Looking ahead to 2021 as daylight hours start to increase

sunset over Sidmouth seafront with boats in the foreground and the setting sun on the horizon.

Days begin to get longer as we head towards Spring - Credit: Alex Walton Photography

As we start 2021 the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in have one positive. Any New Year resolutions will be easier to complete with pubs and restaurants closed! (apart from takeaway services of course).

For those starting on their resolution - good luck! Resolutions of course do not have to revolve around diets and alcohol. I suspect however, that most do!
Whilst thinking about calories, good luck to the new bakery and coffee shop that has just opened in Sidmouth. Jar Bakery also has outlets in Topsham and Honiton. All three outlets are in premises formerly occupied by Shauls Bakery. With lockdown restrictions, they will only be able to offer a takeaway service for a while. Hopefully for them it won’t be too long before their café can reopen.
As a retired estate agent, I do keep half an eye on the property market and I note that it appears to still be very active. This year the heat will start to build early on as buyers and sellers will be eager to get deals through by March 31 when the stamp duty holiday is due to end.
I’ve been studying the latest Land Registry sales figures in the Sidmouth area and note that some properties are going for well in excess of the 2006/2007 peak but others have hardly risen at all. This is all down to supply and demand, of course. I have also seen that some properties have sold for considerably less than the asking price by as much as 10%. If you are contemplating selling your home in 2021 why not have a look at sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla to be better informed about recent sales in your road and nearby areas. Usually the information is about three months behind. The local estate agents will be able to offer advice based on more recent information.  
So what is everybody looking forward to in 2021? Getting back to some sort of normality will be top of most people’s lists. The vaccines will be a game changer but we have a few more months to get through first. I think the sporting diary this year looks incredibly exciting. The Olympic Games, The Ryder Cup and the European Football Championships are carried over from 2020. In cricket we have the start of The Ashes (they finish in January 2022) and the T20 World Cup. In rugby union there is a planned Lions tour to South Africa and in Rugby League the World Cup takes place in England in October and November. This is in addition to all the usual annual sporting events. Hopefully spectators will soon be able to get back into stadia. And then we can thankfully get rid of the fake crowd noises!
A good positive at this time of year are the extra minutes of daylight time. It is difficult to comprehend that daylight hours at this time of year are under half of the daylight hours in mid Summer. Of course going further north to countries like Iceland the extreme is far greater. I went to Iceland once in January and I think we only had about four hours daylight!
Those with plans to go abroad this year will be hoping that travel restrictions are soon lifted. There will be a few changes if travelling to the European Union but nothing too onerous it would seem. Hopefully the phone companies take a sensible view on roaming charges. Also the recommendations on travel insurance are worth noting. I know people who are currently abroad and the popular holiday destinations, not surprisingly, are far quieter than usual. Personally I like the buzz attached to a busy bar or restaurant so I’m not that envious yet!
Finally we must all do as Captain Corona says. Hands, face, space! Why not get out into our wonderful countryside and remember to please take your litter home! 

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