Another year in the grip of the pandemic has passed. In many ways it was a very uneventful year filled with work and local walks. We seem to be getting the hang of the pandemic and ended up with 3 1-day self-isolation periods while we waited for our test results. At the end of the year we had to spend the full 10 days in self-isolation when Rowan caught Covid-19. Luckily the vaccine works and she only got a mild dose of the disease and Max and I were spared.
The big news of the year is that our older son, Felix, turned 18, finished school and left home to volunteer in a care home near where I grew up in Germany. The voluntary year is a left-over from the German national service which was discontinued in 2011. Both female and male young people can now volunteer to work in care or environmental organisations. The programme is well organised and includes workshops where they can meet others and advice on what to do after they have finished their year. I think it is a great opportunity and Felix seems to be enjoying himself. We are immensely proud of him to go his own way. We are also very grateful to my parents who can keep an eye on him and support him when necessary.
I got thoroughly used to working from home. I think I actually prefer it. I have a desk, a big screen and very good internet connection. Most of the meetings I need to attend are online. I do miss the social aspects of seeing people at work. In many ways working from home is more efficient but you do lose the opportunity to have unplanned conversations that may lead to something interesting. I also do miss the in-person teaching, although online teaching was ok. We did end up striking again to protect our pensions and to improve our working conditions. I suspect this will be a regular feature of my work. As a consequence I decided to get more actively involved in the union.
Unsurprisingly, we didn't go on any major trips. We visited friends and family on the West Coast and in Aberdeen. One of the highlights was a visit to St Peter's Seminary in Cardross on the West Coast. The big event in Edinburgh was that after 5 years of demolition and construction the new St James Quarter opened. It got immediately flooded. I am curious to see how the now partially abandoned Princes Street will develop.
I really missed our annual trip to Germany to see family and enjoy the sunshine of Southern Germany. It is now more than 2 years that we haven't seen my parents in person.
Brexit is still rumbling on although much is masked by the ongoing pandemic. Much of what was described as Project Fear did become reality. I also became naturalised. Boris Johnson is still our Prime Minister and the Tories are still in power. The Scottish elections were more exciting and we got a SNP-Green (not quite) coalition government. The colours of the German government were also changed to a traffic light coalition (SPD, Greens and Liberals). We shall see what difference that makes. I did miss the Cop26 demonstration due Covid worries. By all accounts there were plenty of people there without me.
I hope that 2022 will be a little more eventful. In particular, I really do hope that we will manage to travel to Germany in the summer to catch up with family. Maybe the pandemic will run out of some steam and we will get back some of that pre-pandemic certainty and freedom. As always, I am looking forward to the spring and mini beastie safaris.
I am wishing you all the best for 2022.