After starting reasonably well (the first few days anyway), the year 2011 presented us with a mixed bag of good and bad leaving many of us thinking WTF! It was the year that my husband and I had been looking forward to for several years with a dream trip to Europe booked, 8 weeks of travelling from Paris to Amsterdam, a week in Germany, a few days in Switzerland and four weeks in Italy.
Notre Dame Cathedral at night
Before we had even booked our accommodation disaster after disaster hit and although it didn’t affect us directly, emotions were high and I couldn’t help feeling a little guilty about taking an overseas holiday when many were without homes and had lost loved ones. First came the Queensland and Brisbane floods, 75% of the state was under water including one of Australia’s capital cities, over 30 people had died in Queensland as a result of flooding since the end of November. Christchurch, New Zealand was then hit with a devastating 6.3 earthquake that tore apart the city and killed almost 200 people, since then they have experienced over 5000 quakes. That earthquake was quickly followed by another in Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and a nuclear crisis which will continue to have a devastating impact on our environment for many years to come.
Christchurch Cathedral long before the earthquake
The devastation didn’t stop there with mudslides in Brazil killing almost 500, cyclone Yasi in North Queensland, earthquakes in Turkey and Pakistan, flooding in the Phillipines and a prolonged drought in Africa resulting in the UN declaring a famine which is believed to be affecting over 10 million people. I’m sure that there are many events that I am missing, but I cannot recall them all and there is probably a website or two where you can get more detailed information and timelines.
During our holiday we stayed in the small picturesque town of Vernazza in Cinque Terre, a beautiful and romantic spot visited by tourists all year round. Sadly, in October the region was hit by flooding and Vernazza was hit by a massive mudslide, one of two towns in Cinque Terre drastically affected by flooding, the other being Monterosso. This disaster didn’t make the headlines in Australia, it was only through a post from Rick Steve on his blog that I found out about it and then tracked down more regular information in a fabulous blog called Cultural Comments. Although fewer lives were lost in the floods in the region of Liguria than in other natural disasters, this one was close to our hearts because of the joy we felt when visiting Cinque Terre and one day soon we hope to return.
Vernazza's scenic harbour
Not only were there natural disasters, but the health of colleagues, friends and their families also suffered with a heart attack taking the life of our dear friend Mike and cancer in several forms causing heartache and pain for too many to mention. When the health of those around you suffers it really does make you think about your own health so in 2012 I’ll be heading off to the doctors for a full check up, I also plan on eating more healthy food and ramping up the exercise which will be good for me and my furry friends.
Our most faithful, loyal and bestest friends really copped alot of flak this year thanks to the implementation of Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which is the banning of breeds such as Pit Bulls (or pit bull type) because they are dangerous. Following the progress of the Save Lennox campaign has demonstrated to me how badly BSL works, over 121,000 people have signed the petition to let Lennox go home to his family and there have been numerous appeals but we’re still waiting for the judge to make a (just and fair) decision. I think BSL is a reactive piece of legislation and don’t believe that it will reduce the number of dog bites, nor will it reduce dog fighting, it will just drive them deeper underground. I don’t know how anybody is actually going to stop stupid and cruel people from owning and training dogs (of any breed) to be vicious, euthanising humans is against the law. Animal cruelty in general appears to be on the increase, it is a sad reflection of our society and it is time for governments to introduce tougher penalties for people guilty of inflicting pain and suffering on animals.
Two Black Dogs
Despite all the sadness and feeling as though 2011 was the worst year ever I have to remind myself that it wasn’t all bad. Apart from our wonderful holiday in Europe we also celebrated a 21st, a couple of 40th birthdays, spent time with family and friends from interstate and I managed to get a high distinction for my Marketing course. 2011 was also the year that I finally registered as a volunteer for the Animal Welfare League in Queensland, my Sunday mornings are now spent blissfully walking and cuddling dogs that are living in a shelter and waiting for someone to give them a forever home, it is the best job I have ever had. Blogging has been a positive experience for me, it has led me to other blogs, people with similar interests and fascinating stories to tell, not to mention beautiful photographs and artwork. I have high hopes for 2012
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog and whilst the stats aren’t huge I am still impressed and very appreciative of the fact that people other than my family and friends actually read my blog. I didn’t think that anyone would really be interested in the report so I’ve only left the excerpt below, thank you for liking/reading/following Two Black Dogs, have a fabulous 2012.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.