That was the year that was

Fab fan: Bryan Eccleshall
Fab fan: Bryan Eccleshall
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AND so that was 2012... A year when big news stories came as thick and fast as Yorkshire Olympic medals.

There was tragedy in Connecticut, triumph for Spain (the football team if not the economy) and tales of serious impropriety on 1970s Top Of The Pops. The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, Kate announced she was pregnant, and Harry got naked in Las Vegas. Neil Armstrong went to the big moon in the sky, while Felix Baumgartner ski dived from roughly the same height.

But that was big news and has no place on this little page. Here, instead, are a few facts which you may have learned if you read The Diary this year (part one)...

YOU need to be made of seriously tough stuff to work on a prawn trawler.

Just ask Ecclesall Road lad Ant Anderson. He spent three seasons labouring on boats off Australia’s north coast; a brutal, bandit business of ex-cons toiling 52-hour shifts in an industry where more limbs are lost than any other in the world.

He experienced cyclones, stingray barbs and being called a ‘softie’ for wearing a T-shirt to go into a -40 degrees Celsius snap freezer. On his first day, he was ordered into a net with a live sawtooth shark to cut the animal free.

And then, in January, the 25-year-old English literature graduate wrote a book about his experience. It was quite a read.

YOU can live in a grade two listed mansion for just £45 a week (all bills included).

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not.

Nine Sheffielders bagged themselves the housing bargain of the year when they became tenants at Mount Pleasant, in Sharrow Lane, Highfield.

They got to shack up in the 1777 house once owned by Master Cutler Samuel Broomhead – and so big it was used as a school in the 1800s – for considerably less than one normally pays for a bedsit in a backwater. Like Barnsley or somewhere.

It was part of a guardianship scheme, revealed in March. The residents keep the place secure in return for the super-low rates.

DON’T challenge Warwick and Paul Binns to a father-and-son game of golf.

They’d probably win.

The pair, of Intake, made club history when they both knocked in a hole-in-one during the same round at Lees Hall Golf Course, Hemsworth.

You might call it a long shot – but, of course, it was actually two long shots.

First, father Warwick, 69, notched at the eighth. But, not to be outdone, 49-year-old Paul repeated the trick at the 16th.

“I couldn’t have him taking all the glory,” said the younger man in April.

LISTEN up more - Sheffield sounds good. That’s the view of Meersbrook’s Martin Hogg. He’s currently creating the city’s first visitor guide book to ‘sonic-marks’.

Never mind the Cathedral, The Crucible or the Winter Garden, this 38-year-old sound engineer revealed in June he is attempting to promote Sheffield’s audio-curiosities. His tome will point readers (and their ears) in the direction of the River Don Engine at Kelham Island, the Sheaf Street water feature, and the hills above Pitsmoor.

“Music is boring compared with these,” he said.

GIN is in. Forget whisky or wine tasting, it seems in the 21st century the real sophisticates are favouring a spirit once considered so addictive five acts of Parliament were passed to curb consumption.

Gin. It may previously have been labelled Mother’s Ruin but that didn’t stop trendy bar The Old House, in Devonshire Street, setting up appreciation classes in June.

Connoisseurs were invited to sniff, sip and mix up to 45 different brands and flavours from across the globe.

Believe it or not, they didn’t all taste like paint stripper.

THE Beatles are good – but you can like them too much

Such as if you decide to visit every Abbey Road in the UK. That’s what city centre artist Bryan Eccleshall has spent the last five years doing. The 46-year-old travelled the length and breadth of the country to take pictures of the road signs in all 131 of the streets which share a name with the famous album.

“It was a project which appealed to my sense of collecting,” he noted in April.

His favourite Beatles album, by the way? Revolver.