For me, 2017 was not the greatest of years, having spent three-quarters of it unemployed. It wasn’t the unemployment so much as the utter hopelessness at getting through interviews.

When the going gets tough, the tough get groovy.

But there were some lovely moments as well, those small occasions that put a smile on your face and give you some respite or hope for the future. Some of that respite came (and still comes) in the form of Ana Matronic’s Disco Devotion. I liked Sounds of the Sixties with the late Brian Matthew. I like listening to Trevor Nelson, Nemone and Clare Teal too. But nothing puts a smile on my face like a bit of disco. There, I said it. Isabel Hardman has wildflowers, I have disco.

Scott Brownlee is the Head of PR at Toyota and Lexus in the UK. I’ve never met him, but he’s occasionally commented back on my blogs and replied to my sometimes caustic and incomprehensible tweets. It’s always nice to know someone reads my mostly random nonsense.

My respect and admiration for my friend Emma Leech knows no bounds, so I was delighted when she was elected unopposed (which sounds so much better than “got the job by default as no-one else stood”) to be CIPR President-Elect in 2018, and thus President in 2019. I’ll probably see and hear from her even less than her busy schedule allows for now, but you have to think of the greater good sometimes… She’ll be brilliant.

I managed to get out a bit, to visit two castles and three cathedrals with Charmaine. Would have been three castles but Durham was shut for the students’ arrival (and we only had an hour in Durham cathedral itself, bah). And the occasional food & drink sessions during the year helped, of course.

Way back in January I went to the christening of Isaac James Lawford. He’s the child of Dave Lawford and Kat Couchman, two former cadets at 59 (Huddersfield) Squadron (joining which being something else I have to be thankful to Emma for). When I think of people like Kat, Dave, Will, Greg, Liam, Faye, Amy, Andy, Rick, Jonny, JSM, CSM, Mikey and countless others who have passed through the ranks and are now putting that experience to good use in the armed forces or in civilian life, voluntary and public sector… I think the future’s in safe hands.

Those occasional trips down to London for CIPR stuff, catching up with Annette SpencerLeeds Trinity University‘s continuing 50th Anniversary celebrations… and there you go. A pretty decent 2017. I know people who have had much worse, through no fault of their own.

To 2018… and beyond!

As for me; well, I know some of the things 2018 has in store for me.

There’s a new voluntary role coming up – look for an announcement, probably in February. It’s also my last year of three as Treasurer at CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire, after which I intend to step down from the Committee entirely, having done the top four jobs across nine years from 2010. I figure 12 months should be enough warning for them, and there’s plenty of talent there to take up the reins.

I know I’ll be out of work again in August, so job-hunting from June. Preferably something with a shorter commute this time.

I’ve a visit to the Doc coming up. For the last few years I’ve had tests for high cholesterol levels and Type II diabetes. The Surgery has kindly sent me a letter headed “High Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease Annual Review”, which doesn’t sound scary or off-putting at all.

I think some of you would prefer it if I blogged a bit more on PR, or ‘comms’ in general. I can’t promise that, and I’m pretty sure my first blog of 2018 will involve Santander being useless – but I can turn that around into something about reputation, so you might yet get your wish.

And as for my love life; well, I did meet someone, which none of you know about, mainly because it went nowhere fast (see interviews). Still, there’s life in the old dog yet… or silver fox… so perhaps 2018 won’t be a complete washout?