early hours of 4. May 2016. My radio show later that same night was dedicated to him. I’m glad I had managed to visit him on the way to the O2 in March – it was the last time I had a proper conversation with him.
Grandad’s funeral took place at the beginning of May. Two days later, we were back in London – we went for lunch in Central London, then to see Bryan Adams playing live at the O2. Corinium Radio became 10 years old. At the end of the month, I travelled with a group of others from Cirencester to our twin town of Itzehoe in Germany – 6 years after my previous visit! I broadcast live from the town’s annual Weinfest.
June saw my third foreign trip of the year: This time it was a 1-night trip to Hannover in Lower Saxony… and at the same time I also squeezed in a short trip to Cheltenham’s twin town, Göttingen. I booked the Hannover trip after returning from Itzehoe to find the memory card in my camera was corrupt, and I had no photos of the trip. Towards the end of the month, I voted to LEAVE the European Union.
At the beginning of July I got rid of my rusty old J reg and replaced it with a 54 reg VW Golf, Mk5. Then: yet another foreign trip – back to Baden-Württemburg but this time to the state capital of Stuttgart for a 1-night trip.
The majority of August was spent in Greece: 2 weeks on Lefkada, and I built in a weekend trip to Athens with my sister. My Greek holidays are, unfortunately, never long enough!
In September a first for me: I took my car through the channel tunnel, and drove all the way to Ieper (Ypres) in Northern Belgium. Everyone I spoke to said driving abroad “is really easy” – I found that to be true.
My Belgian trip was so successful that I am planning another European road trip for May 2017.
Over the course of 9 days I will be driving to Germany to visit Boppard, Mainz, Speyer, Trier and Aachen. I’ll also visit Koblenz, Cochem and Rüdesheim – as well as Maastricht in the Netherlands and Schengen in Luxembourg – and on the way back I’ll stop in Ypres in Belgium before going back through the tunnel.
By October I was missing Greece, and I took a flight out to Athens to go and visit Chalkida, capital of Evia. Having only ever been to Greece in either May, June, July or August before, this was my first time visiting the country outside of the Summer months. It rained for most of my stay. I mean, it really rained. Unlike the Greeks, I was not wearing a scarf, and I felt comfortable walking the streets of Athens in t-shirt and shorts on my last day.
In November I stayed in the UK for the first time in months. Instead of going abroad, I drove to York. At 498 miles from Cirencester to York and back again, the whole trip was just 2 miles shorter than the one to Belgium and back in September! At the end of the month, I also went to visit Windsor Castle in Berkshire – on the same day as their Christmas lights switch-on.
Finally, December: 2 weeks before Christmas I drove to Swansea to visit my sister at university there. 1 week before Christmas I flew to Hamburg and went to visit Schwerin, state capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the former East Germany.
And now, the year is over. God knows what’s in store for 2017.
Hopefully, I’ll become a millionaire?
Happy New Year!