The second part of my look back at 2020, a year like no other… You can read part one here.
For us, July felt like a frustrating month. This month, my son should have gone on his rugby tour, my daughter on her school trip to Paris, and my husband and myself to Amsterdam to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Instead, we had a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with our son. It was the month when pubs and restaurants were allowed to open, and more sporting activities were able to start. But we still felt stuck – the stadium was closed by flooding, parkrun was still off, my daughter’s dance teacher didn’t offer school holiday lessons and the last of our half marathons for the year was cancelled. The school year for my daughter ended a week early, on 10th July. Also in July, we were selected for regular coronavirus testing – weekly testing for a month, followed by monthly testing for a year. My skin has been going downhill throughout lockdown and I was really fed up of it by July. At the end of the month, my eldest (who loves aeroplanes) got to fly in a light aircraft with a neighbour, which was a fantastic experience for him.
We started August with a trip to see our friends in Weymouth. I’m pleased to say that we did make it to Padstow in August. All along, I said that I could cope with all of the cancellations, as long as we got to go to Padstow. My eldest doesn’t want to go with us any more, so it was just the four of us. It was just the break we needed. When we got back, the kids spent the week doing an athletics holiday scheme – my son volunteering and my daughter taking part. My son got his GCSE results and they were absolutely brilliant – even better than we’d hoped for. A number of small athletics competitions had started up around the country, but it was hard to get a place. The kids managed to run 100m at one, then my son got a new long jump PB at another, which put him very high on the national rankings. We ended the month with a family meal out for my mum’s birthday with my parents and my sister and her family. Little did we know that it would be the last time we would all be together for a long time.
September started with the long-awaited return to school for my younger kids, with lots of new Covid rules to follow. With cases starting to increase again, we were limited to the Rule of six – only allowed to get together in groups of up to six, which isn’t ideal for a family of five. My son had another athletics competition and managed to equal his new PB, but sadly not beat it. He had one more competition booked, but that was cancelled BECAUSE OF COVID. It was frustrating that pubs were still open, but that socially distanced outdoor athletics competitions were being cancelled. In September, we heard that parkrun would be back before the end of October. Then, because of tightened coronavirus restrictions, that changed just three weeks later and we were left wondering when it would ever come back.
At the start of the month, I became worried about Cedric, my beloved guinea pig. Over the course of 10 days and four visits to the vet’s, including a procedure on his teeth, he slipped away from us. He fought very hard for life and we fought very hard for him.
I got a year older in September and despite the general crap-ness of life right now, it was one of the nicest birthdays I’d had for a long time. Maybe we just don’t expect as much from life in 2020?
October was an uneventful month. The one real highlight was getting Herbert, our new baby guinea pig. My son turned 17, which meant starting to learn to drive. He went out in the car with my husband on his birthday and several more times before his first lesson a week later. He also had the induction (online, of course) for his England Athletics Youth Talent Programme. At the end of half term, my daughter heard that she had to go into self isolation, because of a girl she’d come into contact with on the last day of school. And on 31st October, Boris Johnson informed us we were all going into a second national lockdown.
In a year of crap months, November was a particularly crap one. For starters, it was an entire month spent in the second English full lockdown. My daughter started the month in self isolation. She then went back to school for precisely two weeks and a day before enduring another two weeks in self isolation. Herbert the guinea pig had some small cuts which I’d thought/ hoped he’d caused himself. But he hadn’t, so the guinea pigs had to be separated.
But the worst thing was my dad getting ill, which cast a big shadow over the second half of the month. He ended up being admitted to hospital twice. Every day was a roller coaster of emotion, as he got a little bit better and then a little bit (or a lot) worse. Thank goodness for a close and supportive family.
December started off badly and didn’t get any better. My dad was in hospital with Covid. For the first couple of weeks, it seemed like he was stable or improving slightly, then suddenly things started going downhill. My dad ended up in intensive care on a ventilator. We were initially told it would be five to seven days, then that was adjusted to two weeks, but remarkably he was off the ventilator after just three days. Right until about 20th December, when we knew for sure that he was stable and recovering, was just awful. I can’t remember a harder time in my whole life.
In the meantime, we came out of lockdown and went into tier 2. We were told by the government we couldn’t have the five-day family Christmas we’d been promised and a lot of people got upset. Not me though. After what we’ve been through with my dad, Christmas was the least of my worries. There are far more important things than Christmas. On 23rd December, we heard we would be going into tier 3 on Boxing Day. I was happy with that. I wouldn’t wish the last few weeks on anyone and I’m happy to do what it takes to get us all through this time and prevent people from getting ill.
On 30th December, my dad came out of hospital! On 31st December, we went into tier 4 restrictions, which is basically just a different name for lockdown.