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Green View columnist Peter Gudde refuses to mention 'that thing' in his final article of the year

So, this is Christmas. And what have we done? Another year over and . . . what a year.

I am sure everybody writing their Christmas Cards to friends and family or blogs and diaries for online posting have probably said everything that needs to be said about the one thing that has dominated 2020.

Well, I refuse! I am not going to mention the thing that has affected so many lives and livelihoods this year.

Peter Gudde (43670760)
Peter Gudde (43670760)

Instead, I am going to focus on a miscellany of good things, odd observations and personal Christmas shopping tips. So be prepared for a personal mixed bag of 2020 experiences.

Allow me to celebrate with you the first Christmas present I received from a friend living in the cold, dark north of England. We have not been able to meet up at all this year. So instead, he has done a good thing and given up his favourite book, called Craft Beer for the People, recycling it to yours truly. I have followed his lead by visiting a local second-hand book shop to find a cricket-related read for another friend.

I am sure for many people digital communication has been a lifeline with workmates, friends and relatives for so long. Yet, reading an actual book is a refreshing experience as well as a break from screen-gazing. So, this Christmas go analogue and immerse yourself in a good book now and then, you know it makes sense.

While I am on the subject of the virtual world of work, I must have witnessed more bizarre activities in business meetings over the last nine months to last me a lifetime. Things that would never normally happen in an office environment. Cats appearing out of nowhere, sitting on the keyboard and wiping their whiskers on the edge of the screen, barking dogs and delivery people calling conversations to a temporary halt, and even being taken outside for a sly cigarette which, given that I don’t smoke, was a whole new experience.

I have not missed some of the drudgery of the workday routine before things changed. Not sitting in traffic every morning and evening, not having to wear a tie for formal meetings and dare I confess mixing a smart shirt with shorts and flip flops. There is a definite upside to my new business attire as its meant less ironing and fewer socks to wash.

Back to Christmas presents. If you are looking for something for the chef in your life and want to reduce their use of cling film as part of a more sustainable lifestyle, get them some reusable silicon food covers. I was sceptical at first when they came into our house, but they really make a difference when you want to save the leftovers from going off. They complement our silicon mug covers which keep your tea warm in winter and the wasps out of your beer in high summer.

And if Christmas wrapping paper is next on your hit list of things to cut down on, try using fabric offcuts and ribbon. You can choose your own printed pattern or decorate the material yourself if you are arty, and when the recipient is admiring their latest pair of socks or jumper you can claim back the cloth and use it again next year for someone else. I have even thought of a trade name appropriate for these times – ‘Bubble Wrap’. Probably a little insensitive and also likely to leave me open to litigation by the plastics industry for breaching copyright. But go sue me, hey!

Anyway, as the New Year approaches let’s look forward to better times when we can all come off mute, put away our smiley face emojis and say hello in high definition, un-augmented reality.

Keep safe, enjoy who you are with and see you next year.

-- Peter Gudde is an energy advisor and environmental researcher

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