My very first post was about writing a blog at the age of 60, so it’s perhaps appropriate that my first blog in almost two months should come in the shadow of my 64th birthday.

In those four years I’ve left the Examiner, got another job at, and left that too, travelling everywhere from the US to Dubai, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Canary Islands, Germany, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast in Italy. I’ve walked the ruins of Pompeii, been to Lisbon for the Web Summit, gone to London a couple of times, seen Manchester United play at Old Trafford, and finally saw U2 play in Paris. Yeah, I’ve been lucky.

I’ve rediscovered books by women writers especially. Sally Rooney, Sara Baume, Lisa McInerney, Mary Morrissy, Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates, Isabel Allende are just some I have read and been enthralled by. I met Lisa McInerney and Sara Baume this year and got them to sign copies of their books. So many books to read and so little time!

I had a health scare during the year – in Hong Kong of all places – but I’m healthy enough, and hope to make many more trips abroad. I still need to lose weight and give up cigars, but cigars are my only real indulgence.

Our daughter Sarah Jane’s wedding next May is something we are eagerly looking forward to. I’m blessed in having two fantastic children, Sarah Jane and Daire. You couldn’t ask for two better. And I have a loving partner, Trish, who has put up with me for 32 years.

On the blogging front, it’s been a tough year. I just couldn’t motivate myself to write more, which is a real shame. On the other hand, I finished my first draft of my memoir. It needs some TLC now to get to the next stage so I must get cracking on that soon.

Surprisingly, I have made many new friends this year, and I stay in touch with some older ones for coffee and lunch. I’m enjoying life and the freedom I have to do things, or not to if I so wish. I gave up Sky Sports because I just didn’t have the time for it anymore. Isn’t that great?

SIxty-four is a funny age, not quite hitting the official retirement age, and two years away from the free travel! Not that I’m in any rush to get to those two milestones.

Here’s to some great years ahead and lots of travelling!