A year ago on Monday, on March 8th 2020, United beat City 2-0 at Old Trafford. Maybe we’ll get a similar result at the Etihad on Sunday: you never know! It was the most amazing afternoon, with an electric atmosphere. Five days later, rather appropriately on Friday 13th, it was announced that the season was being suspended. Thankfully, we’ve now got football on TV – and an awful lot of it 🙂 – but fans haven’t been back inside Old Trafford since that wonderful Sunday afternoon a year ago. Something’s a huge part of your life for almost 40 years, and then it’s taken away – by a virus. The last time I went to the gym was the following week: I’m not exactly breaking my heart over that, but I should be. People keep telling me that they’re always seeing me out walking, but The Scales aren’t getting it 😦 . And we should have had a book club meeting two days before the gym visit, but it was cancelled. It’s been an unimaginably long time since I’ve seen some of my friends and relatives: Greater Manchester was shoved back under restrictions very soon after they were lifted.
The last time I went to the theatre was on February 25th 2020. It was so exciting that the Back to the Future musical was premiering in Manchester. The last time I went to the pictures was on February 15th 2020 – I went into town on the tram, went to see a film, then went to The Vienna Coffee House for a drink and a bite to eat. The last time I went abroad was in December 2019. Every year, I spend hour after hour reading up on the history of the culture reading up on wherever I’m going that year, trying to learn a bit of the language if it’s one with which I’m not familiar, trawling Amazon and Google for historical novels set there, and making lists of “must see” places and highlighting them on maps. I was able to take two “staycations” last year, and I was very grateful for that, but I really want to get back to being and seeing somewhere different.
Everyone’s got things that they’re missing. Maybe it’s something like going to professional football matches, which hundreds of thousands of people do every week. Maybe it’s a very niche special interest thing. Maybe it’s something which always seemed very ordinary and unremarkable, like meeting a few friends for a cup of tea and a piece of cake, or browsing round the shops. It doesn’t matter what it is: if it’s important to you, then it’s important. No-one’s interests matter any more or less than anyone else’s.
Maybe it’s being in a workplace rather than WFH: now there’s something which I am really *not* missing, but there’ve been some suggestions (although I think they’re mainly coming from the landlords of office blocks) that other people are.
And it’s OK to say that you’re missing things, and especially that you’re missing people.
There will be a few sanctimonious people who will guilt-trip you about it, but they’re best ignored. OK, not being able to go to the pictures hardly compares to being bereaved, being ill, or losing your job or your business, but our lives have been turned upside down. We don’t know how long it’s going to take for things to get back to normal, and we don’t know what will have changed permanently. Are cinemas going to be as popular as they used to be, or have people got too used to watching stuff on Netflix? Will High Street shops (those that are left) ever be as busy as they used to be, or have people got too used to ordering online? I was saying to one of the people at Cuckoo that I hope they keep the takeaway hatch going even after they can reopen the inside of the café, because it’s a “thing” now – everyone goes there! Are we going to go back to having packed out public transport at rush hour? No-one knows, and that’s scary – you never know what’s round the corner, but you normally have a lot more idea than we’ve got at the moment.
This has been my first match-less year since I was a very little kid. I’m hoping that we’ll be back inside grounds next season, but I don’t know. We get crowds of around 75,000 at Old Trafford – will that many people be allowed in? And what about everything else? National Trust and English Heritage properties reopened last summer, but with a limited numbers, pre-booking system – how long will that go on for?
How long will any of this go on for?!
We don’t know. But fingers crossed that the wonderful vaccination programme will bring us out of it. In the meantime, stay safe and well, and thanks for reading xxx.