Didn’t the year go quickly?
Only a few minutes ago we were asking what the hell this coronavirus was, now we’re only too aware of what it means to all of us. I’m trying to marshall my thoughts about the year just gone.
The New Year started quietly, as usual these days, another year another ho hum, but since they start to creep up very quickly, it gets worrying that I’m not (cliche ahead beware) getting any younger. I had started going to O2 touch rugby the previous September and as the oldest one there the youngsters treated me like an old man, which I am NOT by the way, but it was nice of them all the same. January we had the usual Burns Night at the Tongham Village Hall, always a nice occasion with my friends Jeremy and Carol and other who we know from our 34 years living in the village. Other events that month was attending the nationalisation of our German friend Pitt on the 23rd, who is married to a folk club friend Mary. That was a nice occasion and it was one of our last nights out before the first lock down. I had also had several appointments which I haven’t been to since then, including the Farnham Repair cafe and the Thursday Folk Club. But generally I find January the worst month and want to get through it quickly. February was and is just as bad, the winter doesn’t seem to let up and is probably the worst month of the winter. Oh for those lovely days in Australia when February is a lovely, warm summer month; huh, won’t doing that for some time. It’s strange about this time we really started to hear and take notice about this coronavirus later to be called Covid-19 on account that it was discovered in 2019 in China. We didn’t do much about it then, the government didn’t seem interested, so life carried on as usual. We said goodby to really old RAF friend; the wake was in the RAFA club in Aldershot, and was a good reunion for all the guys he worked with and some I didn’t know but we had the bond of being in the same service.
Now, March was a completely different kettle of fish. I started a cricket umpires course of three weeks, the last one wasn’t completely finished so it was put online and the attendees had to complete it that way. I’ve now got a certificate for the first level of umpiring, hopefully I can carry that on in 2021. On March 9th, I played O2 touch rugby at Farnham for the first time with studded trainers. No, I had never heard of them either, but before just using trainers I was slipping all over the place in the mud. During one of the 6 a side matches I was passed a ball from someone and when I tried to move off with it, my body went one way, but my trainers stayed where the were. I wasn’t used to them staying where they put in the turf, rather than moving about. The consequence was that I fell over and cracked one or two ribs on my lower left side. I stopped and went home; the pain was excruciating. The next day was my birthday and we went to our local pub, 2 minutes walk away with a couple of friends and his birthday was the same as mine, albeit some 5 years later. That was the last time we went to a pub until the late summer between lockdowns. Other events in March were somewhat over shadowed by the announcement of a national lockdown on the 23rd. April was the month I discovered Zoom and started using it to have meetings with my Men’s Shed colleagues and that has carried on since. The rest of April was a bit of a none event including Easter. May was nice and being nearly summer it was lovely to sit in the garden and enjoy long days and sunshine. We were getting deliveries made by two firms and decided after a couple of those that we would rather pick the fresh stuff ourselves and so my wife went out shopping suitable masked and gelled and did the dutiful 2 meter rule in the shops and when out and about. It seems the majority of people stuck to the guidelines and in doing so kept the infection rate in our neck of the woods to a reasonable low level. The same could not be said of the Northern areas of the country, although now that is creeping south with the lastest levels of Tier being announced. Thankfully we are still in Tier 2.
June and July followed pretty much the same pattern, we mostly stayed in the garden and made it look nice and grew vegetables, which came in a fairly steady stream. It was the month of my son-in-laws 40th birthday and his wife organised his and our world-wide family to record Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen using one their backing tracks. My daughter put it all together and synched it all, and it turned to be really good. We learnt the spread of Zoom was going ballistic, everybody was using it including our folk club which got people, including me, to perform songs in front of a camera to a screen full of faces in their screens. It was a bit bizarre but I got used to it. We even had a virtual music festival on Zoom and it worked quite well, the main reason for it was to raise money for a charity, and we did that; more than last year at the live festival. The power of the PC. July was the month my daughter and s-i-l from Australia were due to arrive for three weeks, but of course that was delayed due to flight cancellations, and then finally cancelled all together. They would have been here for s-i-l’s birthday with his UK relatives, but hey ho we’re hoping to get out there next Christmas 2021. It was also my daughters 37th birthday, but since they are in Australia it was only a virtual celebration.August was my wife’s birthday and we managed to get a booking to Wisley RHS garden for an outing, it was great to out to somewhere different. But that was in August, not to worry.
September was the end of summer effectively and we managed to get outings to Brooklands motor museum and a our previous neighbours for an outside BBQ, we returned the compliment and they came to us, all within the rules/guidelines. The first lockdown ended and we all thought we would be let out of school, but it was not to be; certain areas of the country increased the number of Covid infections, and it was a certainty that more restrictions would be imposed. October was similar in that we were still mostly stuck indoors except for walks outside and in parks and gardens. All through the lockdown our elder daughter who lives close was in our ‘bubble’ so we were able to see her regularly, and visit each others houses. Of course our neighbours were close and we could still wave and say hello to them, but every summer we have a BBQ in the close and have music, food, dancing and chatting, all great fun. This year was not to be so we just had to save it all up for next year. November was good for me because there was international rugby to TV, the Nations Cup with the 6 nations teams and a few others. England won the final, which made up for losing the world cup final a year ago.
I, along with about 100 of my fellow Harrier guys missed out on our annual march round the Cenotaph for Remembrance Day. We have doing this for the last four years and its always a great get together with my friends who all worked on the famous Harrier jump jet now sadly out of service. Of course the main reason is to remember those who fell in any war. So November came and went and we’re into December. Well the only thing you can say about this month is that it’s a precursor to Christmas, and here we are. We’re in Tier 2 so we stay pretty much the same, I feel sorry for those that have gone up to Tier 3, thats back to the old days of the first lockdown. But we have the vaccination coming along and hopefully we should all get it eventually. Not that I’m totally convinced that its going to be the final solution, especially as we’ve all got to have two jabs to make it effective. During this month I’ve been involved with getting out local Men’s Shed moving from our old location to the new one. It involves building internal walls in a large warehouse and we have received a grant from the local council to set it up. In the New Year we shall really start getting on with it. With Christmas a week away it’s going to be different for a lot of people but for us it’s pretty much as its been for the last 4 years. So we’ll celebrate Christmas with our UK daughter and wait out the end of the year. Hopefully 2021 will be a slight better than this year, but we can hope only hope. It’s a big birthday for me in March, so I hope all restrictions are lifted by then and I can celebrate properly.