During the height of the first phase of COVID-19 in the UK much was made of the potential for change, the opportunity for the public, business and government to adopt new policies, approaches and ways of doing things.
We were repeatedly told to prepare for, and embrace, the ‘new normal’.
Anyone that has read or watched Waiting For Godot will feel very much at home at this point …….
I am also very much reminded of the classic scene in any film involving addiction: Hello, my name is the UK, and I am broken.
The country seems in denial: focussed on jetting off to the sun, hitting the Fast Food Drive Thru, shopping in the high street, getting back to the office, sitting in a traffic jam.
I am sorry but in so many ways it is like the last 4 months and 45,000+ deaths just didn’t happen and means nothing.
I would have liked to see some significant changes: only allowed to use your car on the road 5 out of 7 days, a maximum of 3 days per week in the office (where practical), local offices shared by businesses to reduce commute and facilitate social interaction, incentives to shop at home, a push to remove the pile it high eat it cheap approach of many a pub and restaurant.
More than anything though we are missing the opportunity to accept that the high street was all but dead and buried BEFORE COVID-19, the concept of the department store and many a well know Brand had long ago had their day, that as a country we couldn’t expect to earn high wages but buy cheap products, that we were already sinking because the majority of our economy depended on people buying products and services that they simply didn’t need (and in many a case could do themselves), that successive governments had only focussed on their own short term career prospects not the long term needs of the country, that the education system was producing people that to put it bluntly were not prepared for the present never mind the future.
Changing is not easy, and there will be some pain BUT there is a lot of pain now and the hardest thing about change is often that initial move to ‘stop what currently doing’ and that really is the opportunity we are missing. So much had stopped because of COVID-19, and this created a great opportunity to start up in new ways.
Many have and more will, which is to be applauded, but the fact remains the majority haven’t, and that is not only a wasted opportunity for many, it could be a devastating decision for generations to come.
So what of Sands and I and our ‘new normal’? I am more than aware that our ‘old normal’ was from from what many would call ‘normal normal’, but we have made a few changes to the way we do things and the way we intend to keep doing things.
Avid online shoppers pre COVID-19 you could say we are now addicts having added a number of ‘speciality’ sites to our portfolio. Not brown paper bag ones, but Sands now gets her flour from one speciality site, we get our meat and fish from another, our Spanish produce from a couple more, our day to day groceries from a couple of the well know ‘shops’, our clothes from a combination of branded sites and of course Amazon.
We spend far more time preparing and consuming our meals at home and not real plans to go to any restaurants anytime soon. Again we didn’t much pre COVID-19 but I reckon our favourite Indian 3 or 4 times a year, a Chinese takeaway every six weeks, and ….. well there is no and.
Pubs? Had given up on those long ago. Did try a few when we got back but with a taxi costing £20 return and a round of drinks £10 for the two of us …… happier at home with our wine, whisky and gin thanks.
A real positive for us is that we have got fitter so we now take the dogs for a walk 4 times a week at 5+ miles a time. More than enough for them (and us) so we have more time to do other things. Same with the bike. Rather than 30 minutes 6 times a week, and hour 3 times a week gives more rest days and time to do other things.
I doubt we will be going to any live Sport, concerts of the theatre this year, which is fine. We have a schedule now which gives more time and support to the family, and our preference is for friends to come and spend time here at The Cottage as it just easier all round for us: no need to worry about the pets, get to eat and drink what we like, plenty of space to socially distance, no designated driver debates.
Less is more …………
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