Thankfully 2019 proved a better year than 2018 for me. I reached 66 in October and qualified for an Old Age Pension and Free Travel. Oh joy!! I also finally gave up smoking cigars last March after 46-47 years. Too much coughing and the rising cost of a bad habit finally convinced me to quit. I’ve been coughing better since!

I also celebrated 34 years of marriage to Trish, and if ever a woman deserved a medal it’s her for putting up with me. What a saint.

My son Daire married his true love Mark in August at a spellbinding wedding in France. We couldn’t have been happier, especially as Sarah Jane married Tadhg in 2018. Our children are building their own lives in New York and London and good luck to them.

I’ve been to a fair few funerals this year of former colleagues and neighbours but, thankfully, only one friend.

On the plus side, I met loads of friends for coffee or lunch – sometimes too many in the one week! I also rediscovered some older friends, which is always a blessing. There’s nothing like having a good chat, exchanging some news or gossip and having a laugh. Thanks to you all.

I watched less TV in 2018 and read 81 books, which is definitely a record for me. Lots of more to come in 2020.

Travel-wise we made a 10-day trip to Portugal in March, a week in Provence for Daire’s wedding and five glorious days in New York with Daire. I also squeezed in an excellent visit to Sarah Jane and Tadhg in London where she and I spent a fabulous day in Lords Cricket ground where Ireland lost their first ever test match to England. I also lost my passport there just days before Daire’s wedding, but we got over that and made the wedding!!

So far we haven’t made any plans to travel this year but one definite destination is Marbella for a wedding. I’m sure we’ll manage a few more holidays.

Blogging took a back seat during the year. The last one was back in July. Strangely, it was the best received in over three years! It should have inspired me to write some more, but I had other distractions. I’ll have to do better in 2020.

I also grew a bit weary of social media. Twitter and Facebook saw less of me, but I hope to delve into them more in 2020.

I spent a fair bit of time exploring my family tree. It’s a lot of work, but I found it fascinating and certainly unearthed a few surprises. Given that so many records are missing in Ireland I did reasonably well to uncover what I did. Now it’s a question of putting all the material together so those in the family who are interested can delve into it.

All that remains is for me to wish you all a happy New Year. See you in 2020.