12:00 AM March 23, 2021
A year ago today, we were first placed in lockdown, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
And what a year it has been – one we’d like to forget but whose impact will be with us for decades to come.
A year of hours spent welded to the sofa scrolling through Netflix, after yet another walk, wondering if we’ll ever have a social life that doesn’t involve a screen or donning a ski jacket to sit in someone’s garden. If the Flame lipstick we bought in February 2020 will see the light of day and popping to Co-op will indefinitely constitute an outing. Of trying to comprehend how in the 21st century a strange new virus from China, the origins of which are still unclear, could cause untold deaths, wreak havoc on people’s lives, and prevent us from partaking in hitherto harmless activities and interactions.
12 months and three lockdowns later we’ve become used to – and have even grown to like – certain aspects of this pared down existence.
In the Clark household we feel lucky; we’re all still talking (sometimes to ourselves), my husband and I have both had our first jab – though six months ago he bet me there wouldn’t be one – and none of us has caught or lost someone we love to Covid.
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My husband thought he had Covid but made a dramatic recovery the following day when he remembered the virtual wine tasting he’d booked for that evening.
As far as Zoom events go – hopefully these won’t be required for much longer but you never know – wine tastings score highly, particularly the one involving six bottles of Lidl’s finest for under £42. You try something new, get a bit merry and interact with human beings you don’t live with – all rarities in the current climate.
Lockdown yoga too has been a life saver – I almost prefer it to the driving, parking and pre-Covid, crowded studio version.
But increasingly life feels like Groundhog Day and loneliness and isolation are taking their toll, so thank God, and the geniuses at Pfizer and Astra Zeneca, that there’s an end in sight.
Bring on the summer and let’s hope the grand plan works – that the vaccine rollout, the one thing this Government seems to have got right – does its job.
While many of us began booking festivals and birthday lunches the minute we heard “roadmap”, there are those who think it won’t and others who feel unexpectedly nervous about being thrust back into a world of planning and partying.
Will we jump in feet first or take time to adjust? I look forward to finding out. To music and theatre and restaurants and blow dries and gatherings with friends, and the wine might be from Lidl and no-one will care. To foreign travel without fear of being imprisoned in a quarantine hotel or, worse, in an actual prison. To freedom rather than rules and far less time spent tidying the kitchen. To lockdowns becoming a distant memory, and the next twelve months being a lot less weird and a lot more fun.
- Beatrix Clark is a Hampstead-based writer.