The Scottish weather has a brilliant sense of humour, doesn’t it?
I mean, we are all “right lads, we’re going to the pub” and it’s “naw, yer no!”.
How else do you explain the sun splitting the cobbles for the better part of a week, but on the very day the beer gardens get the go-ahead to reopen, the cold and rain sweeps back in with a vengeance.
I mean, here’s me sitting with a bright red scalp because I sat outside for an hour or so reading on Sunday, guaranteed to look like an eejit when I saw folk for a bite to eat and a beer for the first time since Christmas Eve.
Thanks a bunch.
However, not even the weather can keep us hardy neasters down. When I went for my daily fresh air stomp at lunchtime yesterday, there were little knots of folk huddled together outside the Stonehaven harbour pubs. It was all hats and big coats, and leaning over their pint glass as if it was giving off warmth.
What did I learn from this? To make sure I took my gloves and scarf when I rocked up for my tea at the Marine at 5.30. The sitting inside part was lovely and cosy… but the apres-meal beer was a bit nippy round the gills.
Because the main thing here wasn’t the fine food – I’ve had takeaways in lockdown. It wasn’t the al fresco beer – that’s what my garden is for.
It was the seeing people together again, out enjoying themselves and doing what humans are supposed to do – be social creatures.
My biggest fear during the latest lockdown was that I was getting used to it.
I was becoming too attached to my makeshift study, too comfortable being within the bounds of my house. Too accepting of Stonehaven as the bounds of my existence.
Last night didn’t just give me a taste of a rather excellent salmon skink, it reminded me of how precious our freedom to roam, to meet, to savour, to chat, to smile, to say “hello, how’s it going” is for all of us.
The easing of restrictions yesterday is just that, an easing. More will follow and, if you listen to the mood music, we will have life as near back to normal over the summer months.
But we need to do our bit on two fronts. First one is obvious. Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and it will look for a way to flare up again. Don’t let it.
The second one is also obvious, but might be forgotten when we get glaikit about being out. Help our truly local firms and businesses.
Remember the shops, restaurants, pubs and others on our doorstep who have been bodyslammed by the pandemic.
Many of them have done their best to keep going, to keep us fed and watered and provide for all the way through this stuff of nightmares.
They did their level best to support us, now it’s time to pay that back by putting our money where it needs to be – in their till.
Wherever possible, use a firm or outlet owned and run by the people who live alongside us.
We need them, they need us. Support local.
How to put things off, Begbie-style
I think I have discovered a new theory of human behaviour during lockdown.
It’s one where individuals want to cut down the amount they are eating and drinking and get some exercise but put it off, because lockdown is hard enough as it is.
Then, when lockdown ends, the drive to a healthier lifestyle is put off on the grounds of “I’m not denying myself the chance to eat out and have a proper beer with my mates after four months”.
I have even come up with a name for this condition after the test subject I observed it in. It’s called the “Begbie Paradox”.
Instant relief from scammers – just briefly
You might recall I was recently bemoaning the constant barrage of scammers targeting me by phone, email and text.
Well, I finally found a way to deal with one of the main bugbears of my life – getting a “reset your password now” message from Instagram.
These were arriving every 30 minutes by text and email, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Blocking the emails stopped that front, but blocking the phone number didn’t. It just popped up with a different one after an hour.
I tried messaging Instagram for help but the silence was deafening. Either that or I missed their reply in the ting, ting of bogus messages.
Eventually, I managed to make it stop by the simple expedient of deleting my Instagram account. Binned, gone and not to be mourned.
To be honest, I hardly ever used it. Facebook and Twitter is hard enough to keep up with… and how many pictures of someone’s breakfast do I need to see, no matter how much smashed avocado they have on sourdough toast.
So, peace blessed peace.
Now, apparently, DHL really needs me to track a package that has been despatched to me… at least once an hour.
I hope there will be a cold place in hell for the thieves and wasters who plague ordinary folk. May Satan hand them a pinging mobile asking if they want to rethink their life choices every 30 minutes.