2020. I mean where do I start!

It is time to welcome in the new year. Before though we look back on 2020. Well what a year this has been. There is a lot  to which I could complain or rant about. And I mean a lot. Many days have been tough. Many challenges were thrown at me and the family. Instead though of focusing on the many negatives I will simply be grateful. Grateful for all I have.

  • To a wife who has tirelessly worked day and night. The care and dedication she has shown her team, her patients and many more is remarkable. I couldn’t ask for anything more. We don’t just clap on a Thursday but are grateful for it everyday. Yet she still grins and smiles for our many selfies (usually on a walk or with gin). Thank you Kate for making me smile. 
  • To my little man Euan. Mr Social. Mr Football. Mr Smiley. He can’t even be grumpy without looking adorable. Another year where he has surpassed my expectations, making me proud each and every day. Having a seven year old ask “how was your day Dad, it sounds like a tough one” makes you realise you’ve clearly done something right. And as for his football – he certainly hasn’t learnt it from me! Your love of life is infectious and despite being a sore loser you quickly bounce back. Putting so much effort into Penistone Beavers and giving me many a joyful walk simply talking about the most random of things. 
  • The big man Finley. Mr Smarty-Pants. Mr Football. Mr Hair Sweep. This year has impacted you as much as it has me. We have often rubbed each up the wrong way – two peas in a pod. But a hug from you or a chat on a walk shows again that underneath the grumpiness is an exceptionally clever caring boy with a mean tackle on the pitch. I hope 2021 allows you to get back to normality with your friends.You make me so proud with your love of supporting the community, your athletic ability (no idea where from?) and your love of the outside. 
  • Holidays. Many were unable to travel abroad this year. Thankfully we did manage to sneak a week in between lockdowns in the Tier 1 capital of the United Kingdom – Scilly Isles. A week of walking, beaches, eating (oh the eating), horse riding and much more. The islands are simply stunning made even better by the “being locked at home for 4 months prior”. 
  • Penistone. We fell in love with you in 2007 and this year more than any I have appreciated you. The local shops who have been under big challenges for themselves have offered a smile and a friendly service (Penistone Fruit & Veg, Cafe Creme, The Cheese Shop and more). The easy access to the countryside to enable daily walks along unknown paths encountering wildlife at every turn. Bringing back the milkman. Goodbye plastic bottles, hello tasty milk!
  • Cows. This year the Cows of Penistone have provided me much entertainment. Just relaxing looking out over the countryside to being chased through a field. You have kept me on my toes and created a bit of an obsession. 
  • Cooking. Whether Indian, Mexican or something a tad quicker. Having time to really think about what was on the menu and all sitting down as a family to enjoy. Not sure I have ever cooked with so many different types of chilli but watching Finley rush for a glass of milk brings a chuckle to my mouth. 
  • A garden. Lockdown couldn’t have occurred at a better time for gardening. Peak planting, sowing and harvesting season. You have to look to the good. Having time each day, through no commuting, to spend a bit of time each day pottering and planting helped clear away the utter chaos in my head. Both boys have experimented this year with me – our Avocado plants started with such promise but quickly faded, yet Finley’s rudbeckia provided a summer of colour across the garden. 
  • Drawing. A new love for the simple pencil and paper. With the help of #DrawWithRob — Rob Biddulph me, Kate and occasionally the boys have drawn whales to penguins, bears to elephants.

So although I increased the physical activity with daily walks and regular workouts with Mr Wickes (7 days of sweat really is just that!) the year took its toll on my mental health so going into 2021 I need to really focus on me. Get myself back to who I used to be. Focus on those things above that I am grateful for and use them to make me grateful for myself. 

So from dressing up, to many many zooms. From experimenting on the kitchen table to building plenty of lego. From eating Yummy Yorkshire takeaways while watching a movie to attending one of the few events this year. A year of welcoming Emily, Carter and Daisy to the world. 

Here’s to 2021. A year where I will again become an Uncle. Can’t wait! Happy New to you all from my family to yours. 

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