Helen Bach: How I saw 2013

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Helen takes a sideways look back at the past year.

Does anyone else remember watching the Clive James Review of the Year show on New Year’s Eve in days gone by?

Some of Helen's highlights from the past year

Some of Helen's highlights from the past year

It was essential viewing in our house – watched on the night when I was too young to go out partying and then recorded on the trusty VHS video when I was old enough to head out ‘into town’ (and watched the next day while drinking tea and nursing a sore head!).

Dear old Clive – accompanied on a Casio-style keyboard by his faithful singing sidekick Margarita Pracatan – took a humorous look back at the events of the year just passed.

So, if you’ll humour me, and kind of in honour of Clive, I’d like to do my own Review of the Year, based on the columns I’ve written in 2013, which sometimes look at the quirkier side of life in our corner of Northamptonshire.

January: the Brookfield Plantation under threat.

I wrote about the possible destruction of a large area of established trees in order to build a ‘resource recovery park’.

I wish I could give you all an update on this, but it’s still rumbling on.

Corby Council is due to make a decision early in 2014 I believe.

Sadly no news on where the deer and other wildlife will go if the trees are destroyed though.

February: Richard III discovered under a car park in Leicester.

Poor chap is still awaiting a re-burial due to a legal challenge.

I did muse that as he was born in Northamptonshire and was a Roman Catholic, perhaps Northampton Cathedral was an appropriate resting place.

Unsurprisingly, nobody went with this idea.

Also, Pope Benedict resigned much to everybody’s surprise.

March: a photo of Chalky the deer appeared in the Northants Telegraph, verifying that the white stag of Brookfield Plantation exists!

We were also told by fashion magazines to wear all white for the summer – I was sceptical at this advice and expressed that I had no desire to dress like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

April: Brookfield Plantation March took place in Corby town centre.

About 300 people attended, and it made the BBC Regional News that evening.

No, I didn’t see myself in any of the photos or on the TV, but I was there, proudly wearing my ‘Save Chalky’ t-shirt!

May: Eurovision.

I admitted to you all that I’m a fan of Bonnie Tyler.

I still think it’s a shame she didn’t win – she’s fab and the song was good.

A victim of tactical voting, methinks.

Why do we bother entering Eurovision?

June: British wildlife under threat from over-development.

We still need to save the bees!

July: Gangnam-style MPs.

Keith Vaz, in his infinite wisdom, decided to challenge the other MPs representing the finalists for City of Culture to a dance-off.

Wrong on so many levels.

Leicester lost, Hull won.

August: Prince George arrives.

The world breathed a sigh of relief and Kay Burley went for 36 hours without a comfort break.

September: The Seven Wonders of Northamptonshire.

Included, controversially, the Corby Cube which, at the time, required another £600,000 to fix what is essentially a flat roof.

October: I detailed why I hate Bonfire Night.

Yes, I’m aware it should be on November 5, but this year it started mid-October and ended mid-November!

Also the lovely Fran Quinn won Great British Bake-Off, news which cheered me, nearby Market Harborough, and possibly the nation.

November: I imparted the sad news that the ‘laminated book of dreams’ in Argos was to be scrapped and replaced by tablet computers.

Also, Children in Need and the response to the Philippines appeal restored my faith in human nature, which had taken a battering from the over-commercialization of Christmas and adverts with feature-film budgets bombarding me on a daily basis.

December: The X-Factor and my favourite Christmas song.

I still think Sam Bailey is amazing – and a worthy winner, her version of The Power of Love is better than the original – and I listen to The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl every year and probably always will.

That’s Helen Bach’s Review of the Year.

Many thanks for reading and a happy 2014 to you all!

Read more from Helen here.