This time last year, my brother linked me to a couple of newspaper articles. One was hailing the latest vaccine breakthrough, and the other suggested we’d soon be able to buy coronavirus tests online. Although, we were only a few months into the pandemic, it felt like we’d been living under lockdown forever. Washing food and staying in and constant worry was wearing thin for all. But those articles gave us both hope. Optimism. For the first time, we dared to believe and dream in a life after lockdown, a life after coronavirus. And although it’s taken many more months, and many many more deaths, and many many many more positive Covid cases… it feels like we’re now on our way towards that hopeful future. Those articles have now become our reality. Thanks to vaccines and weekly covid tests (apply here -they’re free!) and masks and isolation… we’re finally moving forward. We’ve started the slow road back to normality.
For the past eighteen months, our house has been our fortress, our village has become our world. Weekends and evenings have been spent exploring the immediate countryside and we’ve rarely ventured further than the nearest town. We’ve seen more birds than humans. 😉 However at the end of March, when coronavirus restrictions were eased, and shielding paused again, we started to slowly venture back into the world of people. Re-enter the land of the living. Spread our wings. To reduce the risk of catching coronavirus, we’ve largely stuck to outside venues- National Trust sites, or country parks- and avoided the biggest crowds by going off the beaten track. However as I’m now fully vaccinated, I’ve also started to once again enjoy outdoor cafes, local shops… and even use public toilets! (though they make me a little nervy! 😛 ). But I’m not yet brave enough to join Phil in the supermarkets (oh I miss browsing the offers! 🙂 )! Furthermore, Kepler started -and has now graduated- from his puppy classes (top in class at ‘wait’! 😉 ), and Phil and I have begun bee keeping lessons at a nearby apiary. There’s been summer evening drinks in our local pub garden, and we now feel safe enough to attend outdoor village events again -I have serious backyard envy from the Open Gardens! One weekend we ventured to a campsite a wee five miles away, for the puppy’s first ever stay in the Bumblebee. He loved living outside, but I think the rain on the van roof was a bit scary! But the bravest step we’ve taken, on the road towards normality… is eating inside a restaurant! Yep inside! We’d been gifted meal vouchers, back in Christmas 2019… the tempura prawns were well worth the wait! 😀
After over a year of only seeing a maximum of six people at a time, it has been wonderful to get together in slightly bigger groups once again (up to 30, wahoo!). No more counting heads, or leaving people out, or secret envy when my siblings get together without me! 😉 No more crazy logistics and juggling plans -Who will watch the kiddies?, How will I get there without Phil?- to ensure we don’t break the ‘rule of 6’. Once more, I can gather with my friends and their children. Once more, I can meet up with my Mum and sister at the same time! And once more, I can spend my limited energy coins on one meet instead of multiple, so my body doesn’t need to push itself ‘in the red’ quite so often. 🙂 We’ve enjoyed rambling through the fields with my family, and cycling through the woods with my friends. Not only can the little toddlers suddenly ride bikes, but they can now beat me in races against my scooter! 😀
Throughout the past year, I postponed all those ‘too close for comfort’ non-essential jobs. So I have been playing catch-up since getting my second jab. My hair has now been trimmed by a professional, instead of ‘YouTube taught’ Phil! Word of warning- don’t wear a mask that ties at the back of the head for a hair cut… there were a few sneaky long strands when I removed it! 😉 Having lived through lockdown with only one broken pair of glasses, I now have multiple pairs that sit straight! Picking new frames, whilst wearing a mask, was quite a feat though- I kept steaming them up! 😛 My oxygen concentrator has finally been serviced, my smear test has been ticked off, and I have a dentist appointment booked in. Apparently I wasn’t the only one waiting to be vaccinated before getting their teeth checked… there is a three month waiting list! 😛
Rejoining society, after over a year of keeping away to keep safe, has been easier than expected. Although I do still have some nerves when doing anything for the first time- it is greatly reassuring to see the way society is responding to the pandemic, and trying to keep everyone safe. It gives me confidence to keep moving forward. The masks and signs and alcohol gel. The venue check-ins, the one-way systems, the queue spacer markers. Capacity limits, appointments only, taping off every-other seat. Table service, outdoor facilities, more credit card payments places. Removing pens after you’ve used them, washing glasses after you’ve tried them on. Changing PPE after every person, sterilizing scissors after every hair cut. Reading menus on phones, perspex screens, a new gadget so the optician doesn’t need to lean into your face. Weekly Covid tests, weekly Covid tests, weekly Covid tests (order free tests here)! And vaccines. Thank you to the 85% of adult Brits, who have put society first, and had their initial jab. 🙂
There are still many steps on the road to normality, that I’m not yet ready for. Only folks who are second vaccinated can use my house toilet (thank goodness for the field at the bottom of the garden 😉 ). I don’t feel comfortable to be in busy indoor venues like theatres and cinemas and hotels. And aside from my hubby, I’m only cuddling my baby niece! 😀 But that’s ok. Everyone’s journey back to normality is their own. To be taken at their own pace. 🙂
After months and months of worry and stress, finally there is a glimmer of hope that there may be life after coronavirus. Together, we’re starting that slow road back to normality. There may be bumps and hills and maybe the odd U-turn, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. Just keep plodding forward… safely. 🙂