To our dear family and friends;

We decided that for Christmas in “the year we’d all like to forget”, we would write to you all instead about why we will always remember the months that passed us in 2020. After all, we made history.

We were lucky enough to start the year with new year’s eve in Disneyland Paris. Little did we all know that this would be our last break for a while. It was a brilliant couple of days, especially when Lorraine and Fred realised that you are never too old for a rollercoaster!

In February, Simon started a new job with WorldFirst after 6 years at ASOS. We also started training for the 58km Jurassic challenge. A month later, all mass gatherings were postponed.

Lockdown hit us all in March and Boris told us to stop inside. Oscar was sent home with a temperature when schools were trying to get a grip on the situation, which caused us all to be isolated in the house for 14 days. You couldn’t get a loo-roll anywhere and the shelves in Sainsbury’s looked like armageddon was about to materialise. Home-schooling started and both Elizabeth and Simon set up our dining room office that would become our home for a large part of the year.

For our 40th birthdays, we’d planned the holiday of a lifetime to Bali for April. The cancellation caused us a massive battle with the tour company, like many other Brits at that time. We had to settle for camping in the garden, but it didn’t last long with far too many midnight toilet trips. Lockdown hobbies started with the summer house paint job – who knew we were all that creative when there was nothing else to do?

In May, the DIY continued. Fred and Simon raised a garden bed for home-grown greens and replaced some wonky kitchen floor tiles after years of ignoring them. Wasn’t much else to do really. Bebe allowed us to dress her up as the painting ‘girl with a pearl earring’ then Elizabeth painted a picture from the photo.

June hit, temperatures soared and we all topped up our tans. The DIY continued further still, this time re-tiling the bathroom; one of those jobs you ‘try not to make eye contact with’ – but needed to be done. The hot tub arrived, an attempt to enjoy the summer somehow. We had a long day trip to Oddicombe for a family funeral along with an afternoon on the isolated beach for Bea to enjoy.

In July, Si turned 40 when we arranged a Zoom party with a few good friends from around the UK (and South Africa) but he drank far too much Polish “moonshine” to enjoy his actual birthday on the Sunday when he fell asleep in the sun and got burnt.

A last minute holiday to Rhodes was booked from a deserted Birmingham Airport, staying in an empty hotel & pool with the best hospitality ever known from Stavros.

Our August caravan holiday in Cornwall was cut short when Elizabeth was taken ill and ended up in A+E but, before all of that, we had a questionable 300 mile drive home towing the caravan back cross country. Bigwig (the rabbit) died during our Cornish holiday – a completely unexpected loss causing many tears for the kids. Bea turned 8 (going on 18!) and had another Zoom party with her friends. Liz made a llama cake that looked like he’d had “a few too many” in the local. Oscar also ended up in emergency surgery right at the moment he was due to return to school, eating up a big chunk of his new term in recovery.

Liz and Bebe went back to school in September with many reservations but although really hard work, it’s been ok. Liz launched a tutoring service called Acceler8 which is working out to be a massive success. Chocolate and Hobnob – Bea’s new guinea pigs – joined the family farm. “Disco Daisy” (the Landrover) was sold for a sexier, younger model. Fortunately (for us), the private sale told us the gearbox and suspension faults started just a few weeks later. Dodged that one!

October brought everyone’s birthdays, including Liz’s 40th, Oscar’s 14th plus Lorraine and Fred with endless lockdown cakes, takeaways and alcohol to gorge through.

We finally decided to make Si a proper home office in November, renovating the empty spare bedroom (it’s not like anyone can stop at the moment). We uncovered more original wooden beams hidden behind plasterboard. Isn’t it funny how different generations appreciate different styles? The new Christmas tree came out early to start the joy towards the end of November – our first fake one in over 10 years.

December has arrived and we launch Teach Mugs – a joint side project / lockdown hobby. Christmas this year will be a strange one; more hospital treatment for Liz on 22nd, hopefully solving some long term health issues.

Looking back, we’ve laughed, cried, and made memories that will last a life time. We’ve clapped for the NHS and for each other. This year has made us realise it’s the little things that matter and has brought us closer together as a family. 2020 will be the year that we will never forget.

So to finish, with love and well wishes from us all here to you there. Speak soon – and save us all a space on your sofa for that special time when we can be together again.

Love from,
Elizabeth, Simon, Oscar, Beatrice
(and all the animals 🐶 🐰 🐭 🐭 🐠 🐠 )