Normal? I’m not even sure what that means anymore.

On the 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson announced that we would be asked to stay at home, stay safe and protect our NHS. You are only permitted to leave your home if you were classed as an essential worker, for one session of exercise a day or if you needed to get essential food or medication.

Here we are now, six weeks later, and I get the feeling that people think that the worst of it may have passed. The number of people succumbing as dropping and the number of people in hospital is falling day on day. People are beginning to ask when it will all be over, when can we go back to work, to school, to socialise….in short, “When will we be back to normal?”

Well, I am starting to think that we might never go back to ‘normal’ as, quite frankly, what we used to know as normal was never actually that good. Suddenly we find ourselves confided to home and we know that we dont have to endlessly consume in order to be happy. We have each other, we have to make do and, you know what? we are doing fine thank you very much.

We walk to the shops and with almost deserted roads you can hear birdsong, you dont have a lung full of diesel and you dont have boy racers racing up and down the sea front laying down their rubber.

You save an hour or so a day on the commute and you can just straight from working from home to your leisure time. Consequently, you are doing more exercise and have more time to look after yourself.

You have more tome and more space to be with your kids and do what you are meant to do with them. Be a parent, be there for them, make them feel safe and assured and comforted. You get that chance to be there in that moment for them and them alone.

All of a sudden we, as a country, seemed to stop fighting amongst ourselves about politics, immigration, pointless gripes on social media that no one seemed to enjoy except keyboard warriors and we were able to pull together against a real enemy, a deadly one that cared not one jot about how you voted, what your opinion of anything is and what you feel.

We, the majority of us at least, pulled together to sho compassion and love and genuine care for this around us. Neighbours that I have never even seen in the three years that we have lived on this street no wave through the windows as we work. We help each other with shopping and odd jobs to minimise the need to go out and keep those that we care about safe. Not for any other reason than it is the right thing to do, it makes you feel as if you are doing your tiny little part.

Every Thursday evening at 8pm we leave the house and stand in the front street and have a minutes applause to show how grateful that we are to the NHS and other key workers that are out there looking after us and keeping us safe and secure. Knowing that the majority of the population of the country will be out there at the same time in a show of solidarity somehow makes you feel like we are all united and the ‘sacrifices’ that we are making are making a difference.

I say ‘sacrifices’ in speech marks as, at the end of the day, there are not many things that I can think of that are worth killing someone over. It sees very easy to sit on your arse all day as a way to save a way of life, it is much easier than being shot at in a trench of bombed while you sit at home like our grandparents.

One of the other great symbols of togetherness that symbolises the local resolve to fight this together has been the pebble stacks that have popped up on the beach.

If every person makes a little effort then, with time, you create something beautiful, powerful and glorious. Even in the worst of times, you have to find time to be kind and be beautiful because a smile is just as powerful and infectious as this damn plague that is fighting us.

It is shocking that we don’t have the liberties that we used to take for granted, all be it that this is very softly policed and so it could be a whole lot worse. Things that we have taken for granted such as haircuts, coffee shops, cafes and even our office seem like something so distant from this new world. Seeing people on TV shows that were recorded ore lockdown hugging each other in the street seem alien to us and makes us recoil.

Social norms are out of the window and you cross the road to avoid people now as a mark of respect for their health, not rudeness. When you walk toward people you often see exaggerated bends in the path that you both walk to avoid each other by well more than the suggested 2 meters, just to show respect. But, you know what, you get a lot more nods of aknowledgements and ‘hellos’ that you used to too.

Who knows what the new normal will end up being and when that may be, there is talks that restaurants may not be fully opened for 18 months or maybe more. I just hope that the new world is happier, more content and kinder as a result of this episode.

Anyway, that is enough from me for now. I hope and pray that this can turn back to a travel blog soon but, until then, I hope that you and yours are safe and well.

Stay home, Stay safe, Protect the NHS.

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