🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗. Yes, folks, at 5 o’clock this evening, Boris will tell us that, as of next Monday, we will be allowed to hug our relatives and friends! This will apparently involve making “informed personal decisions”; and Scientific Experts are advising that “hugs should be selective, short, and avoid face-to-face contact”. But, hey, we will be allowed to hug people.
Even after 14 months of this, sometimes I still feel like I’m having a very strange dream and will wake up, or have fallen down a rabbit hole and will eventually find my way back out and find that the rest of the world is carrying on as normal. The restrictions have been necessary, but did you ever think you’d live in a world where you had to wait for permission from the authorities to hug your own relatives and friends, and instructions on how to do so?! Not throughout all the vicissitudes of history – war, religious persecution, repressive regimes – or even in the most dystopian of dystopian novels, has there ever before (AFAIK!) been a ban on hugging! Nor have scientists instructed us on how to hug!
The political cartoonists are having great fun with this. We’re seeing pictures of Boris trying to hug Nicola Sturgeon, and Keir Starmer trying desperately to find anyone at all who wants to hug him. But never mind that. Hugging is back! Hotels, cinemas and theatres will be reopening. Sports stadia will be reopening, although sadly only to limited numbers of fans. We’ll be able to sit indoors at cafes, pubs and restaurants … although I think we’ve all got rather into dining al fresco. And, hey, we’ll be able to meet our friends and relatives indoors, and even stay overnight, as long as it doesn’t involve more than six people or two households. And we’re officially moving from “level four” to “level three”.
It’s not over yet. I’m extremely concerned about the situation in parts of Bolton, where the Indian variant and the South African variant have led to a worrying increase of infection rates. But, hopefully, things are looking up.
Throw your arms around each other … as long as you’ve made an “informed personal decision” and are hugging safely! And share a cup of tea and a piece of cake in a friend or relative’s house. Next Monday. Hugging is back!