Seasons Greetings from Pushing Out the Boat

Welcome to Pushing Out the Boat’s newsletter, our round-up of 2020 and a hopeful look forward to 2021.

This has to be the strangest year yet for us. As November came and went, we were reminded of Thomas Hood’s poem – ‘No sun – no moon!/No morn – no noon/ … November!’ Or in our case – no meetings, no events, no retail outlets open …

Our Covid challenges were minimal compared to those who have suffered isolation or worse. But like everyone we too had to adapt.

In March we bid farewell to Freda Hasler and Martin Walsh, who were our driving force for many issues. Our intention to hold an evening of readings to celebrate their contribution has been thwarted by Covid, although we will return to it when we can. By way of compensation, we were pleased to publish a brief tribute to Martin and Freda on our website.

Following Martin and Freda’s departure we welcomed two new colleagues on board, editor Lily Greenall (an introduction to Lily appeared on our website) and magazine designer Claire Martin. Both bring youth and important new skills to our team.

Claire’s arrival was a first for us. Rather than our usual chat over coffee and a fine piece with new volunteers to see if we were suited for each other, we met via Zoom. Which leads us neatly to another impact of the virus – all our team meetings since March have been online. We miss the friendliness of getting together but our virtual meetings have been surprisingly effective and efficient.

Of course, our meetings are mainly there to help plan and launch our next magazine. There’s always a decision needed as to whether we have the resources to publish another issue and Covid added another uncertainty this year. But we were pleased in June to make the decision to go ahead with Issue 16. Our call for submissions has had a record number of contributions, all now being evaluated.

Pushing Out the Boat 16 will be launched in Spring 2021, if not at our traditional afternoon of readings, then virtually.

Our usual live events and a more active approach to sales have been necessarily limited this year. We did take part in one evening of readings at Aberdeen University’s online WayWORD festival. Many of the retail outlets who stock our magazine have been closed or operating under restrictive conditions. But if you need any last minute Christmas gifts or stocking fillers, you can purchase Issue 15 in our online shop at the special price of £5 including free postage and packing to the UK, plus a free gift message.

As always, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, certainly a more positive one than we’ve all just experienced.