Who would have guessed that English History would become the object of my interest in 2012? Like most hobbies, passions morph from a subject to an adjoining, related one and before you know it, you’re into new territory. Birds to plants to weather to home vegetable gardens to renewables. See what I just did?  This year it went from a Booker prize winner writing about the Thomas Cromwell, to Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones to The Tudors to the History of England parts 1 and 2. And now it’s The Borgias and a huge volume on the virgin queen Elizabeth I. Kim, sensing the need for new ground, recently bought me a book on the history of Venice, though I confess it may be too much of a jump.

I was a lot happier about my reading in 2012 – probably only a dozen books, but many of them BIG, a far cry from the shameful four of 2011. Fiction has soured for me; I find myself getting bored, or putting it down and then not having the urge to pick it up again. I regained interest in my long neglected (since 1982) collection of King George V stamps, then decided that my old crappy used copies could be upgraded to mint (unused) and so pretty much started it all again from scratch. Then added the Australian pre-decimals, and then the kangaroos. Oh dear. That gets expensive fast – the kangaroos are about $2.5k for a used set, so I’ve come to a bit of a halt on the rarer ones. It’s been quite a blast on Ebay though, but bedtime phone use has skyrocketed.

I nearly forgot, 2012 was the year of the “renovation” – we got a new kitchen and bathroom in November, which are great improvements even if visitors are generally tactful “oh you went for a modern green?” and underwhelmed. We both really love it, so we wonder if our tastes are out of step. The architect Marcus was jubilant at not having to do *another white kitchen* but he’s the only one (of a very small group) who seem keen. I guess people aren’t very demonstrative about things like benchtops and sinks.

Finally Chloe’s panting and thirst got more notable, and after a series of very expensive tests was diagnosed with Canine Cushings disease, which means her liver is in bad shape, and her cortisone levels are sky high. We brought the levels down with daily tablets, but now she’s almost crippled by leg pain / arthritis, and often stands in one spot till she is forced to move with considerable limping. The doggy pram may soon need to be purchased for walks. It’s very sad to see it all gradually deteriorating. Been a good year all round though.