Editor’s comment: July 2020
PUBLISHED: 10:29 20 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:29 20 June 2020
‘You’re probably like me, sitting staring at a computer screen in the back bedroom while trying to work out what day it is’
You’re probably like me, sitting staring at a computer screen in the back bedroom while trying to work out what day it is. Tuesday? Sunday? Does it really matter any more when you haven’t worn trousers for a month? But difficult as it may seem, we should always look for the positives in any situation, however grim. So what has the coronavirus lockdown taught us? What life lessons can we take from lockdown into [cliché alert] the new normal?
Shopping without kids springs to mind. No more grubby mitts swiping sweets off the shelves; no more tantrums over today’s favourite crisp flavour. Working in an office is certainly off the agenda. No more boring small talk with people you don’t really like; no more stinking microwave ovens because someone’s heated up kippers for lunch; no more wasting time online while pretending to work as the clock approaches 5.30pm. And definitely no more pointless meetings where nothing is decided apart from the need to have another meeting.
The council tip, that high church of the chattering classes, is much more civilised under social distancing. You just book an appointment (some months hence, admittedly) and then roll up with your rubbish. No more queuing, no more jostling for position, and no more dragging a huge sack of garden waste across the site from the nearest available parking slot.
Breakfast drinking got an alarming number of votes when I canvassed opinion on this topic. I wouldn’t recommend it being in possession of a badly-battered liver myself, but hey, if vodka on your cornflakes floats your boat, who am I to criticise?
Here at Cotswold Life we’ve watched on as event after event fell by the wayside this summer. We felt for the organisers, who would already have put in hours and hours of work, and we felt for the competitors, spectators, traders, sponsors and ordinary folk just looking forward to a good day out. We also worry still about the finances of some of these classic Cotswold events and their ability to continue. And now it’s our turn.
With heavy heart we’ve had to abandon our biggest event of the year – the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards. Over the past 18 years, this celebration of all things hospitality-related has grown from fairly humble beginnings in a marquee on Beaufort’s polo field to a glitzy and glossy black-tie event at the only venue in the region big enough to accommodate us – The Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse.
But when we sat down to plan the 2020 event, it quickly became apparent that it was an impossible task. How can you work out how to seat 500 people when you don’t know what restrictions you will face regarding the distance between tables or the distance between diners at those tables? What about guests mingling at the drinks reception beforehand? And would we have to hand out the trophies at the end of two-metre poles?
So there it is. Hopefully we’ll be bouncing back next year with a bigger and better event than ever. Until then, please do support your local pubs, restaurants, shops and suppliers. And be thankful that you don’t have to listen to my speech this year.
Some of our readers are rebelling, seemingly outraged by my own, personal, criticism (in a column clearly headed Editor’s Comment!) of how the government has mishandled the coronavirus crisis.
Now, I quite get it that people buy Cotswold Life for a bit of escapism; a welcome relief from the harsh realities of everyday life. There are houses to covet, beautiful photography, great writers to read and an absolute mine of useful information to help people get the most out of Britain’s finest region. They don’t want the deranged rantings of a closet Trot smacking them in the face. So we’ll lay off the politics for a bit. As one correspondent so succinctly put it: “More red trousers; less red flag!”
Although it is a bit difficult to pretend everything is wonderful when the body bags keep piling up…
Mike Lowe, email@example.com
Follow Mike on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor