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Nick Falla

Managing Director / Lover of the arts / Historian

Plans, 2020? We always have good intentions to plan. It should be easier: our sons are away, the elder in London, the younger at University. So, Rome to dispel those January blues? We walked the sights and had a fun pasta cookery course. I was ill with “symptoms”. I had already lost my sense of smell. Then, Austria in early March. My wife had “the symptoms”. She would test positive, I negative!

Plans? We continued to be optimistic for summer. We would stay in Jersey. Then “social distancing”, “Isolation”, “essential employees”, the “R” rate. New terminology, baffling but intriguing and an island cut off. There seemed to be a honeymoon period giving latitude in behaviour. Perhaps families reunited unexpectedly, our son returned from university on the last ferry. Easter came and went, the spring weather only improved. We walked, rambled, and cycled the back lanes. Everyone was so polite, proffering good wishes at a distance. The farm shops thrived, as did we. When would it end, May, June? A second wave? We brood over each Government pronouncement. There were meant to be 75th year celebrations for May 9th Liberation. My 95-year-old father received souvenir rations, but was sadly too infirm to understand or contribute.

Plans? It was a game of wait and see. The weather held up. Spring moved to summer. The omens were good. “Level 3” became “Level 2”. We tried a café. Home working eased. Colleagues and staff all reconciled and in remarkable good cheer. I am deeply appreciative. Throughout, we continue to review and amend our working practices enabling better home working rotations. The video conference has become a “new normal”. We adapt to the one-way system, and the hand sanitisers. I did not miss rushing for flights. We enjoyed quieter roads, less pollution, more time exploring lanes and paths, the flowers, the songbirds nesting, and the chance to support local businesses. Life was almost normal. A trip to France was cancelled not because of COVID but St. Malo dockers blockading the port...life was normal! Our elder son would come to spend several extended summer periods here escaping London. On the 2nd of September, my father died peacefully. There is a lot to sort, a “COVID compliant” funeral to organise, by invitation only, and streamed live. Sadly, no wake to share memories.

Plans? So to autumn and ahead to 2021. Family matters to attend to. The business to run: the forecasts, the budget, staff wellbeing, all with an air of uncertainty. It is stressful and a time for reflection. As the shadows lengthen, our perspectives will change and things long taken for granted will be thrown into disarray. But pandemics pass. There is renewal. After the Spanish flu, Europe saw Bauhaus, land reform, emancipation.