Happy and Glorious – 2020 wasn’t all bad.

Yes, I know it’s March 2021 already and I’m only just getting round to putting this list on here. What can I say… the last 12-months has been weird for everyone! Here it is, in no particular order, the things I did in 2020 that earned an entry in my Happy & Glorious tin…

  • 30th December: Rode the lovely Gambler in the New Forest thanks to some lovely friends who let me play with their ponies (well, pretty darned large horses, but they’re all ponies to me!)
  • 9th August: Visited Gabrielle & met Tom, spent a lovely couple of days on the farm chilling
  • 9th August: Spent a lovely couple of hours having a socially distanced coffee in a park in Bath with Diluki, Alan & Cormac
  • 8t August: socially distanced Lunch with [wise owl] Rosie & Richard. Lots of chat and lovely food!
  • 8th August: socially distanced afternoon tea with Ruth.
  • 6th August: met Celia & caught up with [surveying] Rosie
  • 11-15th March: my sister Clare & ‘nuppie’ Billie came to stay & my brother in law Paul joined us for the weekend. Lovely time chilling & chatting and we had what turned out to be our last meal ‘out’ before lockdown. Funnily enough, my colleague and her family also picked the same restaurant and we ended up at next door tables. Small world
  • 25th February: met up with the lovely Helen & Simon, from my convention-attending days, and had a lovely chat with them. I was in a bit of a stressed place and it was lovely to be able to chat it through with good people.
  • 21st-23rd February: my eldest niece visited for the weekend. We had lots of fun walking in the local area and a trip in to Exeter to pick out her birthday present and look at prom dress styles
  • 18th-19th January: Diluki, Alan & Cormac came to stay! So glad these guys got to come and see me and my little house this weekend. I do love spending time with these guys.
  • 11th January: Otterbourne Panto! Went to see my Winchester based nieces & nephew steal the show in Aladdin. Oh yes I did!
  • 2nd January: rode Taoiseach – mum’s lovely driving horse. He’s not the most comfortable riding horse but I still love it.
  • 1st January: got mum out for a ride on Taoiseach
  • 6th April: video chat with [surveyor] Rosie & Celia
  • 9th September: walk & coffee with Matt, a colleague I hadn’t seen since April after I’d been furloughed
  • 21st August: Chantelle came for tea! Planned a trip to go and buy some roller-skates to recapture my youth
  • 20th August: Alexa came for coffee & a chat. Bonded over geeky tendencies and ‘Bones’
  • 18th-19th August: Winchester based sister, nieces & nephew came to stay. Introduced the kids to the Jurassic Park (original) films & realised that Daisy was the same age as I was when I first watched it 😳
  • 14th August: socially distanced dinner out with a friend at the Royal Oak in Gorley. Good company, good food, good covid precautions in place!
  • 12th June: formed a ‘bubble’ with my parents. First time I’d seen anyone other than my neighbours (across the driveway), and avoiding getting too close to people in the supermarket, for nearly 3-months. First hug in 3-months too.
  • 22nd April: Min’s first birthday! She wasn’t impressed when I mentioned it to her
  • 13th July: Chantelle came over for a socially distanced walk & coffee in the garden
  • 29th June: socially distanced drinks in the garden with Kate & Tim to say ‘bon voyage’ for their next adventures up north
  • 25th June: celebrated the birthday that I became ‘the answer to the ultimate question’ with a walk in the New Forest and ‘dining out’ by taking the motor home out and cooking a meal in a Forest car park.
  • 28th December: rode Arthur. Such a joy to be able to get out and play with these horses.
  • 25th December: went over with my parent’s to my sister’s house for a socially distanced Christmas morning walk with them (and their neighbours who are almost family). My sister and I inspired many residents of Twyford by taking our glasses of fizz with us on the walk!
  • 9th December: walk & coffee with Matt, a colleague & friend who’d left the Trust and was moving on to new work adventures
  • 3rd December: started back to work after 9-months of being furloughed.
  • July-December: picked up some work for an old client during furlough. Great to engage my brain and feel valued.
  • 13th July: Gavin & Vee came for lunch in the garden. Lovely to catch up with good friends
  • 19th October: met the lovely Florence for the first time & caught up with long-time family friends, Penny, John, Lucy & Lucy’s husband Dom (a not quite so long-time family friend!)
  • 16th October: supper with Pam & Keith in one of the George, Fordingbridge’s gastro pods. Good company, good food, good covid precautions
  • 7th October: lunch with ‘Killerton girls’ at the Ruby Red Cafe at Exe Valley Farm Shop
  • 18th September: day-trip to Treyarnon with the lovely Charlie. Lovely to chat, go for a swim & generally have an amazing time.
  • 25th November: got offered an interview for an Assistant Surveyor job at the Burghley Estate. Didn’t get the job but pleased to get an interview, and it got me into the swing of the job application mill again
  • April-November: being given the gift of time without pressure of worrying about income during furlough which enabled me to focus on my health and fitness. A unique opportunity which has been invaluable.

It’s been a funny year. Full of stress and worry and being alone on one hand, but having given a unique experience and perspective on things. I think it is great if we can hang on to some of the good things that have come out of it; that key worker roles should be better paid, that having time outside of work is important, valuing connection to human beings. Here’s hoping that not everything returns to how it was before, because that wasn’t “normal”.

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