"I have an amazing feeling about 2020, I'm not going to lie" - Cat Fuller, January 2020.
This properly cracked me up when I re-read last year's blog post. How wrong could I have been!? I'm not going to pretend like this doesn't feel like the most alien thing ever, sitting down with my old laptop, typing up this post.. little late as I usually do my year review around my birthday in January.. but better late than never.
What is strange is I have hardly any experiences to share (except you know, living through a pandemic..!) but a few notable things have happened over the last year.
First thing to chat about is I mentioned we were picking up our puppy in my previous post a few days after publishing it. Well.. he's not so much of a puppy anymore! Oscar has just turned 18 months old & is the biggest ball of cuteness you can imagine. We picked him up as planned on 18th January last year & it's been a whirlwind ever since. He was 4 months old when we got him & travelled all the way from Romania to us. The first few weeks of having him were a complete blur. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by having a new dog, but we took it day by day & he soon became part of the family. Even at 4 months old, we noticed he still had memories of being in Romania - we can be out walking & the smallest thing might spook or overwhelm him, but he has put his whole trust in us & day by day, making so much progress. Lockdown really hasn't helped with socialising but now people are starting to come back round into our garden, he's started getting braver. He honestly has the biggest heart & I couldn't love him more.
Sticking with a similar topic, we have now been in our house for a year & a half. I'm so glad we purchased a house before everything kicked off - we really were so lucky. We've made a few changes so far, the biggest definitely being removing the decking in the garden & replacing it with a patio. We knew we wanted to start with the garden as we obviously weren't able to travel last year. It's made such a difference & changed the whole garden. We absolutely love sitting out there in the evenings. We also want to start more on the inside of the house & have a few plans for the future, like opening up the kitchen / dining area & making it more open plan, as well as painting upstairs. James & I have been lucky enough to have kept working throughout the pandemic, so actually haven't had much spare time to do house renovations, so all in good time!
Moving onto our jobs, I work in a theatre so we were told to close as soon as the pandemic hit. It was absolutely heart breaking. I still remember leaving work just after the announcement hit & coming in early the next day to be told by our manager we wouldn't be opening the doors. Walking down from the admin office to the box office was the strangest feeling imaginable. The building felt like it had lost it's soul overnight & nobody knew when we would get it back. As the theatre is council run, myself & my colleagues were actually redeployed. We became the 'Covid Support Team' in the main council offices & were thrown straight in the deep end, taking calls from people requesting shopping, medication or just a friendly phone call during the lockdown. I honestly think back now (a year ago today, we would have been in the offices) & can't quite believe it happened. I was regularly walking to town & collecting shopping for people (Cat's Couriers at your service!) as they found me a pink spotted shopping trolley, haha! We had some good laughs & despite being a small team at our Theatre, we obviously have people in different departments, so we don't get to work with certain people regularly, but we were literally all thrown in together, so instantly became closer as a family. Flash forward a few months & we finally managed to get a re-opening date, so half our team went back to the Theatre to give it a fresh lick of paint. Within the council, the lovely lady who was managing us gave in her notice for a new job role, which meant there was a position managing the call team & hub support for all the community groups which had been set up around our district. I was very honoured to be suggested for the role, so I soon started working full days in the offices & even got the opportunity to visit some of the hubs in action & interview them for a appeal video. I still can't believe how I managed to do that, as it was way out of my comfort zone, but I guess that's what this whole year has been!
Just before we were due to open at the beginning of July, we were all called to a meeting which we thought was going to be a massive thankyou for all our hard work being part of the Covid support team, but unfortunately no.. we were the first of many places to face redundancies. I can honestly remember parts of that day so clearly & some is just a blur. It came as a complete shock as the job roles flashed up on screen, to show us who was at risk & who would be safe. Absolutely brutal. It still feels so upsetting to know our team has basically halved over the past year & we had to face opening with limited staff. We somehow battled our way through, but then came the second wave in November where we went into a second lockdown. We had just started selling well for our Christmas shows which made it 10 times worse. Myself & a few colleagues kept working in the office during this time when others went on furlough. We re-opened for a 2nd time at the beginning of December & amazingly managed to get through to Christmas Eve, where we closed the doors for a 3rd time. Which brings us mostly up to date.. I'm currently working from home doing admin tasks before we can officially re-open for a 3rd time in May. I can't wait to get back into the venue to see everyone.. it seems like such a long time.
Anyway! Enough about me. James has had an eventful year in his career too, as he's officially moved to a completely different sector. He's now in property management as opposed to animal welfare. He's almost been in the new role a month & loving it so much.
In other news.. we managed to sneak in a last minute holiday to Cornwall in September which was so lovely. Ozzie loved exploring the beaches & gardens & we stayed in a beautiful little lodge, which had a log fire & hot tub. If you haven't been to Cornwall, we'd definitely recommend it & if you are going with your doggo's, September is the perfect time as they are allowed back on the beaches.
In final news.. I guess it's the big 30. I celebrated my 30th birthday in January & despite it being one of the quietest birthday's I've ever had, it was still incredibly special. I had so many door step visitors & deliveries, I felt extremely loved. I can't wait to celebrate properly next year.. roll on Iceland & a massive party!
To summarize, what a year. I mean.. it seems impossible to believe what's happened has happened.. but let's trust we are on the home stretch.
I hope you are all keeping safe & well, sending lots of love as always.