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Photograph by Alistair Pryde of Words & Pictures,

Ask not for whom the hound roos; she roos for thee.
(From: "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." John Donne, 1624)

Tara getting ready for Remembrance day
(check out her harness)

"Following Yonder Star"
(see below)

Christmas dinner
(note Covid precautions - the open window)

December was great! Odd but great. It was like being in a state of flux for the whole month because one never knew from day to day what would happen next. Brexit vied with Covid for the headlines in the news which was refreshing (-ish) and we didn't know until the week before what we'd be allowed to do for Christmas. The government pulled a blinder by warning that London would go into lockdown a few days before it did (because of a new, more contagious, strain) so everyone left and spread it round this country and beyond. Towards the end of the month, the inevitable deal was whisked from the bag at the very last minute (as EU-related decisions always are) and the French closed their borders. Oh, and Bill Bailey won Strictly.

In the end, we were allowed to mix on Christmas Day only - so we did - and the rest of the time we stayed in Tier 3. All fairly predictable really but it concentrated the mind and we had a fabulous time! Two culinary highlights were a wonderful goose dinner on Christmas Eve prepared (mostly) by Hannah and a fantastic piece of beef from Campbell's for Christmas Dinner itself. We also had, magically, the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter which we could see on clear mornings and is said to be what was prophesied in the Book of Numbers ("A Star shall come out of Jacob") and is reported in Matthew's gospel ("For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.") See photo above. Perhaps best of all was that we had a white Christmas - it was officially declared so by the Met Office and was confirmed by looking out of the window.

Just before New Year we were put into Tier 4: the one above the highest tier. This was LockDown by another name, really, as was meant to stop people congregating for New Year celebrations. So we stayed in (as we usually do, really) but we had the bonus of all being together to see 2021 in. There has to be a silver lining or two in all this, and that was certainly one! Tara didn't like the fireworks during the evening, but they didn't go on too long and we enjoyed Jools' Hootenanny as ususal. It all goes to show that while making forward plans in nigh-on impossible at the moment, much doesn't really change. At 11:00 (midnight European time) Big Ben sounded for the first time in years. The hands showed 10:59, but they made the bell toll at 11:00. Not the chimes beforehand, just the tolling bell marking the end of our stay in the EU.

The rest of December was pretty much the same as the rest of the year with lots of on-line meetings and sittings. Tara has some smashing times at Paws Play ... although the field became progressively more waterlogged as the month went on and the rain fell.

For Ian, the highlight of the month was him passing (with 87%) his Intermediate Radio Amateur examination and getting his new callsign.

As we leave 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is in use and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has just been approved, COVID-19 rages and is currently outstripping its height last summer and we are properly out of the EU. At this time last year we hadn't even heard of COVID. What will happen this year? Whatever, may we wish all of you who read these notes a very, very happy, safe, well and (perhaps) prosperous 2021!

 
   
Today is: 2021
Site last updated: Friday, January 01 2021
 

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