2020 has been one hell of a year. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only person to head out to the shops to be shocked by the sight of people in masks. Pinching myself awake – to find I am awake. That this is not a dystopian nightmare my brain has invented to help me, Jungian-style, to deal with the unresolved issues of my psyche during the night. That indeed I am living in an actual nightmare. That the Government has issued a decree that the population wear face coverings. Because we are living through a pandemic. That Coronavirus could be lurking anywhere. And it could be deadly. Yet, somehow, I can’t quite get my head around it. Everything about this year seems so unprecedented.

Whatever 2020 has been to the world, for me it has been my year with the Hoodies. The hooded plovers – those tiny beach-nesting birds that inhabit the stretch of coast close to our house in Ocean Grove – have been my soul-balm. They have kept me centred, alive, motivated to create my new ‘normal’ during a year that has been anything but.

When the pandemic struck and everyone’s overseas holidays were cancelled, mine – an extended visit to France and the UK – was one of the casualties. A decade in the planning. So with sabbatical leave granted and a replacement teacher teed up to take over my writing classes, I decided to head down to our house in Ocean Grove. This could be a good try-out for retirement. And with my immune system compromised at the time, it seemed like a safe option. Away from the madding crowds.

Watch this space for updates on how these little hooded darlings have captivated my attention and won my heart. Lots more blog posts to come – and photos of course.

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