In theory, by the time this blog entry is published, England will have passed another milestone on its route towards a new normality. Like may other countries, the UK has dealt with the SARS-COV-2 outbreak with a combination of lockdowns, testing and vaccination (with varying degrees of success). The current strategy of the government is a programme of controlled relaxation of restrictions, carried out in stages. On 12th April, all shops – both essential and nonessential – were allowed to open. So, this means that as well as supermarkets, pharmacies and hardware stores, those of us who live in England are now allowed to go to stationers, book shops and other places. Cafés, bars and restaurants are also allowed to serve people – provided it is a takeaway service or customers are seated outside.
When I was talking with my mother, who lives in Northern Ireland and is subject to different restrictions, she asked me what I was looking forward to. I thought for a minute, then came up with three things.
First off, I’m looking forward to being able to go to the butcher that I have used for many years. They are based in the local market, but the market building was closed as it contained a number of businesses that were deemed ‘nonessential’. Over the years I have got to know the staff at the butcher, and the service is good. Before the restrictions, I would often chat to the people behind the counter and exchange news and gossip.
Next door to the butcher is an ice cream stand. They sell their own ice cream and it comes in flavours that I have not been able to get anywhere else. Yes, it is significantly more expensive than the ice cream in the freezer section of the supermarket; but it is definitely worth it.
Finally, the local bookshop will be open. I have been able to buy books by mail order (unlike the meat and ice cream), but there is something about being able to go to a bookshop, to browse the shelves and to discover a book through serendipitous accident rather than through an algorithm.
In short, what I am after is variety. After a year of working at home, after months of lockdowns and ‘stay at home’ orders, I am looking forward to getting out of the house and experiencing life again – even if it is just the small pleasures of seeing people, tasting new things and being back in familiar places.
(Editor’s note: eclosion is the act of an insect emerging as an adult from the pupa or as a larva from the egg.)
OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.
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