The Christmas we apparently deserve this year is one where we are slaves to the inconsistent, irrational Tier system. Or so it seems, as Covid, the gift that keeps on taking and then some, holds sway despite falling rates in previous hot spots and the imminent coming of the vaccine....
This year, unless you are lucky enough to live in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Wight, and now Herefordshire, your chances to enjoy this most-wonderful-time-of-the-year anywhere near to the full have been severely compromised. In a year when lives and businesses and so much of what we have taken for granted have been taken away or thrown into disarray, we are now facing a festive period that none of us, including the humble blogger, could have envisaged 12 months ago. The government-sanctioned give-your-loved-ones-Covid-for-Christmas-although-be-jolly-careful - set against a background where a relatively safe environment like a pub or a restaurant, even if your tier allows it, comes second-best to the likely more relaxed approach that will arise in the comfort of our own homes for up to 5 days. Hey, nobody said it was easy, but there are so many contradictions and anomalies in what we are advised/supposed/encouraged to do, and how we, and the powers-that-be, interpret them.
And so, here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun. The Christmas Day pint. The day we all wear our latest Christmas jumper, the circuit around a number of pubs in town, early start, as near to 11 as possible with the need to get to your Christmas dinner at the appointed time. Those welcome, unexpected faces, maybe out for a swift half, or returning to stay with family from some far-flung part of the country. Kids in the corner, playing with a favoured present whilst mum and dad have a drink before mum goes back to put the potatoes on. The handshakes, the hugs, the seasonal glad-handing; a chance to catch up then it's time to move on. To the next place and more of the same. A free drink, a mince pie maybe. Talking turkey, or maybe its curry - "we're having beef this year for a change". The top shelf is breached, a toast to be drunk for those no longer with us, the list sadly longer than the same time last year. But this year it will have to be another drink at home, a silent toast for so many. Here's to Christmas Past and those we have lost.
I bumped into Rob, the landlord of my local pub, the Dusty Miller (pictured above) the other day. He has decorated the building outside, the lights bringing some festive cheer to the village. He was saying that they had decorated the pub inside as well in the hope that we would move into Tier 2 when the next review was held. And knowing how much work is involved, it is a shame it has turned out to have been a wasted effort. Never will so much tinsel have been applied and a staple gun fired in such a lost cause. Even if it had meant gorging myself on more food than I would have really wanted, it would have been nice just to be able to see some people and wish them a happy Christmas face to face rather than doing it through a computer screen or in some damp and cold car park or field.
But as Covid has caused so much disruption and misery for so much of this year, it was almost inevitable that the Christmas we were to get would follow the same pattern.
Happy Christmas...and, at the risk of tempting fate as I did last year, here's to 2021....
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