Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Sonia Price
Features Writer
6:14 AM 24th July 2021

Take A Nice Deep Breath - Most COVID-19 Restrictions Are Lifted

Image by analogicus from Pixabay
Image by analogicus from Pixabay
Was last Monday an occasion for celebration for you? I had mixed feelings about it myself. I am trepidatious by nature and it feels right for me to continue with my established Covid protocol of mask wearing when in close proximity to people, and removing it to take in my ration of oxygen -which is hopefully Covid clear.

A measured middle-ground on this one for now I think, until we hear otherwise. This invisible unopened horse chestnut-like seed in our midst - has altered most of us to some degree hasn’t it?

Still on Monday morning, something visceral in me set my mood for the day. On waking, the sky looked very promising and the day ahead proved to be lovely and benevolent for me.

Our leaders had bestowed upon us a degree of liberty. From today it is our own responsibility to gauge the level of risk we are prepared to take for ourselves and impose on others. We can now reveal the bottom half of our faces in public places with impunity. This has to be good for the dentistry business and purveyors of lipstick who will be having a field day. Now might be the time to buy some shares in L’Oreal - but please don’t take investment advice from me - stop laughing - I know you wouldn’t.

Image by Barbara McLullich from Pixabay
Image by Barbara McLullich from Pixabay
Feeling like a Scarborough donkey that had finished a long season, I was raring to kick up my heels in the paddock with my pals - still with sensible social distancing.

I wanted to catch that feel-good wave and was impelled to listen to some timely uplifting music. I went on to YouTube and watched Roger Daltrey’s brilliant video from the cult film 'Tommy' singing 'I’m Free' as he swims exuberant butterfly strokes with an epic smile never leaving his face. It’s a joyous scene. He has to spray a mouthful of salt water at us before returning to his beatific grin but it’s ok. I am set at the right tempo for the day ahead.

Thus buoyed, I allowed myself a breather to reflect on what capricious times we have been through. My generation (sorry for The Who pun) has lived through nearly two decades of existential disquiet, The first being the build-up to the 2008 financial crash and its subsequent credit crunch that definitely put a dampener on our designs and confidence. I recall talking with a banking friend pre-crises. He was a sensitive type who played the organ in church. He had said to me at the time that he thought the credit extensions were unsustainable and that there would be a day of reckoning. It turned out to be years. We had barely started to recover from the effects of light-touch banking regulations and an insane episode of housing speculation, when a much trickier adversary entered our midst.

Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay
Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay
We must continue to treat Covid 19 with due respect. For all the fighting talk we hear from some quarters - this world-wide threat still has the upper hand. Would you tell Mike Tyson he has a funny high-pitched voice without some safe running distance between you and him? A decision had to be reached between the obvious damages of Covid and the multifarious consequences of another protracted lock-down. Who would want to be the one having the last word on that call?

I like to play music that reflects moments in our lives as we are experiencing them. So I joined some friends on this day and we sat outside at The Hornblower pub in Ripon. It was lovely to see their open faces and I was pleased when Shelly, the eternally upbeat landlady, said that there was credit on the duke box and I could pick out a few tracks to catch the mood. After Robert Palmer’s 'Every Kinda People' I put on 'The Times They Are A Changing' by Bob Dylan. This song was recorded in the 1960’s but the lyrics are particularly prescient.

The times indeed will be changing and this pace of change I think is going to be dizzying for some. I, for one, am eager to know just something about the early blueprints for what our lives going forward might look like. What will our lovely provincial market towns look like five years from now?

As I write, this virus has the top seat at the table of our world’s leaders and it is so cocky it is not even bothering to wear a mask! It is immune to border controls and credit checks, impervious to internet trolls and it can get in to and out of any of the world’s elite clubs, Freemason’s halls and educational establishments without a shirt and tie. We can’t pick a fight with it or send it a succession of solicitor’s letters. It’s nothing personal it just doesn’t care.

Duly put in my place by Covid, I decided that the best thing I could do in that moment was to go on line and order a Basil Brush T-Shirt. It’s light-touch things like this that are sustaining me right now. When I wore my Basil Brush T-shirt yesterday it raised a smile from those who remember the cheeky puppet.

Basil Brush, some good music and the fervent hope that when we start to rebuild in the years going forward - we will have developed a keener moral compass and a greater regard for every human being that we have the privilege of sharing this wonderful world with.