Well, another year’s end is fast approaching. Where did 2014 go? It’s just gone so fast and, if you’d have told me at the beginning of the year that Bolton Wanderers would have another miserable season and that Leeds Rhinos would have become the Challenge Cup champions, I’d have never have believed you!
(Actually, I tell a lie. I’d have probably believed you about the Wanderers. Thankfully, we disposed of the useless Dougie Freedman in October and brought in Neil Lennon, who’d previously led Celtic to Scottish Premier League glory. Since then, we’ve been better. Funny that.)
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my personal highlights of what has been a mostly brilliant year for me.
Race For Life. Did it in Leeds again this year with THAT HILL. Finished in just over 45 minutes, so not quite a personal best on this occasion, but never mind.
New job. Started a volunteering job at a new Cancer Research UK charity shop in Leeds City Centre in November. It only opened in October but it’s going well so far.
Fitness classes. When our local Adidas store started doing fitness classes back in June, I couldn’t resist giving them a go. What could be better than doing things like boot camp, Zumba and yoga for free with a 10% discount in store for those who do sign up? Sadly, due to a knackered ankle, I haven’t been able to do the boot camp or Zumba classes since October (doing physio on it instead) but I can still do my yoga classes. I have put on a bit of weight over the last couple of months though (NOT GOOD) so, by hook or by crook, I WILL be getting back to the other classes in the New Year to shift some of the excess flab I’ve gained.
Gigs. Three good gigs this year included Russell Howard in March with some idiotic woman shouting abuse at him over gags he made about the EDL and Ribena (to this day, I still have no idea what he was supposed to say regarding Tom Daley getting trolled on Twitter thanks to her), McBusted in April with friends (ended up sitting next to them instead of the seat I had in my original ticket – RESULT!) and Ant and Dec’s Takeaway On Tour in August, all at Leeds Arena. Also went to the Leeds Lights Switch-On in November. It was MEGA COLD but I very much enjoyed the reunion of classical man-band G4.
Gig merchandise. This is more like a lowlight-turned-highlight but waiting forever and a day for my McBusted tin to turn up in June was enough to make me tear my hair out. It eventually arrived a month later with my very belated birthday card, both from my friend. I’ve had post and parcels from abroad turn up quicker than this bloody thing did… and it was being sent from Leicester!
Le Tour de Yorkshire. You couldn’t move in and around Leeds without the mention of a certain cycle race in July. It was absolutely MANIC around town on the day of the actual start but seeing parts of Yorkshire for two days during the Grand Départ was AMAZING.
Leeds Pride. Another highlight of July was our annual Pride event. The stage was literally right outside my front gate so I could hear everything. Thankfully, there was no really rubbish music, so that was OK with me.
World Cup. Again, this was more like a lowlight for me, since I initially supported Spain (what? You didn’t expect me to support England did you?) and they spectacularly cocked it all up. They were the first team to be knocked out, then I reverted to Germany who eventually went on to win it. Europe reigned victorious once again!
Challenge Cup Final. BEST DAY OF THE YEAR. An all-Yorkshire final down in that there London. We won 23-10 against Castleford Tigers and lifted the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1999. It was my first ever Wembley experience and it was well worth the wait! The meet and greet a few days before and the homecoming a couple of days after were brilliant as well. Looking forward to twelve months of the mighty Rhinos on my wall next year. I have both the official calendar, as well as Jamie Peacock’s testimonial one, and I can’t wait!
There were a few lowlights as well, such as me getting a load of verbal and threatened outside a well-known supermarket in town back in August, but I won’t dwell on them too much as this is a list of the good things that have happened this year.
Oh, and NOT getting to do that bloody ice bucket challenge thing was another personal highlight for me. Seriously. I think most of my Facebook ended up getting a bucket of icy cold water thrown over them. I know it was for charity but there was no way on this earth or Fuller’s that I was taking part in that frigger. NOT A CHANCE.
And that’s about it. Hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and I’ll see you again in 2015 if not before.
Happy New Year!