What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Travelled Europe. Travelled overseas by myself. Partied until 7am in Seville. Learned how to build a straw-bale house. Killed, skinned, butchered and ate an animal myself. Went on a few dates, and second dates, and third….
Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for the next year?
Did anyone close to you give birth?
I watched/helped Kat assist some sheep in the act. A few more of my friends have had babbies also.
Did anyone close to you die?
What countries did you visit?
Scotland, England, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand.
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A little plot of land. Maybe 30 hectare or so. My firearms license.
What dates from 2011 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
I arrived in Finland on about March the 5th. So that's a good one. March the 6th I saw Kat for the first time in 20 months.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Discovering that a rural, physical life actually suits me pretty well.
What was your biggest failure of the year?
Getting back into all my old lazy TV-watching junk-food-eating habits in Christchurch.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
I put my back out a couple of times; it's still not 100%. Ironically the office job is worse for it than hard physical labour.
What was the best thing you bought?
My wonderful down jacket that I wore through the end of the Scandinavian winter.
Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Justice Minister Simon Power, among many of our Government ministers who seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to serve the people of New Zealand.
Chris, the belligerent and frequently drunken American who made my week in Liverpool far more unpleasant than necessary.
AJ, who for all his talk of apology and making things right is still dicking me around about the money he owes me.
Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The Green Party, who came into their own and acted as effective opposition when Labour was nowhere to be seen.
Henry, who is becoming a badass organic vege grower and making amazing salads.
Michael, who is making the best of things in spite of dreadful Chronic Fatigue suffering.
Kat, who has gone from townie to well-competent shepherd impressively quickly.
Where did most of your money go?
Travel, and a new car when I returned.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Building my own straw-bale house on a little piece of land somewhere.
What song will always remind of you of 2011?
Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes. (We saw them! Live! In London!)
Compared to this time last year, I am:
Happier, having found some kind of life direction.
A bit fatter again. My successful weight-loss didn't stick. Need to fix that again.
Neither richer nor poorer, really.
What do you wish you'd done more of?
Socialising, meeting people, talking to people. (Especially overseas.) Woodwork. Farming.
What do you wish you'd done less of?
Eating junk food. Watching junk TV.
How did you spend Christmas?
With slightly fewer relatives than usual but still plenty, in Timaru.
Did you fall in love in 2011?
For a while.
What was your favourite TV programme?
David Attenborough's Planet Earth.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not really, although certain members of our Government are getting close.
What was the best book you read?
Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon. Or maybe Lloyd Khan's Home Work.
What was your greatest musical discovery?
Not quite an answer, but listening to Sigur Rós' music in their home country was pretty great. Sonic Youth continue to grow on me.
What did you want and get?
To visit Scandinavia and Iceland.
What did you want and not get?
Steamy Nordic hookups. More time in that part of the world. (I might have to go back one day.)
What was your favourite film of this year?
Troll Hunter, an hilarious Norwegian mockumentary.
What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?
Cousin Fi took me out for a delicious Thai meal in Aberdeen, Scotland. I turned 28, I think.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Steamy Nordic hookups.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
‘How small a pack can I get away with?’ I'm still pruning back the clothes I carry with me.
What kept you sane?
The occasional entire bottle of wine. A good book.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh, any of the attempts to sell out NZ's integrity to foreign interests. Primarily the guilty-until-proven-innocent three-strikes copyright bill.
Who did you miss?
Kat, until I didn't need to anymore. Fraser. Fiona, who I had to leave in Scotland. Nisrene, a little.
Who was the best new person you met?
Lars, the Swedish blacksmith, who once carried a cast-iron coal range into town on his bicycle. (It was he who shared some of these stereotypes with us.)
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
You can pretty much make it up as you go and often nothing bad will happen. The world's not so scary. Some people like beards.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
And now after some thinking
I'd say I'd rather be
A functioning cog in some great machinery
Serving something beyond me
— Fleet Foxes, ‘Helplessness Blues’
Related: ‘A List of Memories’