“Not legal? As in, I’ll go to jail? Are you actually kidding me?”
That was the message from a friend on a WhatsApp group upon hearing new restrictions are in place around Covid-19 fears – and that travel to England from Scotland is illegal.
She had been looking forward to not hosting Christmas for the first time in a decade (“love it and also absolutely hate it – husband has too many beers and thinks he’s Kevin Bridges, so I’m in charge of turkey, sprouts, roasties, trifle, two crazed kids, everything) at her husband’s parents in North Yorkshire.
Apparently his mum is a terrific baker and his dad’s known for cooking as well as hosting for big family gatherings with ease – and she couldn’t wait to be mother-henned over.
But it’s not to be and instead, she’s hosting the maximum her bubble allows.
Except the supermarket “click and collects” are all taken, there’s a panic-stricken queue half a mile long outside Markies and she can’t find a goose anywhere.
“A goose?” asked a pal on the group.
“Yes, a goose. It’s all Aunty Margaret will eat. My house is hideous – I thought no one would see it. I’ll have to clean from now ‘till Christmas. I gave up smoking three years ago. Might restart or have a nervous breakdown.”
An hour later, she texted to say she felt like a spoilt child after getting perspective from a friend.
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That friend (let’s call her Susie) had – many months ago – booked a lodge for Christmas with relatives.
She lost her mum this year and couldn’t face her own home, where memories would surely reduce her – and her father – to tears all day.
The only thing for it, they’d decided, was something new – something different.
But now they will be in her home where she can almost see her mum head back, roaring with laughter at an inappropriate wine-fuelled joke at the table.
“Look,” Susie said to my goose-fretting friend. “It doesn’t matter. I mean, it does, but what choice do we have? We’ve got to believe this is all for our benefit and a greater good. Or maybe no one has a clue. Either way, we’ve just got to get through it.”
And that’s it really. We’ve just got to get through it. To count our blessings if we have people to share the day with, food on the table, our health. Not everyone does.
We could have a bleaker start to the year than anticipated but there are positive rays trying to get through the quagmire of Covid. A vaccine for starters and if hunkering down for January and even February is what it takes to emerge new and “normal” for spring, let’s do it.
Chin up, chest out pals – and let’s just do it.