This year began in a relatively ordinary way. We had booked to stay at an hotel for our birthday celebrations in January and that went very well indeed. We were well looked after and enjoyed ourselves at the Royal Hotel in Ventnor.
The month was also filled with various volunteering sessions, with the IAG, Vectis Radio and, because we had been given a grant to make the ‘For Women By Women’ radio shows myself and Kitty Lilley began interviewing some of our extraordinary women beginning with Sheila Wilson from Sugar & Spice Lingerie about what is available for women, how to go about getting fitted for bras and what is available for women with physical challenges, Karen Robb from Dornellie about the dos and don’ts of wedding dresses etc., Sarah Sandbach from Athestudio about staying healthy through fitness and exercise, and Lucy Trill from Thairapy about anything you can think of to do with hair, the scalp, staying healthy etc.. All experts in their fields, and each interview lasted about an hour.
Mind the Gap courses were going extremely well and the results for the men and women who had been through domestic abuse were outstanding. They all made positive changes to their lives and moved forward more confidently. I attended the Domestic Abuse Forum hosted by the IoW Council and that was very good indeed.
February began with a beautiful 8 course meal at the Wheatsheaf in Yarmouth, cooked by Shaun Rayner for his Titanic evening. We sat a table with a lovely couple and their son. It was lovely, unrushed and very enjoyable. The interviews continued with Michele Newton from Four Seasons Cookery Academy talking about nutrition for various ages of women. Such an expert in food and nutrition. Two more interviews were with Esme Connelly Chiropractor talking about how beneficial this is for women in particular and Caroline Hole talking about body confidence and self esteem. Carys Gladdish told us all about the workings of the Women’s Institute and where women can find them and what they can expect. Then Holly Cade photographer talking about how she got to become a photographer, her experiences and advice for young people who would like to become photographers. Such interesting subjects from these experts. The pantomime by the Wight Strollers was a must, and of course it was up to it’s usual high standard and we loved it.
For our wedding anniversary we went for a meal at a restaurant in Yarmouth. I’ll say nothing more about that except we won’t be going back.
February also brought the Ladies’ Night I had organised for the Masonic event. We held it at the Royal Hotel in Ventnor and it was spectacular. The band Blackfoot Daisy played and they were amazing. The food was brilliant and the company mostly good.
March saw interviews with Kitty Lilley about mental health and wellbeing, such a wise lady and Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel about how she got to where she is, her career, her pets and pirates. An extraordinary interview with a lovely lady. My car got serviced and had an MOT and some new tyres.
Mid March saw the beginning of the lock down and everything ground to a halt. I began to look for local companies to begin to deliver to us.
In April most physical meetings were transferred to Zoom or other online services. I found Four Winds Dairy for our milk delivery, Island Foods for our meat delivery, The Barrow Boys for our vegetable delivery, Tomato Stall for our tomato delivery and Grace’s Bakery who delivered placed orders. We have deliveries from them regularly now. The quality of the produce is amazing and we shall stick with them. Easter was very quiet.
May was very quiet again, even over the two Bank Holidays.
June and July were very quiet. We did interview Sarah Scotcher about her career, her involvement with the Wight Strollers and of course the famous pantomimes. An extraordinary lady.
In August we again stayed at the Royal Hotel in Ventnor for a couple of nights, because we could. I did some training in emergency first aid to gain a certificate for the Vectis Radio 4Ps Training School CIO and also did some online training with the IoW Council to become a chaperone. I passed all these and had an interview with a Council Officer and was granted a chaperone licence.
In September I was given a job for a day with a film company and duly did all I was asked looking after some teenage boys who were extras on the film and enjoyed the day. The Break the Cycle Mind the Gap leaflets were requested by the Domestic Abuse team at the Council and they want to advertise the courses and include them in their current packages.
In October I was again given a job as a chaperone for the same film company but with a different group of younger boys. I did all I was asked and more and enjoyed the day.
In November I decided that I no longer want to be a chaperone as the people from the agency and the film company are not, in my opinion, trustworthy and will do anything to protect their egos and blame others for their own mistakes and shortcomings. A valuable lesson learned. No grudges held.
December brought Christmas, but before that a trip on the Santa Special at IoW Steam Railway, followed by a visit to the Donkey Sanctuary for lunch and then dinner and an overnight stay at the Royal Hotel in Ventnor. A great day indeed. We visited my mum in Dorset to give her Christmas and birthday presents, she was 97 on Boxing Day. We took her lunch and then we came home for our evening meal. It was good to see her for a few hours.
All through the year we have had special film nights on a Saturday, as if we were at the cinema and in fact we ‘went’ to the ‘Old Vic’ theatre to see A Christmas Carol starring Andrew Lincoln and it was brilliantly done via live stream.
So what have I learned this year? Most people are genuine, some people are only out for their own good and to boost their own egos, some cannot admit their mistakes so find a scapegoat to try and appear perfect, some make things up. Most people, I have found, are genuine and can be trusted. I shall continue to be my authentic self.
Let us hope that 2021 is a much better year for us all.
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