Ian Morris bids farewell to 2020 in his last column of the year. What does he remember most about this year, for good and bad?
It’s the last column of 2020, a year that began with no expectation that I would even begin to write a column or spend the middle of the year blogging every day on S&C.
When it gets to this time of year, the favourite phrase for many of us is: ‘Well, where did the year go?’
I can’t decide if it has flown by or dragged on eternally. I looked back at my diary in early March and was reminded of some of the pre-Covid madness. In the week before lockdown I attended a face-to-face meeting…in Exeter: it was a 5.30am start for me and the wonderdog, and we got home at about 10pm. And I went to the meeting because? Well, ‘It would be good for one of our team to be there’.
In 2019 I travelled 40 weeks out of 52, including a 2 hour meeting in Manchester where I flew there and back because it was cheaper than the train, and the monthly team meets etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I really miss the face-to-face element, particularly relaxing and chatting over a beer after the day’s work is done, but I don’t want to go back to eternally packing the overnight rucksack. Millsey’s needs are such that it was always a larger rucksack than you might expect.
Sport has been the biggest loss for me in 2020. After losing my sight, I missed the rugby, tennis, football and cricket and played nothing for a dozen years, then I found blind cricket in 2004. Since then I have criss-crossed the country each summer with the Sussex Sharks winning plenty and having all the cameraderie that team sport brings. Back in September 2019 we said our goodbyes in Wolverhampton, having won the T20 finals the day before and headed home with massive hangovers. None of us would have believed we wouldn’t bowl a ball in 2020, or that it would probably be April or May 2021 before we meet up again.
We did manage several quiz nights via the magic of Zoom, and the small screen came to the rescue for my wife’s 50th birthday with a distanced party, but it isn’t the same.
There have been some massive pluses though. I have spent the last eight months sharing an office with my eldest son. He found being away from the office really hard as he gets a lot of his positive energy from being part of the team, but we have shared a unique time and space bantering and keeping each other semi-sane. It still grinds my gears that with a commute of eight seconds, he still stumbles into the office at 08.58am flapping that he can’t get Teams to load. Bloody youths.
We discovered a whole new world of online toilet roll vendors and our order from Little Green Orca keeps appearing just as we are down to the last couple of rolls. I don’t know how they know, and I don’t think I want to know how they know, either…
So as I reflect on this year of lockdown, I am sad I still can’t play the ukulele but I am sure I will pick it up again soon. I am surprised that I churn out a weekly column, the Pompey Politics Podcast continues to gain an audience, and my family are all still safe and well.
When I look back on 2020 I think the conclusion will have to be ‘it was bad, but it wasn’t all bad’, and looking ahead to 2021 it doesn’t have to work that hard to be a much better year.
Thanks for reading, have a great Christmas and a splendid New Year.
Something for the Weekend will be back next Friday, tackling national issues from a local perspective. In the meantime, you can check out all of Ian’s writing for S&C, here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast.