2020 – it’s already been quite the year. Storms Ciara and Dennis, coronavirus, brexit…There has been a little bit of good news in the midst of the chaos! Call the Midwife back on our tv screens, Liverpool topping the table in mythical fashion, and let’s not forget the return of the Assembly to Stormont after a 3 year hiatus (that’s the polite word for it).
Stormont came back with a new book under its belt, ‘New Decade, New Approach’. Plenty of commitments within it to enable positive change in Northern Ireland.
It was also my birthday at the start of February. A gift I received from one of my sisters was another influential book with some important messages about Northern Ireland – the missing part of my Sadie and Kevin collection, the elusive ‘Hostages to Fortune’!
Despite months of searching in the wilds of the local charity shops, it didn’t turn up. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t because it’s more special as a gift from Claire who knows all too well my love of these books.
If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that Joan Lingard is a hero, and the lives of her characters, Sadie and Kevin are inextricably linked to my childhood. Some books just stay with you. ‘Hostages to Fortune’ is the final novel of the series and continues to explore the relationship between Sadie and Kevin, and their difficult relationship with home at a time when Northern Ireland was a difficult place to love.
It’s interesting how Northern Ireland has changed so much, and yet so little since those books were published. The fact that we were without a government for so long is testament to how infuriating and frustrating this place can be. And yet, there’s so much progress to be proud of.
We’ve seen many agreements, deals and commitments come and go, all tied by one significant thread – hope. The truth is, it’s people who make the difference, who create new ways of working together; develop the bonds that tie us; understand the simple beauty of community and care. That’s the joy of the Sadie and Kevin series – it shines a light on what we can do as individuals, families and societies to shift our perspective and make progress.
Here’s hoping that ‘New Decade, New Approach’ delivers as intended, but let’s not wait for it to happen. We can all learn something from Sadie and Kevin!