Oh, hello 2012, didn’t see you there…

Happy New Year!

Welcome everyone to my first post of 2012. I hope that you all had a great night last night, whatever it was that you were up to – whether you were out partying the night away or snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of cocoa to see the new year in.

Now we’ve crossed that all important barrier to the new year, it’s a time to look forward to the good stuff that’s going to be happening to us all over the next twelve months. But before I do that, I’d like to take a quick look back over the last twelve months and pick out my best moments from 2011 as we wave it off into the sunset. I won’t be doing them in any order, so don’t think of this as a countdown, more just 5 top moments from the year.

1. Lost & Found

This was always going to make the list – as regular readers will know over the summer I wrote a play called Lost & Found for LUTheatre and the RSC Open Stages project. It was my second play to be written, but the first to be performed. From the start of October to the end of November, I co-directed the piece and the curtain went up on 23rd November 2011. As I have effusively stated before everyone involved with the play was brilliant, and I couldn’t have wished for a better group. The audiences clearly thought the same, which delighted me even further. Definitely a top moment of the year.

Yes, it's very pink...

2. From The Ashes

I have a strong suspicion that many of these are going to be writing based. Oh well. Another good thing about 2011 was that I managed to finally start my first fantasy novel, From the Ashes, and I’m now around 54,000 words in. I’ve been sitting on the idea for a while now, so it’s good that I’ve finally managed to get it underway. So far it’s looking good – so watch this space!

No cover art yet, so you'll just have to look at my face instead

3. Holidays to Spain

I was lucky enough to get two holidays to Spain this year, because my girlfriend, Elizabeth, was going there on a year abroad (2011/12). So on 14th April 2011 we toddled off to Salamanca to have a look at the university and the sights, to see if she would be happy there. It’s a beautiful city with plenty of old buildings to look at and sights to see. It was a wonderful place, and there were storks nesting on the cathedral, wheeling through the sky! We returned in September to find Elizabeth a flat, and spent some time exploring the surroundings after we’d been flat hunting. On that trip the storks had unfortunately migrated so we couldn’t see any, but to make up for it we saw peregrine falcons hunting above the cathedral – birds rarely seen here in the UK.

Casually in the Plaza Mayor

4. Three Worlds

This blog started out as a poem a day challenge for a month, and from that I got lots of new poems. Many of these and some that I had written before were passed under the scrutinising eye of Sara at Inspired Quill, who then agreed to publish a collection of them. This collection is scheduled for release in February 2012, entitled Three Worlds, but I signed the contract this year. It’s all very exciting.

And don't I look excited?

5. The Pied Piper’s Magic Flute

As part of the Spark Children’s Arts Festival, LUTheatre decided to capitalise on the success of last year’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales by staging another production for the Spark Festival in the University of Leicester Botanic Gardens. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the Lead Writer for the project, and set about writing short adaptions of popular children’s stories for the stage. The theme that wove them altogether was the Pied Piper, who led the children around, scaring off rats, overcoming riddles, and calling forth stories with the power of his flute. It was a lot of work, especially with three performances a day, but it was very well received by children and adults alike. It also went on to win the theatre society’s Best Production award that year!

He's the Pied Piper, hence the waistcoat...

Of course, all those highlights of 2011, all the 365 and a quarter days that went into the year, wouldn’t have been worth a damn without the people around me who inspire me, make me happy, are there when I need them and just generally are top people. Hopefully, they know who they are, but suffice it to say every family member and every friend, you were my highlight of 2011. Without you, I’m nothing. Thanks.

So, that’s my highlights of the year. Whilst you’re nursing a hangover (or not) why not drop me a comment and say what your top moments of good old 2011 were, or what you’re looking forward to in 2012.

Cheers,
Nick

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