2022/2023 Highs and Lows

BACK TO REALITY when the clock struck 12

Beautiful Christmas tree made entirely from dried flowers at Heckfield Place

All lit up at Kenwood House

Christmas and New Year are well over, and TheEye hopes it’s lived up to your expectations.

Show him the door. All over for another year, Bye bye Santa

Sorry to sound a bit glass-half-empty, but Season Dull is upon us – it’s dark, cold, and wet, to say nothing of the howling gales that seem to get through to your bones. TheEye‘s remedy is SOUP. She’s making it at least twice a week, and it’s like an internal hot water bottle but tastier. There are tax returns to be filled in, bills to be paid, and all the irksome chores we put aside until ‘after the festive season.’ Groan groan. The mountain of paper on TheEye‘s desk is growing daily like Jack’s Beanstalk.

And is TheEye the only one not fascinated by Harry’s book and the endless pages the press are still giving it? You can’t turn on the radio or television without someone airing their view. For TheEye it’s just tiresome.

On the bright side, New Year was a lively occasion in ChateauEye, celebrating with family and friends at home. Of course, drinking, overeating, and now having to pay the price. If only shedding the pounds wasn’t as miserable as the pleasure of gaining them. One of the standout moments was when a friend (who shall be nameless, and my lips are tightly sealed) managed to lock themselves in the loo as the clock was about to strike 12. No one noticed one less person at the table until we heard the sound of banging, and we stood outside the door shouting instructions to no avail. ‘Turn the handle to the left, no to the right’ and, finally, with the assistance of a screwdriver and various kitchen gadgets, we managed to get the (almost by then hysterical friend) released from solitary confinement.

Going anywhere by train was out of the question because of the endless strikes, and people missed seeing family and friends. One couple had train tickets to Glasgow, and it took them 11 and a half hours to get there. And we are the fortunate ones. For many in small flats, the loneliness and isolation must have been unbearable.

Looking back at 2022, here are some of TheEye‘s many happy memories.

A wonderful visit to Scotland at the end of August with glorious weather and no pesky mosquitoes biting our ankles. The heather was in full bloom, and the minute you opened the car door, the glorious sweet smell enveloped you. Last summer was apparently the hottest on record, and one can only quote THE SUN, whose headlines are always brilliant even if the paper’s content is not.

Countless visits to the theatre – so many excellent plays!

Tom Hollander in PATRIOTS at the Almeida, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem, The Lehman Trilogy (which TheEye saw three times), Tom Stoppard‘s LEOPOLDSTRAAT, the sensational Crystal Pite Ballet at the ROH, and the last performance this year of the beautiful NUTCRACKER. No matter how many times TheEye has seen it (too many to count and in different countries), it still retains its magic. This performance was perfect, except for one small but important hitch. The Christmas tree did not grow as intended. An announcement was made, and the lights dimmed, as did our spirits. Whilst the catastrophe was dealt with, people remained in their seats, and eventually, to our delight, we saw the tree grow and grow. Everything seemed even more special because they were such a treat after so long. Oh, she mustn’t leave out Anything Goes which had the audience dancing in the aisles.

And then TheEye‘s two favourite podcasts: The Rest is Politics – topical and witty, political analysis with Alastair Campbell and his unlikely teammate, Rory Stewart, which makes you wonder why he (Rory Stewart) is not still in the Tory Government. With such a miserable, largely incompetent bunch, he would have been a great asset. The News Agents is another lively political podcast with excellent credentials. With commentators Jon Sopel, Lewis Goodal, and Emily Maitlis, who really made her name with her toe-squirming interview with (Prince) Andrew. Did we really need to know he doesn’t sweat and his visit to Pizza Express in Woking would have been a gift to a comedian, had he not got there first? Having never been to Woking and having no plans to visit, TheEye wonders if a blue plaque has been erected to commemorate the visit. Dafter things have happened. And he is pretty daft.

Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth flanked by her beloved corgis.

The Queue became famous!No need to explain why.  

Then there was the death of the Queen, which brought the country to a standstill with a period of reflection. But it was THE QUEUE that made the headlines: hundreds of thousands of people lining up waiting to say goodbye to her Majesty lying in State. The Queue represented true Britishness. We Queue for almost everything, usually in a refined manner. There were plenty of ‘celebrity’ queuers – David Beckham was there looking very happy to stay the full 12 hours, eating Pringles and giving plenty to tell the folks back home.

And what is there to hope for as the months go by?

We pray that Ukraine will be able to be victorious and do a ‘David and Goliath’ over Russia. That is TheEye‘s top wish, and also that the endless strikes (rail workers, teachers, nurses) will have a reasonable job of settling their disputes with the government.

Apart from that, TheEye is thankful for her sense of humour – it always helps to see the funny side of a situation.


  1. A great round up of things cheerful & not so cheerful – looking forward to the Eye’s on-going commentary for 2023

  2. Thanks for everything xx

  3. A great blog with which to start the new year, and many happy days ahead.

    Happy 2023 to you.

  4. A great blog with which to start the new year, and many happy days ahead.

    A very Happy 2023 to you.

  5. Dear Janice,
    Long time no see. I wish you a happy, healthy and adventurous New Year!
    Speaking of soups, I remember very well the minestrone you once made, it was the best I ever had!
    And thank you for your blogs, always make me smile.
    All my very best to you and your family!

  6. Thankyou for your honest Eye in 2022. Always entertain. Happy 2023 to you.

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