I was looking back on my previous new year’s message which was how 2020 was going to “be the best year ever.” So, this year, I’m simply going to say, I hope you’re all well and after the year its been, that things improve for us all. Wishing all Blantyre Project readers all over the world the best of health, good fortune and happiness in 2021.
Despite the pandemic, there were some highlights….
- Over 700 unique history articles were added to Blantyre Project in 2020
- 1,750 photos were added in 2020 taking the archive to over 14,300 old Blantyre photos!
- Appearing on Facebook, all stories and photos were also archived on the growing massive, free website at http://www.blantyreproject.com
- I finally finished and released “Blantyre People“, the largest ever Blantyre book charting the lives of over 1,500 people who helped shape this town over the last 8 Centuries. All for charitable causes. A proud moment!
- I had the privilege of writing up many of the personal stories of fallen WW1 soldiers and the miners who lost their lives in the 1877 disaster.
Like for many others, Covid did have a negative impact on Blantyre Project.
- I worked through lockdown, throwing myself completely into my new job, working late and often meaning reduced time to research history in evenings. Book deadlines unfortunately fell by the wayside.
- After the misery of 92 days of toothache during lockdown, in early Winter, I found myself in and out of hospital and after tests, doctors advising I had “long covid”. I kept it quiet, working from home knowing there were people far worse off. There were times when I was soo ill, I couldn’t go out. It was frightening knowing something was seriously impacting my health. Even 4 months on, I’m occasionally out of breath walking from one room to the next. Thankfully all my family are ok, but it was a wake up call, I need to look after myself a little better.
With the suspension of several Community Groups in 2020, I missed involvement with Friends of the Calder, Blantyre Futures and especially Blantyre Community Committee but recently embarked on exciting, new partnerships that will be prominent in 2021. I hope sincerely though, that all volunteer groups can return to some normality next year.
So what about 2021?
I’m going to stop jumping around writing tasks. I have 8 open book drafts all at various stages and each requiring some focus. I’ve picked two to finish in early 2021 and aiming to release them both by March. Smaller, affordable books.
Meantime, I hope you all continue to enjoy this website, it’s daily stories, photos and events. Thank you sincerely for all your support and comments and for keeping me so motivated. For now though, its time to celebrate, my glass is half full and family beckon me to closedown the computer.
Happy New Year! Paul.