I woke up on Thursday 31st December to find an email in my inbox, starting with the words – “READ THIS TONIGHT”. So I obeyed. I had to get to work, so I was more than happy he wanted me to read it later.
His email contained 2020 reasons I love you. He must have been working on it for a very very long time! I have not managed to read all of it yet – I am too sleepy. But as well as a list that goes on and on and on and on – there are some photos of us and some songs – it will take me ages to complete it.
I will go back to his email again and again and again. It seems to be the be-all-and-end-all of love letters. He called me at five minutes to midnight and we had one of those conversations over the phone when you just know the other person is smiling from ear to ear although you cannot see them – (my phone is a tin and a string jobby).
Can I ask you – is there a better way to end the year than trying to read a list someone has compiled of 2020 reasons he loves you? Sometimes Jack simply takes my breath away? I am working this morning, but this afternoon I plan to carry on reading the most sublime love letter I ever received!!!!!!!!!
Oh and guess what was on BBC4 last night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is it a crime that I have watched “The Sound of Music” twice in five days?
Sometimes all I can feel is joy – sometimes I know nothing else but joy!
Back to the big choky smoke. Back to work. Back to the concrete jungle.
London has been different this year. More people out walking and running. More people in the green parks (when they were open). Parts of London like ghost towns. Not as much hustle and bustle. Cafes, restaurants, pubs either closed or quieter than ever before.
The difference in London skies dramatic – no noise and chemtrails from planes. Hearing ecstatic birdsong all over London. Less crowding on public transport. A calm and unusual patience as people queued patiently outside supermarkets waiting for their turn to shop for groceries. Bizarre conversations about the search for toilet paper and paracetamol and alcohol gel – and there was a stage when nobody could get hold of facemasks, whereas now they are littered on every pavement.
People have asked all year – why would we ever go back to the crazy pace of life that we operated at before? Why would we ever do that? The answer for some people is simply – money. Money has been driving us at a horrid frenzied stressful pace. Now, will we be content with less?
2021 is likely to be crunch time financially. I expect governments to do some pretty drastic things. We will have to wait and see exactly what they do. But some of you know what they are going to do already. You have read the book hey!
It struck me a few days ago – am I supposed to do one of these HIGHTLIGHTS OF 2020 posts I have seen floating around? Deep breath. Let me say that again…the “highlights of 2020” – aaaaah sigh! Should we laugh or should we cry?
At least there has been one part of 2020 that has never failed to delight us – WordPress bloggers have been amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!! So my 2020 round-up is dedicated to the bloggers who have made this year on WordPress one to remember!
THE BLOGGERS WHO BECAME VLOGGERS DURING 2020!
While many of us were tested to the limit of our patience just trying to figure out how on earth to use the new block editor, some bloggers have ventured into the realm of videos to bring something extra special to their blogs. Here are two of my favourite bloggers who have delighted us with video productions:
Jeanne the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen has been recording videos of her culinary creations and they are just brilliant.
And to my absolute delight Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, has been recording songs and broadcasting them on both his YouTube channel and on his blog. I cannot tell you how much Kristian’s videos have lifted my spirits throughout 2020!
What an inspiration these talented bloggers are! What are you planning for your WordPress blog in 2021? Will you venture into video productions too?
THE BLOGGERS WHO BAKED IN 2020!
One of the highlights of 2020 on WordPress for me was “THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF SUMMER PICNIC” – an entire weekend of baking and picnic creations from our magnificent international blogging community and a huge shout of support from so many WordPress bloggers who joined the party!
It was a pure joy to open up my inbox day after day and see more and more photos sent in from other bloggers. The response was tremendous! I am so grateful to all of the fantastic bloggers who were a part of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC – whether you were baking or cheering on all of those who baked. It was just so joyful!!!
If I had to pick my personal favourite, I should pick Jack of course, however, as he got to see his family last week, and I did not, I am going to pick another blogger who I was just overjoyed with. You may remember that in the 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, Amanda Cade baked a chocolate cake that although clearly delicious had some issues with gravity! But Amanda was not going to give up easily! In 2020, she smashed THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF producing not just one but an array of sensational cheesecakes.
…but I cannot thank you all enough! What a perfect weekend that was – a real highlight of 2020 for me without doubt! I always choke up when I hear the line of this song “you just keep me hanging on”.
As you may know 2020 for me has meant a lot of work. The NHS like other health services has been put to the test. So many times I have come home from work feeling exhausted and deflated. But it has always been a delight to see the heart-warming and uplifting posts of bloggers on WordPress.
I know many of you have had a very tough year. I know some of you also work for health services or are key-workers in other vital sectors. I know you have had to deal with an increase of stress and frustration from customers as well as adapting to adjusted working practices. I know some of you lost loved ones during this year. I know some of you lost your jobs. I also know that many of you have found it hard to be separated from your nearest and dearest for long periods.
But I also know that the vast majority of you have been brilliant! You have been a positive influence on others. You have kept our spirits up! You have encouraged people to take the warnings seriously, to be diligent in applying the safety guidance issues – YOU HAVE BLOGGED ABOUT WASHING YOUR HANDS, WEARING FACE-MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE MANY SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE TO PROTECT OTHERS.
That is special!
2020 has been a year where unselfish love has been shown on an enormous scale!
During 2021, please keep up the positive influence. We are an international team who can make a difference. We can support and encourage others. That might involve being honest about what we are finding challenging, but also commending others for all of their unselfish sacrifices.
Please remember that some are overwhelmed with their challenges – A LITTLE KINDNESS CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE to a person. Even though you are often interacting with strangers, the power of your words in your posts and in your comment can be constructive or it can be damaging. Please CHOOSE KINDNESS. Do not crush others at a time they may feel as if their whole world is falling apart around them.
What will you do with your blog to encourage and inspire others during 2021?
THE BLOGGERS WHO SUPPORTED MY BOOKS!
Something that was new to me and also very exciting for me during 2020 was seeing three novels and one poetry book leave my WordPress blog and be transformed into real Kindle and Paperback publications available on Amazon.
What started as a short story written in response to a blogging prompt became a series of over one hundred posts. But the story of Annabelle Riley became a three part novel series: LEARNERS AT LOVE.
Back in the spring of 2019, I published a series of little ditties – poetic verses that were expressing the range of feelings I experienced on losing the tiny life growing within me. Well as I wanted a permanent record of such a momentous event in my life, we turned my little ditties into a poetry book.
So many bloggers have been encouraging throughout my journey in starting out with writing fiction to finally holding paperback copies of my books and seeing my friends reading them and hearing their feedback (everyone seems to love rock star bad boy Dean Mathers!)
I am especially grateful to the bloggers who very kindly reviewed my books! Ashley, the creator or Mental Health @ Home who has read and reviewed all of my books has been such a phenomenal support and encouragement. It is so touching to receive that level of support! But she is not the only one. I am also deeply grateful to Iain Kelly and Paula Light, who also read and reviewed my work.
As I am sure anyone else would agree, publishing your writing is a personally rewarding process. I know this is something I would probably never have done without the inspiration, support and encouragement from other WordPress bloggers.
THANK YOU FOR MAKING WRITING SUCH A JOY!
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO MAKE WORDPRESS A GREAT PLATFORM TO BE BLOGGING ON! THANK YOU FOR HELPING US GET THROUGH 2020!
I have been working and working and working, hardly spending any waking time at home through the past six months, but my friends who were working from home or who had lost their jobs, all say they have been very stressed and are so glad now that they can start to socialize again and be with people.
For months, their whole social life was online. Some of my friends said their use of social media increased a lot. I have never been interested in Facebook. I don’t tweet…I don’t have Twitter. I get the feeling I am not missing out on much. But every now and then a friend shows me something that is doing the rounds, and it does seem very funny.
My friend showed me an article someone had written about the effect of the pandemic, the social distancing…and everything else that has occured in 2020. I came home and I have been looking for that article, but it seems that several publishers, magazines, media outlets have all written similar articles. Here are two of them:
…so although the content of this post is just based on what my friend showed me is already on line, I guess the most important person to credit with making a lot of us chuckle is Matt Evuns. If you were asked to describe 2020 in eleven seconds, could you do it? Well, Matt Evuns has nailed it!…with the help of Olivia Colman.
Matt @MattEvuns who has a Twitter account, has produced a “mash-up” of Olivia Colman’s Oscars Speech. If you are not sure who Olivia Colman is, let me tell you she is a great actress! Matt Evuns uses Olivia’s speech to describe each month of 2020 so far…you can see at the bottom of the screen the months passing. My friend thought it was hilarious, and it did make me laugh.
Although, seriously, I don’t think snogging everyone you know has the approval of the government nor their science advisors.
I then I realized I have not watched the Oscars ever, although I have seen occasional clips. I decided I would find the whole of her speech on YouTube (because I love watching her work).
This is the YouTube video showing her full acceptance speech. Bless her – she looks traumatised at the start. I could not make out what she says after she mentions her job as a cleaner, but is sounded great. I love a speech that is that natural and unpretentious. Maybe I just like people who are natural and unpretentious.
2019 was one interesting year for moi. What drama! What a rollercoaster!
I spent the first few weeks of 2019 feeling lost without Goldfinch. Then I found out something spectacular. There was a reason I had been feeling sick for some time. I spent the next few weeks wondering how my life might change and wondering what little one would be like. Then a tragedy. Very sad, one of the saddest things I have ever experienced. My little apricot, Annabelle Jayne Goldfinch, rests up in Snowdonia now.
Being more determined than ever to go out to Australia to see Goldfinch, saving my pennies really hard to be able to afford the plane ticket. Going out there and feeling pure happiness to be by his side for the summer (Australia’s winter). Coming back feeling sad because I didn’t want to be without him. Feeling kind of lost again.
Then…out of the blue…Jack making contact. Peace, joy, love. An amazing autumn with him. An autumn full of romantic weekends and just hanging out with someone who I always realized was as close to a soulmate as I was ever going to find. It has been so great being cocooned with him.
And now…my family (and his family of course) know that incredibly Jack and Caramel have healed their four year rift and are a couple! Our friends are now finding out too.
What a rollercoaster! What on earth will happen in 2020. Well, 2019 taught me something….IT REALLY REALLY COULD HAPPEN!
So I am going to live bravely…and live with gusto! Because I have no idea what might happen in the year ahead. So I want to be ready for it!