Yes, it’s the end of another year. One that we won’t forget very quickly, although we’d like to. A year that was defined by the Covid-19 pandemic that affected everything that everyone did all over the world.

So not surprising that everyone has their own story, of loss, failure and disappointment. Principally our hearts must go out to those who lost loved-ones to this awful disease, and there were many. But we must also sympathise with those who have lost businesses and livelihoods many of whom may never work again and, may as a result, have even more to lose in the coming weeks and months. As someone who ran a small business in good and bad times I understand that pain very clearly.

I and my friends and neighbours were relatively safe down in this little rural corner of France and I don’t know of anyone who was directly affected by Covid, although I am sure that we will find as conditions ease that many small cafes and restaurants that we knew and loved will have gone to the wall. Luckily, none of my close circle of friends, any member of their families or any member of mine became ill as a result of Covid and I am greatly thankful for that.

My main disappointment was that due to the lockdowns that were imposed on both sides of the Channel, 2020 was yet another disappointing year for flying. I only managed 19 hours and 51 minutes and much of that only as a result of my bringing my ex-pat Xair over to France from the UK. Even so, this was not my lowest total in recent memory – I did far fewer in 2017, the year of my illness and did less in each of 2012, when I came to live in France, 2013 and 2014.

So I can’t really complain too much, especially as there are hundreds, if not thousands of pilots on both sides of the Channel who will have done far fewer hours than me. And, of course, I’m also aware that my disappointment is trivial and pales into insignificance compared to that of people who have lost loved-ones, family, friends, jobs, livelihoods and businesses.

Now we are at the end of 2020 and hopefully we can look forward to the new year with hope and confidence as vaccines come on stream and life slowly begins to return to some sort of normality. There are doomsters who say that it never will but I disagree with them. We humans are incredibly resilient – we have had to be to have been around for so long – and old habits die hard.

We will learn from 2020 and will move ever onwards and upwards as we always have done, armed with the new-found knowledge that the year has brought us. I am also fortunate in having an added benefit to look forward to in the form of my impending house sale and new house build on the land I’m buying in Fleurac. 2021 will therefore be an even more significant and exciting year for me than it would have been were I just recovering like most others from the downsides of 2020.

So let’s wish good riddance to 2020 and raise our glasses to a better, safer, more prosperous and more healthy 2021. And for other Brits who are reading this, let’s also raise our glasses to a Brexit that will return independence and sovereignty to our country and herald a new dawn for a successful, global, outward-looking United Kingdom. But let’s not forget our friends in Europe for they are many – the ordinary people who think like us and want the same things for their families as we do for ours.

Happy 2021 everyone!

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