On the anniversary of lockdown starting, writing from a city that has never had lockdown restrictions fully lifted, this feels like the best possible book to be hosting on a blog tour.
We haven't had the unusually good weather that graced this time last year, the vague idea that lockdown would be something that lasted a matter of weeks feels unbearable naïve now. But it's what I assumed back then, when being told to stay at home felt almost like a gift. Something that would let me put a whole host of worries and responsibilities aside for a month and concentrate on reading and making for a little while. Infection seemed a safe distance away (it wasn't) and long Covid was not yet a thing.
I've been lucky all things considered. I didn't have a job to lose (still struggling to find one, but that's another story), nobody close to me has died from Covid, although people on the edge of my circle have, and I've lost friends and family to other causes who I had every reason to think I'd see again, or be able to mourn for in company, but that's a boat we're all in. Quite a lot of close friends are dealing with long Covid, which is the thing that frightens me most about this virus.
It's been a strange year of isolation mixed with really amazing care and consideration from all sorts of quarters, and if the current lockdown is shorter on the up beat creativity of the first, the genuine kindness people can show is more in evidence than ever.
Which is where I finally get to 'The Colour of Hope'. Created in the first lockdown in 2020 it started as a project to cheer up a friend. In the middle of March Jen asked her to name 3 things which would always make her feel happy, and then put them into a poem. 2020 moved on and the idea expanded - there are 45 poems here, each inspired by, and written for different people (all women I think, which is a cheering testament to female friendship which is a cherry on top of the cake for me). The poems are named for the people they were for, but the original brief is not included so we can make of them what we will.
There are memories and hope for happy moments written into every line, pleasure taken in simple things, many of which are lockdown proof. I don't want to say much about the poems - I don't need to, they're all the best things about this last year. All the unexpected generosity and care, the things to be genuinely grateful for, the things that make us happy. All the things I'll want to remember about 2020.