There is a real sense of pride and admiration for Boris and his government amongst the general public. Mind you, if you listen to the BBC and read the left wing press, you would think the opposite were true.
We are all weary, the pandemic has messed up businesses and people’s lives, but there is genuine admiration for Boris and his team. We recognise they are doing their best to keep us safe, and the economy afloat whilst ensuring that we leave the European Union as an independent sovereign nation.
I have never seen so many joyful lights adorning houses, gardens and high streets. It is clear that families and businesses have made an extra effort this year. Not only to cheer everyone up but to send a positive message that they are behind the country and those who are leading the way, and those who take care of us when we fall ill.
The lights celebrate the end of 2020, but also a hope and determination that 2021 will be better for us all – eventually.
Covid 19 has had little effect on the agricultural industry. What did for us was the weather. However, farmers tend to pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on. We do get grumpy when the crops fail, our cattle don’t have enough grass during the summer, and there is a shortage of straw to keep them warm and dry during the winter months. But farming is seasonal and we always look forward with optimism, never backwards.
Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse, lives on a farm in deepest Devon. He wrote movingly in The Mail on Sunday, about the children who come to stay on the farm which is one of three run by his family and the charity, Farms for City Children.
These children experience during their week’s stay, often for the first time, green fields, hills and big skies. They feed the pigs, sheep and calves, and look after horses and donkeys, and collect eggs and work in the vegetable garden.
They go out into the fields in their wellies through rain, snow and sunshine, where they have seen buzzards soaring high, and watched herons and ducks lift off the river. They sometimes spot foxes, deer and badgers, for the first time ever.
Mr Morpugo said, “The sound of laughter and chattering children stopped abruptly in March”. The farm fell silent, and there were no more children for six long months, during which the farms went into survival mode as they desperately raised funds to keep them going.
A couple of weeks ago the sound of laughter returned bringing joy and hope. They were not the city children coming to stay for a week – as that is still not allowed. They were 25 children and their teachers from Yeo Valley Primary School.
This was a start, a new beginning for his family and the charity, and he said, “These children are our hope, our future, and the seed corn of our recovery”.
Throughout the pandemic it is clear that it has been the children who have suffered the most. They need routine and to be in school. They need their friends. Above all they need to know they are safe, loved, and not alone.
The author of War Horse began with the importance of carol singing, he ended suggesting we should also sing You’ll Never Walk Alone - how perfectly appropriate.
As we raise a glass to welcome in 2021, we do so with heavy hearts remembering our absent friends.