I generally keep a diary when there’s something special going on. That typically includes travel and special events so I’ve been keeping one over the last few days and included in it my reflections of 2020. This is what I’ve written.
We’ve had no holidays. We were due to go to Italy in May but that fell foul of Covid and we got our money back. Otherwise we had just a couple for nights at the Windmill in Linton, that’s the one near Wetherby, early in September when we went to see the Bradburys and to celebrate Sophia’s 5th birthday. Of course we’d also planned Xmas up north as well but cancelled that as infection rates began to climb.
It’s been a very busy year, busier than other recent years. I didn’t chose it to be so and to be honest I’d prefer that it had not. It started with the Sales & Marketing Manager at a company I work with getting the big heave-ho and me taking over the role on a part-time basis. Then we got Covid which meant that it first went into shutdown, then people working from home, if they couldn’t do their jobs in the office/at the factory, to working as normal and then back again. Closer to home I resolved not to get involved in the community’s response to the pandemic until I was invited to join the meetings which co-ordinated it and ended up chairing them. In September or thereabouts Abbey Farm came onto the market and a group came together to save parts of it. This evolved under the leadership of Howard Biddle who asked me to help/sucked me in.
Add to the above my continued involvement with the parish and county councils and the Eastern Learning Alliance (formerly the Morris Education Trust) and my life is pretty full. I’d rather it was not that way.
It has not been a good year for restaurants. After our return from Jakarta, Indonesia, where Tien Chao scored top marks, I remember Mercado in Cambridge, where we enjoyed a last meal with Christine Halls, before we got into lockdown. Then just a few meals abroad during the summer including one at the Old Fire Engine House in Ely.
Otherwise it’s time to celebrate two of our excellent hostelries in Histon & Impington viz the Urban Shed and the Railway Vue. The former was just finding its niche before lockdown but then reopened with a vigour. It’s breakfasts are excellent and it’s good to have an all day licensed cafe in the community. The latter has been with us for some time of course and I’ve enjoyed several lunches and dinners there. I’ve tended to find landlady Loretta a tad intimidating but she runs a tight ship and makes for a very safe Covid compliant environment.
The same can be said for hotels of course and who’d have though that my comment on TripAdvisor about the Plateran Heritage in Borobudur, Indonesia, where we stayed 1 Jan 20, ‘Best hotel of the year … so far’ would have survived unchallenged to the end of the year.
Two people I know rather well have died. The first was Alan Rodger, a colleague at IVC/MET. Alan had fought throat cancer once and got through it but then it came back and he opted to let it run its course. He continued to work hard to the end and always put me to shame. Alan died in January. Click here for a relevant post.
The second was Christine Halls who also died of cancer. She had been having treatment since late in 2019 and even in late January of 2020 we had dinner with her and husband Tony. Then of course we got the Covid lockdown and we just saw her once more, early in July, just before she died. Christine was a dear friend and one of those special people who lit up a room by her very presence.
My health has been pretty good. My blood pressure has stayed in the right range and I’ve managed to increase my running slowly to 5K in about 34 minutes. My weight is steady at around 65-66 Kg, I’m sleeping OK and my other bodily functions, if you know what I mean, are generally good. Plus, and as far as I can recall,I’ve not had a cold and didn’t have my usual winter infection.
Covid has dominated the year. The big national lockdown began in the second half of March and I think we were all pretty scared. Nobody did anything, there were no exceptions like going to work and, although supply chains continued to function well, there was some panic buying and shops seemed to think it was a good idea to implement irregular opening times.
We soon got used to this however and shops began to open as normal, more take away services started up and people went back to work ‘if they couldn’t do their jobs at home’. Then in the summer pubs and restaurants opened, with some rules, and the government thought it was a good idea to incentivise us to ‘eat out to help out’ . Life began to feel a bit like normal and I rather preferred the more ‘civilised’ environment in our pubs with table service. But for the fact that I still couldn’t go to Italy on holiday I was pretty relaxed.
It all started to go wrong again in September as schools and then colleges and universities opened up. Infection rates began to climb, the tier system was introduced and then we had another national lockdown in November. This one didn’t work either because it was not as complete as the March lockdown, or because too many people didn’t take it seriously, or because the new virus was already having an impact. Whatever the reason infection rates did not come down enough so the hoped for Xmas relaxation was severely curtailed and the tier system has been strengthened. The big question now is ‘will we get another national lockdown or is the Oxford vaccine going to come to the rescue?’
So what do I expect/hope for in 2021? Maybe a vaccination in February, some relaxation in March and maybe a trip to Italy in the autumn. Fingers crossed.