Mark's Musings

A miscellany of thoughts and opinions from an unimportant small town politician and bit-part web developer

Another decade in retrospect


Ten years ago, on New Year’s Eve 2009, I posted a retrospective of how the decade had gone for me. Ten years on, as the 2010s are about to become the 2020s, it’s time for an update.

So, what’s changed? I’ve moved house twice more, but this time we’re finally in what should, barring lottery wins or major disasters, remain our home for the foreseeable future. And the “we” in that phrase is two bigger, with the addition of Abigail (born in 2010) and Nathaniel (born 2019). Although Abigail was already on the way when I wrote that post in 2009.

Workwise, I’ve changed jobs once in this decade, leaving my employment to strike out on my own running my own business. That’s something that I definitely couldn’t have foreseen ten years ago; even though the foundations were established as a sideline over ten years ago the revenue was nowhere near a full-time income for many years. But, midway through the decade, I stumbled across a formula that worked, and I’ve been milking it ever since.

Some things haven’t changed. I’m still celebrating New Year at home, with three kids to look after. I have managed a couple of NYEs out of the house since 2010, but it’s a lot of effort to arrange. On a more positive note, we’ve had no more deaths in my immediate family. Everyone in my parents’ and aunts’/uncles’ generation is still alive. I wish I could add “and well” to that, but, unfortunately, time still takes its toll. Genetically, we’re a long-lived bunch – all but one of my grandparents’ generation made it to their nineties – so I still have reason to be optimistic for the next decade. I may be a bit surprised if I can report the same in 2029, but, you never know. On the down side, though, one of my former school friends – at the time, one of my best friends, although we’d subsequently lost touch over the years – became the first of our gang to die. Reminders of my own mortality are never far away.

Just under ten years ago, I noted that 2010 would be an election year, and made a resolution to get involved in politics. I was elected to Evesham Town Council in 2011, and then Wychavon District Council in 2015. A couple of elections later, I’m still on both of them, although I’d be surprised if I still was in ten years time. I’ve also got involved in my local constituency association at at various levels, culminating in being elected chairman this year. It’s a demanding, but rewarding, job. I’ve been Mayor of Evesham three times, which makes me feel a bit like a rural Dick Wittington.

At national level, it’s been a strange decade. We started with an election that returned a hung parliament – supposedly unstable in British politics – that lasted a full five years, and then a majority government which lasted only a couple of years before an early (and possibly unwise) election gave us another hung parliament, and then, this year, yet another election which returned a decisive majority for the first time since 2005. Hopefully, Brenda from Bristol can come out of the house again in 2020.

Looking at my other resolutions from 2010, I have succeeded in a few. I’ve travelled a bit more – not a lot more, but I have at least got out of the country a few times. One of those was a trip I’ve always wanted to do – visit the graves of my relatives who were killed in the First World War. The others were mostly related to my role as councillor or Mayor. We do now have a cleaner. All the cats are neutered. And I have started playing music again, this time with the VECC band.

Highlights of the decade? One of the top memories has to be the London Olympics in 2012. One of the things I’ve always said I would do is, if the Olympics ever came to the UK, I’d go to an event. So, we did – off to watch the men’s triathlon in and around Hyde Park. It was a great day out, topped off by a British gold. Sometimes the “I was there” moments are entirely serendipitous, but sometimes they have to be planned. I’m glad I planned this one. On the other hand, I haven’t been to any major music gigs in the past decade. I’ve been to the Greenbelt Festival a few times, but none of the headliners have really gripped me. Plenty of good smaller acts, but no showstoppers. And the 2010s, for me, have been entirely free of arena or stadium gigs. Maybe a resolution for the next decade is to go to more.

Of course, another two children has also been a key memory. Abigail, as I’ve already said, was on the way ten years ago, and, at the time, I thought that would be it. Two is enough. But then, entirely unexpectedly, along came Nathaniel last year. Already, he’s changed our lives in so many ways. I can’t wait for him to grow older. Maybe I really will have a kid I can take to football and cricket, and play Scalextric with and teach how to build a model railway. Or maybe not. I’m sure he’ll be his own person, just like the girls are.

I started the decade sitting in front of the computer in my study, and I’m finishing it sitting in front of the computer in my study. Some things don’t change. But let’s see where the next ten years takes us.