HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2020 from the HINKIES!
Dear Friends and Family,
Festive Greetings to you all and hoping this finds you well.
Looking back on this last year is bizarre as so many momentous things seem to have occurred to us that we are not sure where to start, but we are determined to be positive. It certainly was a case of
'2020 – The year our bins went out more than we did!' So in that spirit, and in no particular order these are some of our highlights -
Deciding to retire in Feb after 36 years in teaching. Great decision; bad timing since Covid struck, the country went into lockdown & the school closed. I spent the last 4 months of my career sitting in an empty school apart from a couple of staff and 8 key worker pupils. It was not the ending I imagined as I delivered my last lesson, gave my last assembly and led my last staff briefing without knowing they were my last. I take great consolation from the knowledge that my last lesson on 'Henry VIII and Catholicism' was an absolute cracker & despite lockdown, ALL staff returned on my last day for an afternoon tea party & a magnificent send off. I was overwhelmed with everyone's kindness, messages of support and they even made a film. It was a wonderfully memorable day.
Summer was AMAZING – the sense of freedom and time to explore opportunities was exhilarating – I just had to rationalise it all a bit. So, the Greek island hopping holiday I had planned was shelved and instead I spent time in the garden and tried to socialise as much as possible. I loved spending late summer evenings in people's gardens by firepits drinking wine late into the night. It was such a peaceful time.
Turning 60 in August! Friends and Family celebrated with me to soften the blow and we had some fabulous times and meals.
Finally, setting up my Craft Room at home...a kind of Angel Strawbridge bolthole where I can get creative. Machine embroidery, sewing, patchwork & beading have all been practised here along with a lot of writing & organising. Yes, all my craft books and materials are in one place at last beautifully displayed on a shelf system Jeremy designed and made for me. My 'Harry Potter' poster which was blu-tacked to my office wall for 13 years at school has also made it home and is now beautifully framed – a little retirement treat for myself.
Making it to the Lake District! We went into lockdown part 2 whilst we were on our holiday there but this did not detract from a marvellous walking holiday experience. We stayed in Thornthwaite next to a ravine with a raging river. The sound of it was deafening even inside the house and we thought we would never sleep but we quickly got used to it and even missed it on our return home. Walla Crags, Barrow, Lord's Seat, Seat How and the jovially named 'Barf' mountains were all enjoyed as we celebrated our 11 wedding anniversary – 36 years together.
Time in our garden – creating a wildflower area & ridding the rhododendron area of ground elder. Our allotment patch was very productive as ever with potatoes, squash, beans, fennel, lettuce, beetroot and carrot (we are still harvesting the last two) but we have decided to terrace this area as the 1 in 3 slope is too much for me when weeding. I regularly find myself rolling down the hill, trampling over the plants or impaling myself on the plant stakes! In the front garden I planted out the 9 new roses given to me by friends at work – retirement presents. I felt very spoilt indeed & the English country garden effect is developing nicely now. The fruit cage was very bountiful too and it was relaxing for me to have the time to make all my jams, jellies and preserves without rushing. I definitely have squirrel tendencies when it comes to preserving things.
Daily walks around the village - enjoying inspirational views from the military badges at the top of Chiselbury & Fir Hill and having time to speak to neighbours and other walkers; finding a sense of peace. It is so wonderful not to be driving to work each day stuck in the car for 2 and a half hours. Such bliss!
So it remains for us to send you our very best wishes for the New Year ahead, never before in our lifetimes has this had more meaning and intent behind it. We hope you all enjoy the festive season and stay well and safe in the months to come.
Skiddaw from Seat How
2020 started out as any year does, a clean slate loosely populated but various good intentions! For me at work it was going to be the equivalent of that 'difficult second album' that niche musicians often describe. The first two years of Alpamayo Coaching had been successful and there were significant opportunities on the horizon. All was going going well with a lot of group coaching work coming in for the first time and then Covid hit.
Like us all, the bottom dropped out of any face to face market and all went digital. For me that was not too big a deal as I already do nearly all my 1-2-1 coaching online and am an advocate of how effective it is. So while Derryn had to commute to work or be emailing from dawn 'til dusk from home, I was beavering away either coaching, volunteering or generating more business. I have had some amazing experiences this year finding myself as Coaching Community Director with 'Know You More', working with EU based researchers through 'Vitae', and partnering with 'Clore Social Leadership' in delivering coaching to the social sector to support their leadership. With KYM I have delivered coaching into the health and social care sector in Scotland giving a webinar on Self Care that broke their system, which says something more about the importance of self care and their shaky system as it does about my pulling power. Anyway, they were used to 50 applicants and 25 attendees and were shocked to have over 1000 applicants to see my show (!) with over 700 turning up on the day. We are also delivering coaching to headteachers all across Scotland which is fascinating too.
That's more than enough about work. However, ever the opportunist I will invite you to look at the website beyond this page (which by the way is only available to a select few!). Go to www.alpamayocoaching.com and see what has been going on. I have not made time to update it recently hoping that my new website guru will help me out. Sadly she is fully occupied in the room next door on her craft projects!!
Aside from work, we have been lucky enough to keep in touch with some of our friends and family throughout the year. We packed a fair bit in before March and then again over the summer during the period of August when we were at home for Derryn's birthday for the first time....ever. As Derryn has talked about, we also squeezed in a trip to the Lakes completed just in time for Boris to tell us to go home again! I would like to claim that I have been motivated to do lots of DIY but still find that difficult inside the house, perhaps because of the epic workload in keeping the garden under control (or at least that is my excuse!)
Anyway, it's been a weird one this year. We are very lucky not to have been impacted healthwise and the same applies to our families. We have had our own challenges and for Derryn a year to celebrate her career has gone and that does hurt a little. She is amazing in her outlook as always and I have the benefit of having her at home which is something to look forward to very much in 2021. Wishing you a safe and fulfilling year and look forward to the time when catching up in person is something that will become second nature again.