I suppose my first intention here is to hope that you have so far had a Happy New Year. Apparently only 10% of us adhere to our often ill thought out resolutions, so by now you’re probably well on the path back to where you started.
Looking back, there certainly has been an abundance of concern during the year about where things are going and where it’s all going to end … anyway enough about Prince Andrew, let’s get down to realities.
Jeepers what a year 2020 was! I’m sure that you will be happy to join me in declaring that you are mightily glad that it’s over. Bluntly, it’s difficult to describe such a year in succinct terms. Horrid? Concerning? Worrying? Exhilarating? Take your pick, it will surely be inadequate.
Throughout the year I’ve tried to produce as many articles as possible without an overbearance on the word ‘COVID’ – or CORVID as my ornithological friend chooses to call it. On most occasions I’m afraid that I failed, as this subject tended to eat away at the back of my mind and to deny its existence would almost certainly have seemed callous.
Earlier, I used the word ‘exhilarating’ and to be honest sometimes it has been. After the first lockdown, having seen the ubiquitous statistics move in our favour and to be able to get out and meet up with family and friends sharing a pub meal was most welcome.
We normally spend our holidays in Portugal and there we were, in sunny – yes sunny – Suffolk, having as good a time as we’ve ever had. Little did we know that this was just an interlude that was rather more transient than we expected - as was the bottle of wine that we ordered with our first al fresco meal!
Mind you, during the first lockdown, 50% of our household (i.e. me!) had become nimbler imbibers of red wine as they (i.e. 50%) increasingly felt the need for self-compensation.
I write this article not long before Christmas and I am sure that by the time you read it, nothing much will have changed in spite of newly announced more drastic lockdown rules. I should add that midway through writing this article I stopped to watch our revered leader announce these knew rules in a press conference. The result was that I had to review and alter most of what I’d already written and owing to a tight dead-line set by our revered editor, I missed the West Ham game.
Will I face this New Year with renewed vigour or with increasing apathy? Who gives a damn?
Has my renewed interest in gardening lasted the course? Probably not. Winter winds and rain have a way of making a good book or a televisual box set seem rather more appealing. I’ve a feeling, if I’m absolutely honest with myself, that I’ve become lazier as time has gone on - I would appreciate it if you would not mention this last admission to Mrs Allen.
Obviously one of the factors which did change during 2020 was the number of people who worked from home. This naturally meant a change in the work-life balance and people were falling over themselves to take advantage. This obviously had a serious effect on office romances, which statistically has fallen at a rate roughly equivalent to the ability to keep a New Year resolution.
Another obvious effect of COVID-19 was a rapid expansion in e-commerce. Online shopping has increased drastically, much to the delight of the packaging industry. This has, of course, had a deleterious effect on the high street, but somehow I have a feeling that this will not be as drastic as we anticipate.
After all of these ramifications, we now learn that there is a new faster moving strain of virus; but at least we have the new vaccines to cheer our souls and give us hope, and there is always hope. If we had read a fictional story about the events of 2020 we would have considered it to be somewhat far-fetched. But, although we must not forget those who have suffered loss and grief due to this infamous virus, the majority of us have come through unscathed and maybe with an appreciation of the simpler things in life.
So let’s hope that this New Year will be an improvement on the last, and talking about hope I leave you with this quote from Woodrow Wilson: “You are not here merely to make a living, you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
Wise words I think.