It's that Covid time of year again here in Tier 4 country: To be honest there's a kind of chilly, winter grubbiness hanging about the village, curtains twitch, dustbins overflow and in the distance hounds howl. The street Christmas lights and decorations have an ironic, tired out ring about them, then some bulbs flicker and slowly fade and pop. The shutters are down and the cobbles have the icy blue sheen of slippery wet dolphin backs. Here in the still and baffled never-land between Christmas and New Year, all non-essential shops and businesses are closed, there are ragged queues at take-away cafes and bored visiting city dwellers shuffle by, eyes half open and shielded from the cold by grim, seasonal determination and well planned layers of sports clothing.
Staying safe and at home, trapped by TV, might be a better idea. Why get yourself struck down by Covid in a coffee queue just for some fresh air ten strange miles from home? Going out when you needn't for a drink you don't enjoy in a town that's firmly locked up and fashionably ghostly. Ho hum. Of course I'm one of those lost and wandering zombies too, part of a cloud of a crowd, safely social distancing by walking in the middle of the road. All dressed up and nowhere to go and unwilling to stand in line for a tiny flat white in a paper cup, paid for by contactless; how appropriate. Business as usual I suppose.
By the way nobody wants any 2020 review TV shows, no comedic reflections on Brexit, no "why Barnard Castle became a tourist destination" articles and no lists of the Top Ten items to panic buy and stockpile in 2021. Thanks.