2021 was supposed to be my first full year of Retirement, but it turned out a bit different than expected. Covid 19 dominated the year for us all, and I got the opportunity to "do my bit" as a volunteer at both the Aviva and Citywest Mass Vaccination centres. While my main motive was to help out what I could, it also gave my something to do during periods of Lockdown and Restrictions.
There were many positives during 2021 in addition to volunteering at the Aviva. The main one was that I got to see more of my Mum and Dad during the year. Despite the fear of catching Covid and being extremely restricted, they have kept up their spirits admirably. A great day for me is to visit them in Ballingate, cut sticks, drink tea, and enjoy a small drop of whiskey them.
I had hoped to try writing a bit more. I did get the Ballingate Bell story published in both the Wicklow People and the Gorey Guardian newspapers. I had submitted it to the Doc-On-One documentary series, but it was not accepted. It was good fun researching this story with Fr Noel Brennan who is a Capuchin Missionary in Zambia.
I spent a lot of time during the year researching and building my family tree. I have got as far back as my Great-great-great-great-grandfather David Coburn. I was also excited to find a cousin who had fought in the US Navy in the Second World War, but was then saddened to find that he died in the sinking of the USS Corvina submarine. I still have not found my great-grandfather James Burn's First World War record - but I'll keep trying.
I did the Ancestry DNA test which threw up a few surprises. I found that an Uncle, who everyone in the family thought had died in the Blitz in London during WW2, survived the war and lived until 1985. I was connected to his daughter (my 1st cousin once removed) by the DNA test, and after contacting her I had great enjoyment in telling her about her Irish family that she knew nothing about. I'll not give names here to protect her identity.
I had of course hoped that I would have been around the world by now. I had only one trip outside of Ireland to Crete in September. It was great to get away, but we have abandoned plans for some winter sun early next year while Omicron is around. We are planning a trip to Vancouver in the Summer, but nothing else for the moment.
One hobby I took up was wood-working. I have made an Adirondack chair plus some coffee tables made from Ballingate oak. I am slowly building up my tools and skills and hope to keep this up for 2022 and experiment with different wood. Coffee tables like this make for great Christmas presents!
This is just the 51st blog post this year - way less than any other years since I started. I had had less to write about as not so much was happening. I do want to keep this Blog going, but I don't feel any pressure to post as I had in the past. In 2016 I posted every day, 315 more posts than this year. Hopefully in 2022 I can keep writing. The blog gets very few views, especially since I stopped re-posting to Linkedin where most of my views had come from.