Suffolk December 28th 2020

Christmas is over and this strangest of years is drawing to a close. Good riddance to it. We’ll all be glad to put it behind us.

It’s now been 7 months since dad died and we’ve all moved on, although not Mum. After 51 years of marriage how can you try to start over? Like Patrick Leigh Fermor would say later in life:

‘I constantly find myself saying ‘I must tell that to Joan’ then suddenly remember that one can’t..’

Boris Johnson has allowed a 5 day period over Christmas when 2 to 3 households are allowed to mix but many scientists are warning against this because it’ll lead to many more cases in January. It’s almost guaranteed.

The first lockdown lasted from March to July then, as the cases started to rise again, they enforced a second lockdown from November 5th to December 2nd. At the start of December Bristol was in the highest one – tier 3 – at one point there was something like 580 new cases per 100,000 but that has now dropped to just over 100 per 100,000 in this last week.

The week before Christmas a new ‘variant strain’ of Coronavirus was revealed to be spreading fast around the UK. It’s no different from the first manifestation of Covid apart from the fact that it’s more virulent. The media obsess over it but none of us really know what’s going on.

Whatever we know or don’t know one thing is for sure: the cases are rising and there were more than 50,000 new cases today alone.

There is a new tier 4, which is really the same as being locked down. I am careful to try not to mix with anyone to protect Mum. Rog still has invited their friend, James,down for NYE but we’ll have to see.

How quickly we become accustomed to things. For someone who might have slipped into a coma 9 months and then was to wake up today the world would seem a very strange place. Floor signs reminding us to stay 2 m apart, a repeated message in Sainsbury’s which starts ‘To help stop the spread..’ I notice they don’t mention a word like virus or Covid. Are they worried it’ll scare people?

Everywhere people wearing face masks and businesses closed. Many places downsizing, relocating or gone for good. The language school next door to the flat in Bristol has moved and many other little businesses are suffering.

You couldn’t make up the news: while Covid runs rampant we’re going to leave the EU in 3 days time. Boris finally got a deal over Christmas. Last minute. We’ll be OK.

Entrance to Harwich Port – the sign warns that people need to have had a PCR Covid test within the last 72 hours to gain access to The Netherlands

It was definitely a bit more of a struggle, being locked down a 2nd time. In Bristol pubs were still closed and of course cinemas, restaurants, theatres, etc. It gets a bit suffocating especially when escape and mini adventures are like oxygen.

I walk The Cotswold Way on weekends and this has been a saving. I went down to the cottage this weekend just gone which was lovely: just the change of space and to listen to my music and potter alone.

Having been lost for so long I am now found. I have found a calling. To write. Things finally feel like they have fallen into place. The years of worry, of wondering about my destiny have finally seemed to come to an end.

I have had 3 articles published since March and I know I can do it. I feel proud and happy and it means other things in life are easier. I have bult strong links with the Somali community in Bristol and their difficulties in lockdown has been the subject of the last 2 articles I’ve had published. Finding a girlfriend has not become so important. In fact, if anything, I’d rather not have a serious relationship right now, not when I could be pouring my energy into my own development.

I continue to have flings, most recently with Valeria from Chelyabinsk in Russia. It was fun for a while – a lot of drinking mainly at the flat and quite a bit of walking around the streets of Bristol – sometimes drinking at the same time (this is lockdown dating!). In the end she didn’t seem very interested in me and it transpires she’s still in love with the last guy she dated so we finished it a week ago. For a couple of days I felt a bit sad but then no problem. My self-esteem is high.

Another great addition to my life is Jade. She moved in in September and has been an absolute breath of fresh air. Bold, funny, adventurous, cute, a bit crazy, polite, considerate and a total party girl, she’s the perfect companion. We have a great time. And I hope she’ll stay and even move in with me next year when I buy a place.

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