I hope you have all managed to enjoy some festive cheer, even if it wasn’t in the same way you would usually celebrate. Although I couldn’t spend as much time with my family and friends as I would normally do I was still able to eat far too much, have a glass (or two) of prosecco with my husband and, most importantly, see the happiness on my children’s faces as they opened their presents.
Now we’re in a new year and while things aren’t back to normal yet, there is still much to look forward to. With the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out across the country, we can be hopeful that restrictions on socialising in the forthcoming months will gradually be lifted. I know how much we have all missed meeting up with friends and family and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that hugging our loved ones will be back on the menu in the first half of this year. Mental health struggles have been prevalent and not being able to interact with others has resulted in loneliness and isolation for many across the community. My morning runs have been an escape for me and have helped me cope with the ongoing pandemic.
One thing that will be different from now on, of course, is how we work and travel in Europe, due to Brexit. From this month free movement of people between the UK and the EU has ended so there will be extra things that we need to remember if we’re planning a visit, including having at least six months validity left on our passports and buying travel insurance with health cover as the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card scheme) no longer applies. The government is looking to provide a similar healthcare scheme which, once agreed, will introduce a new insurance card called the GHIC. The good news is that the government have now secured a free-trade agreement and so tariffs will not be applied to food and goods crossing in and out of the EU. If you plan on travelling don’t forget to check with your mobile network whether they will be charging you a roaming fee!
This month we will also be continuing to add to our podcast series. I’ve been talking to lots of fascinating local residents and businesses (as I write, there are now 11 episodes available via iTunes, Spotify, Anchor and Breaker, with many more recorded and waiting to be published!) which are proving popular with our listeners. Also, following the success of our Caterham Lockdown Fest, which happened at the end of November via Facebook Live and other pre-recorded videos, we’re looking at more ways we can bring you more information and entertainment through our YouTube channel – search for The Caterham and District Independent to see our videos so far and lookout for our regular content starting later this month.
Every December 31, author Neil Gaiman publishes a blog post and includes a wish for the coming year. While they are all inspirational, it’s this one, from 2011, that resonates with me. It’s so easy to put off doing something because you’re scared it won’t turn out right but if the Caterham Independent team had put off trying out new ideas we wouldn’t have made the progress we have over the past year.
“ I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
I can only echo his advice, whatever your dream is, don’t hold back any longer – just go for it. Make 2021 your year!
Have a great month.