By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
JUST a couple of weeks to go, and with luck and a fair following wind, we will come out of lockdown once and for all.
Not before time I hear so many cry, it has been a long, long haul and it has taken its toll on all our lives – some even more than others.
For some, the changes will have been irrevocable, cast into poverty, some for the first time, or their mental health damaged by stress and isolation.
How will you look back on it all? The answers will be as varied as the individual and for some, it might even have been a positive time, a chance to regroup, relax and get all that backlist of jobs done around the home and garden.
But there can’t be many who have not missed some aspect of their old lives – regularity, socialising, work colleagues or just the opportunity to go where you want when you want.
And whilst we are not entirely out of the woods yet, with dark mutterings about new strains and fears about what will happen when the colder weather returns, we at least have a window of opportunity to take back control.
We will once again be able to see friends, greet neighbours in the street as the fear of every contact and its potential to infect recedes further – not that we should be careless about it.
No amount of talk about vaccinations – which are going terrifically well in Torbay where more than 75% of the adult population have now had their first jab and 61% their second – and herd immunity will help erase the fears felt by many.
Many of us will continue to wear masks, particularly indoors, for years to come and will continue to avoid overly familiar contact with all but the closest of family members and friends.
As we come through this third and tortuously long lockdown, it is easy to look back and forget just how bad it got it at times, yearning as we did for the many things that we missed.
We will also have different versions of our story to tell – akin to the old saying “What did you do in the War Daddy?” – with grandparents regaling their grandchildren with what will hopefully sound like unbelievable tales about life in 2020 and 2021.
All our memories will be shaped by not just our own experiences, but the experiences of those around us that this crisis has touched and there cannot be anyone who has not been touched in some way.
In the same vein, as house prices and the weather were the common subjects of conversation before March 2020, there has been only one dominant in the months that have followed.
Everything changed in the space of less than a month as we watched the virus creep towards us, never quite believing that it would cross the sea to our shores in the same devastating way we were witnessing elsewhere. How could we? It was beyond our ken. But we can probably all recall that last big night out before it struck hard and where we were when our Prime Minister made his first keynote announcement of the crisis.
We can also probably remember our mounting fear and powerlessness as the number of COVID cases rocketed, the supermarket shelves emptied and queues snaked out of pharmacies and down roads and streets across the Bay.
We may even remember the delightful weather that accompanied that first lockdown, the not so clement weather of the second and the dreadful wind ravaged, rain-sodden days of this last one. At least it didn’t snow.
But beyond all that, memories will be anchored by how it was for you – who you were locked down with (if anyone) and whether you were able to at least help some of your friends and neighbours.
Communities have come together in the Bay and it is to be hoped that those new friendships will be nurtured and strengthened because above all we must not forget the positives that the crisis has brought us.
We are lucky to live in an area like Torbay – as I speak to friends around the country and indeed around the world, they marvel at the way we have all rallied to support each other.
And for that, never forgetting those that have suffered and will continue to suffer, we should all be very grateful and immensely proud.