Just before we had any inkling of the virus, the family decided to order a neon sign for Paul’s 60th birthday gift from Neon Workshops in Wakefield. We spent a long time choosing the words but eventually decided on this line from a John Cooper Clarke poem. It is both a nod to his punk youth and also a fairly dark joke for someone entering his 7th decade (indeed written as John Cooper Clarke turned 60.)
How prescient that sign was. A few days after placing the order, the pandemic arrived and 8 months later is among us still. Our family, like every other, has been affected by illness, separation and loss of livelihood.
But I know we are lucky; we have had to take precautions but on the whole our accommodation is well spaced, outdoorsy and largely for just 2 people so feels pretty safe. Our greatest compliment of the season was from a regular guest who said ‘it’s so great here…you can just forget about the virus.’ The stress of processing a second wave of cancellations is offset by simply being at the farm with an occasional walk on the beach.
We had a short trip to Grasmere last week which made me reflect on how hospitality businesses (some of the hardest hit) are handling the pandemic. The small hotel/bistro we stayed in was lovely but reminders of the virus were everywhere: a 36 page ‘welcome’ email, at least 5 separate notices in the room, a cumbersome online ordering system for food, almost no human contact…
After a thoroughly depressing dinner on day 1 we decided to find a friendly pub in the village on day 2. Warm, welcoming, cosy yet still following all the guidelines we felt very safe and everyone in there was enjoying the experience. The bar staff must have been so worried on this the eve of lockdown 2 but were incredibly good humoured and hospitable. So thankyou for a great night Tweedies Bar and best of luck.