2020

December 2020 – St Leonards-on-Sea.

Twenty Twenty, what a year, eh? I am pleased that it is (almost) over, but being perfectly frank with you dear reader (and please keep this to yourself) I am not yet overly excited regarding the prospects for twenty twenty-one. At least ‘we got Brexit’ done, whatever that means, and who knows what it will cost us; as a nation, a continent and as individuals next year and into the future. Hopefully I will never have to hear politicians babble on about the glorious unicorn filled sunlit uplands it promised again.

Not wanting to sound utterly selfish, but in the main Covid has passed me by. I know I am incredibly fortunate. I have a decent enough job, work from my home near the sea which I share with the person I love very much, and we are both relatively fit and healthy and are not physically or financially struggling.

Until a few days before Christmas we knew very few people who had been sick with Covid; then this new strain appeared and BOOM, all of a sudden we know a dozen infected people, directly and intimately. Eleanor’s youngest son got it, probably while teaching, and passed it on to his girlfriend; one of my workmates got sick then three of our neighbours. For the youngsters it seemed the worst passed quickly and they were not overly ill, one of the neighbours was sicker and for longer, but thankfully no-one ended up being hospitilised, or even worse.

This new strain continues to ravage the south east of England. A few days ago we were put into Tier 4, essentially a lockdown, and, as the right-wing papers, rather hyperbolically screamed ‘Christmas was cancelled’. Except of course, it wasn’t cancelled, it was just different. It meant we didn’t go back to Walthamstow, which was disappointing, though we had a perfectly good Christmas here in St Leonards, sharing gift opening and games via Zoom. Again, we are lucky, we were not one of the many who were forced to spend Christmas alone or with people we did not want to be with.

On the positive news front, New Zealand, and the parts of Australia where my family live are not in lock down and they can do all the things they would normally do at Christmas and new year and I am extremely happy for them, and of course rather envious. Our hope is to join them next year, but this is now a cautious hope and whatever happens will happen.

I will wrap up 2020 with a non-political pros and cons starting with the cons so I can end on a more positive note.

Cons

  • My mental health definitely suffered; not massively, thankfully, but recently I have had more down days than up I am not as optimistic as I usually am, though it is winter so this is somewhat seasonal.
  • I am fatter than I was at the start of the year.
  • I drink and eat too much. This could be seen as a positive as I like these things.
  • We didn’t get to do our 10 day rail trip through five European countries due to Covid. This very much contributed to the above mental state.
  • I only went to two gigs.
  • Not being able to go out and do things.
  • I lost interest in taking photos and am still struggling for motivation.
  • I worked too much and didn’t enjoy much of it.
  • I absolutely missed seeing people; friends, work mates.
  • I missed my ‘local’ bar.
  • I wanted to start writing a novel, but didn’t. I did buy a notebook to write plot lines and it does have some words in it.
  • Arsenal are crap I hate watching them. Though, I have to admit they did play magnificently in winning the FA CUP and Charity Shield.

Pros

  • We have spent seven months of this year living in St Leonards, which is so much more than I expected and we have made a number of small improvements to the flat during that time.
  • Eleanor and I have survived intact being together pretty much 24/7. (I have had the occasional sulk)
  • My family are all well, though I am immensely jealous of their freedom.
  • Eleanor applied for a partner visa for New Zealand. We have yet to hear anything yet, but that was expected.
  • I listed to a lot of music and bought a lot records;
    • There was some great music released in 2020. New records by Wax Chattels, Die! Die! Die!, Hey Colossus, Spectres, Bedroom, Wicketkeeper, Thurston Moore, Caroline and Deathcrash to start with.
    • I bought a few things on Discogs, old punk records and others to fill holes in my collection.
    • I bought my first reggae record in about 35 years and will listen to more ska, rock steady and dub in 2021.
  • There was some great TV; The Queens Gambit, The Mandolorian, Stranger Things, Swedish Dicks, Fear the Walking Dead, Homecoming, The Boys. We have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the start which has been fun.
  • I read a few books, not as many as I would have liked, but I enjoyed them all.
  • I mostly finished writing a first short story. It took a lot longer than I would have liked (a con) but it is largely done. I am not sure what to do with it now.
  • I had a photo in an exhibition in Hastings which should have inspired me to do more, and it did for a brief period.
  • It is sunny outside, or it was when I started writing, it is now 4:30 and dark (see above).

Anyway, enough, I wasn’t going to do a blog, so this is at least something and I am now going to make a cake.

Here are some sunset photos taken from the bedroom window in November and December, setting the sun on 2020.

All the best for 2021.

 

2 thoughts on “2020

  1. Nice way to round out what has been a weird year Phil… I enjoy getting your blog updates and while I admit to not reading every single one, those I do read are very good. That book you’re planning might be better than you think 🙂

    Xmas down-under was by all accounts better than you’re experiencing in the UK and it was good to have a relatively normal day of it with family. But TBH, this year has worn on me a lot personally and in business and I have found that staying at home in our slice of rural paradise is all I really want to do. The older I get, the less patience I seem to have for the city, traffic, people etc…

    Looking forward to your next update, hope we can catch up next time your in this part of the world.

    Cheers
    Ewen

    1. Thanks Ewan. I know exactly what you mean about not having patience for the city and traffic anymore, staying home appeals to me an awful lot these days as well. Glad you managed to get a good Christmas in!

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