Friday, December 29, 2006


Review of 2006

Q. What do you call a tour of a cracker factory that ends in disaster?
A. Cracker tour.
That's the only joke I've ever written and I wrote it in 2006 -- on May 13th to be exact. I doubt I'll be writing many more like that...

I turned 40 in September. I still find that hard to believe. In fact I'm tempted not to believe it. On my birthday I played beach cricket and was bowled out for a duck -- by the first ball of the first over!

2006 got off to a bad start. In January I went into hospital and had my first (and I hope last) operation. I picked up a bad infection somewhere (maybe in North Africa) and had to have it cut out. My right leg now bears two ugly scars. I was off my feet for a while but tried my best to recover as quickly as possible. Two months later I was jogging again, and in fact 2006 was the year when I completed the longest run of my life, 6 kilometres. Not a vast distance by the standards of an athlete, but a personal record I'm very pleased with.

I travelled abroad four times -- thrice to Portugal and once to Ireland. All these trips were enjoyable. I went to the Dingle Peninsula with my new girlfriend, the furthest west I've ever been, but the endless rain dampened things somewhat. Camping was nice though, in my old and small leaky green tent. I also spent a night under the stars on the beach south of Viana do Castelo. That could have been amazing but it was a bit too chilly. I explored parts of Portugal I'd never been to before -- I took a small ferry across the Tagus, went up the Cristo Rei, entered the Torre de Belem, walked the battlements of the Castelo dos Mouros and stood in front of the Pena Palace...

I finished three books, namely My Cholesterol Socks, Tallest Stories and The Less Lonely Planet. I wrote 37 stories, finishing the year by completing my 400th story. I am very pleased with the fiction I produced in 2006. I am also pleased with the sales that I made and the various publications I appeared in.

I was sad when Sarita moved to London, but I grew closer to Stuart, Monica and Helena. I made some new friends, both here and abroad. I re-established my friendship with Lowri.

At the end of May I found romance, and although things went somewhat sour at the end, I had some great times that I'll always cherish, not least of which was playing frisbee on the beach for hours at a time! (It was my girlfriend who bowled me out for a duck in the cricket match!)

I began (at long last!) to be noticed in Wales.

I continued doing regular poetry readings and delivered what were probably my best performances, passing through the stages of Swansea's First Poetry Slam competition to reach the final, and then actually winning! In Portugal I did readings of short stories. I read a short story at the launch of my book At the Molehills of Madness. I also gave a talk to the creative writing students at Trinity College, Carmarthen that involved reading a short story.

I went on TV for the first time, not once but twice! I also gave my first radio interview, for BBC Radio 2.

I moved house, rented a place from a landlady who I now regard as one of the most pretentious people in existence. I will always be wary of those who work hard for grand causes (such as 'saving' Palestine) but are oblivious to the sufferings around them. This particular landlady is a middle aged, middle classed exploitative pseudopod of the most loathsome kind. A fit subject for a future satirical short story!

I read 30 books including 7 Jack Vance novels. Very good they were too.

2007 will be a better year, I'm sure!

2007 will surely be better!
See you next year!
Publishing: your portuguese edition of "A new universal history of infamy" was selected by one of the critics of one of the major daily newspapers as one of the 10 best books published in Portugal.
I didn't offer you bolo-rei this year! Shame on me!

Good to know you're finally being noticed in Wales. You deserve the recognition!
All the best for 2007 - hope it's full of travels, publications and whatever else you're wishing for!
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