Saturday, 31 December 2016


Another year has gone, and what a year! 12 months ago I was grateful just to have made it to the end of the year, following a near fatal accident on my bicycle in Wyoming. 2016 was bound to be better.

But it didn't start off all that well. I had just begun treatment for hyperthyroidism when my body took an allergic reaction to the meds. That was fun! But gradually over the year all that has improved, almost to the point of being cured. Other people did not fair so well of course, and over the year we lost over a hundred household names, such as David Bowie, Mohammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman and George Michael. Two people that I was fond of, passed as well, Amy Moar and Kathy Donaldson. Another close friend went through a difficult split with her partner, and my brother has had a challenging year, but "all that too shall pass".

But I found there was a lot to celebrate too.  Films made by the young students I teach won a number of awards both in Scotland and Internationally; I marked the 25th anniversary of opening my deli, which I loved for 15 years, and Adventure Cycling in America screened a short film of mine as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.

2016 has been the busiest year for me in filmmaking for some time, with six short films by the students in the first half, and several since; attending red carpet award events throughout the year; making films with special needs kids, and I became part of a new Scotland-wide film teaching initiative. At one point I worked as Producer for a film crew from Tennessee, which was nice to be working in the professional field again. At the cinema several films made a big impression on me, such as Room, Spotlight and Captain Fantastic. One special screening event was particularly good, called The Last Man On The Moon, chronicling astronaut Gene Cernan, with a live Q&A at the end.

At home lots of projects, some big, some small, were taken on. Things as simple as gathering wild blackberries and making a pie; remodeling the garden fence; helping Pauline move into her first home, and laterally, taking on a new rental property. My local area featured big this year as well, with festivals on the beach; walks over the local hills, and sightings of a visiting, exotic bird called a Mandarin Duck on the pond in the local Figgate Park.

The majority of the highlights of the year were, of course, in the great outdoors. This started with a special moment in mid January when I finally got back on my bike. Making up for lost time I ventured off on the bike, down to the Borders on the new Railway; along favourite routes near the Cairngorm Mountains; through the local Pentland Hills; two days following the east coast, south, from Stonehaven; circuits up and around Glen Tilt, Loch Ard and Glen Finglas. On foot I enjoyed new hills such as Ben Venue and returns to routes trekked long ago, such as The Tarmachan Ridge.

If I were to plot 2016 on a graph it would have a definite slant upwards in terms of success and enjoyment. 2017 is shaping up to be just as enjoyable, with new films to make, another astronaut event early on, a new property to renovate and hopefully lots of Scottish outdoor adventures on bike and foot.

Happy New Year everyone.

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