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It was so bloody good to see family.

It is a sign of the times we live in that a recent family visit up to our new house was an absolute treat. We hadn’t been able to see each other for the last 15 or so months, and had had to miss out on Boxing Day, where we meet up and have a good long chat, watch some of the football and have our annual quiz. It’s great. I love Boxing Day. And we weren’t able to do that last year.

It was a small reminder of what life used to be like before COVID. When we could go and do the shopping, take our kids to school, go to work without having to worry about whether we would contract a serious virus that could potentially kill us. Interaction has been limited to FaceTime and Zoom calls. You can’t go and see people you don’t live with. Until the rules were relaxed last Monday. People have asking when will we get back to normal; I wrote a piece explaining why I didn’t think we would get back to what had been normal, instead we would adapt and there would be a new ‘normal’. I still think that is the case. However long face masks are required, some will continue to wear them after the restrictions. Other learned behaviours will stay around for a while, even when most all of the adult population has been vaccinated.

But this little three-day visit just highlighted the absolute joy of human interaction. It was one of the reasons we moved, to be closer to family. And because of our new proximity, we are able to see them regularly. And that is fabulous. And you’re seeing it around the country as people are finally able to properly reconnect with friends and family that they have not been able to see ever since the first lockdown was put in place. And that is something that will be treasured going forward. The joy of sitting across from someone and having a conversation with them. I will cherish being able to go to football matches again. I last went to a game in January 2020. All that the absence of fans has highlighted is that live sport is nowhere near as good to watch at home, if there aren’t any fans at the ground watching live. Their return will bring the life back into the sport.

And that is why it is vital, now more than ever, that people get fully vaccinated. I certainly will. Because this isn’t over yet. People are still testing positive and some are still sadly dying. And their loss will be keenly felt by their families. The Indian variant cases are also going up and that is most definitely alarming. But we are on the way to getting on top of COVID. There is some light beginning to show at the end of this tunnel. And we will be able to go and see our family and our friends, go to sporting events and concerts and out for a nice meal at a restaurant. But we have to keep on doing the right things now, so that we can do the things we want to then.

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