The End of 2020

So here we are, at the end of a true bin-fire of a year. Covid, Brexit, Lockdowns, it’s all been more than a bit bollocks, hasn’t it?

In many ways, I’ve been lucky this year – as I’ve said before, I’ve not been too badly affected. I’m still working, I’m still healthy, I’m still solvent, I’m still going.

I’m not saying that to be smug, or to belittle anyone else. I know that in many ways I’ve been fortunate, and that some of my privilege is probably showing. But equally, I’m not complacent about any of it, and I’m not going to tempt fate along the way.

In other ways, I’ve not done well at all. I’ve missed out on seeing friends, and on doing stuff – and again, I know that’s true for most people.

This year has definitely affected me, it’s left me with less motivation to do things, and with more loose ends than I’m used to. I don’t like not doing stuff, don’t like not having plans. I’m better at having plans changed last-minute – but that’s more because those things are outside my control.

I don’t know what 2021 will bring. (Obviously – no-one does. This time last year, no-one expected Covid) I do think there’s going to be a lot of hardships still to come, but I also hope it at least gets easier than 2020 has been.

Onwards and upwards, anyway. Have a good one, and let’s hope it’s a better one.


Colder Than Necessary

Yesterday, for reasons I’ll write about some other time, I had to drive up to Newark.

It’s not a horrific drive, about 90 minutes usually, and pretty easy. Straight up the A1 , and then down the M1 to come home.

Yesterday though, was bloody vile. About halfway through the drive up, it started to snow – not super-heavy, but enough to make things interesting in the still-quite-dark winter morning.

It was at this point that I discovered that my car’s heating had packed up.  Fuck.

By the time I stopped at Newark, it was snowing fairly heavily, and starting to settle.

When I came out to go home, the car had a good three or four inches of snow all over it, and the roads were full of it as well. The start of the drive home was emphatically Not Fun, although for me that was mainly because it was bloody cold inside the car, and no heating meant it was also steaming up a bit. The real Not Fun was more in the purview of other drivers who couldn’t handle snowy roads and/or hadn’t put lights on, and were generally utter fucksticks.

The M1 was OK – once I got down past Leicester the snow turned to heavy rain, and then it was just a slog through shitty weather and shitty traffic.

All in, the temperature (according to my car) rose by five full degrees (Centigrade) in the hundred miles between Newark and Home.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a drive where I was actually thankful to get out at the end of it. But that was definitely one of them.


December Already

Bah HumbugSomehow we’re already in December. How time flies when you’re having fun locked down for half the sodding year.

It’s been weird this year already, in that I’ve seen a number of people who’ve already put up their Christmas trees and so on, even more prematurely than usual. There seems to be a school of thought that says it’s OK because “we need something to look forward to“, but that rings with the dull plop of bullshit. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m more of the viewpoint that even if I started today, I’d be sick of the bloody event by the time it comes round. Adding another two weeks to that is surely just a way to be even more jaded about it all.

But then, as we know, I’m a grouch.

I’ve also been gobsmacked about the hysteria around “We’ve got to have our Christmas“, and the mindset that people would’ve broken all the rules in order to have “a proper normal family Christmas“. We’ll get past the horrific racism of the government being quite happy to cancel the festivals of other religions (The first Lockdown was announced less than 24 hours before Eid, and the second one blocked Diwali – and I’m fairly sure there’s been at least one more festivity that’s taken a kicking) while Christmas is apparently the be-all and end-all of UK Civilisation.

Honestly, I’ll be glad when this year’s over and done with. I don’t think 2021 is going to be any easier, although there’s some hope on the horizon with Covid vaccines etc. But it’s still looking like it’ll be another ongoing hellscape – just possibly slightly less of one than this year has been.

Again, I can’t deny, I’ve been lucky throughout the whole Covid thing this year, and I’ve been affected far less than a lot of people have. I know that, and I accept it.  But I’ll still be happy to be through this year.

 


Alone vs Lonely

With the current Covid stuff, I’ve found it interesting to see how it has affected a range of people.

One of the big complaints about it is how the lockdowns have made so many people realise how lonely they are, along with the damage it’s done to those social norms and events.

Truly, this isn’t something I can empathise with. I’ve never really lived close to any of my friends – they’re scattered all over the place – so I’m absolutely used to being on my own in any particular area. So I’m alone, but I’m never lonely.

Alongside that, I don’t know, I simply don’t feel those things. I’m happy on my own, and always have been.  Being sociable is my “not normal“, being on my own is the default position.

In all of that, I recognise that I’m “lucky“. I’ve come through this year OK, with far less damage than most people have suffered – whether that’s realising their lives are more lonely than they thought, being ill (or watching others being ill), or just seeing things change so much and feeling insecure because everything “normal” has suddenly tilted beyond recognition.

I sort-of understand that desire for everything to “go back to how it was“, but to me even that still carries a fair degree of self-delusion.  Things have changed, and it’s (to me) far easier and smarter to embrace those changes and make progress with them (I hate the expression “the new normal”, but that’s what this is – even with vaccines and so on, there’ll still be major changes for the forseeable future)

I don’t know what 2021’s going to bring – although I don’t think it’s going to be a positive year – but I’m pretty sure I’ll get through it, same as I have this year. And all I can do is hope that the same is true for those I give a sod about.


Staying In Place

With everything else that’s going on, I’ve made the decision to stay in my current house for another year, and sorted out the tenancy agreement to that effect.

I’d been seriously looking at a couple of different locations (although still in the same region as I’m in currently) that would’ve worked, and enabled some other stuff to be a lot easier. It would also have been nice to have a slightly bigger place, as I’ve said before.

However, all the places that were available were at least double the price of the one I’m currently in, and weren’t making enough other things easier. Alongside that, the way things have been with Covid, and the upcoming clusterfuck formally known as Brexit, I ended up deciding that it was likely to be better/smarter to stay here, rather than over-extend things too much.

If nothing else, I’d be properly mortified to end up being in the shit because I’d moved to a better house and then everything else had gone to crap, knowing I could’ve still be in this little cheap(er) place.

So yeah, here for another year. That’s eight-and-a-half years now – by far the longest I’ve been in any one place since I left home.

For now, it still suits me enough. I’d like to move elsewhere, and I’ll look again come summer 2021, and see what happens in the meantime. If things are properly shit, I might stay again, but we’ll see.


Decade

Last month, for a couple of reasons, I was looking back in the archives, and realised it’s now just over a decade since Herself and I broke apart.

Obviously things have changed a lot in that time, and some of it’s been tough, but in general it’s been positive.

Time flies, and all that jazz.


Six Months In, and No Real End In Sight

This week, it’s been six months since Lockdown was announced. And in the same week, they’ve announced that the newest set of rules/laws/guidelines/guesswork are likely to apply for at least the next six months.

I wish I could say I was surprised. But I’m just not.

I don’t honestly think things will go back to “how they were”. Things will change – things have already changed – and they won’t go back to what they were.  I fucking hate the expression “the new normal”, but it’s true, that’s what we’re going through, and we’re still finding our way through it, figuring out how things will be.

All the people-pleasing crap about a vaccine/cure for Covid is just that – crap. We might end up with the equivalent of the flu jab for Covid – might – but it will just be a defence. Even the flu ‘jab is just guesswork, a prediction based on what flu strains were around two years ago. Even those who’ve had the jab can still end up getting flu.

I don’t know all that the future will bring. I don’t even know how things will look in six months time – and nor does anyone else.

All any of us can really do is keep ourselves safe, and hope everyone else is doing the same thing. Other than that, it’ll just be a case of “we’ll see”.