This year, people have written millions of Christmas cards with the sentiment that 2020 was a strange year, a terrible year, a dreadful year. Yet even in this difficult year, many found glimmers of hope. Although we cancelled holidays to see loved ones, we found the slower life, typical of the fifties when we didn’t take holidays or go out for meals, to be a refreshing reminder that there is so much good all about us.
Now is a good time to look back to find the highlights amid the morass of mediocrity. The year brought unfamiliar words into everyday English: furlough, Zoom, lockdown, working from home, and COVID-19.
The highlights of my year were:
January: Britain leaves the EU at 11.00pm on 31st.
February: Keir Starmer launches his successful bid to lead the Labour Party away from the nadir of the 2019 election hammering. Global warming reminds us of its terrible power as storm Jorge brings flooding to many homes across the nation.
March: An overdue lockdown begins on 24th.
April: We rediscover the joy of walking around our neighbourhood during the sunniest April on record.
May: Ultracrepidarian (somebody who gives opinions on matters beyond his knowledge) Johnson leads the Conservative Kakistocracy. (Government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state). Their response to COVID-19 simultaneously achieves the greatest drop in GDP coupled with the highest rate of deaths per million. The country is in a mess.
June: On the 92nd day, and last, of lockdown, June 23, the total of UK deaths reaches 42,927. The Rudders have sustained Broad Haven’s morale with a daily tableau of Heffalump and Tigger. Their small actions bring joy and comfort to many.
July: Our grandchildren are happy to be back at school after months away. Six-year-old Ivy can count to one hundred and fivety, even if she can’t say the word properly!
August: Our son and daughter-in-law from Spain arrive with their newborn child. We have to wait an agonising fourteen days before we can cuddle the beautiful boy. Our daughter brings her family to join us for the warmest and happiest month of the year.
September. Twenty-one-year-old Slovenian, Tadej Pogačar renews my belief in fairy tales when he overtakes Primož Roglič in the final few kilometres of the three-week Tour de France to win by 59 seconds. The youngest winner since 1904 had effectively no team to back him up and hitched his way around France on the back of Roglič’s powerful support riders.
October: I give in and self-publish ‘Death in Bath Cove’ to a deafening silence.
November: A second wave of COVID-19 looms its head across Europe as America goes to the polls to remove Donald Trump.
December: Ultracrepidarian Johnson’s dither and delay ruins Christmas for millions with Draconian lockdown measures announced late on the 19th. Too little, too late comes to mind and for an encore, will they get the ‘oven-ready’ Brexit deal into the oven?
We resume our daily walks around traffic free roads.