Only looking back now at what actually has happened (no longer merely promises and hopes, as some might have thought mere months ago) can we now appreciate the sheer extent of this year's special events and what they signify.
I'm not going to go into great detail here, as there are many resources that cover one or more of these events and celebrations much more fully than I ever could – especially (though far from being alone) the excellent Rochester People website.
Briefly, though, on top of the usual Dickens Summer and Christmas festivals, FUSE, the Will Adams Festival, Sweeps, the new and traditional markets (including this and other Christmas Markets) and the other regulars, we had our first River Festival, the Dickens Bicentenary celebration, our City bid and all that went with that, various sporting specials (not just what we did here for and during the London Olympic Games) and no doubt at least one or two others I cannot recall just at the moment.
On top of those, we also participated very strongly in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations with a host of street parties among other very visible activities. Indeed, I saw the bunting still up in a couple of roads a week or more later on my own travels around the Towns...
While reading these words doesn't in and of itself mean much to anyone who hasn't 'been there', for those who have (such as the intrepid Jaye Nolan and Cllr Chris Irvine, whose presence at – and photographing/videoing of – just about everything that happens has become near-legendary) it really does mean something. In fact, it means a lot!
Indeed, I have been at a number of events this year, as previously, but not as much as I'd have liked owing to my ongoing health issues. This fact is a stark reminder to me of just how much I am now missing, though involuntarily, and perhaps that above all else brings the significance of living in a truly vibrant community home to me.
For all its faults, the frequent cynical demeanour of many of its people, and the 'Chaviness' that seems to permeate at least some of its High Streets and by-ways, it's till a great place to be. Let the year 2012 be a strong and powerful reminder of that fact!: it deserves to be