Dear Members and Friends,
As I walked out this morning, a flock of Canada geese flew over my head, the trees were full of birdsong and the sun was rising into a milky blue sky. A perfect early spring morning, a harbinger of things to come, thank goodness. It has been a long winter, following a long year. Who would have thought, this time last year, that we would have to face a year of fear and isolation and that even now we would still be looking at weeks and maybe months before we can hug our family and friends, go out for enjoyment, go to a meeting rather than interminable Zooming from the kitchen table - or even feel safe again, despite the vaccine.
But isn’t this country incredible – the speed with which we have produced and validated vaccines, and then rolled them out to an amazing number of people is just wonderful. It gives me hope for us – we aren’t a defeated shrinking little nation, we can still pull the stops out when needed, face up to adversity and deal with it, and look to the future. Okay, it hasn’t been all plain sailing to get to this point, so very far from it, it has been such a sad and lonely year, we have lost so many incredible people, some known and loved just by us, some national figures, like our Honorary Member Captain Sir Tom Moore, who was a beacon of hope and resolution in the middle of all this chaos but, despite it all, we are still going, we are still surviving, and on a good day we are still able to laugh.
I have often thought during the last months since the latest lockdown that the winter months and the pandemic have a lot in common – a lot of bleakness and darkness, days when there seems to be a little bit of hope of spring, followed by days when we are plunged back into winter. This time last week we had temperatures of minus 5 degrees and snow on the ground, yesterday we were basking in a balmy 12 degrees and my garden is full of crocuses and birds. Similarly, with the pandemic, we have had days of hope, especially when the vaccines started to be rolled out, followed by days of despair as new variants challenged all our expectations and sent us back in nervous uncertainty. We thought we had pretty well dealt with it last summer, only for the second wave to be worse than the first.
We are living through history! Is that any consolation? Undoubtedly not, but there is nothing we can do but keep on putting one foot in front of the other, keep on looking for spring, keep on looking after each other. There is an advert that I keep seeing about looking after your hands (because of having to wash them so much) where one person says: “we have to keep going and going and going until we get rid of this thing.” That sums it all up for me.
I hope that this year brings you laughter and happiness, time with family and a chance to renew old friendships and make new ones. And I hope it isn’t too long before we meet again.
My best wishes