COUNTRYSIDE NOTES for DECEMBER 2020

Well, 2020 has certainly been a year of extremes – mostly extremely concerning!! The weather has been no exception. Following the fifth wettest autumn on record we had a winter without snow. A mild start to 2020 woke all the plants up early; spring flowers were a most welcome sight in a wet and dreary February. Then, on March 23rd when Lockdown was imposed, the weather changed and the sun shone – and kept shining through ‘til June. We ended up having the hottest, and driest, spring on record resulting in drought conditions, just when the crops in the fields all needed some rain to make them grow. When restrictions were eased in late June the weather changed and the rest of the summer seemed generally cool and wet apart from a few days at the end of July when temperatures were in the 30s. Changeable weather continued for the rest of the year. We hardly saw the sun throughout October and Saturday the 3rd was the wettest day on record for the UK. Coincidentally the sun came out again when Lockdown was imposed for the second time. One unusual weather feature has been the number of unseasonal gales we had in the summer. And now there’s all the uncertainty over Christmas. Will lockdown really be eased in early December? How much freedom will be allowed if it is? My family live far away, the grandchildren are now grown up so no longer come to stay for Christmas. Family time won’t be any different for us but, for the majority of families, Christmas is the time to get together and I feel so very sorry for them. And then there are the presents. Buying online is OK for some things but most people choosing gifts like to see what they’re buying; both giving and receiving is very much part of their Christmas. Then there are the minor details. Is it worth bothering to make a normal sized Christmas cake if you can’t invite visitors round to help eat it? How many, if any, Christmas puds should I make? What about sausage rolls and mince pies? What about putting up Christmas decorations? Will it be worth all the bother of getting the tree down from the loft and decorating it if there’s only him and me to look at it? It has also been very strange, not having any events to either report on or promote. In the lead up to Christmas there are normally so many things going on in our villages.
I’d like to say special thanks to all those who have helped others during these testing times. Not only the NHS and other key workers but also those much closer to home who offered practical help when it was needed.
However you end up spending your Christmas I hope you enjoy it as best you can. Don’t dwell on the deficiencies of this one but be positive and look forward to the next when hopefully everything will be more or less back to normal and Covid 19 will just be like a bad dream. I wonder what 2021 has in store!
Jill

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