Saying Goodbye to 2020
So back in March, when Boris made that infamous speech and put the UK into a national lockdown, I felt relief. In the weeks leading up to the lockdown, things had been so strange and I was constantly panicking and hated the uncertainty of not knowing what was going to happen. After lockdown started, I knew it wouldn’t finish as early as they suggested it could, so it was nice, in a way, to start getting used to the ‘new normal’. Ed and I both started to work from home, and the kids obviously were at home too, and we all became accustomed to this very new and strange way of living. I remember everywhere being so, so quiet, when we would go out for our daily exercise, the roads were dead, and it was such a weird time.
With the kids at home, we had to start home schooling them, alongside our own work, which was a challenge. The kids school had quite a lot of work available for them to complete, but it was the difficulty of juggling everything during the day, which we struggled with. In the end we managed to sort out a system where the children would work had to get their work finished over a couple of days, allowing themselves a longer break, and giving Ed and I the chance to focus on our own work. It was tough, and I gained such a respect for teachers, as I am not cut out for it at all, but we got through it and the summer holidays were welcomed with open arms when they arrived!
House Move Hold Ups
We had begun looking for a house back at the end of February, and this obviously got put on hold during lockdown. It was frustrating, as we were just to far back in the process to be able to get anywhere when the restrictions began to lift, and we had to start all over again really, including going back to the mortgage broker and starting the process from the beginning, which included being able to borrow less, just down to the uncertainty that came from the lockdown and the pandemic’s effect on Britain’s economy.
Talking of finances, we struggled a lot from around May onwards as our tenants in Ed’s maisonette moved out, with a month’s notice. We were looking to sell it anyway, so we didn’t try and get any new people in, but as the sale took several months in the end, we were without rental income, whilst still paying out on a mortgage and second council tax bill, which really did put a strain on us. We were fortunate to both have our jobs throughout this time, and I know there were people a lot worse off than we were, but it did cause lots of stress and a definite tightening of our belts this year.
A Summer of Fun
Despite the issues we were having with the house sale, and the lack of disposable income, we were able to enjoy the summer to some extent. We booked a very budget few days away and managed to fit in trips to the beach and days out at National Trust properties, as lockdown ended.
Eat Out to Help Out
We also managed to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out government scheme, which saved us a few pennies during our little break away, and allowed Ed and I to fit in a couple of date nights as well, before the second lockdown happened.
Back to School
The kids went back to school and nursery in September, and Ed went back to work, whilst I was, albeit briefly, back in the office, and for a little while it felt like we were back to some form of normality, until the second lockdown was announced and I returned to working from home, this time alone as the schools remained open. It has been weird getting used to the new processes at the school, including wearing a mask for the school run, not letting the kids take a rucksack in to school with them, and the constant hand washing and sanitising they have to do, leaving Cameron’s hands red raw. It also meant that Benjamin had to stop taking a packed lunch into nursery, which was a struggle as he is very fussy when it comes to food, a silver lining is that he is now much better at trying new things and he quite regularly enjoys mushroom and butternut squash stroganoff and other dishes he never would have tried otherwise.
I had avoided it for so long, it was inevitable that I would eventually be furloughed. I did not take it very well, with my anxiety flaring up, and feeling I had done something wrong, even though I knew it wasn’t personal and so many were faced with the same, or worse situations. I struggled being at home with my thoughts, without a proper purpose, but it also allowed me to focus on the house move, packing everything up ready, and working on my blog and freelance writing projects, which I wouldn’t have had time for usually alongside work.
Buying a House
Finally, after months and months, we completed on the sale of Ed’s property and then exchanged a few weeks later on our house. We are due to complete in a few days time and I cannot wait to finally be a homeowner, something I have been looking forward to for a long, long time. It wasn’t easy purchasing during a pandemic, with all the uncertainty, and our mortgage providers deciding to lower the lending amount drastically during the process, but we got here in the end, and it is definitely a positive to come out of a very tough year. The stamp duty holiday definitely helped us, as we have ended up saving over £10k in fees on this.
A Strange Christmas
So here we are, just a few short days away from Christmas, which will be so very different this year. I am still looking forward to celebrating, even on a smaller scale, with many celebrations being over Zoom, the sponsor of 2020. I am also looking forward to waving goodbye to this year, and putting it behind us, hopefully with the vaccine helping to fight the virus and get some form of normality back, although it is clear that the effects of this year will continue in many ways going forward.