It is at this time that I like to reflect on the year we are leaving behind and take time to plan for the year ahead. Well, this will be a year I won't be sorry to bid farewell. It started badly in January with my daughter and then the rest of the family contracting a nasty dose of the flu. Whilst everyone around her recovered, my daughter had lasting effects which continued for many weeks. 'It can only get better!' we all said. Listening to the news from China of a new virus didn't have that much impact. They had said the same about SARS and the Ebola crisis but our lives were not disrupted. A pandemic? That doesn't mean anything to us. I had booked a three week trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand for March. I had all the necessary vaccinations in early February but doubts were entering my head. Vietnam borders China so will I be safe? By March news of the virus spreading was big news and it was obvious that I would be taking a massive risk, not just with my health but that of my family's if I were to bring the virus home with me. I took the decision to cancel my trip on the 6th March. I should have flown to Hanoi on the following day. I left it until the last minute to cancel in the hope that the Government would ban travel to these countries and I could then claim back the cost of the trip. This didn't happen for a couple of weeks so sadly I lost thousands of pounds. Money is of no consequence when your health is at risk. With hindsight I don't know why I hesitated for so long but I'm glad common sense prevailed in the end.
So instead of flying to Vietnam I packed up the car and planned a round trip to Edinburgh visiting new places and old friends on the way. I did make it to Edinburgh but there was no visiting of friends, as the crisis worsened and I needed to get back to my daughter before the start of the inevitable lockdown.