Well hello again my friends

Hello, it’s been a while. Well over a year in fact. I’m sorry. Work and other things took over for a while but now I’m back.

How are you doing? 2020 has been a bit of a disaster so far hasn’t it. When I last wrote no one had heard the terms coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, unprecedented times, social distancing or new normal. Now they’re the most repeated words of all time.

So many deaths worldwide, so many heroes – NHS and care staff, Captain Sir Tom Moore, legions of binmen, supermarket workers and fundraisers showing us how it’s done.

Lockdown seemed to last forever and everyone’s talking about the new normal, whatever that will be. It got me thinking about what was normal for me… and then about whether I wanted those things to be normal and what I wanted to change

Actually the changes for me began a lot earlier than this year. To start with I moved to Nottingham. That was just over two years ago now but apparently I can still be a newbie to Nottingham for at least the first decade of my residence here, so no need to change the blog title yet.

Then last year, just a few weeks after my last post in fact, Phill and I got married. We told no one in advance apart from our friends Paul and Tommy who were our witnesses on the day. We didn’t tell family or friends or colleagues, we just did it and then told everyone afterwards. It seeemed best. We have both been married before, my family is down south, Phill’s family is up here and it wasn’t like we needed wedding presents.

I also had a tattoo.

It’s a robin. But you can see that. I love it. It’s on the inside of my left forearm. The reason for the robin was twofold. One: someone once told me that robins are the spirits of loved ones looking over you, so this is for my dad and two: the girls have called Phill Robin since they found out he was from Nottingham (Robin Hood and all that). It didn’t hurt, I don’t care what anyone else thinks of it and I still love it a year on.

I spent much of the end of last year driving between home and offices in Guildford, Chelmsford and Cambridge and I can’t say it didn’t take it’s toll. To say I became sick of the sight of motorways is the understatement of the decade.

But then there was a new worry on the horizon… the small matter of a global pandemic. Since the beginning of March I have been working from home. Like many other people I have seen my family twice in that time – once for a socially distanced 30th birthday bash for my eldest daughter where we set up pop-up pubs around the town she lives in because the pubs were not yet open and the second for a socially-distanced birthday barbecue for my youngest brother.

In addition we have seen two of our friends on three occasions, socially-distanced barbecues at each other’s houses and a curry night at ours which we held in the garden at a distance of some metres apart. It’s been a strange old year.

Other than that we have eaten out to help out twice and that has been the limit of our activities other than a weekly trip to the supermarket.

But everyone talking about the ‘new normal’ got me thinking. Quite apart from the fact that no one seems to know what this ‘new normal’ is going to be, I have been thinking more about what I don’t want it to be. And I decided somewhere along the way that I didn’t want my new normal to be very much like the old normal.

So I made a couple of life changing decisions and decided I want some adjustments to my life. I want to try and live the best life I can while I am still young enough to do that and so some major changes will be taking place in a couple of weeks’ time (two to be precise).

I have been thinking long and hard about what is important to me and I want to do more of and what I really need to do less of. And as well as restarting this blog and discovering how the city copes post Covid-19, I thought I’d also launch a new blog to document my progress. It’s going to be called ‘Making my new normal’ and I am currently working on setting it up so it’s ready to go on September 19. I very much hope you will join me on it (link to follow soon).

So that’s it for this post. I have returned and will be giving you a guided tour of some wise old owls later today.

In the meantime, I hope you are well and I hope this global pandemic has not touched your lives too badly.

It’s good to be back.

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I want to tell stories in words and pictures. Traveller, writer, photographer, artist, seeker of knowledge. Making my own efforts to change the world.

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