As I totter, like dear old Dorando Pietri, towards the 2010 finishing line, I pause to wish all who read this a very happy New Year. This hasn't been the best of years for Nigeness; the world has been too much with me, draining my mental and physical energies, occupying too much of my time, and keeping me cooped up indoors on days when I should have been out and about among the butterflies and other delights of the world - though, in the end, it wasn't too bad a year on the butterfly front; I have good memories and, thanks to my lovely daughter-in-law, I now have Patrick Barkham's The Butterfly Isles to get me through the winter, just as The Aurelian Legacy got me through last year's butterflyless months.
Sadly I didn't get to many of the art exhibitions I wanted to visit, but among the few I did see, Cristen Koebke at the National Gallery was a revelation. My reading year was more satisfactory, as 2010 was the year I finally got to grips with Marianne Moore and Kay Ryan, discovered Barbara Comyns, rediscovered Alice Thomas Ellis (thanks, Tricia) and William Gerhardie, read Elizabeth Taylor's unforgettable Angel and John Williams's simply magnificent (and magnificently simple) Stoner, and continued to explore the wonders of Penelope Fitzgerald and William Maxwell, both of whom seem to get better and better the more I read. As I posted on all of those, I guess it wasn't such a bad year's blogging - and the best news, at year's end, is that my mother, having given every impression of being halfway over the threshold of death's door a few months ago, is now restored to health and very nearly indeed her old self. There is, as at the end of every year - of every day - much to be thankful for. Again, Happy New Year!