Nobody ever thought the impact a traffic light changing colour would make. But, over the last two weeks, we’ve seen the impact a change of colour makes. The speed of change definitely not helping.
We all know that traffic lights change from red to amber, to green. No surprise there, but the speed of change has caused a few problems. For a few thousand people. Tens of thousands.
Everybody understands and appreciates the challenges Covid has brought. The majority of us have done what we’ve been told. We’ve played our part. We’ve listened. We’ve worked from home. We’ve withdrawn from meeting family and friends. We wear face masks.
As vaccines have increased, positive tests have reduced. The severity of Covid appears less than before the vaccine programme commenced. But new variants are still emerging. People are still dying.
Decisions still need to be made and there are still many unknowns. But the same way we’ve listened to the advice not to do things, we’ve also listened to the advice when we can do things.
One walk a day. You can go shopping for non-essential items. You can now meet six people. Weddings and funerals can have thirty people present. We can go on holiday to a green country. We can go to an amber country for essential travel if we’re prepared to self-isolate.
Some people who have abided by lockdown rules decided, following government advice, to go on holiday to Portugal as it was on the green list. Admittedly I’m a little jealous. But, tens of thousands of people who followed that advice were only given 96 hours notice when the rules had changed. Portugal was off the green list. Anyone returning from Portugal now needs to self-isolate for ten days in addition to the two Covid tests that are compulsory.
That sucks. Fully appreciate that decisions need to be made based on the knowledge available at the time. But given that the UK’s positive tests continue to grow at a faster rate than any other European country, surely it would’ve been better to have stopped new people travelling out of the UK, but allow those already in a ‘green’ country, to return as per their schedule. In my totally unscientific mind, I’d challenge that people travelling out of the UK are more likely to take Covid with them than bring it back to the UK.
Ok, that’s enough of trying to step into the PM’s shoes.
But wait. During the last week, while staying in my little bubble in the UK, I felt the full force of bureaucracy in Portgual. But not from the Portuguese.
While I am not a fan of Facebook, I understand the benefits of an account for my move to Portugal as Facebook is used more widely in Portugal than company websites. Facebook groups are a valuable resource for people living in or moving to, Portugal so I’ve joined several groups.
However, I wasn’t expecting was to be banned from a Facebook group! That’s funny!
Throughout the lockdown, I’ve not really focused on dates. During 2021, I’ve taken less interest in key dates and decisions from the government. I’m content that I’ll be able to go to the pub in due course, have a meal at a restaurant at some point, go to the football when we’re allowed to.
I’m happy that life has slowed down. I honestly don’t miss the hustle and bustle. And I am definitely not craving the opportunity to make my life busy to do what everyone else is doing.
Some plans are beginning to come together. I’ve scheduled a scouting trip to Portugal in September. I can live with amber or green and if I need to self-isolate for 10 days, that’s fine. I have a meal coming up with a friend. Looking forward to it.
But I’m not racing to make myself busy and fill the diary at the earliest opportunity.
I do miss going to the football though. Not just the football, but the experience of the whole day. The result matters. But does it really?
Live music is also something I miss. I have a growing list of concerts that have been cancelled and postponed so I anticipate that I’m going to have a busy summer in 2022.
I find the whole Freedom Day concept a bit crazy really. Meaningless and a media stir.
To me, Freedom Day is celebrated annually by South Africans. I don’t know the history although I am sure it is a day routed in South African history around President Nelson Mandela, anti-racism and equality.
With a spotlight on anti-racism in the UK and many countries in the Western world, it seems insensitive to be rebranding Freedom Day to a day that allows us to go to a nightclub, once again. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps that is freedom for some people.
Sadly for those looking forward to freedom from the current lockdown level on 21 June, I’ve bad news. It is looking increasingly likely that freedom day will be delayed. Two weeks, Four weeks. Who knows. But don’t put on your party dress quite yet.
I accept I’m moving into the category of “grumpy old man”. But at the same time, I have got a dream, a little bit of imagination and some massive determination to move to Portugal. It just doesn’t focus on the party life I have definitely enjoyed in previous years.
Thanks for reading.
Traffic light image by kind permission of Tsvetoslav Hristov
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