2020 : A Year of Lessons

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

This year has taken and given so much, without a shadow of a doubt for all, but on a deeply personal level too ; from love, to loss ; betrayal and guilt ; abuse and happiness ; seeds and soil. Mostly, I was brought lessons - a true self-reflection and tenacity that will stay by me. It's been a difficult year to reflect upon, but I feel like these little, beautiful moments within the hardest times are what really matters.


New Years glittering at Totnes town clock, bearded dancing in Barrelhouse & firesides until 5am. Bucks Fizz behind tills. Big bowls of peanut & coconut curries, soup and broths. Tonsillitis tangerines in bed. Hillside walks through Devon and along the river Dart. Savoured self care with shiatsu massages, physio and lavender baths. Slapton beach and climbing Totnes castle. Encounters Art in Bristol about the Art of Invitation. Magic gold thread, gingerbread tarot card readings. Cinema sleepovers. My first Masters assessment and facilitated a workshop where I threw confetti and listened to Paulo Conte. Worked as part of the Hospital Rooms installation team painting within mental health facilities. Visit from my baby brother on his break back from Beijing where we pub and beach tripped. Boars and weird pigs, late night pool and house parties. Won a bursary award and funding for Italy. Open mike nights and coffee at cafes.


The Barbican and peanut chips. Theatre shows in back rooms and housemate dinner parties with drunken night outs. London adventures, pad Thai and sleepovers. Goldsmiths lectures after Camden art exhibitions. Valentines eggs on gingham tablecloths and Lambrini with dinner dates. City shopping and duvets on sofas with my best friends. Gail-force storms and train delays through drizzling nights. Squeaky steel doors and snowy winds. Working for Encounters and going out for engagement days in Chrysalis vans. Visual merchandising store help and lots of Johnathon Creek. Watching Harry Potter with grilled pizza after Barrell house wine. DJ nights at Angel Studios and walking to the wells.


Cocktails at Drift records, job applications and lectures. Ashburton for burgers and swings in the sun. Live music at Brewerys. Birthday trip out to Bath for Grayson exhibitions and walks with my family. Music in rain-caught vans and petrol station parties. Stolen kisses in attics. Party food plates and coffee liqueur. St Ives and the cobbled streets for Tate art opportunities. Bloody Marys and pubs, wrapped up in scarves. Anxiety and fear, lockdown begins. Changing of tyres and car cleaning calm. Early morning walks in the sunshine and gratitude eggs in the garden. Defering my Masters and endless job applications. Drinks and dancing on the terrace and groundhog days begin. Mudlarking, endless walks and movie nights.


Thursday night band nights with clapping and drums. Bill Withers on the doorstep and disco dancing in the street. Sleepless anxious nights, pandemic panics. Travel sickness on back seats and BBQs in the garden. Chalk pits with my sister and pink moon late nights. Paella, poetry and rosé wine. Falling over phone calls. Reading books in the sunshine and shared playlists with friends. Old Sarum in circles and anthology books. Housemate bike rides and river swimming down the weir. Park benches and schnapps at the dark end of the street. VHS players and developing old childhood videos. Starlight walks over the town and ghost story writing. Girl quiz nights with colour palettes and drinks. Art in concrete in the garden and scattered poems. Cow attacks in the field and ginger beer by the fire. Guitars by sweet peas, tea on the terrace. Berry Pomeroy castle and falling asleep in car boots. Scrambled egg avocado and guilt laden hand holding.


Re-buttoning shirts and pressing leather bookmarks. Bottle bank trips and learning to knit. Birthday beach combing with rock climbing picnics. Guilt, shame and hurt, regretful apologies. Mental health training for support worker jobs. Super 8 film cameras and birthday candles by the river. Cafetière coffee and dried flowers in bed. Endless job applications and traumatised tears. Swimming at the beach, with beers and the boys. Kayaking down the Dart and walking every day. Story writing, reading and temporary Batman tattoos. Nights on our benches, rum and ginger beer. Drinking and drawing. Walking in forests and dens by the river. River swimming and boom box speakers. Sunny garden picnics and ice cream with my best friend. Dress pattern cutting and sewing linen midis. Short films in the attic and rusty button collections.


Fabric sample collecting and market brought threads. Racism reading and educational teaching. Sleeping to phone calls and stories at night. Mushroom risotto and films nights on loop. Radio mornings and jobs, jobs, jobs. Birthday Zoom quizzes and Baileys with ice. French worker jackets and golden hour walks. Bob the bird and football match beers. Starting social sculpture new projects, with meetings and calls. Abandoned dairy sites and honey bee work catch ups. Boats, seals and birds. Slapton morning sea swims with 35mm film. Gin and tonics at parks, ginger beer in car boots and tea in Torquay. Rock sitting by coves with tinnies and Dairylea dunkers. Stone skimming and Staverton river swims with housemates. Car boot camper van with duvet morning waking by secret coves near Brixham. Daily calls with my Nana, walks and audiobooks.


Lunchtimes exploring abandoned buildings by Foxhole. Day trip down to Cornwall for walks and fish and chips. Sea swims and mugs of Prosecco. Hand-me-down clothes to wear on rainy Bodmin Moor walks. Half pints in the Nelson, as all pubs reopen. Game of Throne board games and drunken house drawings. Guilt for my friends, unfair anger and abuse. Poorly throats stuck in bed, and walks to the river. Dartmouth adventures for swimming and sandwich sea trips. Family talks into the night and boat float breakfasts. Sunbathing on Vire Island, slack lines and birthday banners. Project planning meetings, in hidden Devon lavender houses. Haybales at home and reading of books. Old friendship reunions, and pints down the pub. Tattoos with my sister and reckless motels. Ending of contracts, redundancy from work. Diesel birthday cakes and half Christmas Day BBQ dinner. Old horror movies and takeaway pizza. Lobster pot walks and misty rain at Mudeford Quay. Churches ruins with ribbons, golden hour glow and 1930's jazz CD's with my Nana.


Family gatherings, and chimineas at night. Rusty pigeon hole chests, my brother stays and lunch out. River swimming and live music on the lawn, beers at the brewery and late night sleepovers. Heatwaves and exhaustion, wheat field picnics by the Daymark, alleys at night. 7am starts, for car boots and adventures. Escape down to Falmouth; blow up beds in my attic. Swimming with friends, dinner parties and sunflower breakfasts in gardens. Prawns in paella and job applications. Pancake brunch in the morning, and coffee on floors. Misty walks to the beach and the boys all stone skimming. Book photography and broken art easels. Gazebo gatherings in fields, with swimming and drinks. Art coffees and catch up with friends. Rainy boat trips with stubbies and pizza. Goodbye to Connor, with tapas and dancing. Moving of boxes, crocodiles and rooms. New jobs and new people, The Bull and plastered walls. Fleeting trips from my Nana, rain soaked in Torquay. DJ sunshine days with food trucks and allotments. Weekends in the cottage, with firewood, Scrabble and wine. Orange juice in pyjamas, eggs in the garden. Walks by the river and drunk casseroles at night.


Meetings in houses and exciting planning of work. Cinema attic rooms. Charity shop hunting, Ikea and thrifting records and books. Outdoor DJ set gigs with weird flavoured ales. Music and pint picnics with old work friends. Walks on Dartmoor, horses and rivers. Police cars and messages. Curry nights and summer tree squares. Sleep talking tigers, brought cups of tea in bed. Antique painting collecting with windowsill views. Halloumi picnics and allotments, museums and Ashburton. Ear piercing in Paignton and developing film. Baths with wine and shared pyjamas. Art council applications. Swallows at sunset, with sea swims and beach BBQs. Car travel sickness and Shipwrecked lost books. Olde English pubs and charity shop hunting. Eggs on the terrace and beers in The Albert. Engagement Zoom calls. Open Art studios and lost job project funds.


Crop top karaoke and beers to Shane Ward. Rainy roast dinners and Camembert under duvets. Girl with the Pearl Earring and Proper Job books. Print making weekdays and ink covered palms. Chartreuse velvet chairs. Small orange seeds, unbearable loss. Dippy eggs and soldiers. Wildflowers in allotments, and planting our pips. Rain hats and hot water bottles. Fancy evening dinner, wine and bavette steak. Cocktails by fire pits, oil painted clementines. Pyjama shopping and scary nausea. Great Hall melodies, and musical nights under blanketed arms. Sleeping on sofas and carried upstairs at night. Packets of pills and empty stomaches. Autumnal squash picking, and drizzly farm trips. Photos of food, figs and faces. Ice cold diving in rivers, numb hands and hearts. Pumpkins on windowsills and Chucky dungaree dress-up.


One pound pints, locked in, locked down. Oil painting still-lifes. Puffy eyes and betrayed, broken hearts. Sparklers in streets and fireside intentions. Sleepy days, panic attacks and ballad tears. Cigarettes on windowsills. Red wine and tarot reading. Teary phone calls and endless therapy sessions. Cups of coffee walks and cooking curries. Lino cut cards and weaving on nails. Pumpkin squash soup and shared poppadoms. Linen hair ties and record players. Taken home for a breakdown. Nurses, family and friends. Letter writing and sleeping pills.


Advent calendar windows. Dried oranges, cinnamon tea and Christmas trees. Stick & poke tattoos with mulled wine. Golden morning burial grounds and broken hearted hands. Parcel paper present wrapping and reading books under blankets. House Christmas dinner, singing in the street. Twinkling lights, fires and presents. Stitching secret Santa hats and baking ginger biscuits. Beers and carols on the doorstep, cups of coffee in the street. Records in the post and late night wine gatherings. Big job promotions, photographing found foliage and plates of food. Tinsel hats and village Christingles on Zoom. Word games and Christmas dinner laughter. Tea and presents with Nana in the boot of the car. Fluffy sandals slippers, boob mugs and borrowed books. Smoked salmon bagels and Baileys. Ice cold hands and cups of tea. Flasks on cliffs edges, sea swimming in coves. Prosecco, fires and playing pool in glitter tops, letting go.