In the UK, twenty twenty-one began in lockdown and was not the beginning we had imagined. There were no parties, no dancing into the night and even the TV schedule on New Year’s Eve lacked sparkle.

Limping across the line we moved from one crazy year into the next and YET I feel hopeful.

Here in Salisbury where we are located vaccinations are being given at the beautiful Cathedral; where organ music is being played and fills the air. Truly a spectacular venue for this programme, where even the grounds feel special, in summer filled with families, laughter and sunshine. In Winter still enjoyed by many, although sadly presently not with visitors to our fair city.

I know at times it can still feel frightening and the end too far to see but there is definitely a glimmer of light.

Daffodils and snowdrops are beginning to show. Birds sing their song, and freight trains can be heard on the wind. Families have time to be together without the pressure of being here, there or some other where. Salisbury Monopoly is being played with enthusiasm and decluttering has begun with a vengeance again.

There is much to be grateful for but many are still finding it tough, tougher even.

I hear that homeschooling is a whole new ball game this time around and as the weeks’ tick by more children are struggling to stay motivated. Not to mention the parents who are juggling work and teaching, while trying to remember how to multiply fractions.

Key workers are back at the centre of our world stacking shelves, delivering our shopping and emptying the bins. Teachers are now providing in the classroom and online teaching – I don’t know how they do it. Meanwhile, the NHS keep doing their thing, taking care of those who need their help while facing current challenges from the new strain of COVID.

We shall get through this.

My wish was and is to write an uplifting piece to kick off twenty twenty-one, where I share my hope and optimism. However, I also recognise that while we are in the same storm we are not in the same boat. Equally every one of us (including me) has days when it still feels enormous and the end a far and distant door.

Yet, I remain hopeful. I see the colour of Spring slowly peeking through and some days the sun shines. Every day I find a way to breathe in the moment.

At the Centre, we continue to welcome our patients and enjoy a giggle. Then recently joining the Women on Wednesday networking group (virtually obviously) twenty-two women came together. A meeting in which there was much talk about communication, connection and missing family hugs. BUT coming together as we did it felt great to be part of something bigger. Suddenly twenty twenty-one felt a little lighter.

Hold tight, hold on and trust that we are coming through this and we shall do it with kindness, dignity and love. On the other side families and communities will benefit from being strengthened and kindness will be more forthcoming and obvious.

I hope that we come through this with a far greater understanding of what is important to us, that we shall love more fiercely and hug like our lives depend on it.