It's been nice knowing you, but the time has come, as it always does, and to leap joyously into 2009 (well, I'm planning to leap no further than into the bath before settling down in front of the fire, having come to the conclusion that New Year's parties are actually usually terribly depressing events). So, lets dust off the archives, and look back over the treasures that 2008 brought us.
Brought reading of old Waterways Worlds...
Brought fun and frolics at Stoke Bruerne in honour of CWF's Moley. I have now eschewed CWF - on the basis of a couple of trolls and a rather worrying joke - since December 19th. Not so much as a peek!
Found us revelling in the snow at Bill Fen, and in a CWF banter at Napton. Other glamourous places I visited for the first time included Uxbridge. And we also met Proper Job Steve and the Moomins for the first time.
In April we panelled the engine room roof and fitted a selection of doorknobs and latches throughout the boat, and I sallied forth to Hemel Hempsted to see Zulu Warrior.
Saw us at the RN Open Day, where we failed for a second time to make a full exchange of engine parts with Steve And the first Warrior-related news of any note, as the paintwork was finally begun.
Braunston! Braunston! Braunston! With Jim still at Warrior I drove Baz and me up there for the day. A highly successful and enjoyable outing, marred only slightly by someone inconsiderately hiding the M25 on the way home. Also, I manage to upset a record number of readers with a relatively innocuous post on the evils of trailing fenders, and Warrior's signwriting got done.
I first meet the Lucky Ducks, Amy and James, before they set out, full of hope and youthful optimism, on their epic journey. And then, finally, we set off on ours, with one of its two sunny days falling in July - little knowing how closely out fates would be intertwined.
The rainy season, which coincided neatly with our 'summer' trip. We did get to London in the end. High spots included the Cropredy Festival (a high spot of the entire year, that was), Little Venice and... er, Brentford Lock (well, that was one of my favourite bits), and travelling from Little Venice to Limehouse with Craig and Vicky (Jim has already got Craig lined up for some two-man boating next year). Less favourite bits were most of the Thames and in particular Osney (through no real fault of its own); Banbury (heartbreaking) and the bloody weather.
Most of which saw me with the house to myself, as Jim continued with the Ducks for another three weeks.
Notable for my return to the voluntary sector, dragged back by the prospect of getting my hands on Tarporley. So I had my first go, finally, at steering a Big Northwich, and as a bonus, when we met up with Warbler and Stanton Jam 'Oling, I got a go on a small one too.
A month of great blogging torpor, but also of wholesale graining.
In which we decided not to go boating for Christmas after all.
So all in all it was another action packed year, and looking back it's impressive how much we crammed in. Helyn still awaits out full attentions, and the Ouse trip is postponed for another year, but still very much in mind (mine, at any rate).
Next year's plans for Warrior tentatively include coming across the Wash and doing a northern tour, taking in Sheffield and Liverpool and a circuit of the Rochdale and the L&L. Despite the rain, it will be hard to top the experience of this year's London bound trip though.
Hope you all have a very happy 2009.