In many ways it’s hard to believe that it’s already two years ago today that the UK’s first Coronavirus lockdown was announced.
Since then, time feels like it’s done some very strange things – some things feel like only yesterday when it turns out they were three or four years ago, but stuff that was yesterday feels like an eternity has passed.
Here, I’ve been lucky, as I still haven’t caught it – although that’s more by luck than judgement, and probably that’s helped by being single, antisocial, and without children, thus eliminating an awful lot of the potential vectors. I’ve also been lucky in that it hasn’t affected me in the same ways it’s affected a lot of people – I wasn’t suddenly thrown into a world of working from home, with a lot of my social interactions removed, and nor was I suddenly having to be in close confinement with partners or others.
It’s still not been easy, but it’s been OK. It could have been a lot worse – and obviously for lots of people, it was. And is. And will continue to be.
I don’t know how we’ll handle things in the future. I know that “going back to how things were” is a pipe-dream. We’ll find ways to accommodate life with Coronavirus, and it’ll affect us less (much as it’s already doing) but it’s not going to disappear, and things won’t ever be “how they were”.
Onwards, upwards, whatever.
Somewhat fortuitously, I managed to get my Covid booster jab a few weeks ahead of the latest Omicron variant’s appearance, so it was already in full effect by the time Omicron occurred. (That wasn’t through anything like me being organised, of course, just the way timings worked out) At the time it was a nicely organised process – rock up at the time booked, sign in, get the jab, wait fifteen minutes (in case I’m allergic to the jab and die, or something) and then fuck off to get on with the rest of my day.
The week after, I also ended up getting my flu jab. (In my opinion, getting the “you now qualify for a flu jab” message is *definitely* a sign you’re getting old) It’s safe to say that getting that one done was pretty much the polar opposite, and not far short of an absolute clusterfuck.
I’d originally tried booking it through Superdrug, but their entire online presence seems to be “Give us a call to find out”. Utterly, utterly fucking useless.
So eventually I went to Boots where the booking process was long, with big doses of repeated information. (No idea why, but hey ho, got it booked) That bit was OK(ish) though. It was when I got to the shop that things went utterly tits-up.
I got there a couple of minutes early, and no-0ne was in the waiting area. No-one at all. Not even staff. Another couple of people also arrived to get their jabs. Eventually someone turned up, and gave me a paper form to fill in with all my details. Which was a bit of a concern.
It turned out that – in a large town-centre store – the “proper” jab person was on a day off, and no-one knew their password, or could log in to the system and see what bookings were expected. (Nor, as it turned out, mark appointments as completed etc.) So it was all back to paper, and no-one had a single sodding clue about what was happening, who was booked in (or when) and generally shambolic.
The jab process itself was fine, once everything was sorted. And thankfully I’ve experienced no real side-effects from either vaccination.
Mind you, the following day, I got a set of messages and emails from Boots telling me that I’d missed my appointment. I assume it’s also not gone into my medical record, so I could probably decide to get another one early in the new year, or something. (Not that I would, but still, fucking hell)
Anyway, it’s all done now, and so far as I’m concerned, if one of these viruses is going to get me, they’re going to have to work bloody hard to do so.
Way back when the first Lockdown was announced, I bought a set of hair-clippers, and it turns out it was probably one of the best things I did.
It’s already more than paid for itself – I think that since then I’ve only had two haircuts at my usual barbers, and all the rest have been done myself.
Of course, it’s also been a learning experience, but once I’d (sort of) figured out the hair length thing, it’s been useful.
I’m not perfect at using them – each use has ended up with a couple of return visits as I’ve discovered bits I’ve missed (or at least that feel like I’ve missed them) – but the results are at least passable, and I’m not worried about being seen out in public once I’ve done it.
Once sanity returns, I’ll still be happy to go back to having a barber do the job properly. For now, though, I’m just happy to be not looking like Cousin It.
With everything else that’s going on, I’ve made the decision to stay in my current house for another year, and sorted out the tenancy agreement to that effect.
I’d been seriously looking at a couple of different locations (although still in the same region as I’m in currently) that would’ve worked, and enabled some other stuff to be a lot easier. It would also have been nice to have a slightly bigger place, as I’ve said before.
However, all the places that were available were at least double the price of the one I’m currently in, and weren’t making enough other things easier. Alongside that, the way things have been with Covid, and the upcoming clusterfuck formally known as Brexit, I ended up deciding that it was likely to be better/smarter to stay here, rather than over-extend things too much.
If nothing else, I’d be properly mortified to end up being in the shit because I’d moved to a better house and then everything else had gone to crap, knowing I could’ve still be in this little cheap(er) place.
So yeah, here for another year. That’s eight-and-a-half years now – by far the longest I’ve been in any one place since I left home.
For now, it still suits me enough. I’d like to move elsewhere, and I’ll look again come summer 2021, and see what happens in the meantime. If things are properly shit, I might stay again, but we’ll see.
This week, it’s been six months since Lockdown was announced. And in the same week, they’ve announced that the newest set of rules/laws/guidelines/guesswork are likely to apply for at least the next six months.
I wish I could say I was surprised. But I’m just not.
I don’t honestly think things will go back to “how they were”. Things will change – things have already changed – and they won’t go back to what they were. I fucking hate the expression “the new normal”, but it’s true, that’s what we’re going through, and we’re still finding our way through it, figuring out how things will be.
All the people-pleasing crap about a vaccine/cure for Covid is just that – crap. We might end up with the equivalent of the flu jab for Covid – might – but it will just be a defence. Even the flu ‘jab is just guesswork, a prediction based on what flu strains were around two years ago. Even those who’ve had the jab can still end up getting flu.
I don’t know all that the future will bring. I don’t even know how things will look in six months time – and nor does anyone else.
All any of us can really do is keep ourselves safe, and hope everyone else is doing the same thing. Other than that, it’ll just be a case of “we’ll see”.
Today is day 266 of 2020. There’s only another 100 to go.
I’m not going to tempt fate (or give it ideas) by saying things couldn’t get worse. They could. Knowing the way this year’s gone so far, they probably will.
In the meantime, I’m going to be slightly altering the restaurant plans and bookings I’d already made for the rest of this year, following on from today’s (frankly bizarre) “everywhere’s got to close by 10pm” dictat.
I’m not sure what makes things safer by closing pubs, restaurants and food places by 10pm – as other restaurateurs have said, they’ve worked hard on making sure entry/exit times were staggered, whereas now it’s going to be a big exodus at one time.
It’s all just weird.