Gu nàdarrach, this is not a description of 2009 as it was. This is a description of 2009 how I saw it – or rather, how I perceive it now, looking backwards.

The two things I care most about in my life are my closest friends and Scotland. These days, those of my best friends I’m still in contact with fall into three groups: those I met at the Tech, at the Yaird and in this city. I had already met my Tech friends once again last year, but only this year I took part in another traditional “bummel” – and man, did I enjoy it. Of my Reid Yaird friends, not only do I keep in touch with Dànaidh – without whom, after all, this site would never have existed in the first place – and Lùc, but I also quite unexpectedly met Silas again. Only Seòras is perhaps lost for me forever. Of those I know from this city I live in, I usually meet Pokič for a couple of hours in some pub when he comes back here for some time from Switzerland. I’m seeing less and less of Rob, for whom this was certainly a hard year. However, this has happened before. I don’t think we’re growing indifferent to each other. Not yet, at least.

As regards Scotland, it was of course the Homecoming Year. I myself haven’t been there, and occassionally the homesickness gets almost unbearable. But I have earned enough money to go next year, and go I will. Also, I guess I’ve learned as much about it within the year as I used to during a decade before I got connected to the Net.

My love for Scotland is closely followed by my love of languages. I admit my English was getting worse over the year. I had more interaction in it than ever before – but by no means was it always interaction with native speakers, and I’ve been grossly neglecting literature. On the other hand, cha chreid mi nach deach a’ Ghàidhlig agam a leasachadh cho mòr rè na bliadhna ‘s a deach i air feadh nam bliadhnaichean uile roimhe sin – taing mhòr do na “litrichean” aig Ruairidh MacIlleathain ‘s dhan Fhòram! Agus, bho 30mh octobre, j’apprends le français.

The statement of neglecting literature doesn’t mean I was ignoring it altogether. I bought several books and I did read some – some of them even for the first time in the original, including two of my favourites, Cat’s Cradle and The Flying Inn; and Breakfast of Champions I read for the first time ever. I also bought a considerable – by my standards – amount of music CDs, in addition to the YouTube explorations (of which there was less than the preceding year). As I’ve got Room to Roam and Bridge Over Troubled Water on cassettes as well, the one which I’m the happiest about having acquired is The Traveling Wilburys Collection.

That I’m mightily interested in GLBT matters goes without saying. On this front, 2009 looks like a year of many small victories and many small defeats, especially with regard to official partnerships. Hardly a week passed without some new legal proposal in this area being either passed or rejected. A good summary of the year’s ups and downs is given by the Stonewall website. Notwithstanding, should I name a single event, I suppose this would be the year of Scott Rennie for me.

Much of what I’ve already talked about was in one way or another connected to the Net. Indeed, I believe I spent a greater part of my leisure hours sitting behind my notebook than by anything else (sleeping excluded). I see nothing wrong with it. It enabled me to have more fun, to learn much more and even to grow both more relaxed and more decisive, in other words, more mature than if I didn’t – and to meet people I esteem I never would have met otherwise, like Akerbeltz and Morris.

When I say Net, for the first part of the year this mostly means Wikis. Wiktionary, the ‘pedia, the Gaelic ‘pedia… But although I don’t regret I had got so involved, I don’t regret I quit and only returned after some time under another identity with a much more reserved attitude and behaviour. I may have lost some possible future friends like this, but then, I’d lost actual friends galore before. The way I worked there was making me too busybodyish; I was constantly biting off more than I could chew (and consequently was depressed because “I can only do so much and there’s so much to do!”); but possibly the greatest mistake was working a good deal with my so-called native language. The final straw was the (pretty good, no false modesty) article in its Wikipedia’s version. Since then, I avoid the language as much as I can, unless it’s used by people for whom I’ve got a soft spot of some kind anyway. Can one get sick of his own mother tongue? Apparently, one can.

And of course, there were things which an account of this year would be quite incomplete without, even though they don’t exactly belong into any of the above-mentioned paragraphs, like the two Reid Yaird repeat stays, playing table-tennis again, beginning to grow a moustache (for the first time in my life) and having both the contract of my digs lease and contract of eployment prolonged; also things I wasn’t directly involved in, like the first Isle of Lewis Sunday ferry, Mike Perham‘s solo sailing around the world, ratification of the Lisbon Treaty… and watching Top Secret! after all those years!

Glè math. But generally speaking, Keith – was it a good or a bad year?

A very good year. Not as great as those unsurpassable Tech&army ones, but as good as 2008 – which is to say, definitely better than most of those in between.



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