This is what I wrote exactly a year ago tonight; in some small ways, plus ça change, but in nearly every other way everything, absolutely everything has changed. So December 31st 2019:
2019 has been a curious year, some things to feel joyful about, but there are some things which have cast dark shadows across not just here in our little country but across the world. Evils I had thought were dying seem to be making a resurgence, and the damage we are doing to our beautiful planet is frightening.
I grew up after the collision between the vile hatred and atrocities of Nazism, and the bravery of ordinary people in fighting it in the second world war had led to victory for good and what seemed to be the brightness of a new dawn of equality and opportunity – even though the fight against ignorance had to continue. During my life I have seen great improvements in many areas, even though much more needed to be done – those in power seemed as subtly corrupt as ever, those who were powerless had to strive even harder, However I could believe that our country and the world was becoming a better place.
Now there are leaders who are not just morally corrupt, but are stupid – yes stupid and ignorant, shameless and heartless, witless buffoons, some of them malicious and powerful schemers others, people born with every advantage and no compassion, willing to destroy everything. I have felt quite downcast by the recent election in our country – not just that the side I supported lost, but that the side who are now in power are so utterly reprehensible – and arrogant, liars and cheats…
Dear friends and people I care for have experienced horrible shameless racism and prejudice, openly expressed in a way which i don’t recall for many years – as if the arguments and views espoused by leaders have given license for hatred and prejudice, and just plain nastiness.
There’s more, of course, but…
We will be in a new year and a new decade in less than six hours and I hope this will be the decade of courage and hope and action. I don’t mean fighting in the streets – good grief, I don’t mean that at all!! I hope by standing up and speaking out in our own small ways we can make a difference, by continuing to do all we can to help others, and our poor planet recover and become a greener place in every sense.
I’m saying goodbye to 2019; I have lost, in different ways, several people I hold dear; however, I have to thank this last year for some wonderful things too:
- my great family – husband, son and daughter, my sister, my cousins, their children and grandchildren, and the annual family holiday at Easter and Christmas party in December
- my old friends, especially my almost-brother and family in Manchester, my friends across the seas in the Netherlands and Israel
- my writing friends – we’ve become closer than ever, groups I lead, groups I’m part of, and my writing retreat and adventure group
- my reading friends in my book clubs, and all the books we have read and enjoyed – or not, and talked abut laughed about disagreed/agreed about
- my music friends, those I go to gigs with especially my dear, talented Coventry friend
- where I live, the small village of Uphill, just south of where the Severn estuary becomes the Severn channel so technically we’re by the sea
- our pub the Dolphin, pubs in general, including the New Inn Kewstoke, the Featherstar in Wirksworth, The Old Windmill in Coventry and lots more
- music in my life – the gigs I’ve been to: the Mavericks, the Peas
- my writing – which has been rather laid back this past twelve months but which I am confident will spring back tomorrow
- Greta Thunberg who is a beacon of hope and a true example to all of every age
- and much much more which seems to have slipped out of my mind just at this moment!!! I will add to the list as it occurs to me!