Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 31 December 2020

So… It’s New Year’s Eve

To tell the truth, we’re not really New Year’s people.

Me and Him
photo by James K Barnett

When the kids were small, we used to hold the annual New Year’s Eve family do, but as they began to grow up and drift away, we stopped.

I don’t remember the last time we did anything for New Year’s, except for the party the Dort threw a few years ago, which I’m sure was great fun, but I was in bed with a migraine.

In the past, I’ve always felt a little sad about sloughing off the old year as if it were nothing, to greet a new year that we could not know anything about.

We’re not really New Year’s people.

Many, probably most, of you will be very glad to see the back of 2020. There have been years gone by that I have been very glad to see the back of. This year seems to have been universally bad.

I sympathise.

I sympathise with all those on the front line. I sympathise with all those who have found themselves alone too much and too often. I sympathise with those who want to work and can’t, with those who have been made redundant, with parents struggling to cope with their children. I sympathise with anyone suffering in a bad, abusive or violent relationship. I sympathise with you all for the problems you endure or have had to learn to overcome.

At the most personal level, 2020 has been perfectly fine by us, but we know how lucky we are. Yes, it would have been nice to get out at weekends, and for our regular trips for work, for research and for fun. It would have been nice to see the people whose company we enjoy so much. It would have been lovely to spend time with our grandchildren. It would have been nice to have had my regular medical treatments. We had plans that had to be cancelled.

We’ve been content, though, happy even, and we’ve been productive.

Like I said, I realise that we are very lucky. We were used to working at home long before it became the pandemic norm. We were used to most of our time being spent alone and together. We’ve always been content to be alone, and we’ve always been happy together.

We have been able to rid ourselves of unhappy obligations, probably permanently, and we have learned who and what truly matters to us personally.

We know how lucky we are.

Dan has worked consistently in a year when many of his colleagues have struggled. He has diversified with projects that have excited him, stretched his mind and made good use of his talents. His long career and his work ethic have given him what he needs to make the best of things, and 2020 has opened new doors and given him unexpected opportunities.

We know how lucky we are.

I wrote two novels this year. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, having deliberately taken an extended break to pursue other passions. Writing came easily to me when I sat back down with my laptop and opened a new file. Writing was my employment, but also my solace, this year, and I am happy that I had it to fall back on when I couldn’t join my cohort at ceramics school.

I’ve made things, too; I’ve knitted blankets and sewn quilts, and I’ve made some pots in my little studio at home, to keep my hand in. I’ve even diversified in my pot-throwing, making art pieces rather than the domestic bowls, beakers and cookware I’ve made before.

We know how lucky we are. 

2020 has been strange, sometimes awkward, often surreal. It has not been the battle for us that we know it has been for some of you.

New Year’s is not really our thing. We don’t really celebrate the beginning of something that we have no control over and no knowledge of. However, 2020 has been tough on many of you, and so we would like to wish you all a very heartfelt Happy New Year.

May 2021 bring you everything you wish for yourselves and each other.


  1. I would say well said, but hard to expect any less from a gifted wordsmith. I love the perspective, and I will be sharing. Please continue to be safe, all the best for 2021.