Well. We started the year with high hopes, but as far as the pandemic was concerned, 2021 was just another day at the office. So today, there are more empty places at the table, more friends marked by the disease, more discord in daily life than I ever remember. And that’s before you even start thinking about politics…
But let’s concentrate on the positives of last year, because there were plenty of those around too. A few of my own highlights (and some that are less than ‘high’ lights but still worth a mention):
Best writing meet-up:
I didn’t exactly manage one every week last year; in fact I can count the number of real-life meetings with other writers on my fingers. Two stand out. One is the lovely summer day we met in Wil. It was Cass Grafton’s (standing) last time with us before she returned to England, so Alison Baillie (left), Louise Mangos (right) and I made the most of it.
Crime writer Danielle Zinn and I didn’t get the sunshine for our lunch in St Margrethen a few weeks later, but one thing the pandemic has taught us is how to eat out in all weathers… The last time I met up with Danielle was in 2018 in London, so it was lovely to catch up in person!
I didn’t go far for this one, but it was a fascinating visit to the sand sculpture event further up Lake Constance. The winning sculpture was amazing.
Best book moments: It’s always special when a new book comes home and I can hold it for the first time. This year, I was lucky enough to do this twice, for Daria’s Daughter and for Pact of Silence. Thank you, Hobeck Books!
Most put-off celebration: for the second year running, Son One’s birthday in March.
2022? I’m not even thinking about it. We’ll see what comes…
Best boat: The ‘Impfschiff’ (vaccination boat). The MS Thurgau went up and down Lake Constance in spring, vaccinating lakeside dwellers. By the time my age group came along, unfortunately, she had gone back to her usual summer job of transporting tourists and selling ice creams.
Two biggest ‘thank yous’:
One goes to Switzerland, for giving me my base jabs (in a tent) and my booster (in a flashy vaccination centre). The other goes to Moderna. I am truly grateful.
Favourite book of the year:
I read so many great books in 2021, but choosing one was easy. Jennie Ensor’s Silenced blew me away. If you like crime fiction and haven’t read this yet, you’re in for a treat. Jennie will be here on the blog at the end of January to tell us about her own favourite books.
Biggest learning curve:
In a word, podcasts. The struggle was real. But I think I got there in the end…
Most interesting walk:
This is one we do regularly, to the beaver dam in our woods. They’ve been busy beavers recently – watch out for more pics in January!
And that was 2021. Thank you all for reading my blog and for your friendship and support in the last year – another difficult one, but again, it was the little things that helped us through. I think maybe it’s always the little things, and the pandemic has made that more clear. So here’s to 2022 and more little things. (And hopefully a few big things too – but let’s not tempt fate…)