A minor miracle has happened… I had my first normal weekend since lockdown.
Mind you, I should really say “new normal” seeing the amount of hand sanitiser and face masks involved, but I’ll take that.
So I would like to say a huge and hearty thanks to the lovely folk at Aberdeen Art Gallery for throwing their doors open again.
And they have done it very elegantly, too. You book your time to arrive, a nice person checks you in then you are free to wander and delight in some of the art treasures that have been behind closed doors since March.
The one-way system they have in place makes perfect sense, leading you from gallery to gallery – I loved the new Bill Gibb display, by the way.
Oh, and seeing the statue of St George with a mask on made me smile. Nice way to get across a very important message.
It all just felt right – even with all the fun hands-on displays being out of bounds. A perfect couple of hours.
We headed for lunch and, again, an effortlessly enjoyable affair over at the Sandman Signature.
Checked in, temperature taken, and an around the houses, one-way walk to our table, but then it was like old times. Well, without the Mexican Bulldog cocktails. Been there, done that, had the hangover.
Full of food it was time for a bit of light retail. Again, it was hand-santiser and masks all round.
What struck me was the way everyone was playing nicely.
About 99.9% of folk were wearing masks where they should.
No one batted an eyelid to get into a shop – not even John Lewis and its snaking line like one of those at a theme park that makes you think you’re near the end, but you’re not.
At one shop, a lady went flying in the door, past the folk waiting, but instantly realised her mistake and headed to the back of the queue, saying sorry as she went.
Was this like pre-coronavirus where you went about your life without a second thought, not caring how close folk were? No.
But these are different days and call for different ways. The fact that everyone realises that and is doing their bit is encouraging.
Of course, the tough part comes as winter sets in and the virus might get a foothold again.
But then, it’s up to us to stop it.
Right now we are doing well. Soon we will probably have to do better. There will be setbacks, like the one Aberdeen had. But if we have patience, if we all look out for each other – and ourselves – we’ll be fine.
Let’s embrace the new normal so we can get the old one back.
Scolty Hill ascent not to be missed
I have finally put right a glaring omission after living in the north-east for almost a quarter of a century. I have climbed Scolty Hill.
I’ve passed the thing and it’s elegant tower standing over Banchory, often enough but never ventured up. However, Mrs B and I fancied a stretch of our legs and a change of scenery on Sunday so off we went.
Firstly, I am becoming an old curmudgeon. A family were walking ahead of us and the shouting children were getting on my nerves. But then, where are kids going to shout if not outdoors on a family walk? Get over yourself.
Secondly, I realised that when given three options for getting to the top of a hill, the shortest will always be the steepest. Which led to my final lesson. My word, I am out of shape. Working-from-home Jaffa Cakes are taking their toll.
Still, the huffing, puffing and sweating were worth it for the stunning views from the top. It was a reminder of how lucky we are to live where we do. I might even climb some more hills. Once I kick the Jaffa Cake habit.
Better to listen to the scientists
That was a heady mix of folk in Trafalgar Square demanding an end to the coronavirus hoax, wasn’t it?
I never knew you could get so many fools and fascists in one place. If you believe the person to give you sage advice in these difficult times is David Icke, then fair enough.
Personally, I’ll listen to the experts and not someone who believes in giant lizard people.
The fact Icke says don’t wear a mask is all the reason I need to put mine on.