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2015 – A Review (better late than never)

So only a year late but the time to publish my review of 2015 has arrived. Previously I have used the entries over the previous 12 months to help me review the year but as is the case for 2015 very little was posted here.
2015 was a year of big changes for me, I had mentioned at the start of the year that I was planning on changing my car and I did set myself the following goals:

* Visit the Harry Potter Studio tour
* Go on the London Eye
* Visit Beamish
* Visit Portmeirion

I would also like to
* Renew my passport
* Lose Weight

I had also met a girl, Hannah and our first date was the 12th December 2014 and she did play a large part in my life during the year, in fact we spent the day together on 31st December 2014. So looking at my goals first, ashamed to say that I did not get to visit any of the locations I had planned to and yet again my passport remained expired. My biggest success was in losing weight, at my best I had lost just under three stone but unfortunately something happened in June that caused me to completely fall off the weight loss wagon and I never really got back on it.

Valentine’s Day
This was the first year ever that I had been dating anyone on Valentine’s Day, we went out for the day down to Carew castle and tidal mill and after having a walk around and being shown where Hannah had been brought up we had lunch in the Carew Inn. I had maybe gone overboard with flowers from a florist being delivered and a Pandora charm and pulling out single roses every so often. Also went to Tenby – it was a really good day and we were able to talk and get to know each other a little better.

New Car
I got my new car, a 61 plate Peugeot at the end of February; I had taken out a loan and had been lucky to have had some money from my grandparents for Christmas. Hannah had come with me to pick the car up and one of the first things she bought was a car seat for her youngest to use in the car – in fact on the way back.

Moving
During March I finally moved out of the bedsit I had been living (and I use the term living loosely) since 2002 and thanks to Andrew for helping my move and for cleaning up and painting the old place. I did get my deposit back which certainly came in helpful as I had moved into a two bed roomed flat with all the additional expenses I had not had to contend with prior. I would like to think that I moved because it was the best way for me to grow but in all honesty if I had not met Hannah I don’t think I would have moved. I know that where I was living previously was not suitable for entertaining as it was just one room so I wanted somewhere that I could invite people back for dinner or watch a film. Moving also gave me the ideal opportunity to:

De-clutter
One of my biggest successes for 2015 and this was one of the only years that I did not put de-clutter down as a goal. When it came to packing up my stuff from one room I decided to be ruthless and got rid of a lot of junk, my DVD and music collection has been thinned down. I do have the space to display all of my DVD’s but thinking of the future and a possible shared household (and being told by Hannah that most of my stuff would have to go up the attic)

Big Lunch
After going to the Eden Project for a Big Lunch Extras camp I felt a bit of a fraud that I had gone on this free weekend along with other people from all over the United Kingdom who all had ideas and projects for things in their community. My big idea was to re-spark community spirit in Llangunnor, something that has proven harder to do than I first thought. Anyway I wanted to put on a day for the community and most importantly for me was to make it completely FREE. I did not want any barriers for the community and pulling in a lot of favours a team of two people were able to organise a day enjoyed by the community.

Finances
The actual entries I did manage to post seemed to relate to finances and 2015 was a serious drain on my financial resources. I got to the point when I could not trust myself to live within my means and gave my two credit cards in a sealed envelope with a letter from myself to my good friend Andrew to keep hold of for me. He understood the reasons for my decision and it is embarrassing to admit if I had not done what I had then I would have eventually done what I feared most. So Andrew thank you.

Hannah
It feels fitting that the one major influence in my life during 2015 should be mentioned now, I have already said that I met Hannah at the end of 2014 via a dating website, weirdly enough 2014 was not the first time I had spoken to her, we had spoken briefly a few years earlier but she vanished. Anyway we seemed to get on well and it was a few months before I met her two boys (a twelve year old and a five year old). At my age I knew that any woman I dated was likely to have children and it has never really bothered me, I can remember what it was like to be a twelve year old and have someone dating my mother so I did my best to be aware of this.

It did make it interesting to get any alone time with Hannah as he would stay down stairs while we were watching television and if we were sitting together he would find some way to separate us. I however put up with this and with the way the younger one would speak to me and treat me – I was after all a visitor in their home.
Things were great between us and I suppose looking back now the so called honeymoon period hit its peak during May when I had been invited to effectively move in with Hannah – of course I still had my flat and a minimum six month tenancy but as Hannah and I had discussed moving in together at some point it was a good opportunity to see how the logistics worked. Generally things worked and me being me sat down with Hannah to look at the financial implications of living together. Hannah had made it clear to me that she did not want to be left poor and that any money she had for the children was not to be touched by me or included in any financial planning. She gave me figures and I entered them into a spreadsheet and was surprised to find that she had a lot more money than I had coming in and the implication of me moving in would be financially stupid for both of us. There was also something wrong with the spreadsheet it was not making sense and doubts started creeping in. This was something not helped by a pregnancy scare, no guy wants to be told that it is safe to have sex only to be told straight afterwards that she has made a mistake : Take my advice guys keep it protected!!

Things started to get a little distant between us after this point, and interestingly enough I notice that I started keeping notes in my diary about when I stayed over. We had planned on going to London with the children in July and because of my financial situation I had asked Hannah if she could help towards the costs which she agreed to – I only asked her to pay for one night at the hotel the rest I covered. Even after all of this when we got back I still treated Hannah to a meal out, just the two of us at Florentino’s in Carmarthen as her mother was looking after the children. After the meal she was dropped off at her mothers and I went home. The school summer holidays had started and me staying over became problematic as the youngest boy would walk up in the night and want to get into bed with his mother, instead of putting him back in his own bed either she or I would go to his bed and spend the rest of the night. She did see this as a problem and told me that when he turned six in September she had already spoken to him about his staying in his own bed.

September soon arrived and with it our first argument and not about the sleeping arrangement but about a house. In the first few months that we had been dating we had discussed many things and moving in together was one of those things, we had looked at rental properties earlier but in the year but nothing suitable was available – I thought her house was fine and it had proved to be big enough with just the one bathroom back in May. Anyway a bungalow was spotted in Cwmffrwyd she went to see it with the kids and thought it was great. I however had done what any reasonable adult would and check the costs and explained that we would not be able to move in as it was too expensive. I had also noticed when we viewed the property that decisions had already been made regarding the rooms. One room that I thought would make a good room for me to work I found out was set to be a music room for the children and it became clear that I would be the only person to not have my own space in the whole house.

I have no regrets about saying no, sometimes commonsense needs to take a firm grip of the situation. Regardless of anything else there was no way on earth that we could afford to live in that house.

Things were very strained between the two of us, of course since the start of September to the end of the year I only stayed over one night when the children were away, there were a multitude of very good reasons for me not being able to stay over – I still saw her but I was starting to get the feeling that she was doing what she could to limit the time I spent with her and the children. It almost got to the stage where I felt I was only there to bankroll activities or act as transport.

By the start of November I actually asked her outright if she still wanted to be with me, she did but things did not improve, we had discussed Christmas and what would happen – originally I was going to be staying over and leaving early while the children’s father came to watch them open presents, he would leave and I would return for dinner and spend the rest of Christmas with them. (I have no idea what would have happened when we moved into a house together!!)

Plans soon changed and again caused some friction between us, I would rather people be upfront with me that skirt around the issue – eventually it came to pass that it would be easier for me to not stay and easier for Christmas dinner to take place at her mother’s house.
Our anniversary came and I had booked a place down in Tenby, the children were being looked after so I thought it would be a good chance for us to have some alone time. One of the first things she told me was that she had a headache and it was that time of the month. I was more concerned with how distant she was the space between us in the bed that night answered any questions about our future together.
Anyway Christmas Eve came and I suggested going shopping to get food for Christmas as I had been told about what her family normally did between Christmas and New Years – so £75 later and a trolley full of buffet style food. I treat us all to a KFC and that evening she goes to the hospital to see a friends premature baby – she comes home and I leave as the children’s father is due over.

Didn’t I mention that the children’s father slept over on Christmas Eve?

I was called at 10.30 on Christmas Day to go over and I opened my presents and we then loaded my car to go to her mother’s – she was planning on staying there for a few days. Needless to say I left at 7pm, did not see her as she had gone upstairs. The last thing you really want to be doing on Christmas Day night is checking bedding for evidence of sexual activity.

Saw her next on New Years Eve, we went as a family to the cinema and for food I then took her to the mother’s house for us to see in the New Year – of course nowhere for me to stay so after the bongs it was home alone.

Friends
Hannah may have been a major influence on 2015 but my friends, Andrew, Hayley, Huw and Lydia all gave me a soundboard to speak my mind on a number of matters but mainly my love life and I thank them for being true friends in that they told me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear.

So we come to the end of what had started off as such a promising 2015 ended on a certain note of uncertainty.

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