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Friday, 1 January 2021


Over the years, I have posted some kind of New, Years resolutions here... More for me, I suppose, because i have felt if I'm public, I'm more likely to change myself in some new, positive way. Last year, I resolved to write on my blog more. Id only posted twice in 2019, so I stuck to that one! 
Last year, New years 2019-20 was a very different one for me. I sat with my dad in Daisy Hill Hospital as he lay in a ward, unconscious. I sat and spoke with a stroke victim in the next bed, and he told me of his family, his son a classical musician and composer who lives on the continent and how he worried about him.
Dad woke up briefly and recognised me, and spoke to me for the first time in days and when he went back to sleep, I felt hopeful for 2020. Dad died, after a fight for life, on 31 January. His death came as a total shock and really has, more than covid, or brexit or any other generally experienced features of 2020, defined that year for me. I'm thankful that on the day he died , he and I spoke. He was happier than he had been, totally lucid and sat and read a paper I bought him. The hours and weeks that followed after we spoke are almost like an awful dream. I still expect to hear him at the end of the phone, telling me off for not phoning often enough.
The world stopped when dad died. Literally. And hasn't really restarted.

I'm not going to make resolutions. My want is to get back to normality... A normalcy that will mean I can visit mum  and sisters and other members of my amazing, positive, valuable family. And spend time in Banbridge , a place I never really left back in 1993 when i came to Scotland. I think 2020 has taught me more about family and the pricelessness of those connections more than any other year, ever.
I'm on week seven of a couch to 10k... And  over the past few two mile runs, although I'll never be able to return to the speed and strength of running i enjoyed in my teens and twenties, I've really enjoyed pounding the streets (rather than the springing, gazelle like glide young people run! ). And I am cycling when i can. If I have a resolution, it is to be able to cycle the 125 miles in a day, to Banbridge next summer (and then back again a few days later). I told my dad I was going to do that, and he was looking forward to it.
And I am determined to try to help to make lives of others better, through political, union and social engagement. 2021 is going to be a bleak year for many families. I hear every few days of job losses, illness, and desperation that really should not exist in this day and age. Poverty that is the result of political decisions by fools and vicious, uncaring, nasty people.
2020 seems to have left with one final, awful, event as it seems, a school friend of mine has passed away. Someone I remember as a smiling, happy, innocent person.
Anyway, let's hope 2021 is a good one for everyone. And let's look after each other as best we can.

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