2016 has been one of those weird years full of changes and challenges – both personal and more broadly.  I pondered last night whether I should write this post in the bubble of my blog world or whether I should comment on the sense of unease which seems to be pervading the world at large.  I’ve never felt a need to comment on wider issues when I do my annual review post before and generally I keep my views, political or otherwise, to myself as this isn’t in my opinion the right forum.

However, it just feels wrong this year not to comment on the rise of the populist voice causing huge shift changes in the political picture of the UK and USA in particular with commentators wondering if there will be similar experiences in Europe as various countries vote in elections.  Then there are the issues in the Middle East with unease about Russia and Turkey’s roles.  I have encountered some people in the last week that feel that 2017 will be exciting due to all the changes that are happening; exciting is fine as long as it’s for the right reason.  Personally, I would like 2017 to be a quiet year and I am hoping that the ceasefire and peace negotiations which have just been announced today in Syria are more successful than previous cease fires and all the people affected are given a chance to rebuild their lives

2016, whilst challenging from a work perspective, on reflection has been a good year.  I have seen some amazing places particularly during my trip to Japan in November. However, many of my favourite memories are closer to home and relate to events I have attended with my sons. In April we went to the inaugural Bromsgrove Festival of Speed which was a huge amount of fun and that month we also spent an evening on top of the Malvern Hills witnessing the lighting of the beacon to commemorate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Gardens, unsurprisingly have featured in my memories of 2016. June was a particularly floriferous month due to a trip to Essex and North Suffolk with the Hardy Plant Society where we visited so many wonderful gardens that it was hard to decide which image to choose to represent them. Horticultural shows have also featured most of them local but also the RHS Chelsea Show where I was lucky enough to attend on the Monday as an RHS Committee member. My photos of 2016 start and end with the Malvern Hills which have taken on a new significance in my life as I have discovered a love of exploring them.

For 2017, as I said in my last post, I am hoping that my job will settle down but in the meantime I have already put a number of activities and events in my diary which reflect my broader range of interests some of them garden related, some embroidery, some family and some travel; many of them will I hope involve meeting up with friends.
I am linking this post to the Discover WordPress Challenge – Retrospective