So on the brink of the New Year, I think we can all safely agree that 2020 has been a pretty crap year!
Last 1st January I don’t think anyone thought that within just a few months we would be in the middle of a global pandemic. Lockdown 1.0 was in full force, there was no seeing family or friends, no travel either domestic or international, Zoom quizzes were the highlight of the week, toilet paper was like gold and masks are now a normal everyday thing.
Like many people, ‘rona has hit me hard this year.
For the past 4 years, Jamie and I were living in Glasgow where I was working as a travel consultant specialising in tailor made holidays to Canada; Jamie was working in Metropolitan Cocktail Bar in Merchant City.
COVID19 was barely even on the radar in January when Jamie decided he’d had enough of Metropolitan and the unsociable hours, handed in his notice and within a few weeks was working at another restaurant with more sociable bar hours.
The virus put a stop to travel early on in the year and so our city office closed and we were furloughed with only a few people working from home to sort out cancellation and rebookings. All forms of hospitality were forced to shut so that put Jamie on furlough too. Unfortunately, it was decided that Ingram Wynd wasn’t going to reopen which by April, put Jamie out of a job completely and trying to find another job during a pandemic proved to be almost impossible within the hospitality industry.
For nearly 3 months we were living almost solely on my reduced income with Jamie only being able to contribute here and there due to being screwed over by his former employer in terms of hours worked. We managed but it was a struggle.
At the end of April, Jamie crashed my car on the way back from the supermarket. It wasn’t anything major and it wasn’t his fault but there was fairly extensive cosmetic damage and it was initially thought that the car might be a write-off. It wasn’t in the end which was a huge relief as my car is our life-line to anything outside Glasgow. I know he felt awful about it but the additional stress that that put on me to have to then arrange towing, repairs and drop off along with paying for said invoices when money was already tight wasn’t exactly appreciated.
By August and with the travel industry being hit so hard, our specialist department were losing money and understandably that couldn’t go on. Before lockdown, as a department, we were preparing to expand into offering tailor made holidays to Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The websites were nearly finished, contracts were in place and we were almost good to go.
Then we all received an email which told us that we would be branching out into selling other global destinations and if we wanted to be a part of the new team, we had to interview as our current job roles no longer existed. Out of 4 original team members, everyone but me took voluntary redundancy straight away for one reason or another. I decided that I wanted to try and keep my job so went for the interview, only to be told the following day that I was unsuccessful. There were various employment/redundancy options offered but I opted for voluntary on the spot. I got a fairly good pay out but I lost my career.
Only a couple of weeks earlier the lockdown restrictions had eased enough to allow us to travel back up north to see family after being apart for months. We decided to visit Kenmore Hotel where Jamie and I met and where we had worked together until we moved to Glasgow – they’d not long reopened and we figured we would go and say ‘hi’. Jamie at that point was redundant and was having no luck with the job hunt. Before we left Kenmore originally, Jamie was Bar Manager. The GM, who we’ve known since we started, offered Jamie a job on the spot to which there was very little discussion needed and he took it.
This left me on my own in Glasgow for the best part of 4 weeks while he worked up north, only able to come down a few times on days off.
He’d just been promoted once again to Bar Manager when I told him that I was now out of a job.
After the ‘thanks but no thanks’ phone call, I spent almost 3 days solid rewriting my CV and cover letters, tailoring it to retail and basically anything that I thought I might be able to do but with no luck.
I ended up visiting Jamie that weekend and the GM offered me my job back on reception. Initially I was a bit skeptical about taking it because up until that point, Glasgow was home for us and that’s where we wanted to based but I said I’d think about it. It was all I thought about on the way to see my parents and by the time I got back to Kenmore I’d decided to accept. It was a win-win situation and one I really couldn’t turn down in any sense. I needed a job and didn’t need training and they needed a receptionist.
Thinking it would only be for a little while, we kept the flat on but soon realised that we were essentially flushing away money on a place that neither of us where now living in. As Jamie was working 6 day weeks at that point and the hotel business was booming, it fell to me on my days off to arrange everything and pack up the flat to move out at the end of the month. I never want to see another cardboard box again. It’s the best part of 90 miles from Pitlochry (where I’m keeping everything at mum & dads) to Glasgow and some days I drove it twice!
Back in 2019 when ‘rona was unheard of, mum and I had booked an escorted tour to Japan which we were both so looking forward to. Of course it was booked for March 2020 and had to be cancelled.
Our friends were supposed to be getting married in Spain in June with everyone flying out but the travel ban put a stop to that one so it’s been rescheduled for 2021.
Other sets of friends were supposed to be getting married in July and September but both postponed so that everyone could attend, not just 20 people.
Had I still been employed and everything ‘normal’, I was supposed to have flown out to Quebec, Canada for a week in July for work – that obviously didn’t happen.
Jamie and I usually book a holiday for September/October but decided not to bother as it would just end up being cancelled too so essentially, we/I’ve had 4 trips not go ahead this year.
The one good thing that this year has brought and that I’m incredibly appreciative of was that during lockdown 1.0, I saw more of Jamie in those few months than I think I have in the entire 4 years that we lived in Glasgow, solely down to working hours.
We did our 1 hour of exercise each day together, he was there to laugh at me struggle through my first online yoga sessions, I lost numerous games of chess and monopoly (cause he cheats!), we cooked every meal together and he fell asleep against me almost every night before the credits of our ‘movie night’ film even finished but I didn’t mind because we were actually at home together.
I know a lot of couples have really struggled being cooped up together for the whole of lockdown and I’m sure marriage councillors and divorce lawyers saw a boom in their client numbers afterwards but that wasn’t us. Lockdown actually brought us closer and in terms of our 6 year relationship, I honestly think this is our best year yet.
2020 has definitely had more down sides than up and though I’ve never been into celebrating New Year, I can honestly say I’m happy to see the back of this particular one. With things the way they are at the moment (being in lockdown 2.0) I don’t see 2021 initially being much better but we can hope.
Onwards and upward and ‘hello’ 2021!
Happy New Year everybody.