So, the last few hours of 2020.  I felt compelled to write something as a form of closure.  Good riddance to bad rubbish!

It is 5.30pm, as I sit down, just grateful that the zip in my jeans is fighting on!  Note to self: avert gaze from all mirrors until sufficiently starved for at least a month with not a drop of alcohol passing my lips.  Funny, I can almost hear the laughter but I am resolute in an attempt to do something.  I follow Susannah Constantine on Instagram and her thing is now wild swimming: that’s swimming outdoors in the freezing cold in freezing water!  Wild swimming?  That was my childhood summers!

One of the books I got Manny for Christmas was that of Wim Hof, who advocates the power of the freezing temperatures on one’s body and mind.  Actually, just looked him up and noticed that he is the same age as me …  peas in a pod!  I, myself, am, a huge fan of anyone who looks to nature rather than chemicals in terms of healing and I have watched him swimming in freezing temperatures and listened to instruction on his breathing techniques.  Do not quote me – and without looking it up – I believe he embarked on this path after his wife took her own life following years of depression treated by a concoction of prescribed medication; a myriad of drugs, the manna of vast pharmaceutical companies.  Devastated, and having borne witness to the ravages of her treatment, he turned to nature and remedies bearing no price tag.  Thankfully, more and more, people such as Wim are coming forward – and being heard.  Take my friend, Ben …  Now, there’s something to look forward to in 2021, a new series of New Lives in the Wild.  It starts next Tuesday (5th Jan) at 9pm on Channel 5.  Nope, not paid a thing to plug!

Six hours to go …  Does anybody even like New Year?  I, for one, never have.  Let’s face it, life is scary and none of us knows what lies ahead – thank God – but how many of us, honestly, looks forward with excitement as Midnight draws nearer?  Rather, it is a time of reflection; to look back.  A time to remember years gone by and those no longer with us.  Sadly, this year, more than most, for many.  As I said, it is a blessing that one cannot see into the future and, thus, this time last year – as one toasted those close – one wished for nothing but good things.  2020, however, was to play to its own tune …

The world was brought to a standstill in March as a COVID-19 escaped China, sweeping the globe with a wave of panic and hysteria unprecedented.  Highly infectious, gross mis-handling by the Governments of most, meant a soaring death toll in the elderly and vulnerable, undoubtedly, but it was the penchant for control which proved most scary of all.  Twenty-four-hour scaremongering seeped from every media orifice ensuring a country of caged humans tantamount to wild animals in a zoo.  Programmed to receive, the masses awaited their next instruction.  An unbelievable eye-opener!  Those who questioned, who dared to dissent, were subject to the vitriol of those very masses who, injected with fear, accused them of being selfish; endangering the lives of others.  Fear proved the ultimate weapon – and continues to this day.

The vaccine has arrived.  All hail the Second Coming!  Hang on, though, fast-tracked in a matter of months rather than years, nobody can know the possible long-term side effects.  Giant pharmaceutical companies, Sir Patrick Vallance – among other investors – legal liability and the possibility to eschew?  Blind acceptance is something I cannot contemplate.  Faith in the unknown?  Belief in the ‘experts’?   All have an agenda, whether it be ambition or greed.  Politicians or just human nature?  No matter.  What does matter is that one never surrenders one’s freewill; the right to choose.

Just dusting down my podium for 2021!  It hasn’t been all bad; in fact, the lessons learned have been invaluable.  The rat race is just that, full of rats!  As the world stopped, so one was forced to recognise that there is so much more to life than chasing a number.  Family and friends are all that matter – and making the most of every day.  Life can be short and there is a big, wide world out there.  Bin that lanyard and listen to the wise words of my friend, Ben Fogle, who posted the following on his Instagram this morning …

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.  We only have one life, so live it well.   Don’t waste it.  Love the life you live and live the life you love …  The greatest adventure in live is to follow your dreams.’

Follow your dreams?  Or, in the words of the Mother Abbess to Maria, ‘Climb every mountain, ford every stream …’  We watched that wonderful film on Christmas Day.  Fifty-five years on, it is still untouchable and deserving of every accolade.  Fifty-five years on, I know every location and my love for Austria has only soared.  We will return next year, God willing.  Meanwhile, please, Reverend Mother, keep Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer … and Gretel safe in 2021!!

It is now 19.10 and Becca has delivered my first Gin.  A night of television awaits until the bell tolls and 2021 is upon us.  Perhaps a year to forget, 2020, nonetheless, has made everyone take stock – and count their blessings.  Which leads me to mention a film we watched, the other night, about Liam Gallagher.  I know, who would have thought?  As It Was is the story of the outwardly brash, aggressive, disrespectful, foul-mouthed, beer-swilling, drug-fuelled pop star who, in reality, is a big softy fuelled by low self-esteem and a lack of belief in his own talent.  By the end, he has turned his life around and recognised all that is important.  He has conquered the shadow of Oasis and found his own strength and audience.  A vast audience but, touchingly – as one insider is quoted at the end – he is, always, only playing to ‘an audience of one’.  His estranged but loved to bits brother, Noel.  Says it all really – about him and about life.  Tissues!

Oh, what are you dreamin’ of?
Is it the kind of love
That’ll be there when the world is at its worst?
That’ll cover you in kisses, unrehearsed?
When you’re losing ground, still tell you that you’re worth
All you’re dreamin’ of …’

Liam Gallagher/Simon Aldred

The song of 2020!  Hardly played, his hero, John Lennon, would have been proud …

This is Trish, signing off and wishing, from the bottom of my heart, that 2021 looks after us all. x