The year of living dismally

The year of living dismally

We’ve never lived a year like it. Just over twelve months ago the Prime Minister told us to go home and that’s pretty much what we did albeit with a slight hiatus over the summer. We’ve mostly been home, cooped up and closeted.

Life has been directly informed by whether you like your home and the people in it. We were told we were ‘all in it together’, but that ‘it’ varied wildly from those with a large house and garden surrounded by a loving family to those closeted in abusive relationships or living alone twenty stories up in a tiny apartment with no access to a garden. It’s been a series of very different journeys which have determined how tolerable or otherwise our lockdown has been.

Pernicious disease

Then of course you may have caught Covid, a most pernicious and almost incomprehensible illness. Some caught it, displayed no symptoms and are still unaware they ever had it. More than a hundred and twenty thousand got sick and never recovered. For others still hanging on after being ill for weeks or months it continues to be a long brutal battle.

And what about babies and very young children, usually the most vulnerable to disease? It seems to have had little or no impact on their young lives. How can that be? Slightly older kids may not have been physically affected by the disease, but many have been hurt badly by the psychological fall out.

Our house

Days seem to pursue a relentless course of not very much. In this house we all work or are trying to navigate ‘A’ levels. We moan when the broadband is as bad as dial-up and our super important call disintegrates into digital dust.

In the evening we watch Netflix or a BBC iPlayer boxed set. We’re currently on the wonderful French farce ‘Call my agent!’ and then settle down for the 10 o’clock BBC News, unless the news is too dreadful to watch. I’m now fully acquainted with all Sophie Raworth’s broadcast outfits and frankly Soph it’s time to go online and select a couple of new ‘fits as I gather, they are now called. (Thanks to daughter for that). I really need to get out more, but then again so do you.

If you’re a keen reader of A little London Life, you’ll know that over the summer we moved to Essex for three months while our kitchen was given a complete makeover. Builders seemed to have worked right through the pandemic.

And there in the Essex house that we rented from friends was a small upright piano. I was determined to do something during lockdown that would mark some kind of growth and started hammering out gibberish on the piano. Well, that hasn’t stopped as a lovely friend from my days at ABC News gave me a digital upright which now gets beaten into submission on a nightly basis. I’m still an astonishingly bad player but having played guitar for almost 50 years I do understand music’s basic wiring. I know what’s going on under the hood, which I’m now struggling to translate on to the keyboard. It’s a battle but I’m in it for the long haul. Sorry neighbours.

Suddenly, nothing happened

So how has it been for you? Still struggling to coming to terms with it all? Doing OK? Coming up for air?

It’s odd to try to recall what happened when almost nothing happened.  The major events that typically bookmark our personal orbit round the sun were in short supply from March of last year. No holidays, no going out, no meeting with friends, no journeys, no business meetings. Social interaction reduced to a Zoom call. Work seems like a series of tasks rather than a collaborative experience.

What do I miss most? Is it gigs, theatre, art galleries, cinema, having pleasant things in my diary to look forward to? Yes, all of that but not really that either. What I really miss is just being in the presence of my fellow humans. Hugging, kissing hanging out, drinking, chatting. Life with a forward trajectory built into it. How do we know we’ve achieved anything if we keep busy but are often busy doing nothing?

Vaccination action station

It’s certainly not over yet, but the various vaccines are a beacon of hope. I remember talking with someone at the start of it all saying I thought the chance of getting a vaccine quickly was slight at best and there was a good chance there would be no vaccine at all. Science has come to our rescue, we have vaccines, there is a way out. Let’s have no mealy-mouthed anxiety. Roll up your sleeve.

As the little bumper on the BBC says: The future isn’t cancelled. See you on the other side.

8 thoughts on “The year of living dismally

  1. Always very poignant & thought-provoking, thanks Jim!
    Good luck with the girl’s A’ levels – being there, done that, got her into Uni! 🤗
    All the best to you & yours – enjoy socialising again (if all goes well & folks are sensible!)
    Take care & catch you on the up-side.
    Cazza 😘😘


    1. Lovely,thank you! It was just what I needed this morning.I think a lot of people are struggling, it has been a long lockdown, but there is a big strong light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! It is so interesting to read other points of view that are so different to one’s own.

    I wonder what would have emerged if we had suffered curfews and power cuts.

    It would be so refreshing to me personally to hear of some gratitude for all the wonders around us. I am so happy that so many people “discovered” Nature which was always there. And gardens came into view to and a connection is being made. Seed companies are selling out.

    . For me this very calming time of Covid is so enlightening.The anmals just knew what to do and stepped out, free from ugly man, devasting the planet and so lacking in humility. Clearing the supermarket others went without. Supermarkets were never closed but impending doom frightened the greedy to hoard.

    .Calm Covid is just the first inkling of a fast changing world. This Covid came “as a thief in the night” to help with an awakening. Have we learnt anything? Are we thinking differently? Are we still smothered in the pleasure prinicipal? Constantly taking and not recognising where it all comes from? New normal? Do we know what normal is? Were we normal before?

    I wonder what form the next pandemic with take. We are being prepared folks. Let us shake off dull sloth and search within for the hope of gratitude recognition and true love for the planet bequeathed to us for our development. Mother Nature shows us how to do it.

    What a host of daffodils this year. I bow in gratitude for their simple beauty. Spring is here and the tulips are on their way pointing upwards.

    Peace to all who long for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spot on Jim. I’ve discovered that wearing shorts all year has fully desensitised my legs but has kept the mind sharp. And as I’m too mean to stick the heating on during the working day, I’ve sat through every zoom meeting with a blanket covering my lower half. It’s sort of my two fingers up to Covid, yet nobody is any the wiser!


  4. Hello from Pennsylvania USA. My wife and I, and most of our friends, have been vaccinated recently. Our social life, as a result, has had a big upswing this month. There’s still plenty to worry about, but for now there’s good reason to believe that life will return more or less to the way it was.

    Liked by 1 person

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