Dear friends, family and colleagues,
I’m sure I’m breaching copyright something rotten, but for our (much-later-than-usual) 2020 Christmas/New Year letter, the Telegraph’s Matt pretty much nailed it.
So not having left our home in Sheringham since March except for a couple of dashes to London to grandson Leo and his parents Chris and Lena (now with us for Xmas having themselves dashed up from Watford just before The Ultimate Lockdown), here’s wishing you the best possible Christmas-in-the-circumstances with some pictures and some captions.
With love and best wishes from Mark and Jutta.
We haven’t travelled silly distances this year, but the North Norfolk coast has continued to soothe us in these Covid times with the loveliest walks and views. This one about 20 minutes from our front door in Sheringham, looking West towards Weybourne and Blakeney Point. On this day with paragliders using the updraft of a stiff northerly breeze to coast along the cliffs. During spring and summer, we both got out a good deal on Daisy our tandem, here with Jutta lost in the woods behind Sheringham. We did find our way home, with a great big pine needle lodged in the back tyre. There’s something about those spades that entertains, captured on our sea front when together with most of Europe we were lulled into false security that we could Eat Out To Help Out etc, and all would be back to normal by Christmas. Can’t say that we two ever bought into that, and have indeed been proven pretty solidly right. Lockdown has also meant many an early morning spin on the bike, here out to Weybourne beach looking back towards home beyond the far hill to the right. There’s something totally magical about Sheringham beach when the sea is way, way out on one of the big tides of the year. And as for our North Norfolk skies….. Jutta striding into a sharp westerly wind. One of Sheringham’s two fisherman’s ramps, with a blue-and-gold-starred sign noting it’s part financed by the European Union. North Norfolk was strongly pro-Brexit, and voted a Tory in last December to replace the excellent Norman Lamb of the Lib Dems on his retirement. Mark was for a while enthused to join the Lib Dems during the campaign to stay in the EU, but the dalliance turned out to be brief. What a mess. Oh yes, and that’s daughter Kat on the ramp preparing to swim. We had some stonking storms this year, though not quite on the scale of the high 2013 tide that trashed sections of our seafront. Chunks of sand cliff continue however to tumble into the sea, washed down by rain rather than sea-battering. Shape of things to come as climate catastrophe begins seriously to take hold. Covid, Brexit, climate – hey, why not bring them all on at once. Paragliders above Sheringham cliffs Lockdown has meant we have explored pretty much every tiniest byway within 10 miles of home, and some of the paths are quite extraordinarily pretty. This one with traditional North Norfolk flints lining a back path through Cley village. One of our all-time favourite views, off one of the two hills that flank Sheringham, here looking West over the golf links. This photo added to illustrate the impact of lockdown – Mark’s studio/office/padded cell, whence EMDR therapy and training is shared with clients around the world, from Canada and the US through the UK and Europe all the way down to Australia and NZ. The pandemic has unleashed our therapy in the most astonishing way, and neither of us will be returning to in-person work even when – if – this is all over. And yes, sour dough has been part of the picture. These two slightly overdone as usual, but with our own starter and thoroughly delicious. This is one for the EMDR afficionados. The structure of trauma work, the way we do it. 2020 has been an astonishingly productive year for us both, as trauma therapists now working exclusively online, and delivering attachment-informed EMDR workshops for folk literally around the globe. It was helpful when the pandemic struck to be already totally familiar with Zoom and how EMDR best works online. Pretty damn effective too… Shading into family. Leo is now over a year old, and seen here looking after his grandmother – Oma – in her playpen. And here united with his parents Lena and Christopher, also needing safe containment so they don’t misbehave. Daughter Kat – now working with the Rudolf Steiner community in Switzerland – in the coastal mist during lockdown. Kat/Katie was with us from March right through to the end of July, and it, and we, worked brilliantly. Kat’s campervan Bernie with proud owner and resident. Sadly Bernie, parked up in Austria with a local registration and Kat safely with a German passport, has a terminally rusty bottom, and is heading for the scrap heap. Thankfully, the same applies less to Kat than it does to her parents… Not a lot of photos this year of Alastair, living in Bristol and working his way through online psychosynthesis training. But here braving our coastal winds… Mother Audrey, now approaching 94 and well advanced on her Alzheimers journey, brilliantly cared for by Getrude, above, joined by Clara below as the dynamic duo who’ve been the most wonderful support. Aud soldiers on with the physical momentum of a supertanker, slowly coming to a halt after the engine was switched off. Still living in her own home of the past 54 years, just round the corner from us, and with a lifetime’s passion for Europe blissfully and thankfully unaware of the twin disasters Brexit and Covid. Meet Getrude. Meet Clara. All great grandchildren in one photo And farewell. The very old and the very young.
Almost final thought. Three rather fun podcasts done this year with Cold War Conversations, on reporting the Cold War from Berlin, Vienna, Beijing and the WS diplomatic beat.
And definitely final thought, before 2021 hits us, two blog posts on being diagnosed, very late in life, with Aspergers. Makes sense at last of how life has unfolded… Aspergers, Part 1 and Being Aspergers, Part the Second.