Another year ticks over. Time to look back on 2006 and look ahead to 2007.
2006 represents a couple of significant personal milestones.
Rochelle and I celebrated ten years in our house. We moved into it, initially as a rental property in August 1996 and a few years later we purchased it. We're proud that we own it debt-free and that we've done many major improvements to it over the years. Many of those changes were masterminded and implemented by Rochelle with the occasional helping hand from me (I'm not nearly as good at DIY home maintenance as she is). Possibly prompted in part by marking a decade in the same home, we're now starting to think about moving up the property ladder; renting out our current home and buying another one. It's depressing to see just how expensive houses are at the moment in Auckland though, and we're not keen on mortaging ourselves to the eyeballs, so at the moment we're just thinking about our options.
I also worked my fifth consecutive year in my current position at Noel Leeming Group, which makes this now the longest time I've spent in the same job, a record previously held by my four-and-a-bit years at Whitcoulls (1995-1999). I started in 2002 and my fifth anniversary comes up at the end of this month. I've held the same position (my official title is 'Internet Site Editor'), since I started, though the actual set of tasks and responsibilities that goes with that position has changed quite a bit over those five years.
The year had its ups and downs - we had a delightful holiday in the South Island early in the year, attending the wedding of our friends Adam and Sandra in Christchurch and then spending a week exploring the South Island by camper van. The trip ended on a sad note however with the news, that reached us while we were travelling through Marlborough, that Rochelle's cousin had died suddenly in a workplace accident.
We took another holiday in October, this time staying in the five star Outrigger resort in Fiji. Again we went for a wedding (of our friends Edwin and Tania), and stayed on for a week. Alas there was less lounging by the poolside sipping cocktails than we'd anticipated due to a few days of terrible weather; but we did make the most of the fine days to visit a small island and to go on a train ride and experience the Fiji Day celebrations. It's alarming to see on the news how the country has rapidly descended into anarchy and martial law in the few months since our holiday though as a consequence of the coup it's now considerably cheaper to take a holiday in Fiji than it was when we visited!
We traded in our old Toyota Celica as the automatic transmission was in need of work, and replaced it with a newer model Toyota Celica (creatures of habit, us!). A protracted battle of wits with the Land Transport Authority ensued over change of ownership when we went to renew the car registration six months later (apparently for half a year we'd been driving around a car that wasn't registered to us!). Fortunately after I stood my ground in the post office and then wrote a sternly worded fax to the LTA this was all resolved out in our favour and penalty fees erased.
Personal highs in 2006 included getting an article I'd written professionally published in the Telos book Talkback: The Seventies and finally seeing my favourite band, U2, perform live in concert for only the second time in my life. In 2007 we're going to see another favourite group, Snow Patrol.
I finished the handover of the TSV editorship to Adam McGechan (we'd shared editorial duties for the last couple of years), and got to sit back and watch as Adam produced his first two issues (the third is underway as I write) with a stonking new design and a strong focus on the new series.
The editorial changeover should have been a positive and re-energising time for TSV and the club but it was overshadowed by a heated argument on the TSV message boards with some readers objecting to all sorts of things to do with TSV and the club. Many months later I'm still not entirely sure that I understand everything behind such a vitriolic outburst. Dissent and discussion is all well and good, but this went further, turning into a personally distressing experience. Adam and I distanced ourselves from the TSV message board for a while after it became apparent that nothing either of us could say would help the situation. I shudder to think what any new visitors to the TSV website during this time would have made of their first impressions of the club.
More positively, the Auckland Chapter started up again in 2006 after a long dormancy and regular monthly pub meetings were held throughout the year in an attempt to emulate UK fandom's legendary Fitzroy tavern meetings. There are similar meetings held in Wellington and Christchurch. At their best, the Auckland meetings have had a good turn-out and I've met a few new faces. The pub meets have also seen the launch of regular issues of Zeus Plug, a wonderful mini-zine deftly edited by Jonathan Park and Peter Adamson. These have been a great talking point at the meetings and I've written a few pieces for various issues. Because it's so very different in both style and focus, I don't think of it as competition for TSV, but I am a little envious at its frequency and the relative ease with which each 16-page, A6 issue comes together!
On a happier note, having Adam take control of TSV left me relatively free to get stuck into my ongoing task of transferring the back catalogue to the Internet with the invaluable assistance of Alden Bates. That man is a powerhouse of web publishing! Eight issues of TSV (covering 1993-94), the Tardis Tales Collection, two 'missing' novelisations and a batch of material which had previously appeared in the Doctor Who Listener Vol.2 was all prepared and published online in 2006. This year I hope to keep up the monthly schedule by covering everything from 1995 and 1996, as well as hopefully the remaining novelisations, a third batch of Listener clippings and also another ebook, this time from outside the TSV stable, a highly sought-after, out-of-print Doctor Who novel (but I'm not saying which one just yet!). Most of these items are already well under way. Stay tuned!