Opinion with Jane Wenham-Jones: Farewell 2020 and thanks for the unexpected blessings

Jane gets ready to see out 2020

So farewell 2020 – the year that kept on giving – as you prepare to bid us a tearful goodbye. I can’t say I’ll exactly miss you. But I will look back, for sure, with a certain fondness.

Who knew that radish seedlings grew so fast? That carrot cake was a cinch to knock up? That despite a vast wardrobe of clothes, one could exist for months on the rotation of three pairs of yoga leggings, two baggy T-shirts and that ancient cashmere sweater with the holes under the arm?

I am not a natural Pollyanna by any means. Being given more, under moments of duress, to stomping, swearing and the hurling of blunt instruments (to which my husband will attest) than the propoundment of silver linings. But I have never so often counted my blessings, than in the last nine months.

I’ve been grateful not to be a nurse on the frontline, not to be homeless, not to have lost my job and be living in poverty. I have been glad I am not a lorry driver, that I am not looking at being deported, and that while I have undertaken less paid work than usual by a long chalk, I still have money for food. I appreciate regularly my good fortune in being able to score Waitrose delivery slots. And that I am still alive.

I have been moved to tears by the tales of what so many good people have done for one another. I have spoken to neighbours I’d never seen before while clapping for the NHS. I have found ways to savour tiny pleasures I’m usually too “busy” to give time to. I have watched the latest season of The Crown. (I loved it.)

It has been rather soothing to have a cast-iron excuse not to see people one would really rather not see. Christmas was bliss.

And now it is time to see what comes next.

Tonight will be a New Year’s Eve like no other. No raucous parties, no being squashed six-deep at the bar while they run out of glasses, no snogging random strangers at midnight (yes, I was young once) or thinking it hilarious to don fancy dress before pinching a road-sign.

Instead, we must stay at home, with family only, zooming with those we’re not zoomed-out by, entertaining ourselves with online tools showing where we are in the queue for the vaccine and what month it will be when we can next go to the pub.

But let us look forward to that time when ‘bubbles’ get up your nose from a glass of fizz, and pour a particularly large one. Even if we can only drink it in front of the TV.

For as one door slams…

The entertainment and hospitality industries may be on their knees, the Government may be in disarray and the schools forced into chaos, but there are still opportunities for those with an eye on the future.

The full joys and ramifications of Brexit are yet to come and I predict a bumper year for the purveyors of printed T-shirts. Especially those with the foresight to have had them emblazoned with the tagline: ‘I Told You So’.

I imagine the distributors of vegetable seeds will do ok too as will the makers of contraptions designed to fashion your own loo rolls or vital medication, and the authors of manuals on How to Holiday at Home.

In the meantime, there’s always Netflix. I’ve heard Bridgerton is the business. Or for guaranteed cheer, try a large sherry and reruns of the Vicar of Dibley. Genius.

It’s been tough but we will, of course, prevail. 2021 here we come. Hang in there, etc.

And Happy New Year!


Jane Wenham-Jones is the Kent Press and Broadcast Awards winning Columnist of 2020


  1. Love the road sign bit , I was only 16 but still able to get in the pub the same as my five mates.
    On the way home we chucked the cones down the hole , we were caught by pc plod, we were asked who did it, we all said it was the lad behind so did not see.
    My mate Colin said the same, as he was last he was charged , why he say I said the same as you.

  2. Lol I bet there were loads of people who were glad of the lockdown so they didnt have to spend Christmas with people they disliked

  3. Looking forward to hearing you sing the river song at a party again! Practice while we’re still locked down! Happy new year xx

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