I am not sure how I feel this evening. Back to square one might be one thought… back how it felt at the beginning of March where once again we’re watching those numbers go up and those graphs get ever more precipitous.

Looking back now the lockdown feels to me like a hazy memory… not quite a nightmare… but no glorious dream either. As I wrote at the time there were good days and bad days… we muddled through… we slowed down… and, well, we just got on with it.

One aspect of that time that I got a lot out of was posting a daily question on Facebook, asking anyone who read it how they were feeling? It always elicited some interesting responses, and I later heard that it was a bit of a lifeline for some people which made it very worthwhile.

As we gradually came out of that phase there was a certain appreciation of those things we could do again… more than one walk per day… getting a haircut… eating out and having a ‘proper’ pint… and even going on holiday (although the planned trip to Crete was cancelled)… and the boys going back to school, the biggest win of all… for all of us.

Each of these felt like a win, a little move back to normality… but tonight it’s those things that I’ve not yet been able to do again that I’m really feeling. Of course they all involve being in a relatively confined space with other people…. no gigs… no football matches… no annual flights to Berlin… no…

Today was the realisation that it won’t be all over by Christmas… that these things, and maybe more, are not going to be things we can do well into 2021. In one sense they are all things that feel like privileges… but they are also all things that make me happy and feed my soul…

The communal energy of being in a mosh pit…

The feel of the bass on your chest…

The chance to meet like-minded souls before and after… and share a drink and some chat…

The feeling of 35000 people in a stadium…

The camaraderie and the roar of the crowd…

The moment of ecstasy as the ball hits the back of the net…

Even the feeling of conceding….

The feeling of power as the plane rises from the runway…

The sights and sounds of a familiar yet foreign land…

I could go on but you get the idea… all these things feel very far away this evening and I really do not like it… I never really expected to do any of them this year… but as the nights draw inexorably in… and darkness exceeds light (it’s also the Autumn equinox today)… I feel a sort of realisation come over me that these are not things that I am going to experience any time soon…

I’m not in the mood for blaming anyone, and getting bitter about it does no-one a favour, least of all me… but sitting here it feels like it is going to be a long winter in which we will have to make different plans… think of putting different things in the diary… having different things to look forward to.

I’m not the sort who obsesses over Christmas… in fact a more subdued one would be just the ticket… but the other things that I’m missing will hurt…

Roll on 2022…