As we’ve all navigated an incredibly tough nine months, I’ve seen friends and family struggle, and I’ve read about the tough times so many of our readers have had to endure.
But if there’s anything good to come out of this annus horriblis (sorry, Queen, but 2020 surely needs to take this title now), for me it’s that the importance of my family, and the fact that we’re happy and healthy, has been put into crystal-clear focus.
Since I started this column in September, I’ve joked about the struggles of parenting two young children. Undeniably it can be really hard, but like most people, I suspect, I’ve definitely been guilty of taking the status quo for granted.
When the pandemic hit, we were suddenly all forced to really appreciate the simple things in life – a walk in the sunshine, playing in the garden, baking, playing games... and I think it did me good.
Sure, I’d done all this stuff before, but when it’s the only thing you can do, you really start to treasure these little pleasures.
Looking back, I feel like I was lucky having extra time at home with my two little ones, no matter how hard the juggling act was (although please, don’t ever, ever ask me to do home schooling again – shudder!).
I watched my little boy go from wobbly toddler to confident walker on our daily walks round the neighbourhood in those early lockdown months.
And my daughter and I had special time drawing pictures, throwing thousands of tiny beads round the kitchen to create Aqua beads designs (I’m still finding them now!) and baking and eating lots of yummy treats.
Away from my house, as lockdown eased and I ventured back into the community like Bambi finding his legs (heading into a shop, I suddenly couldn’t remember what to do, as if I’d been away for years rather than a few weeks). I really began to appreciate the effort so many people and businesses had gone to just to get life up and running again.
And now, nine months later, I’m still just as impressed by what people are doing just to keep going and earn a living.
Last week, my husband and I went out for lunch. We chose Jonny’s Café, in Warwick Street, as we hadn’t been there and had heard good things. And the good things were correct – it was brilliant. They’d gone all out to make us feel safe – with plastic screens between each table and hand sanitiser aplently.
And despite what must have been a really tough year to be running a fairly new business, the staff were so friendly and welcoming. On top of that, the food was delicious.
It’s just one example of a local business working so hard this year, and I know there are hundreds and hundreds of others across our area doing exactly the same.
I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to 2021, and feeling hopeful it will see us get back to some kind of normality as the vaccination programme is rolled out. But as I look back on 2020 (and please forgive my cheesiness here) I will take from it a sense of awe that we all got through it, and gratitude for everything that I have.
I’m being allowed a Christmas break now (whoo-hoo!), so I’ll see you in the new year. Wishing you all such a happy Christmas, however you are spending it this year. I’ll be raising a glass of Aperol spritz (or seven) to us all. Lots of love, Katherine.