These are strange times indeed.
I’m writing this in a local cafe which has only been reopened a matter of days, having struggled with the cost and practicalities of ever changing guidelines. It has been closed since those misty March days when we first went into lockdown and it is now October, the leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees and there is still a sense of disbelief as to how we have found ourselves here. If the announcement is to be as expected today, this wee cafe will be shut again before it’s had time to find it’s feet.
Life as we once knew it has changed so much. Small aspects of it for the better – the reconnection with friends and family, the slowing down of 21st century life which at times appeared to be on the verge of spiralling out of control. The relief to press pause on the crazy and enjoy the small things we so often take for granted.
For every positive there has been a mountain of negatives – no matter how perfectly we apply our lipstick and brave faces (under our fashion forward masks, of course) I’m sure we can agree there’s been a general increase in anxiety, uncertainty, isolation and loneliness. Trying to work from home can very difficult for all different reasons. In our house having three adults all trying to make calls and attend zoom meetings in a small weavers cottage has been challenging to say the least. Over the spring and summer, my husband made our touring caravan into his makeshift office but that’s not practical now with winter approaching. I find that my car has become my office and this is where I make my most sensitive and difficult phone calls. Not good.
Which brings me to my question. How is everyone managing to switch off and relax when you close the door on the world at night? How are you all escaping when there is very little chance to physically do so?
I have found that our wee caravan has been a lifesaver in all sorts of ways. Not only an office by day, we have managed to clear away the work junk and packed the fridge full of delicious food and booze and headed off on a few adventures over the summer. We have travelled the length of Scotland – from the east coast to the Scottish borders to the highlands. It has been a lifesaver. It has kept us sane when the whole planet appears to be going off it’s rocker. It has allowed us to travel to the back of beyond, go for long walks on deserted beaches, wrap up warm to sit outside at night with only the stars for company. We took the family to Edinburgh just after lockdown ended in June. We were let loose. We all went a bit mad. It was such fun and there was a glimmer of hope we were headed in the right direction.
Fast forward another four months and here we are today, actually no further forward and possibly heading in reverse. Apparently Scotland is to face stricter guidelines again which will affect the already fragile hospitality and travel industry. Who knows if it will ever fully recover? Who knows if any of us will? The dark shadows under the eyes look like they might be here to stay.
We are booked to go away in the wee caravan tomorrow and it may be selfish, but I really want (need) to go. This will be the first time we have taken the van outwith Scotland. We are heading to Northumberland and again it will just be us, the open road, the sky, and peace perfect peace. These are the little things that are keeping us afloat during the hellish landscape of 2020. We’ve been sitting at night creating a wishlist of things we want to do, places we want to see. I hungrily devour the travel articles in the Sunday papers and dream, dream, dream of where we will go. I miss our beloved Cornwall so much but anywhere will do – anywhere that the sun kisses your cheeks and the breeze tastes of salty waves. I’m not a travel snob. I’ve been to different places with different people for different kinds of holidays. We’ve slept in tents, luxurious hotels, even on the beach when we were much younger and skint and personal safety was lower in our priorities. We’ve ridden the Pepsi Max in Blackpool, the tourist train in Benidorm and a bare back stallion in the Caribbean sea across from Barbados.
So, can we have it all back please? We are ready now. Where will we go? Who cares! Let’s go! Pack your bag. These boots are made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do.
The caravan is packed and raring to go. So are we. Fingers crossed we will be off on another adventure as planned. It’s time to start living again, whatever the risk.