Yearly Review – 2020

It’s all “party of five” here in Sydney for NYE tonight. That’s the maximum number of people allowed in homes tonight, though I’m sure tomorrow’s newspapers will tell of stories of people who’ve breached the rules.

The fireworks are still going ahead, without crowds around the foreshore. The cricket is going ahead next week at 50% capacity, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they revert to no crowds.

Sydney doesn’t get it. I caught a bus and walked around the city last night and hardly anyone was wearing a mask. So, as we approach the end of 2020, it looks like we haven’t learned all that much. Speaking to friends and colleagues in Melbourne, they think we’re all mad.

2020 was the year of the facemask, and here I am on my first flight home to visit my family back in June. Though masks were “compulsory” on the flight, there was still a few people who didn’t adhere to the policy. By the end of December, peeople had pretty much stopped wearing them in Sydney.
We have quite a few shops in Surry Hills that are now empty, largely due to the result of changes in retail (generally) and COVID-19. In their place, a few shops have popped up containing a range of things you might otherwise find at garage sales. The imminent closure of our local shopping centre may mean, however, that some shops from there will relocate to the empty shops, which is a good thing.
During October, Sue and I embarked on a two-week road trip to Western NSE. We stayed in Orange, Mudgee, Parkes, Griffith and Canberra. Sue also stayed in Dubbo, while I went further west to visit Bourke. Here we are visiting ‘The Hermit’s Cave’, which is a “series shelters, terraced gardens, exotic plants, water-cisterns, dry-stone walling and linking bridges, stairways and paths that stretch intermittently across more than a kilometre of the escarpment. Made single-handedly by a reclusive Italian migrant, Valerio Ricetti, these structures involved the moving of hundreds of tons of stone and earth, together with the ingenious incorporation of natural features in the landscape”. We both really loved visiting the site which enjoys excellent views over Griffith.
On the Darling River at Bourke.
Griffith, NSW
This year, we lost a dear family member, Margaret Hyland (she’s on the right). Margy was only nine months older than me, succumbing to pancreatic cancer. Tragically, it was the same cancer that killer her mother, Margaret O’Brien (she’s on the left). Also in this photograph are mum (Bertha Dunn) and granny (Berth Rixon) and the baby, Jacqui Hall. Jacqui is still with us, a strong independent woman who pulled it all together with her sister, Emily, when their mother died.
According to YouTube Music, this was the song I listened to most this year. But I already knew that, or more likely the neighbours did. At a time when we couldn’t go out dancing, I spent many hours jumping around the loungeroom listening to this song. It’s a fun track.
One of my all-time favourite songs covered by Sophie Ellis-Bexter. Her big hits included “If This Is Love” and “Murder On The Dancefloor”. Her social isolation music videos were a highlight of the year, and she sums it up pretty well.

Though I know there’s a feeling NYE marks an opportunity for us to start things afresh, I’m not feeling all that confident right now that 2021 will be any better than 2020. Happy New Year, nonetheless.

Travel in 2020, thanks to Google Maps

7 Replies to “Yearly Review – 2020”

  1. While recently we had to wear masks on public transport, in crowded places (there weren’t any) and supermarkets, many people just kept wearing them when out after compulsory wearing in certain places was lifted. The relief when you take them off is wonderful. But we are used to masks now. I can’t believe your Glad has not made them compulsory. She and or her government seem so out of step, to me she is beholden to some vested interest group.

    Whatever, Happy New Year James. It won’t be worse.

  2. Yes, it’s madness. There have been many stories circulating about what’s been going on behind the scenes. So far, no journalist has been able to ask the right question to get a direct answer, not an evasive one.

  3. Sydney really has pretty much gone back to pre-covid times – it’s astonishing. I’d have to agree with your Melbourne colleagues on this one.

    Who knows what’s behind not making masks mandatory? Assume some interest group / political donor / lobbyists. It really is bonkers – at the supermarket yesterday afternoon it was probably about 40% masks.


    Happy New Year to you too! I hope it brings great things and that your lack of confidence is completely unwarranted (though I do feel similarly un-confident).

    And let’s hope we can hang on to the working from home as long as possible :)

  4. YES to WFH. I had a creative job normally due on Friday, but due to the public holiday, the deadline was artificially pushed back to Thursday, even though really I could deliver it as late as Saturday morning. But TBH, I wasn’t feeling particularly creative on Thursday, and decided I would do it today instead. Luckily, I control this particular holiday. I knocked it off today well ahead of schedule.

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