Tuesday 31 December 2019

Goodbye 2019....

Goodbye to 2019. You were a lot fairer to me than the previous 6, so thank you.

In my home at least, we've found an overall level of peace and calm that has been hard fought for and a long time coming. We will always have a huge Elspeth-shaped gap in our family, but we are beginning to learn how to live alongside it and pick up some of the things we dropped when she died.

We had an excellent Christmas and spent lots of time with all of our children, as well as the Grandparents. Our big kids are settled at uni and work, our young boys are doing well at school. 2020 seems like the time to focus more on ourselves.

For the UK 2019 turned out to be a year full of momentous decision and political records which will be taught to our children's children as history, but will impact them every single day of their lives. We all know the theory now and 2020 will see Brexit become a reality. And that's probably enough UK politics for one post...

2019 was a year which saw young people front and centre, standing up for their futures with climate change school strikes around the globe. A young woman brought the climate emergency to the entire world's attention, just as a young woman emerged heroic in the year's most watched TV series, and 3 of the top 6 grossing movies 2019 have powerful female leads.

This year was, in many ways, the year we really paid attention to the kids and the powerful women...

Captain Marvel and Gary

The world lost a lot in 2019, and below are just some of the goodbyes, but I have to start with Gary. You guys helped us to save that little scrap who turned up on our doorstep, but his time was always limited. Thank you all for 3 great years, and proving to me that a cat can be an okay thing to have around the house...

Bah Humbug and goodbye to one of our best known UK film actors and the perfect Scrooge, Albert Finney. Movies also lost eternal bad guy Rutger Hauer, original Easy Rider Peter Fonda, man in black Rip Torn and Chewbacca's Peter Mayhew, who managed effortlessly to make a 7ft hairy growling monster cute.

TV lost actors Windsor Davies and Luke Perry, and Emmerdale's Leah Bracknell and Sheila Mercier. It wasn't just actors though, we also said goodbye to Mock The Week regular Jeremy Hardy. We lost presenters Clive James and Magenta Devine, newsreader Peter Sissons and the North West's most popular weather presenter, Dianne Oxberry. Today the weather will be a little more grey.

Literature lost Toni Morrison, black female author and Nobel Prize winner, Judith Kerr, holocaust survivor and author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea. and John Burningham, prolific children's author and illustrator.

Farewell to Gordon Banks, the only UK goalkeeper who has ever won a World Cup Victory. and his teammate Martin Peters. A sad farewell to Emiliano Sala, never able to play for his new team, and to motorsport's Niki Lauda, who had narrowly escaped death many times before.

Music lost 50's technicolor singing icon, Doris Day, 60's pin up idol Peter Tork of the Monkees, and drummer Ginger Baker - ex member of Cream and immortalised by us in our 12 Days Of Christmas LEGO ensemble a couple of years ago. We also lost Rik Ocasek of Cars. R&B legend James Ingram and Scott Walker, one of my personal favourites.

Goodbye to Steve Dymond, participant on The Jeremy Kyle Show, which rightfully also met it's  demise. Parading someone on TV because their life is a mess is just cruelty, and for too long it became more and more sensational, and less concerned about the actual outcomes or the human beings involved.

As the doors shut for the last time on Jamie Oliver's restaurants, it was also a closed kitchen for Gary Rhodes. One of the wave of TV chefs who made us reconsider exactly what we were putting in our mouths, and a sad reminder that something as simple as tripping over can be catastrophic for anyone.

Goodbye John Haynes - 200 million people have read his books, me personally for approximately 200 million hours. Thank you. I'd never have been able to give my older children so many amazing weekends in my Volkswagen Camper without my Haynes Manual.

A sad farewell to Integrity. Political liars used to be publicly shamed and removed from office when caught. Now they stand proud on the early morning news, laughing at those who voted for them.

As we say goodbye to naturalist David Bellamy and Wallace Broecker, the man who predicted global warming, we also say goodbye to our ignorance of climate change. While 3,500 square miles of Amazon Rainforest was being lost to fire, and estimates measured 269,000 tons of plastic waste in our oceans, Extinction Rebellion and our children took to the streets around the globe and the world took notice...

...A glad and overdue farewell to single use plastic straws and plastic bags the world over. The true cost of the west's cheap goods is already being paid by the poorest people on Earth, and the seas and animals.

Winter finally arrived as we saluted the finale of  Game Of Thrones. I arrived late to that party, catching up a couple of seasons in. I won't spoil the ending in case you missed it and ever decide to watch it, but I felt it was well worth all 63 hours just for that knife catch... that feeling isn't entirely universal.

Goodbye to Prince Andrew's respect and status.

A sad and very local farewell to Bury FC. One of the world's oldest football grounds is now empty for the first time since 1885, and a community has lost it's home.

Very much as far from local as possible, thank you and goodbye (for now at least) to Opportunity, the most valiant of robots. The little Mars Exploration Rover surpassed his expected lifetime by 14 years, living 55 times longer than expected, travelling over 26 miles and showing us things no human alive can ever really expect to see for themselves.

Goodbye to Keith Flint of The Prodigy. He had a starring role in some of my favourite memories from my 20's. He is also 1 of 4500 men to die in the UK during 2019 from our biggest killer of all humans under age 45, and not even alone in this list. Mental illness, depression and suicide don't care who you are, and all the money and fame in the world cannot prevent them from taking you. Only you can do that. There are people holding ladders everywhere, you just need to do the hard part. Reach out and grab one. Please.

Here's my final goodbye for 2019. Mark Hollis, lead singer with Talk Talk...

From all of us here at The Brick Castle, we hope your 2020 is peaceful and the best it can be. 

You are never alone.

The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day for anyone who needs to talk or is struggling - 116123

If you are younger or worried about a young person then you may be happier to contact Papyrus UK - Prevention Of Young Suicide 0800 068 41 41

CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably have a helpline 5pm-midnight 0800 58 58 58 plus sports groups and projects around the UK which you can become involved in. 


  1. Another awesome, and emotional roundup of the year Jenny. I hope 2020 continues to be calmer and kinder for you all.

  2. I love your round up, fingers crossed 2020 is the start of a good future for all of us.

  3. I'm so happy that you had a happy family Christmas despite your empty chair. I hope you all continue to grow in acceptance and life keeps improving. We have lost a lot this year, and I feel there is a lot more loss to come, especially with those in power. What we haven't lost is our care and respect for other human beings and our planet...well, a lot of us haven't anyway. Here's to 'women power' xx

  4. Lots of ups and downs. Gary was one incredible cat. Overall a good year and a lot of moving forward. Here’s to a lovely 2020 xx


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