IT's that time of year when we look back at the events of the previous 12 months and look forward to hopefully better things to come as we herald in a new year.

Anyone who has been a regular reader of this column over the years will know I’m not a great fan of New Year resolutions, as most are doomed to fail (that’s not just my normal ‘glass half empty’ pessimism – people actually research these kinds of things.)

But the events of 2020 have surely made us all take stock of our lives and wonder if there’s actually any point in making plans for next year.

When I wrote my end-of-year column sat at my dining table last year, there was no such thing as Covid 19 in our collective consciousness. Within a couple of weeks, coronavirus emerged as no more than an interesting news item from a little-known city in China. It all seemed so far away, posing no threat to my own personal health, wealth and happiness.

Of course, all that changed within a matter of months. By the middle of March, I was working from home (yes, I know I am one of the fortunate ones who can do that), and my life had changed, probably forever.

My dining table has become my office; my commute is the 13 stairs from my bedroom; office banter has been replaced with requests from my wife to do a little light housework in my coffee break. For the record, in reality coffee breaks have also become a thing of the past.

In a way, I feel a bit guilty. I actually really like working from home. If nothing else, it means I don’t have that horrible early morning commute into Manchester or have to cram in cheek-by-jowl with a load of other people on overcrowded trains coming home.

Only time will tell if working from home will be the way many of us will all be living our lives once this pandemic is finally under control.

And that’s one of the problems with making resolutions. Life has a habit of getting in the way. So if I was to make a resolution for next year it would be something along the lines of expect the unexpected.

All my plans for 2020 ended up being ditched. The two weeks in the Mallorca sun didn’t happen, there was no traditional Easter family gathering and like most others, Christmas this year ended up being virtual. They were just the big things.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, is it? I do have some hopes for 2021. At the time of writing, it looks like the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine is pretty close to being approved and according to the noises being made by the manufacturers, the latest data now show an efficacy as good as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Health officials in Warrington look like they’ve already done a pretty good job at rolling out the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and seem to have got their act together better than some places but the Oxford vaccine is the game-changer.

It will be made in the UK, it only has to be stored at normal fridge temperatures and will be much easier to administer.

So my real hope is that for the very first time, the government actually delivers on its promises and gets everyone is the vulnerable groups vaccinated by the end of spring.

But given the government’s track record of over-promising and under-delivering on just about everything, maybe I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic.

Another pandemic-related story caught my eye this week. People in Warrington are being warned about a new coronavirus vaccine scam which is targeting vulnerable older people.

Residents in their 90s have received phone calls to say they will be having their Covid-19 vaccinations at home and will receive a visit at a certain time and date.

They are then asked to provide personal details to make a payment, or press a number on their keypad, forcing the council to warn that the NHS doesn’t charge for the vaccine and any calls such as this should be treated as a scam.

This got me thinking so I checked what I wrote this time last year: “My wish is for the new government to announce a massive crackdown on telephone fraudsters.”

Maybe I should just include last year’s wish along with this year’s.

Happy New Year everyone.