The Quest For Lady Luck In 2021
The first week of 2021 is here! It feels really good to say that, even though I have no idea what lies ahead.
Here in our SW corner of France we sailed through the transition with a minimum of fuss. Just another quiet dinner at the house with the three of us and Polly, where we feasted on roast beef, fondant potatoes (YUM!) and my first attempt at molten-core chocolate cake (I used this excellent recipe from Bon Appetit and I’m happy to say it was a total success!). We finished the evening with a cozy log fire in the sitting room, Calvados and coffee, where we lasted until about 10pm before deciding to call it a night.
Zero fireworks and zero parties, but that’s perfectly OK with me.
We wanted it to be simple and nice. A celebration of what’s to come, rather than what came before. And all our hopes pinned with Lady Luck in the New Year ahead. For that purpose it was the perfect evening, and for the rest we’ll just have to see…
Good Luck Charms For 2021
Today I can finally say we are after 2020, in the year after the year where the world stood still. This past year has given a whole new meaning to the old adage “hindsight is 2020”, and I like to think that’s somehow predictive of a better 2021.
All of my friends were happy to see the end of 2020 too. In fact I’ve never seen quite so many superstitions shared on the 31st. Opening your doors right before midnight to let the old year out and the new year in (an Irish tradition), eating black eyed peas (an American tradition, at least in the South), downing 12 grapes at midnight (a Spanish tradition) and carrying around an empty suitcase to set yourself up for new adventures in 2021 (a Columbian thing). I rather like that last one…
Everyone seemed to be getting in on the act, doing their best to get rid of the bad of 2020, and bring good luck to the New Year.
We didn’t really do anything specific here, although if I’d planned ahead I’d probably go for the Scottish tradition of “first-footing”. Basically the first person to enter the home in the new year dictates your course for the year, and the luckiest type of person is supposed to be a dark-haired male, who brings a lump of coal, a piece of bread, a coin and a drink, representing warmth, food, financial prosperity and good spirits.
Hmmmm…..a handsome dark-haired male shows up at the door with a drink at midnight….yes, I can totally see how that would work….
As for the luckiest people, they may well be the Spanish who won the annual Christmas lotto in December which, if you’ve never heard of it, is the richest lotto in the world. “El Gordo” (the fat one) is a long-standing Spanish tradition that started in Cádiz in 1812, and in 2020 the prize fund was a mind-boggling €2.4 billion (yes, that’s BILLION!)! People usually gather to buy tickets as a group (e.g. whole town, offices etc.), and the complicated draw-system means that up to 10% of players end up winning something, even if it’s just a small amount. Not a bad way to enter 2021!
As for us, we’ve neither lottery wins nor superstitions, although we do have a good supply of dark-haired men in the neighborhood (SW France has a strong Catalan & Spanish influence), so I guess our good luck is naturally strong? I like to think so.
2021 And The Pandemic
Even though we’ve turned the corner on 2020, we can’t quite get rid of its baggage just yet.
We’re in a tricky spot with the pandemic right now, that in-between place where a vaccine has been launched, but not enough people have gotten it yet, and cases are still on the rise. On top of that there’s a new, more infectious strain of SARS-CoV-2 on the loose, making it even more difficult to get ahead of the curve. Many countries are already seeing record infections, with hospitals reaching crisis levels…..yet again.
Ah yes, the ghost of 2020 past.
We’re OK here in France at the moment, the last lock-down having done its job to get us out of the “red zone” of November, but cases are already rising rapidly again in the East, and Christmas & New Years Eve gatherings are likely to show their effects a few weeks from now. Given that we’re vaccinating at a rate something akin to a slow-moving sloth moving on a winters day (we’re up to a mind-boggling 432 total doses today, which is exactly 0.0006% of the population that needs to be vaccinated for expected herd immunity), I figure we’ll be in lock-down again by the end of Feb at the latest.
Yup, I fully expect lock-down #3 to come along shortly, both here and everywhere else.
This means we can’t quite let loose, or rather we have to be prepared for what is to come. Aaaand if we don’t want it to be an exact repeat of 2020 we’ll have to do things differently.
The Gold Will Be In The In-Betweens
I think 2021 is going to be a year of “in-betweens”.
Given everything that’s going on it’s clear the pandemic is not going away, at least not just like that, so we’re going to have to prepare ourselves for waves; times where it’s OK and times where it’s not OK. Some of us will be able to get vaccinated quickly (and so perhaps worry less about our own situation), but we’ll all still be hampered by local lockdowns, as they come and go. So, the moments in-between will be gold.
And that’s really our one and only plan for 2021.
We hope to travel this year, at least part-time and it’s all going to be centered around those times where the waves calm and the virus bar lets us pass. They may be short outings, quick trips out to land in-view while we can. And we may not know when or where we can go, until right before we do. So, it’s going to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda plan, a firm-ish jello if you will. Nothing fixed in ink, but ideas on hold ready to be launched at any time.
I think that’s going to be the key to our sanity this year. And for everyone who dreams of travel.
We Have Ideas & We’re Ready For Anything
We’ve talked a lot about 2021, Paul and I. Where we would go, if we can go, how we will go.
At this point nothing is off the table. We have a motorhome, so if we’re able to drive there’s a lot we can do, even if we have to avoid campgrounds and other people. We also have the ability to rent (e.g. Airbnb or the likes) or to stay with family, both of which would be a lovely change, even if just for a while. Quarantines & testing can be managed if we plan ahead, plus we’re both totally ready to travel to get the vaccine, if it comes to that. It won’t be the easy kind of travel we used to do, but it should be do-able nonetheless.
So I’m taking my three turns, touching all wood, and wearing the same yoga pants for a week (okay, that last one just might be sheer laziness). All this in the hope that Lady Luck will be with us in 2021 and we’ll manage some adventures, even if they’re small ones and not far away. It’s a small dream, but I hope and believe we can make it happen. And I really hope you can too. Here’s to us all finding gold in the in-betweens of 2021.
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!
I’m curious my friends. How did you celebrate New Years Eve? Did you practice any superstitions to bring luck to the New Year? Or did you make anything yummy (I’m always open to new recipes). DO comment & share below!