The Latin phrase meaning “horrible year” seemed apt at the time. There’d been the marriage breakdowns of some of her children and the fire at Windsor Castle.
As 2022 draws to a close, that phrase has sprung to mind again.
I think we can all agree this year has been more challenging than usual. The devastating war in Ukraine is a conflict hundreds of miles from our shores, but it’s had an impact on all of us economically.
Emotionally it has also taken its toll. It has been hard to see and hear the suffering being inflicted.
Here, families continue to struggle with the cost of living. It seems to have been the main topic of conversation with everyone I spoke to over Christmas.
Family and friends sharing stories of how they have cut back, how worried they are about paying the bills.
This year will also go down in history for the political chaos that saw us have three Prime Ministers, a seemingly endless merry-go-round of ministers, additional economic instability of the Government’s own making and almost every part of the public sector affected by strikes.
In the midst of all this the Queen died, plunging the country into mourning and casting and even darker cloud over what was already a miserable year.
The phrase “Annus Horribilis” doesn’t seem to do it justice. Yet I had such high hopes for 2022.
I truly thought that, with the pandemic gradually under control and the final restrictions lifted, it would be all systems go.
To some extent that did happen and although this has been a gloomy year in many respects, it’s perhaps more important than ever to reflect on some of the good things that happened. They shine out brighter than ever against the challenging backdrop.
For me, it has been simple things that stand out as beacons of light in 2022, in some cases quite literally.
I really enjoyed the lovely atmosphere at the beacon lighting down by the Tamar Bridge in Saltash to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
It was a beautiful summer evening, everyone was enjoying the celebrations and it felt like the first proper large-scale get together since the pandemic.
I also remember another lovely summer evening spent walking our dog along the banks of the Tamar.
The river was totally flat, there wasn’t a breath of wind and there wasn’t anyone else around part from a seal that poked its head up through the seaweed and followed us along the shoreline.
I have also been lucky enough to meet some positive and inspirational people this year, including the team at a community support hub called Seachange in Budleigh Salterton.
I’d been invited to make a short film to help promote their activities and to raise all-important funds.
I had a lovely day meeting the elderly people who benefit from the social interaction they’d otherwise miss.
I spent time chatting to the young people with disabilities who go to the hub to learn to cook and garden. It was a place full of joy and laughter.
I was also delighted to finally get to visit the Cornwall Air Ambulance headquarters near Newquay.
This had been a long-standing invitation, but COVID meant it was delayed several times.
I got to meet the crew and hear first hand about the work they do to save lives across Cornwall.
I also saw inside the famous red helicopter full of the latest technology to give people with the most serious injuries the best chance of survival.
It was also a pleasure to be part of the Air Ambulance Christmas concert at the start of this month, helping their amazing team of volunteers to raise the much-needed funds to keep the helicopter flying.
My work took me to two book festivals this year where I got to interview some very talented authors and one or two famous names including Chris Tarrant and Alan Titchmarsh.
You can never be sure what celebrities are going to be like. Sometimes they can be a bit difficult, especially backstage. But Chris and Alan were gracious and generous with their time, chatting to everyone who came up to say hello.
This year has also brought an unexpected return to broadcasting.
I have enjoyed sitting in for some of the presenters on Radio Cornwall and Radio Devon.
I have never lost my love of radio and it has been wonderful to reconnect with loyal listeners who were there when I first started in radio in the late 1980s and are still tuning in!
As we prepare to say goodbye to 2022, I am going to try to focus on some of those happier moments in the year and hopefully that will stand me in good stead for whatever challenges 2023 has in store.
I hope you are also able to reflect on plenty of good things from this year, despite the difficulties we’ve all been facing, and I hope we will have plenty to celebrate on these pages throughout 2023.
Wishing you a happy New Year.