Return to normal…maybe

So today was the beginning of the end of lockdown eh. The start of the route-path back to normality with non-essential shops opening and bars and hospitality venues opening up for outside trade. I popped out around lunchtime to do a bit of shopping and to see if I could drop off a load of CDs and DVDs liberated from the renovation of our daughter R’s apartment. The bags of them have been hanging around our place and given that there’s at least 100 items we really want to offload them to some charity shop.

I noticed driving through the centre of town that most of the pubs etc had put up facilities on outdoor verandahs etc and just a few people were having a drink or lunch outdoors. I’d heard that many people were queuing up at a minute past midnight to get a pint at their favourite local so imagined that the pub patios etc would have been swamped. But no, it was relatively quiet though I suspect the cold weather had something to do with that. Maybe people were being quietly responsible after all…maybe.

I found that many charity shops had signs up saying they were opening later this week, for some reason. And those that were open seemed incredibly busy so I thought I’d wait till later to drop off Becksy’s unloved music and films. But one thing that was impossible to miss was the long queue outside virtually every hairdressing salon. Here’s a shot outside the Turkish barbers in the middle of town and check out the row of men (and women!) waiting to get trimmed…

I know that Carol is counting down the hours till her appointment in a couple of weeks’ time and I imagine that many people are desperate to get a proper cut after so long putting up with pretty horrendous snips from partners, friends and kids. Of course some of us get a new complete face and head haircut each and every morning so I find it a little hard to be massively sympathetic. Envious yes but consoling..? Only a little. I do know C has a first appointment with her great friend and beautician tomorrow morning and she simply cannot wait for whatever it is that women have done in these salons de la groom. I’ll not ask but will have to notice and be happy to comment on the lovely outcome. Genuinely. I’ve long learned that it’s just different for women.

So the afternoon drifted by as Carol was at her work desk and I was reading. All of a sudden a horrible sound from outside our home. Someone had fallen over our garden wall and his distressed partner and daughter, I think, were screaming at him to get up. Then I noticed the can of beer in her hand and the industrial language. C asked me to hold on a second before getting involved. After a minute or so he was pulled out and steadied upright (kind of) whilst they had a loud, emotional and heated conversation about his desire for some more drink. Her tearful insistence that he shouldn’t, whilst slugging down the beery remains of the day, just sounded a teeny bit disingenuous. It seemed like he might need hospital treatment so I went outside to see if he was ok. He’d crushed a couple of our shrubs and didn’t look too injured, thankfully. But he was incredibly apologetic in that sad and pathetic way that drunks employ. His wife joined in the apologies, beer can still in hand, and suggested that he’d had a fit and stumbled uncontrollably into our garden. I said we weren’t bothered about the damage and asked if he needed help. Oh no, she said…then added, look he’s not going to call the police so let’s go.

Ah. If I was a betting man I’d put my money on the cause being Stella Artois rather than petit mal especially as he was insistent on telling me how sorry he really really was. The pair of them were completely off their faces. The poor daughter (?) looked mortified. I suggested a couple of times that they just take him home rather me call any authorities and they scooted off as sharpishly as staggering allowed.

So there we go. Was this the outcome of people drinking in an outside beer facility all day for a change then having some extras on the way home? I don’t know but I suspect it could easily have been. That’s one thing I haven’t missed; boorish public behaviour. I don’t want to sound like Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells but I’m praying that the return to normal doesn’t just mean a return to disorderliness, selfishness, littering, rudeness, uncivility etc. The last year has been incredibly trying but a lot of decent values came to the fore which I hope we don’t lose; like compassion, a sense of responsibility, patience, community, caring, familiness, selflessness, common sense and above all self-control.  It’s not all been a model of citizenship but I feel we’ve come too far and sacrificed an awful awful lot as a nation to let it all slide.

We shall see eh…




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