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Arrivederci 2020 - Hurry Back!

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posted by Dom Haughton alias Dom Haughton on Thursday 31st of December 2020 07:40:40 PM

For some people, 2020 has delivered high points in their lives. Take my friend Helena, who told me on 2 January that she'd just discovered she was having a baby and imagine her puzzled expression when I told her I already knew. Sheona had told me you see. When I asked Sheona how she knew, she simply confided to me, "I just know. I've done this before." Nowadays we call her "Septic Peg" - which may require further explanation if you live outside the UK. Not at all miffed, Helena and her partner Sam still laugh at the fact that they were only the third and fourth people to know that baby Harry was on the way. "At least we made the top five," she says when I meet her for the occasional lunchtime walk. Then there's my son Tom. This was the year that a new lady came into his life. Rhi arrived just before lockdown and they ended up living together almost immediately as a result of it. Being thrown together in a crisis so instantly seemed to prove successful, so much so that I think she might be the one. Anyone who finds something funny in having a bacon, lettuce, hail and tomato sandwich as she did today whilst trudging up the side of a busy sodden road during yet another spell of exciting weather has got to be the one hasn't she? She's a paramedic too - what could be better? I think I've had a pretty good year too if I'm honest. After 45 years of living here I finally fell in love with Cornwall during 2020. Don't ask how it took so long to grow on me, but being confined to home for almost the entire year has seen my relationship with the coastline on my doorstep blossom. Ok, so I was disappointed to wave farewell to what may have been my last chance to see Lionel Messi play for Barcelona when Spain went into lockdown shortly before we were due to head out there for Easter, but in the grand scale of things I've learned to live with it. Worse things have definitely happened. So while it has been an undeniably awful twelve months for all of us, looking for the positives has kept the sun shining over our heads - although having said that, this adventure was the fifth in a row that resulted in my waterproof apparel being tested to the full. It has been a very wet Christmas in these parts. As I write this tale, my coat and my backpack cover are hanging over chairs in the kitchen while they continue to shed raindrops onto the floor. Still - you don't get a sky like this without paying for it do you? I was going to share another image with you today - one that I really like in fact, that I took at Chapel Porth a couple of weekends ago. I have a story to go with that one too of course, but it feels more appropriate to post a shot from a location I've come back to again and again this year in all kinds of weather throughout the seasons, and come away happy every time. Today I arrived in the middle of a hailstorm. As the sky filled with beautiful yellow light to the west, I parked up on the cliffs with the intention of walking the mile or so to a space above the lighthouse that I'd not returned to for more than a year. Within minutes of setting off, the weather changed completely and I decided it wasn't a day to stray too far from the car, so I headed down to the National Trust car park instead. Wandering about aimlessly in a burst of cold heavy rain, I found a couple making the world's smallest snowman at the edge of the dunes - or perhaps "hailman" would be more appropriate. A huge curtain of thick, featureless grey cloud hung over St Ives to the west and I feared that I may have missed the best light yet again - at times like this I just hang onto the hope that the journey might not have been wasted. With high tide approaching, my patience and sheer bloody mindedness were finally rewarded as the sky went black over Godrevy Lighthouse. Drifts of rain were clearly visible out to sea as they headed inland over the cliffs behind the lighthouse, contrasting so strikingly with the white foam on a powder blue sea. Something told me I didn't have long, and five minutes later the camera was safely tucked away in the pack as I communed alone with half a dozen seals under yet another downpour. With a flask of hot tea and a raincoat from Slovakia that never fails me in wet weather it was impossible to tear myself away until the light had departed 2020 completely. I even got to drive home in a snowstorm. Now that's really rare in these parts. I'm currently hoping that New Year's Day is going to bring something very unusual. I'd better do some revision on the cardinal rules for shooting in snow - just in case. It might be a good start to 2021. So farewell 2020. It's certainly one we'll remember, although most of us want to forget it and move on quickly. I hope that 2021 brings better things for all of us. I might have a glass of something warming now. It is New Year's Eve after all. PS - Five points for anyone who recognises which Scottish film I borrowed an especially sarcastic line from and slightly tweaked to make a title for this image.



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  • Published 08.16.22
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