Despite the unseasonably dreich weather we’ve been experiencing recently, the sun has been shining upon my family.
After numerous Covid-induced delays, this week my big brother will finally marry his beautiful fiancé.
Meanwhile my youngest brother has announced that he and his partner are expecting their first baby and my sister has started an exciting new job.
My mum perfected her tablet cheesecake recipe. My daughter learned how to use chopsticks. And to top it all off – I bought my first house!
Under Level 2 restrictions, some indoor gatherings are now permitted, but unfortunately you can’t come and visit.
Because my first step on the housing ladder was made in the online world.
After some persuasive lobbying from my seven year-old, we recently downloaded Animal Crossing.
For those of you yet to experience its almost meditative joy, Animal Crossing is a game where you live on your own desert island.
Slowly, and without any undue pressure, players can create their own version of paradise.
I have yet to find a way to tempt Jon Hamm onto my beach but I’m working on it.
I didn’t have to save for a huge deposit, but I did have to dive for pearls and catch lots of butterflies and fish to fund the digital structure.
The island is a peaceful place. There are no dangers, few expectations and you can’t die.
After the year we’ve had, it is the perfect tonic.
Though it was perhaps foolish of me to download a game which allows users to live in an online utopia just as the country starts to creak and groan back to life.
Just as soon as I’ve finished planting my apple trees and organising my pumpkin patch, I’m looking forward to going all carpe diem on our new freedoms.
If we impose a rule that nobody is ever allowed to complain about anything because other things are worse it’s game-over for crabbit Scots
Now that we’ve got the teary reunions with family and long-awaited hair appointments out of the way, the talk among my single friends is all about plans for post-lockdown dating.
During the long winter of dissatisfaction, some (usually, married) people were dismissive of those singletons who admitted that they were finding state-ordered celibacy tough to deal with.
If we impose a rule that nobody is ever allowed to complain about anything because other things are worse it’s game-over for all the crabbit Scots who find moaning quite cathartic.
Changed days for dating
Romance might finally be legal again, but the dating scene has changed.
Those who are now readying themselves to dive back in may find that their first few steps along the board are more tentative than usual.
In an ideal world, we’d all be feeling free and breezy about meeting new people again.
The pandemic has taken so much from us but it has also encouraged an appreciation for simple pleasures.
When life was stripped back to its greyest layer, we found comfort in painted rainbows and freshly- baked bread.
Mojitos too, but the bread came first.
Dating might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things but it is also the stuff of life.
Singletons who are ready to get going again will have to adjust to a new normal.
One of the first questions you are likely to ask your would-be lover is whether they have had their jag.
Long, indulgent dinners are a thing of the past. Waiters will chase you out of the door with a big stick if you are still seated when your precious 90-minute slot nears its end.
But still, onwards we go. If we can cope with the Great Loo Roll Shortage of 2020 then we can cope with anything.
Jitters are to be expected. Some people compare it to riding a bike but in all honesty, I can’t actually ride a bike.
Not unless I’m on a very straight flat path and there’s some soft grass at the end that I can gracefully tumble off onto.
If there’s any comparison to be drawn between that and my approach to romance then I’m going to try my hardest not to see it.
Meeting new people is fun, even if they spend the remainder of the night crying
Pre-lockdown, I loved dating.
Meeting new people is always fun, even if they spend the first hour speaking about their ex and the remainder of the night crying over them.
I enjoy the planning beforehand: deciding what to wear, where to eat and the growing anticipation as the day draws nearer.
Thrill of the plan
Whether it is successful or not is by-the-by. Even if there’s no spark, you’ll probably get a funny anecdote out of it.
After everything that has happened, there is something so exhilarating about making plans again.
If you’re making plans with somebody that you have imagined maskless: hands glistening with antibacterial hand gel, then you might be on to a winner.
Dating has changed but so too have the rules around etiquette.
If you are out this weekend and bear witness to the first few moments of two souls colliding, then don’t judge them too harshly for any public displays of affection.
They’ve waited a very long time for this.