2020 Review; A Year During A Pandemic

So 2020 was a hell of a year, even before the horrendous virus covid struck down the world.

Even the start of the year sucked with the UK being struck by a bunch of storms, which made my work commute an absolute nightmare. My one commute took almost 2 hours the one day and it seemed like it would never end.

There was,thankfully, light at the end of the tunnel though because since the September2019 , I had been organising mine and Michele‘s trip to London and Edinburgh. The main decision for the trip was because our favoured actor Richard Armitage was to be in the Chekhov play ‘Uncle Vanya‘ in London’s Harold Pinter theatre from January til May 2020.

Funnily I didn’t really want to go so early in the year-i was a bit worried about the wintry weather affecting our travel plans, but it suited Michele much better and TBH i am very grateful because we just missed the UK and USA being turned upside down by Covid-19.

Even nicer ,for me, was a local friend also wanted to go and see the play, so we had a short weekend trip end of January and lucky old me got one of the few stage door selfies with Richard Armitage. I did a guest post here on Michele’s blog.

grinning like an idiot!

Next up at the end of February was my trip with Michele and we had a wonderful time. In London we got to see Vanya twice and met some other lovely ladies from the fandom-I took them for proper pie and mash at Pieminister!

Michele and I then took the Flying Scotsman railway route up to Edinburgh in Scotland where we stayed a few days. We followed many of the filming locations for North and South, did a chocolate making course, walked ALOT, spent the day at Edinburgh Castle and had amazing afternoon tea in a library.

Work-well 3 months was spent in lock down. That was weird, it’s the longest time I’d ever had off work because I’ve never had kids or traveled the world! I spent the time paint stripping the banister in my house whilst listening to Richard Armitage narrate David Copperfield (by Charles Dickens). I also did lots of zoom webinars related to work the dental industry trying to get its head around what’s going on and how we can move forward and get back to treating patients.

I also started this blog! A certain somebody had kept asking me when I would do my own blog and for a long time I couldn’t see the point. I didn’t want to write a purely Richard Armitage blog and I never wanted to do a super personal blog. Then it occurred to me that I had started doing a lot of crafting, i mean I’ve always done bits and bobs but my crafting had certainly increased after joining the Armitage fandom. So i figured the blog would be a good way to document all the bits and bobs i make.

So, eventually I got back to work. Work was really quite different to before. Patients not allowed to be in the waiting room, reams more PPE than previously, and all hand scaling. I am grateful that both practices i work at gave me space to come back-many dental hygienists didn’t come back for months later than I. I am also grateful they allowed me to dictate how long I wanted for appointments. It’s been odd, and we’re definitely in a routine now but it’s hard and most nights I’m pooped.

It was a sad year on the steampunk front, especially as we had the tragic death of a beloved member of the South West steampunk tribe- a wonderful woman called Nikki. She was intelligent, funny and had a real zest for life. I think the full impact of her passing will only be really felt when we go back to attending steampunk events.

Nikki and I

There were only 2 steampunk events this year, first was in January before everything went crazy- a group visit to Cardiff Museum to see Dippy the Dinosaur and have a genteel mooch around the other parts of the gallery.

In early September we took use of the good weather and decided to have a socially distanced picnic in Chepstow, Covid numbers had gone down and it was allowed to meet in a socially distanced group outdoors at that point.

We all kept a good distance from each other!

I’ve been lucky that no family members have been struck down with covid, though a good friend Tracey was one of the first group of people struck down in March and was hospitalised for 3 months and ventilated. It really was touch and go, but we are all so thankful she is still with us. You can read her story here at Hooks and Dragons (a good crafty blog to follow as well)

My chap and I only took one proper day trip out-to Southerndown beach near Cardiff. Easy to social distance as there large wide open spaces. I just needed to get away from home/work.

Middle of the year was the annual Armitage birthday auctions, to which I contributed my Astrov Cross stitch and a DVD copy of Cold Feet and a little pair of budgie smugglers!

The later part of 2020 was pretty quiet, my chap and I did plenty of walks but i miss the gym. I’ve not participated much in zoom calls. I saw my family once. We’ve been up North to do some organising for a property rental. Did a little more cross stitch. Tidied my house a little and recycled a lot via Freecycle-this is where people come and take stuff of your hands for nothing. This was very easy to do as we have porch, so I would put the items out just before the allotted pick up time so there would be no contact.

Christmas, well we’ve not seen anyone. Just a couple Whastapp chats with family. I did join in with the #RichieHolidayCardSwap on twitter. This is a Richard Armitage based xmas card swap where you can make cards (or not) and send them around the world. It was fun especially as I received more cards than I ever expected (you only actually have to send a card to the person below you in the list).

One last note to end the year and have it turn full circle was that Sonia Friedman Productions filmed Uncle Vanya during the summer in the empty Pinter theatre and it’s just been shown on BBC4 and is also now available on BBC Iplayer (and hopefully very soon across the world).

So it’s been a quiet year. I try not to compare to other people, because many people have done a lot more with their time. But at the end of the day, we’ve been in the middle of a pandemic. It’s a horrible situation, very stressful and most of us just want to hunker down and hide away from the world and hope it goes away.

Resolutions? I have to admit I never do them, but I have decided not to discuss politics at work anymore!

Well I hope you’ve all managed to stay safe and continue to do so and that this awful situation gets towards being resolved this year. Thank you for following my blog, I really do appreciate all the comments and interaction!

Have you made any resolutions?


  1. Quite a year indeed and I think a lot of learning and adapting at least for me.
    I treasure our trip in February ( I wanted to go because much cheaper then April) and that time in London and Edinburgh has gotten me through a tough personal and professional year. You are a true gem and I’m so chuffed you have started this blog
    I think it’s distinctly you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I figured April you may have gone with A (rightly so!) snd I’m a cold weather person although freezing rain isn’t my cup of tea 😂😂
        The train trip was fabulous and I’m so sorry about the flight back

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ah the train was great and i’ve already said not to worry about the plane-i would have been ok if it hadn’t been for the ‘bastard virus’ as Tracey calls it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. No resolutions for me this year, but a hoping that the new house and garden will enable me to get a we bit more exercise.

    I know what you mean about really feeling Nikkis parting when we finally get back together as a steampunk family. It is like a delayed grieving prosess xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Despite everything you had a pretty good year. You were lucky 🍀 ❤️
    I never make resolutions. Not for a new year, not for a new week. But I have some goals and I follow them year after year 😉
    Stay safe 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thats the thing, I’ve tried not to grumble on social media or to friends because I know I have it pretty damn lucky. I have my job still, I have a roof over my head, I have the ability to go for country walks, my family are healthy so far and I have hobbies. Just keep chugging on!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The word: “webinar” could appear for the first time, in the French dictionary 2021 too.
    “zoom webinars” related to work are time consuming, Especially I hate them to occur on Sunday mornings. As if the increase of working hours during the week and the informations that rains down on us all day long were not enough…
    We were extremely lucky to have been able to attend UV at the end of February. Without your stubbornness and persuasion Rachel and Michele, I would never have joined the fans in London. An experience that I dreaded but which will remain engraved in my memory. All these days and your distinct blogs are still going on helping my entertainment.
    Sorry for dragging you through London’s most obscure museums. Dinosaur skeletons remind us that we are nothing on the time scale.
    I can’t wait for the postal trucks to be released to cross the Channel. May you take advantage of my Christmas gifts before Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I’m glad we persuaded you! (You are more stubborn than me!) I enjoyed the museum, I admit i prefer the old style museums where there is lots and lots of little things to look at. Modern museums just seem so empty.
      Webinars…I’ve done a few online previously and they can be helpful but it’s frustrating when that is the only choice you have.
      And again I appreciate that you like and read my blog!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I would like to say Anne when I turned around and you were there at SD I beamed because we so wanted you to share this experience and low and behold Mr Hinds speaks French! You were gracious to take our photos with Toby
      The museum trip was fascinating
      My favorite part was the earth quake simulation in the Japanese display
      The gem exhibit was quite nice and thank you for allowing us to have a group pic
      It is these moments and our Tuesday night dinner with us all five that I treasure from this fandom ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah! The Cold Feet came from you! I enjoyed it! Haven’t got the wooden ornaments, yet, but then it always seems to take forever for the packages to get from Ireland to Canada for some reason.
    Happy New Year!


  6. No resolutions here, never do those at the beginning of a year. Despite lockdown and a low key year, it still sounds like it was a relatively nice year for you. It was a good decision for you to start blogging, I always enjoy reading your posts. And Pieminster is one I will remember for the next time I visit London. Yumm. 🙂
    Happy New Year, Rachel!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It looks like you had a really good start to the year, at least – that Edinburgh trip looks smashing.

    Seeing the steampunk photos really tugs at the ol’ heart strings. I haven’t seen many steamies in years and am definitely getting on the train to hang out with you all when this is all over.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. have you ever been to our house? we;’re working on getting the spare room/sewing room sorted over the next few months. When that’s done and we’re allowed to socialise I think it would be wonderful for you guys to come over for dinner, cocktails and stay the night!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d deffo be up for that; Pete doesn’t like staying at other people’s houses – the thought of not having anywhere to retreat to makes his social anxiety even worse. So I could always leave him at home to care for the cats!

        Liked by 2 people

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