Happy New Year, I hope you had a lovely Christmas! I know that various things including finances, strikes and the weather all conspired to make things difficult, and the economic woes will continue during this coming year, but I hope you were able to enjoy the festivities in whatever way your circumstances allowed.
Fortunately, despite my recent redundancy, my mother and I are in a comfortable and stable position, so we were able to enjoy Christmas in the same way we do every year. I went out to see a musical and a variety of festive displays, and at home there were plenty of things for us to eat and watch.
It hasn’t been entirely without issues though. The railway strikes and the snow in December prevented me from going down to Devon to see my ex-colleagues for a Christmas meal. And now, in early January, my mother and I have finally caught Covid, after 3 years of successfully swerving it. I’ll write more about it in a later post, once I’m sure we’re clear of it, suffice to say being fully vaccinated has clearly helped, as we’re recovering pretty quickly. Plus I’ve still been able to put together the traditional video that accompanies this post.
So let’s get into it. This is an epic bumper post, as festive roundups tend to be, and none of it’s sponsored or gifted. I hope you enjoy!
Welcome to my latest monthly update, and I start with good news – Mum is now fully vaccinated against Covid (until the Autumn booster at least), and we’ve finally had haircuts after 6 months! That’s my personal headline news from April, and both of those events were a great relief as you can imagine. I’ve also passed the lovely milestones of 1,000 followers on Twitter and 600 on Youtube, so thank you to everyone who continues to subscribe to my ramblings!
And so, for all my followers and anybody else who stumbles across this, here’s a look at what I’ve been focusing on this past month. I have been going out and about for long walks in the lovely weather, which has been good. But in this post and video I’m going to talk about various bits and pieces, including Mum’s vaccination, disability, drama, comedy and music. So let’s crack on with it. Nothing here is sponsored or gifted, and I hope you enjoy!
Congratulations. If you’re in the UK like me, you’ve made it through a whole year since we first went into lockdown. And for some of you it may be longer depending on where you live. It’s been tough for all of us, including optimistic folk like me. But we can all be proud of making it this far, especially thanks to all our families and friends, health and care staff, key workers, volunteers, scientists, etc, who have done so much for us in that time.
And as the days get brighter, so does the light at the end of the runnel, albeit with some flickering that means we still have to cautiously tread the path ahead. Many countries are still struggling with infections and vaccine rollouts for instance. But here in England at least, schools reopened on March 8th and outdoor meetups and sports were permitted from March 29th, as part of the roadmap for lifting lockdown. Other parts of the UK have been easing restrictions in similar ways at slightly different times. We’re by no means out of the woods yet and have to continue to be very careful indeed, but they’ve been very positive steps in the right direction.
The vaccines are helping significantly too, with over 30 million adults having received at least 1 jab, over 4 million of whom have had both, and my mother and I are patiently waiting to be invited for our second doses. There are a few ill-informed myths about the vaccines and false claims about lockdowns that are misleading some people of course, but the overwhelming majority understand why and how it’s important to protect themselves and others, and they trust the experts that the vaccines are safe.
Of course, being in lockdown means I still haven’t done an awful lot. I have been getting out for more walks recently though, now that the weather’s improving, so I’m very glad about that. And I’ve been enjoying plenty of comedy and music as usual, which is what most of this post and video will be about. Nothing is sponsored or gifted as per usual, and I hope you enjoy!
Happy New Year! Well, as happy as it can be in the circumstances. Let’s face it, 2020 is the year that nobody wants to look back at. Referring to perfect vision as 20/20 will forever carry a certain irony with it now. And if you were to try and sum up the year with a word or phrase, there isn’t much that’s family-friendly that truly does it justice – other than dumpster fire perhaps, which I’ve seen a lot of people use very accurately.
Granted, 2021 hasn’t started off any better, but that’s because we’re still experiencing the fallout from the damage caused by its unruly predecessor. 2021 has its work cut out trying to repair that, and it will undoubtedly require the assistance of 2022 and beyond to achieve it. However, 2021 is giving us a lot of reason to be hopeful, so there is definitely light at the end of this long, dark tunnel we’ve all been stuck in.
But I need to wrap up 2020 nevertheless. It was a strange and difficult Christmas without a doubt, not the sort any of us wanted, and it’s going to be a hard winter for many, especially now we’re in lockdown again. There’s a big ray of hope with the rollout of the vaccines though, so the future’s looking good, and many thanks to all the health workers who are doing their utmost to dish them out as quickly as possible.
My thoughts also go to everyone in America after the recent terror attack amid the fallout from Trump’s defeat. Biden’s inauguration on January 20th can’t come soon enough. Best wishes from across the pond, stay safe!
Those challenges aside, however, I hope you were able to find some enjoyment and comfort during the festive period, insofar as the rules allowed in your part of the world.
Mum and I are doing fine, I’m pleased to say. We’ve enjoyed lots of nice treats, and have had plenty of fun things to watch and listen to, all of which has been a welcome distraction from the news. I continued to have a few long walks around my local area during December as well, as that was the only way I could get out and about, so it was important to make the most of it. Mum’s had a bit of fresh air too of course, but doesn’t go on the long hikes like I do, and we’ve made sure she stays well away from other people apart from her sister (and even then they keep their distance at the front door, she hasn’t been in the house).
So we did pretty well this Christmas despite the limitations, and here’s my festive post and video to round things up. I’m not going to mention absolutely everything we filled our stomachs with, or every little bit of entertainment we watched or listened to. I’m just going mention my favourite things, as is the purpose of these posts. Nothing here is sponsored as usual, and any gifts are just from friends, not the people behind the products. So I hope you enjoy!
Hello again, hope you’re all keeping safe and well. We’ve now had nearly 3 months of lockdown, and this ‘new normal’ still feels surreal. It certainly puts everything in perspective, that a microscopic virus can temporarily shut down the entire planet in a matter of weeks. It’s a stark reminder of how powerful nature can be.
Everyone’s perception of time is rather weird at the moment too, with the weeks seeming to fly by, but that can be explained by science at least. Although, of course, it will be dragging much more slowly for those going through a particularly rough time at the moment, and you have my sympathies if that applies to you.
As I see it, the current small changes to our lockdown, as part of the government’s long term recovery plan, are basically urging people to use their common sense, as the virus is still circulating. We must continue to stay at home and work from home if at all possible, and obey the other safety rules. But provided we do so, we have a little bit more freedom now. So I hope people will continue to be careful and sensible, as we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet, but we’re getting there slowly. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And obviously for disabled people things are more complicated, as Lucy Edwards has discussed with a couple of her fellow blind activists in a recent video.
As for me though, I’m still doing fine. I’ve been staying indoors to keep my elderly mother safe, but recently I went out for the first time in over 5 weeks, as a couple of essential items were missing from our online shopping delivery. So I was very pleased to find that there were hardly any people and very few cars about, and that I was able to use the priority hour for disabled people at the supermarket, which was fully stocked and had social distancing measures very well enforced. So my risk of exposure was hopefully minimal.
But otherwise I’m still staying at home, and I’ve continued to keep myself entertained in various ways. So here’s my latest recap of what I’ve been enjoying and discovering recently, along with videos summarising week 5, week 6, week 7 & week 8. As usual nothing is sponsored or gifted, and all opinions are my own. So I hope you enjoy!
Hello there. I hope you’re all keepinng safe and well, and that you had a nice break over Easter, with plenty of chocolate goodies or whatever you like to indulge on.
I think we’ve all earned a few treats at the moment, given that things have felt very strange since we went into lockdown on 23 March. Like everybody else, I was very anxious about the situation at first, and it’s still going to be a concern for a while, because all of the changes to our lives are a lot to get used to. But I know that we’re doing it for the right reasons, to save lives.
I do also feel that my mother and I have been adjusting as well as can be expected, we feel relatively relaxed at the moment. It also helps that I’m not checking news and social media updates as often as I was initially, and I’ve muted certain phrases and blocked various accounts to make browsing social media a calmer experience. Things like that certainly make a big difference to one’s mindset.
I’m already a homeworker too, so that’s made things easier. Although, as it happened, I didn’t fully go back to work straightaway, because by chance I had already booked the first 2 weeks of lockdown off to use up my annual leave quota (after an illness last year meant I couldn’t use as much holiday as I’d hoped). Granted, I couldn’t use that holiday time to go anywhere nice, except the local park, but the time was very useful to ensure that Mum and I were stocked up and could start settling into this temporary new way of living. So it’s only been the last couple of weeks that I’ve started getting into a proper routine again (and even then Easter ensured that I had 2 four-day weeks).
But of course, many people have far more important, difficult and stressful jobs than I do. So if you’re a key worker – including employees and volunteers in the health service, social care, retail sectors and local authorities, among many others – then thank you!
It’s a very uncertain time, and we don’t know how long this will last, but I want to keep myself occupied as best I can. There are certainly lots of options for things to do – and if you need any ideas, check out my special Lockdown Resources page – so I’ll try my best not to get bored. Indeed, it feels like time is moving more quickly again, after the month of March felt like a year. Maybe it’s because I was already used to homeworking and spending a lot of time at home, and because I’m finding plenty of ways to stay busy and entertained.
So with that in mind, here’s my first lockdown post about the things that have been keeping me occupied. There are 3 videos to go with this – for weeks 1-2, week 3 & week 4 – because with more free time I’ve been able to produce videos a bit more frequently, at least for a little while. So I hope you enjoy looking through this selection.
We did it! 🙂 On Sunday 21 October, after a month’s delay due to the typical British weather, I finally got to do my charity abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower in aid of nystagmus research. That’s a drop of 80 metres (262 feet) from the UK’s tallest sculpture!
It was my first ever fundraising challenge and my first ever abseil, and therefore a big deal for a beginner like me. And it was an amazing experience, which I’m excited to tell you about in this post. I’ve also made a video that includes headcam footage from my descent, so do check that out as well.
Donations closed on 23 March 2019, and I raised £920 (+ £143 Gift Aid)! Thank you all SO much! Everyone who donated prior to the initial publication of this post is listed at the end, and are also in the credits of my video (unless you were anonymous of course). But if you’d like to donate even though the deadline has passed, please feel free to donate to Nystagmus Network and/or Moorfields Eye Charity directly. Thanks!
So I hope you enjoy reading about my abseil adventure, including my fundraising achievements and what happened on the day itself! Thanks again for your support!
Time for another monthly update, and it’s fair to say that September was very busy and productive, as well as throwing up one or two surprises, which in turn are paving the way for a very interesting October. There is of course a video to go with this post, and I hope you enjoy this little catch-up as usual!
It’s now time to do my August Favourites post and video, to bring myself up to date before I get into an eventful September. August was again busy on the social media front, and there was important stuff going on at home too. But I also had time to go out and do a nice variety of things as well. So it was another productive and enjoyable month, and I hope you enjoy reading about it.
This week I finally went to my first concert since moving to London. I’ve been to a few musicals this year, but not an actual concert. And this was in arguably the most iconic concert venue in London – The Royal Albert Hall. I went there with the family in my youth for a Christmas concert, though I don’t remember it now of course. So going to a Christmas concert there this year felt like the first time really. And it was all for a good cause too.
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