5 indicators that the worst of Covid might be over

1 going for a coffee

We’ve already been there of course and it made life so bearable through last summer. We’re blessed in Histon & Impington in having a choice and the St Andrew’s Centre, the Geographer and Delicious all provide good coffee and they’re each different from the others.

Last year though a fourth option was presented with the Urban Shed opening at 0900 and offering all day coffee with breakfast in the morning and cakes at tea time. I’ve been a great fan of its morning offer and its scrambled eggs with smashed avocado have been the staple of many of my morning meetings. Such meetings were eminently preferable to the alternatives by phone or with the dreaded Zoom. I imagine if we’re lucky we might get this option presented sometime in the second quarter.

2 booking a vacation

We very fortunate in having the time and the resources to be able to take more than one holiday plus a few short breaks each year. In 2020 we were lucky to have just got back from a long trip to Indonesia when lockdown hit in March, in fact Juni reckoned she got Covid when we were in Lombok, and then we squeezed in a short trip to Yorkshire in September but that’s all. Our planned trip to Naples in May was cancelled (we got our money back) and I’m really keen to rebook it or similar for travel later in 2021. I was just about to do so when lockdown 3 was announced so I don’t know when or even if it’s going to be possible later this year. The vaccines are going to have to have a dramatic impact if it is.

3 having a meeting

Zoom and the other have proven invaluable and to be honest some of the meetings have been more efficient than they normally would have been. But they are soulless. The last face to face meeting I had was mid summer when meeting outside in groups of six was allowed and we met on the deck of Delicious. I confess to a handful of meetings at the company I’ve been working with in St Ives but they have been very strictly socially distanced. I haven’t had a county or parish council meeting in person since the beginning of the first lockdown. We won’t have real meetings again until I step down as a county councillor (May 21) or, as threatened, as a parish councillor (similar time frame) and business meetings will creep in as lockdown is relaxed through the summer.

4 getting on a train

I’m no longer a commuter, I did the Cambridge King’s Cross run for the best part of a year in 2001 but I’ve still had the need for occasional train journeys to London. I also have a habit once a year or so of going further afield to visit a UK city which I want to walk around and get to know better. So far this has included Cardiff, Edinburgh, Durham, Plymouth, Salisbury and Manchester. Technically speaking I could do that now if travel was allowed and as soon as overnight stays are permitted. However it wouldn’t be much fun until there’s a little more freedom for the hospitality sector. I’ll probably feel safer travelling by train than sitting on an aeroplane so maybe quarter 3 will be possible,

5 making physical contact

This is my biggest gripe. touching people is a part of socialising and that doesn’t mean banging elbows which just looks stupid. It means a handshake, a kiss on the cheek or a simple hug. It’s a part of your relationship with people and life won’t be normal until we can all do it again. I guess that’s unlikely before we’ve seen another winter through and proven that the virus has been normalised.

5 business trips (which didn’t go to plan)

I’ve travelled enough so that I’m pretty adept at avoiding the pitfalls of business trips and the stresses that go with them but even then stuff happens which is outside your control and then you have to adapt. It’s happened to me several times, fortunately never catastrophically, but in today’s world the consequences of the earlier ones wouldn’t have been so easily managed.

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5 German cities

the old town hall in Munich; it’s now the toy museum

They’re not the most interesting German cities and this is certainly not any sort of in depth profile of them but it’s the five cities which give me good memories. It helps that I spent 13 years working in the chemicals industry in Europe and of course three of the biggest chemical companies were German and there were many others besides.

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Five restaurants with staying power

We had lunch at the Old Fire Engine House in Ely today. That in itself would be worthy of a post because the food is pretty good, there’s an acceptable wine list and service is intelligent and excellent. But there’s a twist. I first went to the Old Fire Engine House sometime in 1970. That’s 50 years ago and it got me thinking. Which iconic restaurants have I visited way back and are still in business today? I say iconic (a) to narrow the field a little but also (b) to highlight ones with a certain distinctive character. There aren’t many and I can’t find one to beat 50 years. 

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5 parties through my time

I’m not a great party goer, even less a party giver but there have been times when I’ve filled the latter role and it’s turned out rather well. They’re an eclectic mix and evoke multiple memories. It’s amazing what you remember when you set your mind to it. Sadly the photographic record is somewhat limited and even where there are photos they’re not as good as they might be.

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5 things I miss during social distancing

2020-03-28 17.08.29Firstly the small print. I’m a baby boomer, got my own house with no mortgage and have a couple of occupational pensions which keep my bank balance positive (although my pension pot has taken a bit of a hit as the stock market’s crashed). So I’m not worried about losing my job, I’m not working in the front line (at the NHS or at the Coop) and I don’t have a house full of children desperate to get outside and have fun. All of which makes me a little embarrassed by my rather smug, middle class list of 5. Continue reading