Of all the things that 2020 has taught us is that the best laid plans are made to be broken, and blown sky high and the pieces scattered to the four corners of the universe.

A Surprise Christmas Wedding

A Surprise Christmas Wedding

I don’t even know what will happen by the time this appears.

Now, it’s important to say I’m not a natural optimist but lately, I’ve really tried to focus on trying to enjoy the little things: being outside, enjoying the natural world, the company of friends and family, a barista-made cappuccino, a nice bottle of fizz for no reason at all.

Yet, I’m also determined to be positive and hopeful about next year, so here are the seven things I’m doing now to make me feel better in 2021.

Plant some spring bulbs

Our garden is what the TV shows call ‘a haven for wildlife.’ It’s a miracle that David Attenborough hasn’t popped up from behind the Wendy House (my daughter is now 33) and confess he’s been observing us for the past year. However, even I can plant some spring bulbs and nothing is going to stop those from shooting up. I’ve planted more bulbs this autumn than ever before, hopeful that by the time they appear, the world might be shifting back to better times. First the snowdrops, then crocuses, daffodils, tulips – each one will hopefully signify a new step forward.

Book a gig

They may not be everyone’s cup of Earl Grey, but I’ve booked to see my favourite band, Keane, at an outdoor festival in Cornwall next summer. I’m keeping everything crossed!

Write my Christmas 2021 book

By the time this appears, my Summer 2021 novel should hopefully be with my ed and in the late stages of editing. After a few days to dig myself out from under a pile of laundry and dust, I’ll be starting my Christmas 2021 book. Luckily, the idea flew into my head in September this year. Lockdown caused my brain to turn woolly but as soon as restrictions eased, I had a late flowering of creativity and got the idea for next winter’s story. With a bit of luck, I might even be able to meet readers in person at a signing.

Go on holiday

Sometime soon, I hope to make a return visit to the setting for A Surprise Christmas Wedding, which is beautiful Derwentwater in the Lake District. I’m hoping to visit the Lingholm Estate to drink hot chocolate overlooking the snow topped fells and meet the alpaca herd who live there. I plan on going back as often as I can in 2021, to see the Lakes in all their moods, from daffodils to bluebells and those glorious autumn colours.

Order some books

This year I’ve managed to escape from anxiety through my own writing and other people’s. Weirdly, I found scary thrillers to be therapeutic and I have some cracking reads on pre-order for next year - including the new rom com from Jill Mansell, the latest Ruth Galloway mystery by Elly Griffiths and a Scilly-set thriller by Kate Rhodes.

Call my mum even more often

In 2019 we were lucky enough to go to Australia so before we went, we persuaded our parents (in their late seventies and mid-eighties) to upgrade to smart phones and download WhatsApp. During lockdown, even though they live within walking distance, this proved to be the best thing we’ve ever done. They were able to keep in touch with us and our daughter, who works in healthcare, all the time.

Never whinge again…

Not even when the clocks go back, when there’s another Windows update just as I’ve finally started to get some words down, when the dentist texts me with my check-up reminder or someone has eaten the last Baileys biscuit….

Henceforth, I will be grateful that life is ‘normal’ – or as near as possible!

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