2013 AHOY!


 Without doubt, for those of us living in the United Kingdom, 2012 proved quite a year. One filled with celebrations yet tempered with shocks and disappointments. 

To help take stock, and to move forward positively into 2013, Raggedy Ann Girl takes a look at ten lessons we learned during 2012. And because those lessons can be good and bad, we've included a few of each.

1 Those we trust might not deserve it.

Over the past few years it has seemed like every organisation or section of society, in which we put our trust has, to some extent, let us down. Politicians taking advantage of their expenses. Financial institutions charging us money without our knowledge. Banks playing fast and loose with our savings and helping to fix rates.  Journalists using illegal methods to obtain information. And now the revelation that, yes, police officers did make serious mistakes and lie to cover up those mistakes. What's next?

2 It can go on raining forever.

Remember last spring? When weather forecasters and the Environment Agency warned us we were in a drought? When hosepipe bans were imposed in some places, and threatened in others? And then it began to rain. Just a little bit. It hasn't stopped yet, has it? But, hey, if it stopped now, you'd miss it, you know you would …

3 The faces of our childhood are not as perfect as we once believed.

At least not some of them. For anyone who enjoyed a 1970s or 1980s childhood the latter half of 2012 has been a bit of an ordeal. With a new shock seemingly uncovered every week, about the awful misbehaviour of various icons of our childhoods, like Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith, it's been quite a time. And we all know, don't we, that it's unlikely to end there?

4 The trouble we're in is going to take a lot longer to shake off.

I don't suppose any of us thought that the financial crisis would be a short-lived thing, but did any of us truly think it would go on and on and on? But it has and we've survived so far. So the list of things we either can't afford to do, or need to save up for gets longer and longer, but we're still here, more or less, in one piece.  Will we still be talking about  this in a year's time? Probably, but then we'll just be that much nearer to the other side.

5 Never say never

Some things, entirely unimagineable at one time, suddenly seem possible. When H M The Queen has publicly shaken hands with the one-time head of the IRA, you know pretty much anything, given the right circumstances, can happen. And that's a very good thing.

We can put on a show.

Despite all that pre-Olympic negativity, if our 2012 experience taught us anything it's that the people of Britain know how to party. We know how to celebrate. And how to show off a bit. We can be organised. And we can do things properly. Despite our reservations. And the mocking from a US presidential candidate. And people can go away from our party thinking it was the best they ever attended.

7 We like one another and we like who we are.

Who knew? We actually like our neighbours, our fellow citizens and even our workmates. And, we often choose to celebrate with them. Well we did during the Diamond Jubilee. We even, and whisper this very quietly found it was rather satisfying to get together within our neighbourhoods and party. 

8 We have a proper community.

We may have spent many years talking about what constitutes 'community' in our modern world, but by the end of the year we'd found what we should already have known: We have a strong and cohesive community in this country. Whether it's sharing food at a street party, watching fireworks together, screaming for Mo Farah or helping a flooded-out neighbour, we've already formed a great bond with those with whom we share our world. A bond that, when the chips are down or we want to be happy, crosses boundaries of geography and culture, physical ability and political persuasion.  We just needed reminding …

9 We have heroes.

Thanks to our hard-working sportsmen and women we now know that we have an almost limitless supply of positive role models to guide our youngsters. Name a sport and we can find a hero. With a fabulous medal haul from the London Games, and a host of other sporting success this year, more than any other, we've come to appreciate just a little of the sacrifice and dedication it takes to make a winner.

10 "Good Evening, Mr Bond"

HM QE2 plus 007 equals bliss. Without doubt the line of the year. Delivered perfectly for our delectation. Oh yes.  Well done, ma'am.