Reflections On The Recent Lockdown By A Man Who Might Be Slightly Inebriated

James Proclaims (4)

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It will be Monday when I post this but, as I write, it is Saturday afternoon. Little Proclaims and I spent much of this morning doing our usual weekend daddy-daughter activities, which mostly consists of feeding ducks and jumping in puddles. I join in with the duck/goose/swan feeding as Little Proclaims, while content to hold a piece of stale bread and shout at the associated waterfowl, is rather less than proactive in actually dispensing the bread to the beneficiaries. I tend not, as a rule, to jump in puddles due to not possessing the appropriate footwear. And not being a toddler. It’s more about the footwear though…

As of the 4th July we have, of course, been permitted to return to playparks, so that too featured this morning. Little Proclaims has very much enjoyed this renewed relationship with the swings, slide and roundabout but by far her favourite activity in the playpark at the moment is to run around aimlessly while shouting excitedly. We go out early and are alone in the park so I try not inhibit this expression of unbridled joy, unless she looks as though she’s about to do something that will result some kind of mishap. Which does happen quite often…

Little Proclaims is now enjoying a much deserved afternoon nap and I am sitting in front of a televised football match that I have fairly limited interest in, drinking some very nice beer, which I purchased for a bargain price at the supermarket and which is making me question whether I will ever return to the pub. I suppose I would like to socialise with the small number of people that I consider friends again but frankly the beer is just as good, and significantly cheaper, at home and I wonder if I really need to go the pub to see them. Maybe the ‘new normal’ will present us with lots of new opportunities to get together, which won’t involve imbibing alcohol in a claustrophobic environment on a Friday evening. Probably not, the world does seem intent on making the ‘new normal’ as much like the ‘old normal’ as possible. Then again I’m sure the ‘old normal’ had plenty of activities that weren’t ‘the pub’. I just didn’t pay them much heed. Perhaps I should stop waiting for the world to change around me and just be a bit more proactive. That does sound like a lot of effort though.

I’m also feeling fairly reluctant to get a haircut. Having rejected Mrs Proclaims kind offer to trim my locks during lockdown, I now have quite the mop. If work, which in my case is based in a secondary school, were operating as usual I’d probably feel more inclined to sort it out, because teenagers can be quite cruel, but there are so few of them there at the moment that I feel I can hang on, particularly with the six-week summer holiday coming up. No doubt by the time September rolls around I’ll be desperate for a trim but I feel I can let things play out for a little longer – who knows, I may decide to opt for an entirely new look at the end of all of this. Maybe a new hairstyle is what I’ve been waiting for to kickstart my journey to being a new and better me.

Or maybe I’ll just be the same person but with different hair.

I expect around the end of August I’ll cave in just have my usual haircut anyway. The non-descript but easy-to-manage look that has served me so adequately for all these years.

I should at least be a slightly fitter version of myself as a result of all of this. My thrice-weekly run has now increased to four-times a week. The main result of adding an extra run per week seems to be that I’ve become much much slower on all of my runs, but as the notion of going for four runs a week was unthinkable only a few months ago, I’d still have to count this as progress.

The swimming pools are due to open soon. No doubt with lots of rules that make it far more difficult to access them, but I should still be able to add swimming back into the mix in some way. I’d like to imagine I’ll stick with the running too, not least because the gyms are also re-opening so there should be less runners about in general, which might mean I can stop getting up at 5am to avoid them.

That said, Little Proclaims does like an early start so it’s unlikely to be the end of my 5am alarm calls…

Being the parent of a small child and still largely having to go to work did mean that lockdown wasn’t the life-altering experience for me as it was for many. Still, I did acquire a little more time as a result of it and I wonder if I really made the most of it.

I’ll have to do better during the next one.

 

James Explains Independence Day

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Happy 4th July everyone!

Today is officially Independence Day in the UK!

What’s that?

July 4th is Independence Day in the United States?

No, that can’t be right. Unless you mean the time that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saved the world from aliens in 1996? Because I’m pretty sure that was a movie. And not a great movie if I recall. I mean the effects were pretty good, and the two leads were decent enough, but it was all pretty derivative otherwise.

I haven’t seen the 2016 sequel, but I’ve heard it’s eminently forgettable. Actually, maybe I have seen it…

Anyway, if we’re not talking about the movie then I’m not sure how anyone could claim that Independence Day is a US thing rather than a UK thing.

What’s that you say? It’s to commemorate the 1776 Declaration of Independence, when the Thirteen Colonies ceased being part of the British Empire?

Actually, to be fair, that doesn’t sound like something we would want to celebrate in the UK. Indeed, I can’t imagine we would have been overly keen on that development back in 1776.

But hey, water under the bridge and all that.

If something that happened 244 years ago is still worth having a party for then go for it my American friends.

But we’ve got an Independence Day that really is worth celebrating over here. Because today is the day that we’ve finally beaten COVID 19 and we can get back to normality and doing what we do best in this country.

Which is getting drunk.

Because the pubs are open again!

Except for where they aren’t. Which I think is Scotland and Wales. And the city of Leicester. Which could be indicative that the easing of lockdown in the rest of the UK is premature. But it definitely isn’t.

Obviously, we haven’t stopped getting drunk just because the pubs have been shut anyway, because we’re British and the second the rules were relaxed on going to the park more than once a day, we’ve been in out in our masses, enjoying the sunshine and getting absolutely hammered. But now we can pay more money to do that in the pubs, which is superb news for the British Economy.

So, on this most British of Independence Days, I urge all of my compatriots to head to their nearest alehouse with the utmost haste.

Unless you want to get a haircut first, because that is also now permitted.

And shops have been open for ages, so you can go and spend your money there too, as long as you are planning on getting absolutely wasted at some point today.

Oi, you in the Lycra – where do you think you’re going?

The gym? I don’t think so my friend. While it is an actual fact that we have beaten the virus to a safe enough level for excessive alcohol consumption in overcrowded bars, we still need to act with some restraint. Gyms and swimming pools are obviously much more dangerous than pubs. Yes, today is a day for celebration but we can’t afford to do anything reckless like indoor exercise.

Honestly, some people…

Oh, and in terms of meeting up with other people, just to clarify:

  • You can meet as many people as you like in the pub
  • You can meet up to six people outside unless you would like to meet more people than that.
  • You can go to another person’s house and stay overnight, but you must only go to one house at a time. Anyone caught simultaneously in two houses at any one time will feel the full weight of the law. Which is currently about 8.2 mg, the same weight as the average feather.
  • You still need to stay either 2 metres or 1 metre apart from other people unless you can’t or you don’t want to.
  • You must get drunk.
  • There was definitely something about bubbles. Possibly champagne bubbles, but I’m sure any sparkling wine will do.

Above all else, remember these simple rules:

 

Stay Drunk

Ignore The Facts

Spend Your Money

 

 

 

Making Merry

“Ok Bazza, it’s your round!”

Barry looked at the three-quarters-full pint of warmish lager in front of him.

“I don’t really want another drink to be honest,” he replied.

“But it’s your round!” Toby remonstrated, aghast at his friend’s poor comprehension of pub etiquette.

Barry took a sip of his tepid pilsner, and felt the recriminations of his belligerent bloated belly. Continue reading Making Merry