It feels like ‘lockdown’ has been going on for YEARS. I think it’s about 80 days now? Something like that. Time has all gone a bit screwy – hasn’t it? The Bank Holidays we’ve had have felt a little pointless, they were like any other day.

I guess I’ve had a pretty normal ‘new normal’. Vicki has been going to work as normal (she’s seen as a keyworker), and after a bit of a drought right at the start, my work has been pretty normal too. The rest of the world around us seems less normal. Lots of our neighbours have taken to sitting in their front gardens at night and hanging out there to the small hours. Our closer neighbours have all forged strong friendships and sit in our communal garden day-drinking and screaming at their kids. We’ve just carried on as normal.

Whilst inside these four walls feels pretty normal. The rest of the world feels so fucking weird. We’ve queued 40 minutes to get into the supermarket, 30 minutes to get a coffee, and not had any contact with close family (save a quick trip to sit in my Mum’s garden at the weekend). As more stuff is opening up again, it’s feeling a little bit more ‘normal’ in some regards, but what is opening won’t be anywhere near normal. Restrictions and social distancing are here to stay.

We’ve got a trip to Alton Towers booked once it’s (hopefully) open, I’m excited about being back there, but know it will be odd.

I was just thinking about my last ‘normal’ day. Just on the cusp of all the madness, where there wasn’t a lockdown, but everyone was getting a little twitchy.

It was Sunday March 15th.

It was pretty busy for a Sunday – we’d arranged to meet some friends and their gorgeous Doggo in a nearby dog walking field. You rent the field by the hour, so it wasn’t unusual to be on our own. The dogs (and us) had a lovely time, and we swung by a local pub with them for a spot of lunch.

We’d talked about this ol’ COVID-19. We were discussing how people seemed to be panic buying. The pub was a little quieter than a normal Sunday. The people in there were having similar discussions about other countries having lockdowns, chats about it all being a bit silly for ‘a bad cold’. The concept of a lockdown did seem a bit weird back then. Considering our government were downplaying things at that point as our neighbours were closing their borders, it just seemed like everyone else was losing their mind. We were being the epitome of British, sitting in a pub, putting the world to rights. All we had to remember to do was ‘Wash our Hands’

We’d got plans for the evening too – the awesome Frank Turner was on a solo tour and stopping in Southend that evening. There had been lots of mumbles on social media about the gig being cancelled. There wasn’t any guidance or need to cancel gatherings, the show was to go on!

Admittedly it was a very WEIRD experience, the sold-out show was less than half full. Frank was bloody brilliant, however it was clear the slightly muted, smaller crowd, and the fact his whole tour was hanging in the balance was hanging in his mind. Although the ad-hoc lyrics he’d added about the world events went down very well. Southend did actually turn out to be his last show of the tour, the rest postponed indefinitely.

It’s weird to think that was the last ‘normal’ day out. Things were a little weird, perhaps tense? I guess there was a real fear of the unknown.. No one really knew what was around the corner (that’s probably a good thing!)

I’m really looking forward to more slices of normality. I really miss the freedom to do stuff. Go and grab brunch, watch a random film at the cinema, an impromptu trip to a theme park, even a hair cut feels like a luxury right now!

Hopefully our next (relatively) normal day out isn’t too far away..


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