Generally acknowledged as the worst of the national lockdowns, ‘Lockdown 3.0’ – which started officially on 5th January 2021 and drifted interminably through winter and into a grey, drizzly spring – has been, to put not too fine a point on it, resoundingly s**t.
Dark and cold for most of the last 4 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has once again robbed us of seeing family and friends, deprived us of entertainment (cinemas, theatres, gigs…all legally banned) and forced us to convert living into office space. Any sense of fascination for these unchartered waters, or gallows humour (such that it was), has long since departed. And the novelty of regular Zoom calls has dwindled. We’ve hunkered under blankets, stuck out our bottom lips, and refused to show any more of that bl**dy British stoicism our Prime Minister is so keen to eulogize.
And yet… As we enter May, there are signs to be hopeful. “We’ve been here before!” the more hard-core pessimists declare. And it’s becoming easy to slip into that mindset. Especially when, for the third time in as many weeks, a social engagement has been postponed due to dreary weather. WOE IS ME! WILL THIS ORDEAL NEVER END?!
Yes. Yes, it will. On 21st June. And – actually – things will be pretty much back to normal from 17th May. They will. We will be able to hug again, and drink together in the warm, and stay over at each others’ houses….and finally watch ‘Nomadland’ on the big screen. Basic human rights restored!
So I will not embrace the mantra du jour: “It’s the hope that kills you”. I’ve watched far too many Disney films in my day for that. Hope is a wonderful thing. Today I get my second dose of the vaccination. And I look forward. To a warm, long, sunny summer. To trips around the UK. To meeting friends’ new babies for the first time. To sharing picnic food. To seeing my mum and dad. To parties. And weddings. And meals out that don’t involve sitting in scarves under makeshift awnings.
I am hopeful.
‘Courage’ photo credit: Simon Bibby