The festivities are over – well if you can call them that! Although despite everything it was a lovely Christmas, I had surprise visits from friends with gifts, had a lovely afternoon of champagne and nibbles on Christmas Eve with the bubble and that same evening a great catch up with three of my besties. Christmas Day was nice – lots of calls and lots of thoughtful gifts. The tree came down Boxing Day (I’m not one for elongating it!) and it was nice to wake up today with what feels like open space in the flat.
I was quite excited the day after the Winter Solstice which means that the nights will get lighter. I love that moment in January sometime when suddenly it hits you that it’s lighter than it’s been for a while and that Spring is on its way.
My last blog was kind of a bit doom and gloom although indicating I felt there was some light at the end of the tunnel. But I’m usually a pretty optimistic and resilient person and so given the thought of lighter nights and a new year ahead of us I thought to myself that even though it hasn’t been the easiest of years, there have been some good parts.
Whilst I didn’t as such enjoy the first lockdown per se, as I sit and reflect, I do remember the quietness. We’ve never had that in our lives. The sun was shining, it was warm, you sat outside, and the air was clear without planes in the sky, wildlife seemed so much more prevalent, there wasn’t any traffic, people walked past you slowly, the London rush had disappeared. You could finish the working day, sit outside and just breathe. In hindsight – we’ll never get that moment back – even with these current lockdowns. I wouldn’t want it all the time – I didn’t move to London for its quietness – but for the first time in 45 years to just have that quietness was very unique.
It took most of the year to work it out but I’ve also learned to be strong about ‘me time’. I take time to unwind with new hobbies; I’ve always read but I’m reading more and have also developed a love of ‘Audible’ which I use when pottering around.
I loved finding local food deliveries. Simple things but remember getting my first vegetable box from ‘Magnificent Marrow’ and being so happy about having fresh food. And even better – that it was from local suppliers and importantly I’ve stopped wasting produce.
Despite the closure of so many hospitality venues with the loss of so many jobs I loved how so many kept it going:
- The Show Must Go On – free streaming of some of the world’s most amazing shows
- Gary Barlow’s Crooner Sessions – artists coming together every day for a new song – I loved them!
- The reinvigoration of the rave scene – I was a huge clubber back in the day and clubs/events like Bowlers, Kinetic and Helter Skelter have totally come back into force with massive online groups and already a reunion planned (and will hopefully go ahead) in April. In addition, so many DJs just played a tune or two to keep us going.
- Gok Wan’s Isolation Nation – who knew, he’s so much fun as a DJ! I’ve spent many a weekend afternoon just loving his tunes that he’s happy to play for hours.
I also want to thank my friend Sean, who for the whole of the first lockdown did a ‘six at six’ show – six songs from 6pm. It was my signal to stop the working day, cook and relax and that structure helped me more than he’ll ever know.
I’ve always loved cooking but for me personally I took my skills to a new level this year – making my own sushi, my own pasta and probably the dish of the year, lobster mac cheese!
I discovered a new passion for gardening. I don’t know what I would have done without my garden this year – but to grow from scratch has been quite possibly one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. So much so – I’m now in possession of a new greenhouse with seeds and seed trays and pots ready to go from January to create a floral and vegetable extravaganza from 2021.
I loved for months not drying or straightening my hair! Or wearing make up! When I finally got to the hairdressers in July she said that despite the tatty ends (!) my hair had never been in such good condition. I loved the fact that nobody cared what you looked like.
I’ve never taken my friends for granted at all but after the first time the restrictions lifted in July, I had four weekends of BBQs and never have I been so happy to see my friends and have company. We’ve all been feeling it but the immense happiness of having them in proximity to me (even when my foot was broken!) was just beyond the definition of happiness. I can’t wait to be back with them again.
When we were allowed ‘out’ oh my goodness – to spend time with people and be back in the City was phenomenal. It’s completely different from the usual post work wine sessions – those things you did take for granted, now it became more than a work whinge – it’s both meaningful and fun.
I’ve been lucky to work throughout – but this year I’ve achieved a goal that I didn’t imagine would happen so quickly after leaving the permanent corporate life. I helped a small business completely change its business model and survive, helping all jobs to stay intact and bringing wine and wine tasting to literally thousands of people.
I thank my lucky stars every day for Rex. He’s been a constant source of joy and been there for cuddles when I needed them the most. Through the difficulties – it is because of him that I have left the house and walked – I think I would have become a hermit without him.
I’m never going to look back with fond memories of 2020, I don’t know many people who will, but as I sit here with a glass of wine I do think, well I’ve learned so much and it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
I am delighted that an end is in sight with the vaccine. I have a very busy 2021 already planned – most importantly the visit to my parents over my birthday which I should have done this year. Fingers crossed, that and all the other treats and trips can go ahead.
So whilst it’s been a very slow blog year and just the most random year in general, I look forward to what adventures lie ahead next year and wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2021.
Cheers to that!