The Golden Parts Of 2011 – Part 1

I told myself that I would write a blog entry for every day of the New Year. Haven’t had the start that I wanted, but better late than never. Anyway, I’m going to write about my top moments of 2011. It was a very mixed year, failure running just about in front of success. But I’m not going to linger on the bad parts. I’m going to celebrate the good.

In no particular order, here are the things that made parts of my year golden. (I’m going to need to divide them up into different blogs…there are too many for just one.)

Being told over the phone that I had been accepted to spend 3 months in Iceland as a conservation volunteer. You know that feeling you get when you’re nervous, happy and scared all at the same time…where you feel all light and a little bit dizzy? It was as if someone had filled my veins with sugar water. And the greatest thing of all was that Tom had been accepted for the programme too. I was to spend three months in a tent with the man who I want to spend the rest of my life with. I had been picked from fuck knows how many people to have this once in a lifetime experience; to see Iceland in a way not many people get to see it. I was to experience it with my everything I have. I was to experience it physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and socially. I was so excited and eager to start giving back to the land, to work with it and protect it.  Life, my friends, was fucking grand.


Seeing and meeting wolves for the very first time. 25 is a tough age. Quarter of a century. You’re not that young but you’re not really that old either. It’s a bit of a limbo. It’s the age when your Young Persons Railcard is cut up. The age when you wear your glasses a lot more than your contact lenses. The age when you make sure you have an umbrella in your bag before checking you have your wallet. Anyway, I’d asked for a heap of gifts that I hoped would help me through this difficult time. I never expected that I’d get a day as an assistant wolf keeper. I’d written it off. But fuck me. I got it. When I saw my first wolf, as I clambered out of the taxi, I went week at the knees. I was in love. Torak was fucking gorgeous. I wanted to turn into a goddamn wolf and run with him. I spent the day in a daze, amongst Canadian, European and Arctic Wolves. It was… oh, come on. You really think words can sum it up? Nah, words can’t sum up how fucking incredible it was to feed a wolf. How utterly magical it was to put my hand on a wolf’s firm, muscular body. To watch them run, well, it was as if they were not of this world, but somewhere else entirely. I didn’t hear the wolves howl, unfortunately. I wish I had thrown my head back and howled with all of my spirit.


Having a surprise sighting of  a wild Arctic Fox in Asbyrgi, Iceland. Tom and I were walking through a field, early evening, on the way to a solitary garage to grab some cinnamon rolls, when there was a burst of birds from some nearby undergrowth. They were screaming and flapping as if they wanted to reach the sun. The next thing I know, Tom is hissing ‘what the fuck is that?’ Close in front was an Arctic Fox, trotting through the grass, its black summer coat almost entirely replaced with a winter coat of the purest white. I fumbled with my bag and yanked my camera out, swearing to myself as I struggled to change lenses. I started snapping and we followed it. It caught sight of us when it stopped on a small hillock. I caught it looking directly at us for but a moment, before it disappeared over the brow of the hill. The birds started to drift back into sight, and it was as if it had never happened.