I’m still too cheapskate to post New Year cards, so here’s another annual news majig.

image: flowers in the autumn sun

In early December, after more than three year’s solid work learning the language, I was granted Luxembourgish nationality. Yay! I’m now safe from the British government’s efforts to steal my freedom of movement, to reduce my human rights. I don’t appreciate brexiteer fantasy, zealotry, or paranoia: I’m no coward, I’m not scared of foreigners, even though I’m no longer one.

Taking another nationality isn’t something to be taken lightly. I’m not talking about the work, I’m talking about the commitment.

Luxembourg happens to be going through good times at the moment. One of the benefits of being a small country is that when your bigger neighbours do quite well, if you’re canny, you can do very well. On the other hand, when your bigger neighbours go bad, you can be deep in the doggy–dos. Although these are the good times, the nationality means that if Luxembourg falls into difficult times, I do my bit.

I’m still in the same job, to everyone’s surprise. For the fourth time now, my contract has been renewed late & unexpectedly, currently for most of next year. I take the uncertainty in my stride; it’s part of professional life.

Artistically, the year’s been quite good. I exhibited my photography a few times, including at the British Embassy in May. I self–published some photography artist’s books at the beginning of the year: brexit, none of the above, & we print the truth. I might make a flowery one.

I gave some poetry readings, including at the British Embassy in November. A couple of books came out: my collection, Big Town Blues (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press), and the anthology Fresh from the Fountain (Black Fountain Press) included one of my poems.

image: concrete abuse of text

In terms of arts & ego, I completed concrete, and expect to take advantage of it in 2019. I added a vault, showing how the site has changed over the years. I plan to integrate it into various networks of independent websites, such as indieweb.

We visited Lisbon for a week in late spring, and Berlin for a week in autumn. I like Lisbon, although it can get horribly hot. I think we may revisit Portugal. If we do, I’ll have to pick up more of the language than “hello”, “oops, sorry about that” and “I’d like deep fried elephant ears and concrete straw on my piazza, my god moon”.

We met my extended family at my nephew’s marriage in blighty. His sisters have been most … erm … productive: there’s nearly enough little ones to form a wobbly school of ninja toddlers. Unfortunately, I’ve not seen my brother’s children (my fault, really: I didn’t go visiting when they were little, due to the distance), although I bumped into their parents at that wedding. All in all, all seem well, all are flourishing.

As one gets older, one’s health starts to play silly buggers. Fortunately, touch wood, Lana has been fine, and the only unhealthy surprise I’ve had was my first ever dose of eye strain, bought on by a week’s night driving, something I’ve not done regularly since I left blighty.

We’ve plans for this year, including a trip to Beijing so I can take an intensive Mandarin course.

The only darkness on the horizon is what’s going in in the UK, with the shambolic wreckage of supposéd government making an utter pig’s ear of leaving the EU. It’s such a fuck up there that I don’t think the horrible predictions of what might happen if there’s a hard brexit are the worst case: there’s so much irrational anger, hatred even, that I still fear a descent into violence, as per history elsewhere. I feel safer now I’ve been granted Luxembourg nationality, but I remain worried for my birthland and my extended family still living there.