So welcome to a New Year like no other we have experienced! It seems difficult to make resolutions and plans when we just have no idea how 2021 will turn out. After all, who could have predicted what 2020 would have been like this time last year!
Still the start of any year is a good time to reflect on what has been as well as to make new plans. And despite all of the fears and sadness of 2020 - Jill's frustration at being stuck home due to shielding and having to rely on other people for her shopping, Lenshina's plate spinning at trying to entertain and home school the managing director while getting a website together, the constant worry as to how we could keep our business going so that we could continue to provide an income for ourselves an for the amazing artisans around the world who make the products we sell - there are lots of positives to look back at.
The first and most important one from a business point of view is the fact that, after years of prevaricating, we did finally get a website together and we have been truly amazed and grateful to all of you who have chosen to shop using it.
Also, although we have deeply missed contact with our friends and families, technology has been amazing at providing a way to keep in touch - even when its frustrating trying to get it all to work with the grandparents, or even with Jill ;-). Regular Zoom meetings with our fellow BAFTS members have also brought a much greater closeness within our fair trade community, so although our annual AGM (which had been due to be held here in Wales in 2020) had to be cancelled, our relationships and communication has grown hugely. It is a great support to be able to share your woes with others who are in exactly the same situation and can really understand, and we have all benefited from exchanging ideas and skills.
And being forced to spend so much time at home has brought some unexpected benefits. Jill has been able to grow her own veg and make Christmas cake for the first time in years, and her daily posts on her activities during the first lockdown provided comfort to lots of people in a similar situation.
Meanwhile Lenshina and the managing director really benefited form the resources people made available online, often for free. We have danced, done photography competitions, been part of achieving a world record and created earthquakes, spiders webs, fireworks and much more. And Lenshina has discovered a love of painting which has provided her with a small space to do something for herself - even if that means sticking gold leaf to her version of 'The Kiss' at 2 o'clock in the morning!
So all in all there were a lot of positives that came out of the strange year of 2020. And here we are at the start of 2021 pretty much in the same position we found ourselves in last March - Jill is shielding again, the shop is shut except for click and collect and school re-opening is very much up in the air. But as long as we manage to hold on to being grateful for all the good things that do happen (and every time we get a website order is one of those good thing), remain hopeful that the vaccines coming online will enable us all to come to an amazing new normal (one where considering the ethically impact of our actions for people and planet is a the heart of what we all do) and we continue to be kind to ourselves and to others we are confident that it can be a Happy New Year!
As long as we allowed back to sea swimming soon...