In which I apologise for the radio silence
I have now been back at work for three weeks, and I haven't managed to write a single word for the Blog. It's been exhausting, stressful, and very, very different to life pre-lockdown, but I'm so glad that we're open again...
For anyone who doesn't already know, my family run a pub in a small coastal town in Somerset. We re-opened three weeks ago, after three and a half months in lockdown, and it's taken all this time to get used to the new setup. We've had to remove tables to allow for social distancing, there are screens up at the bar, and in between the tables, 2m tape on the floor, bar service has been done away with in exchange for table service, and because of social distancing rules, and only being allowed two households at a table, last week we found ourselves at full capacity with only eleven people in the pub! Yes, life is certainly very different post lockdown.
I don't know if it's just me, but I feel like the mood has shifted since people have returned to work. Where, a couple of months ago, there was a feeling of solidarity, of understanding and unity; we now seem to be shifting back to our old ways, and I was really hoping that we wouldn't. I miss seeing my neighbours on a Thursday evening for a little catch up after clapping the NHS at 8pm. All standing around someone's driveway in socially distanced groups, checking how each other are getting on, and whether anyone needs anything. Having a chat over the garden fence about how our families are doing in various different parts of the country and even the world. (Our neighbour is Spanish, and has family in Barcelona, who have had to deal with a far stricter lockdown than we have).
I'm sensing a lot fear from people. When I'm out running, I always say "good morning" to the people that I pass on my way. (If I have enough breath.) There is always a smile to be exchanged with people out enjoying a secluded part of the Countryside at an ungodly hour of the morning, almost gleefully admiring the scenery without anyone else to interrupt us along the secret tracks that many people don't know about. But recently, I've noticed that people give me a very wide berth when I greet them on a morning run. Some will completely turn their faces away from me, which I find slightly insulting, even in the current climate. Surely the very fact that I'm 4 miles from anywhere, and have clearly run there, proves that there's nothing wrong with my lungs? Maybe I'm not being cautious enough. Maybe I should be wearing a mask outside of my house at all times. We just don't know what the answer is yet. Will children be scrutinising our failings in history lessons in years to come. "And can you believe that they weren't told to wear face masks until four months in?" "I can't believe that it took so long to find a vaccine!" These are the thoughts that float in and out of my mind on a daily basis!
Yesterday at work, I was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of someone who clearly had no idea what the term "social distancing" means. We have a sign almost immediately as people enter the pub, asking them to wait to be seated by a member of staff. A man strides in, I approach him with the intention of meeting him 2 metres from the sign, in order to assist him. Well, he doesn't wait at the sign, nor does he stop approaching as I near him. In fact, we are now in some sort of deluded tango, where he's striding purposefully forward, and I'm retreating as quickly as he's coming, being forced further and further into a corner, until he's upon me, breathing his stale breath all over me. I exhale profusely, and forcibly for the next half an hour, trying to expel any fatal particles that I may have inhaled during our intimate encounter. I swear I could count the number of fillings he had on his top row! I began wearing a visor when we reopened, but after persevering with it for five long days, I could take the headaches no longer! I don't even think it was the tightness of the visor that caused me problems, I think it was looking through a slightly blurred piece of Perspex for 10 hours on end; that wouldn't clear, no matter how often I attacked it with Windowlene.
I'm interested to hear how others are readjusting to our new way of life? Are things too strict, not strict enough? Let me know in the comment section.
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