All manner of media, be it magazines, newspapers, TV or whatever run 12 month retrospectives at this time of year. They are often, it seems to me, just lazy fillers.

Bloggers do tend to put in a bit more thought and effort, and that’s something I shall try to do as I look back at my five best things from 2012. They are not numbered because I don’t want to rank them, except the last one, which will always be first.

Fishing – Since the summer of 2011 when I fell back in love with angling my life has been greatly enriched. This has continued and I’ve had some great sessions this year, particularly the opening day of the season and have even caught the odd respectable fish. But what has also been great has been passing on my (limited) skills and, I hope, a big dollop of passion to the next generation. Little Boots is already an effective angler, and now two young friends have joined in. Teaching my brother has not been so successful.

Camping – Rediscovery of another old love that had been allowed to fade. We managed only a couple of short trips this year but they were great, even the second one. A week too late in the year, we woke to cold driving rain. Striking camp and stuffing the car with wet gear was not a good experience. Nevertheless we will be going a lot more next year. Probably with a small bottle of rum.

My Ukulele – During the last part of this year, I have begun to learn to play the ukulele. Notice I didn’t say I have been learning to play the ukulele. The truth is that I rarely make anything that sounds like music, but know that if I keep plugging away at it I will do. There’s no belief that I will ever be any good, or even anything approaching competent, but that’s not the point. It’s fun, it has given me a touchstone (swapping chords, etc.) with Little Boots who’s learning the guitar and for reasons I find difficult to express without sounding trite, a house with instruments in it is a richer place than one without. And if that weren’t enough, the arthritic aches that were increasing in the fingers of my left hand have utterly gone.

Freedom – After a couple of years where I have struggled to find both time and energy not to mention interest I decided that 2012 would be the year when I got back on top of my allotment. But it wasn’t to be. A bad shoulder and the wettest summer on record holed those plans below the waterline. So I let the thing go. And to be honest it was one of the best things I could have done and something I should have done ages ago. The weight off my mind was alone worth it.

Little Boots – Where do I start? And once started, where do I finish? Some things just can’t be put into words.