Friday, 31 December 2021

That Was The Year That Was

And what a year it has been. I’ll start with the positives. I’m now five years clear of cancer, something I would never have dared to believe in those dark days of recurrences and bad prognoses. T and I have been together for eight years now: I truly cannot imagine life without her. We had a lovely holiday in Co Clare, our first trip away for eighteen months. I built a splendid new bike. And we gained two cats. On the other hand, T broke a bone in her foot and had to wear a surgical boot. I’ve had some recurrent dental problems. Our semi-feral cat, Ginger Dog, died of kidney cancer. And there has been a global pandemic.

My writing has had plenty of positives too, but these were the subject of a recent blog, ‘My Writing Year.’ And most of the highlights mentioned above have also figured as full blog posts over the past year. So I suppose, I should start looking forward into 2022. But that is difficult to do for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t really make plans for the future. I try my best to live in the here and now, and as the old saying goes, let the future take care of itself. To be honest, it’s not easy to do. The modern world is built around plan-making of different sorts. I learnt to live like this the hard way, through my cancer ordeal. And I go forward hopefully.

The second reason is the uncertainty generated by the pandemic itself. What is the point of making plans to do this and that or to go here and there, when these plans could easily become impossible or too dangerous to carry out? Living with the pandemic, has become a bit like living with cancer. Your life is under threat, but you don’t know when and where the disease will come to get you. The threat is with you everywhere. You can do the right things to defend yourself, but you can’t be sure that they will work. So this makes everything dangerous, provisional and insecure. The certainties of before (or what seemed to be certain) just don’t work anymore. And because my cancer treatment left me ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’, negotiating the pandemic is more complicated for me.

All of this makes life more difficult, but not impossible. The way forward I’ve found came from my cancer journey. I suppose it’s all about living within the bounds of the possible. Just beyond our front door there is still plenty of fresh air and plenty of space to enjoy it. We have computers that can connect us to family and friends around the world. And there are plenty of things we didn’t have time for previously that we can now get involved in. For example, over the past eighteen months, I’ve built two bikes from scratch, written a novel and published a second collection of poetry. When you can still spend your energy on what matters to you, life is good.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year.


  1. We have been given a second chance after cancer so lets celebrate. Thank the NHS that took such good care of us and friends and family who supported us. I look forward to seeing your next writing projects and my new year resolution is to get my writing and etchings collected up and published. ( There I've said it publicly. )

    1. Yes indeed, let's celebrate and live well. Congratulations on your resolution. I'm looking forward to seeing your work in print.