If you missed part 1 of my 2020 retrospective then do click through on the link. Since you are here though, here is part 2 of my look back at 2020
May was the month we were all still furious at Dominic Cummings, where Barnard Castle was firmly on the map and where memes about Specsavers were doing the rounds. Boris was on the TV doing a conference that basically said stay home but go out, go to work but stay home and left us all scratching our heads in disbelief about what we had just witnessed (not for the last time this year it turns out).
May was a month of queuing for the supermarkets still, especially if you were trying to get organised for one of the bank holiday weekends, I stood in one for 45 minutes, thankfully it wasn’t raining. I had also panic bought various seeds and herbs in an effort to try and beat the queues by being self sufficient. Suffice to say I am not green fingered but I did at least try!
It is also birthday month for many members of my family, I only got to see Caity briefly at the end of her drive to drop off presents and a cake for what was the last time I’d see her heavily pregnant because five days later she gave birth to darling Lily Elena. I got promoted to Granny Barrow and we all instantly fell in love with this gorgeous little human. Being pregnant during a pandemic can’t have been easy, and being told you can’t have your partner with you until you are in established labour feels inhumane to me. There are many things for which I will never forgive this Government but their treatment of women in labour, or the elderly in care homes will definitely always be up there.
Lily arrived on the same day as Bruce’s so now have a double celebration that day and they will forever more share a cake. I booked an ice cream van this year as we weren’t able to do much else! I had also spotted that various restaurants were doing home delivery services (boy did we get creative with food this year) so we had a Cote dinner that night too. The first thing I hadn’t cooked in eight weeks and honestly, it felt like it was my birthday too.
June was rightly dominated by the death of George Floyd in the US, a death that sparked an outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of us spent days reading up on how we have taken our white privilege for granted and realised that whilst we dont believe we are racist that isnt enough and that we all must do more.
I finally got to hold Lily because a bit of a family emergency meant I was needed to babysit for an hour. I cried, she was tiny, and I will cherish that first hug for a very long time. Thankfully with Boris announcing we were able to form bubbles it also meant we could go up and see Bruce’s mum too. Those support bubbles were so crucial and made the world of difference to people living on their own. It is a shame it took another couple of months for more support bubbles to be added to the list but I am grateful they have been so we were able to form a childcare bubble with Caity, Dan and Lily.
It also meant we got to drive to Cheshire in order to see Bruce’s mum. It is always lovely to see her and after the past few months it was just what we all needed.
Lockdown had clearly been getting to us though because Bruce decided he was going to start home brewing, and making his own picture frames (only one of these ever got beyond buying a load of kit) and I decided I was going to respray a grotty old table. The result of the latter was a grotty old table with peeling paint of a different colour all over it. I used spray paint, little knowing that apparently all the cool cats (oh god have I managed Tiger King? Tiger King had us all gripped in April) were using Annie Sloan. I promptly bought some of that and then realised I didnt have anything else worthy of painting.
Finally on July 4th the beauty industry was able to open for certain treatments to resume and I got a much overdue and needed haircut. I have always loved my hairdresser but the sight of her little face on that morning was wonderful. As was the sight of my mum in law’s when we arrived for a socially distanced birthday tea. It seems hard to believe now when I looked back on the summer that we thought coming out of lockdown would be the beginning of the end of Covid, that we had done our bit and we would now be safe. Now it feels like we are about to be plunged back into a full lockdown again and I cant lie, it terrifies me.
Back then we could meet outdoors we were able to even have our annual family day at the Polo complete with screen, projector and a live stream of events taking place behind closed gates. We were also allowed decorators in to begin repainting the lounge, hall, stairs and landing, though picking THE hottest day of the year to do four coats of paint in the lounge just about finished off the poor decorator. It was lovely to get it done though, and to feel we had at least achieved something this year (and been able to support a few local businesses in the process).
On the weekend we should have been setting off to France for another week of cooking curry with the Curry Guy, we were actually in a field in West Sussex enjoying our first drive in cinema experience. Safe to say I loved the experience, hated Reservoir Dogs.
It was also the month that the Government announced Eat Out to Help Out was going to be launched in August in order to support the hospitality industry. I loved the idea of helping out but really I thought it was a terrible idea encouraging people to eat out, to socialise and to stand in queues. I also struggled with the government subsidising meals for those who afford to pay the other 50% whilst at the same time they were refusing to feed children who are entitled to free school meals over the summer holidays. Leaving that instead to local businesses, already hit hard by closures, putting money in their own very shallow pockets to make up packed lunches or hot meals on a daily basis to distribute to their local communities. I even saw other families in our local Facebook groups offering to make up lunches every day to any family who privately asked for one, with no questions asked. I wasn’t able to join in making sandwiches but I made sure I donated money to a few who were to cover costs.
A double whammy of a month for me as August is birthday AND wedding anniversary month. I had THE most amazing birthday cake (which came frozen and needed us to clear half the fridge in order to be able to store it) and for our anniversary we managed to sneak off for dinner and an overnight stay at our local posh hotel. A hotel where we can do breakfast and still home in time to be at our desks for 9am!
It also felt in August that companies were really getting into the swing of operating under new Covid restrictions. Our local surgery had a one way system with a buzzer and a gate keeper to ensure that nobody was called in until their GP was ready (thank goodness for summer days where standing in the car park was pleasant), and restaurants were operating a track and trace system so they could contact people at a later date if it transpired a fellow diner had been positive. This made us feel brave enough to go out for lunch on my birthday (our one time also using eat out to help out) and I dont think we have been out more than a couple of times since!
We finally got our hallway done too! New cupboards under the stairs to hide the ever present mess and I wish those shelves still looked like that. Ahem.
It was a summer that was different from any other, 39 degrees I could have done without, but I loved the pace of life if I am honest, and really wish we had all stuck at it a bit longer so that we might have avoided what eventually came.
For a read of part 3, do click on the link
Featured image of 2020 courtesy of Shutterstock