Back in the early 90’s Queen Elizabeth II, to mark the 40th anniversary of her Accession as Queen of England and “the Commonwealth realms.” mentioned her “annus horribilis”.

She went through some serious personal shit that year that took her out of her comfort zone. I know how she feels!

Throughout 2016 I’ve written at length about the various calamitous events that have enveloped my family. I went into the new year with massive amounts of hope and optimism, looking forward to helping Karta prepare for the impending 11+ test. Then we got kicked out of our home, had to move, got into debt and watched Karta fail the Kent test.

Within months we got kicked out of our home, had to move, got into debt and watched Karta fail the Kent test. Rhona has been working hard at her job, maybe too hard after several years as a housewife and mother. It has taken its toll on her. Then my Mum got sick and looked as if she might die, my Nan had a nasty fall and busted her hip. Thankfully they both survived their respective ordeals.

In June I was all set to go to LeMans for the 24-hour race once again, but with the house move and the severe drain on our finances, that too was curtailed.  We did, however, get away on holiday for a couple of weeks, the first time we’ve had a proper break for what seems like years. But the holiday was over all too quickly, and reality bit me hard on the arse as we went into September.  Karta sat and failed his 11+ test days after starting back at school. That hit us all hard, especially him. We shouldn’t have put him through that.

So with stress levels rising we ploughed through birthdays, visiting prospective schools and working harder than ever to make ends meet. Now our thoughts have turned to Christmas and the glimmer of happiness it provides. As I sit here writing this, my mind is awash with financial worries and an overwhelming feeling of being rudderless.

Self-employment is the only viable way forward for me; I can bring all of my skills to bear upon it and push forward with plans of becoming the photographer that I’ve always dreamt of being. I’ve begun to let current clients know that my rates will increase from January, and alas, one or two don’t feel that they can afford me anymore. So that is another setback and was a little unexpected. It’s a funny thing asking to get paid what you think you’re worth and for people to undermine that by saying they can replace me with someone cheaper. You end up feeling undervalued and begin to question yourself, a lot.

A kick in the balls, but a wake-up call nonetheless.

2017 is just over the hill, and I’m determined to make it one of the best years of my life. In the short term, we need to get our finances under control, and in the long run, we need to make a final decision about Karta and his schooling.  I’ve promised a couple of women in my life that I’ll finally get the last of the excess weight off once and for all.  Look out for my new photographic works early next year; they’ll be all about hot rods, rad bikes and a bunch of cool custom cars. I need to find my photographic voice again and not what people think I should be doing.

Whatever happens, my mind is made up to put one of the shittiest years I can remember in the ground without a headstone, 2016 can fuck right off!

Until next time….. adieu.