Dear All, I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to 2011. I really am, if only to see the back of 2010, although I have recollections of that feeling once before. The year didn't start too well, as Rachel had not long left. I saw in the new year alone on the beach, and made all sorts of wishes on pebbles and the like, apparently to little avail. I did manage to get back in touch with a dear old friend in January, and we vowed to get together more regularly - so far we seem to be managing once each January! Here's to a fortnight's time. Spring looked promising in some respects. My boss was pregnant, and there arose the possibility of a temporary promotion: a chance to prove my worth as it were. Sadly, the power-that-be deemed me wholly unworthy and passed over me with scant regard - although kindly offered some of the extra work created without pay. How thoughtful. That was when I started looking elsewhere for posts. A job came up at another company and looked the part so I applied. It seems that they were far more willing to make use of my skills and so it was that I resigned ready to start afresh. I wondered if it might be a turning point; a sort of crossroads if you will. I think it may have been... but I'm still not sure I took the right turn. And somehow the joy of promotion doesn't seem the same when it comes in such circumstances, and the celebration of the moment is alone. Then I got a year older. Summer was a bit of a tough one. My younger brother - he who is supposed to look up to me, to follow in my footsteps - got married. How wonderful, said everyone. What a lovely couple, said they all. When are you going to find yourself someone they added with a innocent but crushing chime! Of course, smile I did, looking the part - and then escaped at the earliest chance to squirrel myself away trying not to think of what wasn't. I heard from Karen in the summer too -you remember, the one I nearly married? Yes, her second is starting school now, which is naturally a delight to hear. No, no reason for upset there. Didn't feel at all old or alone. And thus Autumn came. The new job, with all its promise of new challenge and new people is... well... you know when you think you find yourself with a pack of Revels unexpectedly. You know that the risk is great, but you try your luck. So far I've had a lot of orange ones. One can only hope that this means there are many more maltesers in the bag. Of course, promotion meant I could move house from that evil drafty place to somewhere nicer. Which I did. Why is it only after a move that you realise how far away everything - and everyone - is? Why only after the move that you notice the cracks in the wall? Now, I realise, good friends, that with such a year of opportunities it seems like carping to be disappointed, but do you remember how I wrote that once that with the right person by your side you can get through anything. Well, it turns out that the reverse may also be true. I apologise for the lack of Christmas cards - somehow the festive spirit struggled to ignite the necessary flame in me. But rest assured that I was thrilled and overjoyed to receive each and every text that showed that I was still in your phone address book. A treasure to behold. Here's to a joyous 2011 for you and your families - if I could just ask that you try to keep it well hidden from me. Happy New Year ntmiutb Self-indulgent maybe, but cathartic in its way.