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Barbara Corbett

Founder and senior partner, Corbett Le Quesne

I am a glass half-full kind of person. I think that you have to be, to be a family lawyer. I see so much upset and sadness in my work: people devastated at the end of a relationship, people angry at the loss of what might have been, people mourning the loss of their children. I try to help my clients look on the bright side. A smaller house will be easier to maintain and keep clean. Sharing your child’s time will give you the opportunity to do the chores when they are away so you can give them more attention when they are with you. Planning your new life will lift your spirits. I wonder, could I follow my own advice?

This year has been a test for any optimist. In January I was looking forward throughout 2020 to my daughter’s wedding in New York, conferences in Oslo and Prague and a big family Christmas. It hasn’t worked out that way. So many events have been cancelled, so many visitors couldn’t visit, so many people have suffered in so many ways.

For me though, I have enjoyed the changes of this year. The cleaner air when no-one was driving into town. The long walks exploring both countryside and beaches, all accessible from central St Helier within minutes. The empty office when everyone else was working from home. The simple pleasures of lockdown cupboard cleaning and shopping locally. I have been so very fortunate. I have been able to carry on working, I have no young children to home-school, I have not experienced death or disease.

Our family is scattered around the world but we have been able to spend time with our granddaughter at her home and at ours. Her first birthday party in March marked the turning point in our freedom. The summer has been filled with trips to castles and beaches as we stretched our wings. The autumn came and with it a return to an island hibernation of cosy teas with crumpets and black butter.

I love a party. I have missed the company of friends but it is actually rather nice to step off the roundabout for a moment and to contemplate a simpler life. A socially distanced world gives more space for us all to grow...for a while. How long will the world of 2020 define us?

I am so very lucky. My glass is still half-full. But I can’t forget all those whose glasses are half-empty. For them I hope that we can keep the good that has come out of this unexpected year and leave the bad behind as we look to the new one coming in with the tide.