Sunday 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017

Goodbye 2017 and do you know what, you weren't too hard on us. When I started this blog (5 years and 1 day ago - Happy Birthday The Brick Castle) I had no idea that it would record the hardest, most stressful and saddest years of my life. The time when I really grew up. We are still here and fighting fit, and I hope your Christmas was as good as ours.

Five years ago we had a bunch of teenagers and 2 little kids. Now we have 4 adult children (3 of whom have moved out), a 7 year old and a 9 year old almost as tall as I am. Our family has evolved rapidly, as we always knew it would, and the blog has gone from Orchard Toys and picture books to drones and chapter books - but the LEGO remains.

Losing Elspeth will always be one of the biggest influences in our children's lives. They will always have a sister who isn't there, experiences they'll never have, jokes they should have been able to share. They'll always see that empty chair, but they are all learning to live with that.

Our children's lives are spread out ahead of them and they can all see a way forward. There is more value in that than I could ever express in words. They are all reaching out for the possibilities ahead and my heart bursts with pride at how strong they've become. It is always worth carrying on, you have the potential to be a great person.

2017 was the best year of the last 5 and for that I am very grateful. 2018, I have big hopes for you too - lets do this thing.

Thank you all for being there, and for helping to carry us all this way. We really needed the shoulder to lean on and you all provided it in spades. We wouldn't have come this far without you and we wouldn't be able to see so huge a future ahead.

Some goodbye's from 2017...

Music lost Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and of course Chris Cornell. Film lost Roger Moore and John Hurt, who provided a surprising glimpse of a naked man in a school's TV programme when I was 12, but is probably better remembered for the whole alien chest burst thing...

Source: Private Eye

As Paddington Bear reaffirmed his popularity, creator Michael Bond departed. Leaving behind generations of children who will be looking out for a lost bear if they ever visit the Station.

We lost several of the TV stars from my childhood, Keith Chegwin, Brian Cant, John Noakes, Carole Lee-Scott and the creator of Bodger And Badger and all-round nice guy, Andy Cunningham. I cannot begin to guess how many times I saw his live show at Glastonbury Festival when my children were small.

TV also lost the always fascinating Professor Heinz Wolff, and comedian Sean Hughes lost his own personal battle. Coronation Street lost Liz Dawn, waving a final goodbye to Vera Duckworth. The original (and I think best) Batman, Adam West, later the Mayor of Quahog, took off his cloak for the last time.

Barry Norman, and the voice of my late nights for so many years, finished his last film review. We also lost another irreplaceable voice, Peter Sallis, star of Last Of The Summer Wine and eponymous hero Wallace. I hope there's some crackin' cheese up there.

Science lost Julius Youngner, a principal player in the invention of the Polio vaccine and it's eradication from the UK and Peter Mansfield, inventor of the MRI. We all have them to thank.

The Brick Castle has it's own loss. Our female house rabbit Grace (Admiral Grace Hopper II), an extra in many of my review posts, died peacefully in her sleep in May...

Many people lost far too much in the Grenfell Tower fire and the terrorist incidents which occurred in 2017. The Manchester Arena bombing directly affected many people I know. Our local school lost a pupil, her family lost their child, her friends lost their innocence. Many hundreds of people lost the right to the life they were planning.

The people of Manchester and beyond did not lose their sense of reason. They responded with a message of peace and community. I am beyond proud to live among such people. #WeAreManchester

To everyone we wish you a peaceful 2018. May it be the best it can be. To anyone who had a chance they wouldn't make it this far, we wish you strength. You have already proven you are stronger than you think. We are glad you are still here.

I couldn't really end with anything else. If 2017 taught us anything, it's that we don't have to fight violence with violence...

If you feel alone and want to talk to someone, you always can. Please don't become a statistic. There are so many reasons why you should stay. Please talk to someone. The Samaritans are on hand 24 hours a day. If you are a young person or are worried about another young person, you may feel more comfortable talking to Papyrus or Childline.


  1. Beautiful. As always. Love you xxx

  2. A lovely roundup of the highs and lows of the year. I wish you all an amazing 2018 x


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