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The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there

I was almost tempted to do a full-on review of 2010, but have decided looking forward is a better idea. After all, as Hartley began his novel The Go-Between, "the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

That's not to say that I'm completely ignoring 2010. I may not have achieved anything writing-wise, but I moved to London for a role with more responsibility, had three fabbity holidays in Dublin, Crete and Budapest, ate at lots of Michelin star and yummy restaurants, went to Leeds Fest, saw Legally Blonde, Sweet Charity, Oliver! and Sister Act on the West End, read 157 books, went to the cinema 41 times, and I made some fabulous new friends along the way. I had to say goodbye to my beloved car, Sulley, and I still owe money on the credit card but, all-in-all, it's been a pretty sweet year. I know I've been lucky.

But, Hartley is right. Part of life is to learn from your past so you don't repeat your mistakes. 2010 has been a huge learning curve for me and has proved that I'm strong enough to tackle anything, even if at times I felt at the depths of despair. 2010 has been the foundation year, so-to-speak, that will make a lot of things possible in 2011 and I for one am very excited to make those things happen! Here are my plans:
  • I want to find a fabbity new job that challenges me
  • I shall dedicate more time to writing and submitting my books
  • I hope to clear my credit card debt and build up some savings
  • I would like to move more central, hopefully with people I know and like
  • I'd like to visit 2 or 3 new countries
  • I want to take lots of photos with my fabbity new camera, see a few new musicals and tick off some more Michelin star restaurants
  • Finally, I will try not to over-analyse, be indecisive or unhappy, and I will surround myself with people who are worth it. I will remember that I cannot control everything, that nothing is a given, and that in life you make your own happy ending.
I think 2011 sounds like it could be pretty fabbity, don't you? {^_^} What have you learnt from 2010? What are your 2011 plans? xoxo

The Coca-Cola holiday mystery

The Coca-Cola "Holidays are coming" marks the start of the festive season for a lot of people. The iconic lorries making the delivery of Coke is currently in its 4th year of revival, but when did it begin? I can certainly remember seeing it as a child in the 1990s but I couldn't give you an exact date, such is the nature of childhood memory.

It was tweet asking just this that made me really want to know this answer. Sure, it's not a burning question, but it's one of those questions that will bug me until I get the answer. Getting that answer, you think, would be easy, what with Google knowing the answer to EVERYTHING... or so I thought.

Trawling through the search results, Google drew a blank... I know. It happens, sometimes... so I've heard... But I never thought Google would let *me* down! Not even poking around the Coca-Cola website could tell me, though I did learn that their "Always Coca-Cola" polar bear ad was first aired in 1993. Who cares about the bears! We want our lorries!

So, I did something I rarely do: I picked up the phone, and I dialled the Coca-Cola press office. Yes, such a massive internet search failure deserved this outlandish action... only I was thwarted once again. The lovely girl on the end of the phone informed me that they don't actually know when one of their biggest ad campaigns was first aired. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...

So, if Coca-Cola don't know, who does? Luckily, she thought their PR agency, Lexis PR, who deals with the campaign would have the answer:

The original version of the iconic Holidays Are Coming ad first aired in the US on Thanksgiving Day 1995, before being rolled out in the UK that year. The current version first aired in 1997.

There you have it. Many thanks to Mel at Lexis PR for getting back to me. Hopefully now Google will throw up this blog post for all those people who may have this same burning question in the future (seriously, how can this *not* be out there on the interweb?!)

And, if you can't remember the ad, here it is for your enjoyment:

Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim

Whenever something bad happens to me, my friends will say to me:

Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim

Translated as: Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you. Actually, they don't say that Latin phrase to me (that would really be quite pretentious), but they do remind me that life experiences can make sweet book material... More importantly though, it can make you a better person (which, in turn, can make you a better writer. For the record, I'd prefer a happy life and to use my imagination to create book drama, ta very much).

I'm not a patient person - I want it all, I want it now is quite often how I (wrongly) view the world - but this year I'm definitely learning some patience and I'm learning to be tougher. That's because playing 'local' in London and being a local in London is a completely different ball game and a certain degree of toughness is definitely required to survive London life.

More importantly though than being patient and tough, I'm learning to be happy. I've had blips since I moved to London, but I can honestly say that I'm now happier in an overall sense than I have been all year.

Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim

I see that now. But I also see it's the people you surround yourself with that make a big difference. There's half a dozen people who have made the past 5 weeks not just bearable, not just tolerable, but actually enjoyable. Those people deserve thanks that I can't adequately express in words, but they have made all the difference.

Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim

My recent pain has already been useful to me - in a short space of time, it's shown me what I'm made of and reiterated what I want to achieve and *can* achieve. 2010 has been a transitional year for me, but it's been worth it because I know it will make 2011 a definitive year.

What are you thoughts on your 2010? What are your hopes for 2011? xoxo

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