It was the worst of times but we have seen the best of many people. A time like we have never known or wish to know again – but how can we ever learn any lessons from times like this and if we do learn what will those lessons be?
I wonder what will be written about how 2020 unfolded when people look back. Although there are lots of ways and reasons to see the bleak black clouds of heartfelt hurt and disappointments I wonder what will be the silver lining of goodness or positivity that might come through this. A little like a blanket of snow drop flowering across a woodland floor bringing in with them the signs of a new season and rejuvination of life after a bitter and harsh winter.
Sometimes how we view and react to a life event shapes how or even if we can move forward from the event. Although at other times it might be the very events themselves that force us to be re-shaped and review our view of the world or how we see ourselves within it. Coronavirus is very much an event that people have had to react to and or been reshaped by.
So do we thank or blame god?
Curse or give credit to a politician in power?
Or will we be grateful for what we have or curse for what we do not have?
Well in time we will hopefully have an opportunity to find out, reflect and move forward.
Today was my last day in work until Christmas. I now have one week off until I log into my work computer again to do some work and even better than that I managed to get all the work that I hoped to do today done. Presents bought and wrapped, Christmas songs playing on Spotify. Though this Christmas is in no way normal for pretty much everyone.
In a normal year in the week building up to Christmas day I would be out on a Wednesday night like tonight listening to music in a bar exchanging cards, gifts and stories with friends whilst getting merry with a Christmas Guinness or two.
I’m afraid I am not a household drinker of alcohol so lockdown drinking does not really happen for me. I still have four cans of Guinness being kept cool in my fridge that I was given from my workplace for leaving my old job back in July. There is something lovely about a social pint in a bar with friends, family or strangers just does not do when drinking at home on my own. Therefore I just don’t drink alcohol at home alone.
They say people forget what they do when they drink (too much). But for me some of my most cherished memories are from times when I was having a drink with strangers, family or friends.
Back to Christmas!
In a normal year my bags would be packed now and I would be on the first train out of Exeter to visit my mum to stay with her for Christmas. I even booked the day off work Christmas eve to travel to Cornwall. But we all took the decision not to meet up for Christmas this year and have a catcup around Easter 2021 instead or after Mum has had a vaccination against Covid-19 first and is in a better position to be protected against the virus. After such a difficult time the one thing I did not want to give to either of my parents for Christmas is the risk of bringing Covid-19 to either of my parents, so better to be safe than sorry.
Instead I will be spending Christmas with a friend who also would have been spending it alone in Exeter this year due to his circumstances too, so our social bubble is legal and legit for a Christmas day meal together. He is vegetarian so nearly all of the food I am cooking is vegetarian, all bought and ready to cook. I am really looking forward to it. I even have some Guinness flavoured coffee to get me going on Christmas morning.
So here it is Merry Christmas from Exeter in the UK its just gone 12 midnight and it is now officially Christmas Eve 2020 here. I look to the future now, its only just begun. I hope you do to.
Well I tried to do a survey on my last post and so far only three people have responded so this time I would be answering the questions myself a sort of summary of 2020 and see how this goes.
Question 1. Hardest thing I had to do this year.
Making sure I did not have a complete meltdown and go backwards in life after having a severe mental health blip at the beginning of the year. Some time back in March I went to A&E with huge concerns for my mental health I think it was a few weeks before the first lock down started. The thing was I had a chest infection and bad cold/flue or covid-19 thing at the beginning of 2020 and it stole from me my ability to sleep properly at night and I kind of slipped into a non sleeping, spaced out and obsessed with Covid-19 taking hold around the world mess.
I had enough insight to realise that I was unwell, which is why I went to the hospital. I managed to have a good talk to the on duty mental health team there and got a lot off my chest about how to move things forward. After four days off work gathering my thoughts and learning how to sleep again I was able to carry on working and kept ticking over until I had recovered from my mental mess more thoroughly.
Questions 2. Greatest achievement of 2020?
Also back in March I went for a job interview for the council working in environmental health and amazingly got offered and accepted the job. The job did not start until July 13th. This was because I needed to be trained up in office in order to learn how to do the job so was only aloud to start after the first lockdown had finished.
Question 3. Best purchase of 2020?
I went and bought a tree, not just any tree mind you but a book published in 1770 that had a print of Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil (from Old Norse Yggdrasill) is an immense mythical tree that plays a central role in Norse cosmology, where it connects the Nine Worlds.
I did a little research on the print and found out I could by the origianl book with the print in it would cost me less than buying a copy of the print to hang up on my wall straight from a retailer. So I got the book, scanned the image into my computer, then uploaded the scan onto a website that turns scans and photos into pictures to go an walls on canvases and had the picture produced onto a canvas frame and posted to me to go on my wall in my lounge above where I now work for the council when I work at home.
At the time you could buy this image on eBay as a print for about £60 but the way that I produced it meant I had the original book that the print came from along with the framed print for half the price. A good deal in deed.
Speaking of Trees and life – The tallest tree in Wales had been damaged by a storm and was supposed to be cut down, but a better solution was found. Natural Resource Wales, which was in charge of the site, ordered artist O ‘ Rourke to cut down the tree. He cameup with the concept of carving what the tree stump and trunk into a giant hand – to symbolise the tree’s last attempt to reach the sky. Once completed, the sculpture was coated with tung oil, a natural vegetable oil safe for the closeness of the riverways.
Question 4. Silliest purchase(s) of 2020?
I bought a box load of DVD’s to sell on eBay to raise money for local Exeter charities. At the time their shops were all in lockdown so I thought I would raise some money for them by having online auctions for them on eBay. What could go wrong, well quite a lot actually? I still have boxes of stuff here ready to give away to charity shops as struggled to sell on eBay.
Question 5. Silliest/riskiest thing I did during a lockdown?
I am not a real risk taker most of the time but it’s those times when I do take risks I think later on “what the hell were you thinking” “just don’t bloody do it again”. Well one of those times after the first lockdown had taken place was joining in a drink game with a bunch of people I did not know in a pub that I very much know and enjoy. It only happened once but the next day I was cursing myself with thoughts of “what the hell were you thinking” “just don’t bloody do it again!!”
Question 6. What did I like about this year?
I love nature but I really managed to rediscover nature on my doorstep. When walking the street in spring and early summer at 6am to head to a shop to get a paper and some milk or other supplies, I found that such a magical time to be alive on a clear day the birds sing like they are giving you a personal performance and I even got a bird table to feed the many starlings, fat pigeons and little sparrows that would hop onto my bird table.
Food for thought
This year has been and continues to be a revolutionary year and for good or ill the revolution continues to go on day by day. Some will win some have lost, some will survive some will not. A lot will live and many will die. Good things have happened and better may come still.
The fact that I am still here and you the reader are still here is a huge plus for me to.
Happy Christmas to you and yours and best of luck for whatever 2021 throws in your direction.