THREE years ago we were following the news avidly to understand how the pandemic was likely to affect us.
Many people’s lives have been devastated since and, even for those of us who seemed to get off relatively lightly, it’ll still be a very long drawn out process before normality is restored.
When the worst of the pandemic subsided, we started making plans for bringing our town centres back to life, trusting that things would get better.
We couldn’t foresee the long term effects of related events, including the shocking war in Ukraine, the fuel crisis and the soaring cost of living.
I’m a glass half full type of person so, when things look dark, I like to balance the bad with the good.
My own main highlight of the year is working with my brilliant new guide dog, Nicky.
Although I trained with her last year, access to shops, cafes and other public places was quite restricted.
We’re still learning together and it’s really satisfying to see how well she copes with new experiences.
I recently went with her to a Christmas concert and was rather anxious how she’d cope with her first large indoor event with sudden loud bouts of applause. She slept all the way through!
Although the virus is still out there, and we’re all now much more conscious of how much things cost and what we can afford, it’s reassuring that we now have vaccine programmes and can actually get out and about again with relative ease.
We live in an exceptionally kind hearted, generous and tolerant community.
It’s very heartening that so many people continue generously to give time and effort to help others.
In Nailsworth and throughout the area, there’s a network of warm hubs where people can go to have a drink, keep warm and meet up with others.
That sharing with others is the true meaning of Christmas and long may it continue.
Nicky and I would like to wish you all a very safe, healthy and happy Christmas and hope next year brings us all peace and good fortune.