Back at the beginning of the year I wrote a review of my 2013 blogging, in which I also contemplated what I might do during 2014. One of the things I thought about was “trying to produce a monthly summary of things that have caught my eye over the preceding month – a mix of local, national and personal news”. This was probably a bit rash as I’m not great at keeping up with the news, but here goes anyway.
As described, these are just a selection of things that caught my eye during the month, not necessarily the most important things going on in the world. I’m also bound to have forgotten a good deal. With those caveats in mind, and in no particular order, here’s my review of January.
The World at Large
Locally we’ve had to worry about the River Severn, which made the news at the beginning of the month when it burst its banks after rising 6 feet in 3 hours, not helped by what was supposed to be a moderate bore.
A terrible situation, but good for photos
Some people think all of this rain is a result of global warming, but UKIP Councillor David Silvester came up with an alternative theory: apparently it is all the fault of gay marriage. That was good for a mix of moral outrage and amused incredulity for a while.
We all held our breaths at the start of the year awaiting the predicted onslaught of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria. At least this was one flood that didn’t happen, with just two new migrants turning up on the first flight into the country following the lifting of restrictions on 1 January.
Around the middle of the month the news was once again full of childhood legends being paraded as sex offenders and paedophiles – something that left me distinctly uneasy as they face trial by media. This may have been a bit of a controversial starting point for my commenting on national news stories.
The inquest jury into the killing of Mark Duggan ruled that the police acted lawfully in shooting him in 2011. At the time, this caused the worst riots in a generation. This story nearly made my blog, but I didn’t get around to it. Clearly we can’t have police acting as jury and executioner, but equally when a know ne’er do well is thought to be armed it seems a bit much to expect police to wait until they are fired on to do anything about it. Either way it troubles me that a low-life criminal scumbag can cause riots and be treated as a martyr because his nefarious activities end up with him being killed by people trying to do their duty.
With January being the month of good intentions and New Year’s resolutions, matters of health always feature in the news. Normally there seems to be a lot of stuff about Detoxing, but this year ‘Dry January’ seems to have come to the fore instead. Apparently something like 25% of adult drinkers are abstaining for the month – even beer blogger Pete Brown was at it.
Personally I think January is a depressing enough month as it is, and it was never going to be dry for me owing to a friend’s birthday giving an ideal opportunity for a knees up on January 3. I have decided to try to reduce my drinking a bit this year though and generally get a bit healthier. Things don’t seem to be going too badly so far…
Okay, so I admit, that’s not me. I do have a six-pack, it’s just buried under the rest of the shopping.
Almost three years ago now I lost about two stone when I began abstaining from all manner of delicious and fattening treats (including beer!) due to food intolerances. Sadly I pretty much put all of the weight back on over the last year or so, which I mainly put down to discovering a taste for cider. Just before Christmas I decided on a new approach to my eating problems, which can be best described as “fuck it”, and started eating and drinking normally again. So far my health seems to be holding out, but this isn’t going to help with my weight loss ambitions I fear.
My immune system can’t be too bad though: just about everyone seemed to go down with some kind of dreaded lurgy in the early weeks of the New Year, including my wife, but I managed to come through unscathed.
The health scare that seems to be all over the news at the moment is sugar: apparently it is the devil in white crystalline form and is responsible for obesity and diabetes. Some say it is as harmful as heroin. Sugar’s bad for you, who’d have thought it?
There were a number of things going on – or at least being talked about – in Gloucester during the month.
The city council have decided to propose Gloucester Cathedral for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This would be a great boon for the city as it would join the ranks of Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey as one of just 28 sites in the country. This seems to be just the start of a very long journey, however, which for some reason could take a decade.
The discussions about the future of the Eastgate Market continue, with three possible sites mooted for it to relocate to in order to make way for TK Maxx. My preferred option is the Fleece, just for reasons of déjà-vu
And there was much rejoicing throughout the city as work to demolish the Golden Egg building in King’s Square began. As usual I was in two minds about the whole thing.
There was good news on the pub scene as plans were reported for a new micropub in a former pawn brokers shop on the corner of Southgate Street and Llanthony Road. I am a bit confused about the term micropub as the premises don’t look that micro, not from the outside anyway. According to wikipedia, however, apart from the size, the definition of a micropub is that they sell exclusively cask-conditioned beers, don’t sell spirits or alcopops and shun the big breweries, so it sounds pretty good to me.
The pub is to be called Inn the Round, and they just announced that they have been granted a premises licence, so hopefully we shouldn’t have too long to wait. You can find them on Facebook.
In other exciting pub news, rumours abound that the Gloucester Brewery are planning to open a ‘brewery tap’ pub later in the year too – Gloucester’s real ale scene is definitely flourishing.
Talking of real ale, planning for the second Gloucester CAMRA real ale festival, to be held on 4-5 April at Blackfriars, is well under way. Headline music acts and a number of beers have been announced, so watch the website and social media for updates.
And it’s not just real ale, one of the organisers of the Sportbeat festival was in the Citizen explaining why Gloucester could become a music hub for the area – I may well blog about this more later.
To maintain my obsessive nature over my blog stats, during January I published 13 posts and received 1,205 hits. That may not sound a lot to seasoned bloggers out there, but it’s bloody good for me: my third best month ever, and 400 more hits than I got this time last year.
My most read blog in January was Fighting Political Apathy which I wrote back in 2010 and is starting to get annoying as I explained in a recent post. An article written in January came in second though: Dereliction at the Docks. In fact six out of the top 10 read blogs were actually written in January.
So that’s it for January – bring on February!