Today will be exactly a year since I went into lockdown.
Yes, I know the national restrictions started on March 23 last year when we were all told to stay at home.
However, I was bounced into it a week earlier than the rest of the country, courtesy of a coughing fit that wouldn’t stop while I was sitting at my desk.
Better safe than sorry, I headed for home, only for it all to have subsided by the time I was unlocking my front door. It was something of nothing but the advice was to self-isolate.
Little did I know then that the 12 months to follow would be a rollercoaster of lockdowns, easings up, clampings down, and normal life evaporating, all while watching a grim death toll marching ever upwards.
At the time, we all thought it would be a matter of weeks, a bit of an inconvenience until things went back to the way they were.
I mean, at the onset, the most important task at hand was getting hold of loo roll, after panic-buying idiots had emptied the shelves.
Then the realisation locked in that this wasn’t going away any time soon.
That we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything, except take a daily walk past closed shops, restaurants, pubs and all the other things in life we took for granted.
We couldn’t see our friends, couldn’t work alongside colleagues. Zoom and its cohorts became our link to the rest of the world, a poor substitute for living a real life.
Of course, the easing of restrictions was welcomed, but I can now barely remember what we were doing when.
Pubs open till 10pm, wasn’t it, but you could only get a beer with a meal?
Then they were shutting pubs and restaurants at 6pm, but beer gardens kept going until later, that’s right, isn’t it?
And you could meet some folk inside and more folk outside and then… ach, you know what, it’s just a blurry confused set of memories leading to where we are now. At home, going nowhere, doing nothing but hunting for another Netflix boxset to get us through the tedium.
Hope, however, is on the horizon. The vaccine appears to be the gamechanger everyone hoped it would.
The restrictions are starting to lift again, just in time for the lighter nights.
There is a real prospect that we can get back to as near normal as possible and maybe even quicker than we thought.
We have to. I’ve tholed the last year because I knew we had to. We needed to save lives, we needed to make sure the NHS wasn’t swamped. But even as an ardent supporter of all the necessary steps taken to do all that, my resolve is wavering.
I’m not sure I could take another lockdown. I don’t think anyone could. There’s a zeitgeist abroad that this needs to stop.
This is why it is vital for this final furlong we all do our bit to keep going and get coronavirus knocked back.
Keep following the advice, for God’s sake, get the vaccine when it’s offered. Be sensible, considerate and caring.
Let’s get our lives back.
Wave of the hand while livelihoods crumble
Remember the bold Brexiteers telling us how brilliant our future would be once we left the brutal EU?
These were the same people who dismissed as stuff and nonsense fears that crashing out of the largest free trade market in the world would be an act of self-harm to our businesses and economy.
So, how do they explain the latest data which spells out the jaw-dropping damage done as exports to Europe for January plunged by 41%, which represents a loss of £5.6 billion to the UK economy?
The numbers are particularly stark for the seafood industry – so vital to the wellbeing of Scotland’s economy – virtually flatlining at a drop of 83%.
And the response from the Brexit fans in Westminster?
It’s just teething problems, says Boris Johnson, nothing to see here, move along.
It’s a teething problem that is biting hard and deep. Businesses are struggling to survive, people are watching their livelihoods crumbling.
A wave of the hand and “it’ll all be fine … trust us” from Westminster doesn’t cut it.
After all, we were asked to trust them that £350 million a week would be going into the NHS, post-Brexit. Seen much of that, have we? Thought not.
The only trust I have in Westminster is that it will always blindly pursue a wrong-headed ideology caring not a jot about the damage it does to ordinary people.
Out of pocket before ink had dried
One of the great mysteries in life is why is printer ink so expensive?
I mean, is it right that you can actually buy a whole new printer – all that plastic, wiring, glass and gubbins – for less than the cost of replacing the ink? Surely some mistake in these green days.
However, when we bought a new one last week, it came with a monthly subscription that keeps ink topped for a couple of quid. Cool, I thought. Until it ran out of black ink after a few pages churned out. Eh?
This raises the question… is this ink racket just a licence to print money?