Wednesday 17 June 2020

Home And Away

Hello, dear readers!

Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder. If that is indeed the case then I have to say that, after over three months of strict lockdown, there’s an awful lot of people who must absolutely adore me.

Not that people don’t naturally adore me, you understand. I am, after all, an absolute delight of a man. I just feel my enforced opting out of anything close to a social life for the bulk of this year must have elevated me to an almost god-like figure of enduring, all-encompassing love.


Well, not to worry. You see, prison security has started to relax, and this week I made a break for it!

Family Matters
Alright. I may be overstating that ever so slightly. No walls were climbed (now that would be a sight to see), no hacksaws smuggled were smuggled into the Rankin kitchen in cakes, no dirt released down trouser legs to blend in with that on the exercise-yard, and no holes dug in cell walls behind a poster of a film star. I did get out though, however undramatically.

The reason for my sojourn away from these four walls was my dad’s birthday, an event usually celebrated with tea, cake or buns, my mum, my sisters, brothers-in-law and all four nieces and nephews, but which this year had a reduced cast list due to the need to comply with mixing households.

We still managed the tea and the buns of course, lets not get silly here, and myself and my rather lovely wife Tina still managed to have a chat in the garden with the folks, one of the aforementioned brothers-in-law, and both of my nephews (meaning I got to play peek-a-boo with little Jack before his upcoming birthday). All of this was conducted at the recommended 2 metres, of course (assuming it still is 2 when you read this), even with the boy’s rampaging style of affection in play.

Comfort Fit
We only stayed for a couple of hours, but it was so nice to catch up with people I’ve not seen in months. Sure there have been phone calls (especially around the time both mum and dad developed suspiciously ominous coughs), and even video chats (can’t say I’m a fan. Far too easy to either talk over each other or endure awkward silences while everyone awaits their turn to speak), it’s not the same though, is it.

Now, for those of us who follow matters political, and have been paying attention to the governments completely-clear-and-not-confusing-in-the -slightest advice on how not to get coronavirus will know the rules have relaxed of late. Some might be thinking my little visit was nothing special. As someone who is officially ‘at risk’ however, it was still something I embarked on with a degree of trepidation. It was possibly needless. it was hopefully needless, and all concerned will remain fit (ish) and healthy (ish) for the foreseeable. It was nevertheless a little scary, and it took perhaps just a little while longer than normal to feel comfortable.

I realise this is completely down to me. I know I’m feeling antsy in situations I possibly don’t need to and am veering wildly towards over-caution. I know eventually I will need to emerge blinking into the light and see if I can remember what this ‘normality’ is all about, but I also feel the ordeal has some way to go. It’s a mix of emotions. One which yesterday’s visit has added to. There are prizes to be claimed, you see. The company of friends and family, the need to be in their presence, but there's also the need to keep both them and myself away from this virus.

I think, if I'm to stretch an analogy to breaking point, it’s time to start digging the tunnel. Like Andy Dufresne, our progress needs to be gradual and careful. After all, anyone who’s seen The Shawshank Redemption knows what Andy end up in.

Until next time…

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