Reasons to have been cheerful in 2021

It has been suggested that my last posting was a bit negative - that I was portraying 2021 as a failed year. That is not really how I felt - I had just failed on my “12 things”. This got me thinking about all the positive things about the year and there really were lots of reasons to be cheerful. So here are the highlights in no particular order …

At the end of March, we retired. After working with no break, except the usual holidays, for 42 years, it is quite a shock to the system to suddenly have the time to oneself [and get no paychecks]. A shock yes - but a good one. I almost find myself wondering if I should have done it sooner.

We bought the camper van. Having talked about it for a long time, Morrison [as in Van Morrison] arrived in our lives. We did not get much use of him in 2021, but 2022 will be the year!

Although we could not travel abroad - at least not without lots of aggravation - we made up for it by exploring our own country. We went to Liverpool, Glasgow, Yorkshire [Malton in particular - twice], Pembrokeshire, Suffolk and Dorset. All were interesting and most we will return to at some point.

I have been happy with my photography. No specific achievements, but a lot of images that please me.

I have really become keen on walking. Having participated in the Malvern Walking Festival, I was bitten by the bug and joined a local group, where I have even led a walk, which was a first for me. A highlight was a 2-day walk along the canal from Worcester to Birmingham.

For us, food and drink always feature highly in our lives, particularly when we have the chance to share with others. We do not eat out a lot, but cooking at home has been fun and we have tried lots of new things. In the latter months, we could increasingly enjoy sharing with guests. Early in the year, we were told about the availability of fish boxes; we have one delivered each month and it is always exciting to see what they have sent. Much the same idea as our weekly veg box, which has continued.

Late in the year, I heard a radio programme about the health benefits of not sitting too much. Although I never sit for too long - always walking about - I had never seriously considered buying a standing desk until now. The one I got is powered and has 4 memories, so I can change from the standing to sitting at the touch of a button. It was not too expensive and very nice quality.

I have continued to enjoy swimming using both the pools to which I am fortunate to have access. It is nice to able to share my good fortune with friends and family, particularly the children.

On warmer days in the summer and when going swimming, I like the freedom of wearing shorts. For some years, I have been looking for the ideal garments and in 2021 I found them from a company called Deal. The shorts are a good fit, well made, with lots of pockets and come in interesting colours - I realized that older men normally wear grey, black or beige shorts, so I am avoiding those!

Although it has been a tentative activity, late in the year, it is great to be able to go to live theatre and the cinema again.

So, all in all, not such a bad year!