Looking back on 2019

In memory of Olive Walker, Tony McGregor, Rudi Van Dijk, Pam Price and Graham Armstrong.

2019 is having its last gasp and frankly I think I am glad it is almost done and dusted. It has been quite an eventful year and not all of it was good. 

In my life the most significant event happened when my mother passed away on 1 October.  I returned to South Africa in February to see her for what I knew would be the last time, and in October I returned to attend her memorial service.

It is hard to know how I feel about her death, there are just so many memories, regrets and guilt that it is easier to not deal with it. 

South Africa on the other hand had changed for the worst. Eskom continues to ruin the economy and at one point imposed rolling load shedding right up to stage 6. The concept of maintenance was forgotten once again and they are counting the costs of listening to bean counters, corrupt suits, cadres and consultants. The exchange rate on 23/12 is £1 = RZA18.54. 

On the political scene the UK held a General Election in November and Boris Johnson is the new PM and hopefully will make sure Brexit happens. It is however hard to know where politics will go in the UK, over here an election can put a different party in power whereas in SA an election just changes percentages. 2020 will be crunch time for this country, although we thought that October 2019 would be crunch time too. 

The weather did wreak havoc in the country with widespread rain and floods, Tewkesbury having 3 flood scares in 2 months. At this moment both the Severn and Avon are running high and there is a lot of water about.

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I did quite a few day trips of note this year, with Oxford being visited 3 times as well as visits to Stratford-upon-Avon and Great Malvern. Evesham is still a favoured destination and of course I passed through London on my way to South Africa. 

Oxford was an experience though and I may head back there in the new year to see a few places that I missed.

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I also want to visit Didcot Railway Centre next year and am going to have to return to London to renew my passport in February or March. 

Celebrity, politician and other noteworthy deaths for 2019 include: Jan-Michael Vincent, Albert Finney, Peter Mayhew, René Auberjonois, James Ingram, Ken Kerchevel, Niki Lauda, Grumpy Cat, Doris Day, Rutger Hauer, Peter Fonda, Robert Mugabe, Jacques Chirac, Chester Williams, James Small, Clive James, Denis Earp,  and Marie Fredriksson. A more complete list is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2019

It was a bad day for aircraft builder Boeing too as the loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302  on 10/03/2019 caused the safety of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft to be brought to the spotlight and as at the end of the year it was still grounded. Too many people lost their lives because of this aircraft and confidence in flying took quite a bump. Confidence in America has nose dived too and we all know why that is.

The closure of Reefsteamers is a major shock though, and it came hot on the heels of the 100th birthday of Susan, the only 12AR in the world.

Greta Thunberg has also had her fair share of publicity, and it is difficult to know whether there is an ulterior motive behind her or not.  She certainly has admirers and detractors in her camp but even if she turns out to be a hoax hopefully enough people will realise that our climate is changing and not for the better. A number of animals have gone extinct and we all know who to blame for that.

We certainly live in interesting times, and our Western lifestyles are probably going to bring about our own downfall. At the rate things are going we are heading for a global catastrophe, and the end result of that will not be a good one. Hopefully saner minds will prevail, but somehow I doubt it. 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a peaceful and prosperous 2020, we are now back in the 20’s and that hasn’t happened in ages. 

DRW. 2019-2020. Created 29/12/2019.