For January and February life was still pretty normal and I was able to go into London and meet up with family and friends several times during these months.
On the 3rd March my lovely daughter in law Francia finally received her British Citizenship and many tears of joy were shed. We are so proud of her and so glad she is part of our family. My daughter Sarah was admitted to hospital for a minor op, but restrictions were introduced as hospitals had to respond to the growing pandemic and this meant we weren't allowed to go visit her in hospital for the few days she was recovering.
Later in March came the dreaded full lockdown. We were completely isolated from family and friends, only being allowed out to go food shopping, or perhaps a little walk. My exercise regime started off with just a few hundred steps, but over the weeks increased to about 7,000!
Going food shopping was a real bore having to queue up and online deliveries were really hard to book. We did finally manage to get a delivery slot which led to huge excitement. Cake baking, eating more and drinking more became the norm in our house. I also attempted to learn to play guitar...again. I used to play years ago, but I've forgotten everything, so it's like starting all over again.
Phil put a bracket on my office wall for my guitar to be easily accessible and prompt me to practice every day. It did for a while, but now collecting dust again. I did manage to get over my fear of learning how to tune it, thanks to some young musician friends on Instagram who were offering online tips to get people started. My hurdle was my hearing loss which made me feel unsure if my guitar was in tune or not! Thanks to their suggestion of using a phone App I was able to make a start on my journey. Fender offer a great Auto-Tune App that tells me when each string is in tune. This gave me a lot of confidence. I now just need to master the art of playing chords. Which I will one day!
International Noise Awareness Day that takes place every year in April was only celebrated with a banner this year. A planned event at the House of Commons to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the UK Noise Association that I am Honorary President of, had to be cancelled.
Peace and Quiet was noticeable in the early days of lockdown because air travel came to a near halt and there was little traffic on the roads. Then neighbour noise complaints started to rise as more people were at home doing noisy things like DIY!
Not seeing family was the hardest, but we found a way to keep in touch. On our daily walk we would go past my daughter's house and was able to wave and chat for a while at a distance. That was really hard for me and my daughter as we do like to hug!
Then ZOOM came along to keep me in touch with other family members. That has been such a blessing and I thank my niece the Reverend Donna for introducing us to this way of connecting.
It also gave me an idea that led to my series of Zoom interviews to find out how some people were coping during this pandemic. You can find them on my website, if you haven't already done so of course!
The spring and summer arrived, giving us light and warmth that helped us through some dark days. As restrictions eased a little we were able to spend time with limited numbers of close family in the garden, which really helped with the anxiety I was starting to feel.
Things were a little more relaxed during July and August and being able to finally get my hair cut and look presentable once more really gave me a lift. We were able to go see our first live music performance since March. This was held outside, with everyone still social distancing and sitting on separate tables. But it felt so good hearing and seeing a live performance again.
Earlier in the year we had planned a huge party in September for Phil's 60th and my 70th Birthdays, but this had to be cancelled. We were back into being restricted again, but did manage to celebrate Phil's 60th in October and mine in November with just close family.
Then the shutters came down again in December and that is where we are right now. Christmas celebrations with the family were saved by Zoom.
There is light at the end of the tunnel with announcements that a vaccine is on its way.
We've had some sad moments during 2020, but also a lot of fun times. Overall we have a lot to look forward to.
Happy New Year everyone.