I’m not proud of myself. Whenever I hear about the removal of restrictions on Covid, my heart breaks a bit.
It has nothing to do with public health concerns. No, it’s because things are more suited to me than ever.
I could easily work from home and, if I had to get into the studio, the trip went smoothly because public transport was still relatively quiet and so were the roads.
Before and after work, I can generally find something to eat without the hassle of queuing.
If shopping is to be done, the shops are likely to be quiet. If I wanted a drink, pubs would be nice and peaceful for me.
I don’t care about wearing a mask-it reduces the number of times I’ve stopped and asked about whether West Brom have blown away their promotion opportunities.
Talking of football, I almost miss the days when I was not allowed to be at the matchs to suffer there in person.
It all suits me. But it will, won’t it? I’m fine, Jack.
It’s all made my life rather easier but that’s fine for me to say when it’s not my livelihood that been under threat.
My perspective, it dawned on me, had become shamefully selfish. Every quiet road, empty bus, peaceful pub or no queue café is all good for me but someone, somewhere, is paying a price for each of these things.
The roads and buses are quiet because the people who would have used it don’t do it because they don’t have a job to go to and/or they don’t have the money to spend their leisure time.
Quiet shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs mean fewer people are paid to work in these areas.
And they in turn, therefore, will not have the money to spend in any of these areas themselves.
Yes, there is always someone paying and I am not that.
I was shocked at how stunned I was this week when I hadn’t been on the beach for a few days. There is a pub in the village that I go to every night for a pint.
There I sat, enjoying the drink and the peace and quiet. Why, there’s almost no one else there, how much I like it. lovely.
But on my last night when I was traveling for my peaceful pint in everything except the deserted pub, I found it closed. The boss has clearly decided that his opening is not worth it, and who can blame him.
Pubs will start buzzing again
It reminded me of a story told by playwright Arthur Miller. As a teenager, before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 devastated so many people, he accidentally took the pocket money he had accumulated in the bank and bought a bicycle.
Phew, he thought, when everything collapsed, I didn’t lose money and I had a nice bike. I’m intelligent. But the next day someone stole his bicycle.
The point is that if you’re okay, but most people aren’t, sooner or later your world will come back to bite you.
So now everyone has to start getting busy again.
Working from home has been ideal for some, and it may be the way things are needed to help the environment, but it has its value – those who can do it probably don’t get paid.
More of us going to work results in more of us having jobs in all the shops, cafes and pubs that will start to buzz again. Rugged ones like me have to like it or lump it. I will choose to like.
Not long ago, it was our duty to stay home for the protection of us all. Soon the opposite will begin to apply:
For the good of our countrymen and women, it is our duty to go back there to move again.
Let’s do this.
LOAF, TAWA, LOVE
It will be quite a while before I recover from Meat Loaf’s death at age 74.
Forty years ago, as a teenager, his concert was one of the first I went to. I sat halfway back, to the right of the stage, frowning in admiration at this man tying the Bat Out Of Hell.
A quarter of a century later, I presented The One Show and Meat Loaf to our guest.
To my horror, one of our more, eh, imaginative, producers thought it would be a great idea for Meat Loaf and I to race each of these mobility scooters. No, me too.
His scooter had a bat stuck in front of it so he was, you know, like a bat from hell.
I am ashamed that the great man would be despised in this way.
But my Meat man is as good as gold and seems satisfied with the whole thing.
The race was declared a plank, even though I felt he had cheated.
Meat Loaf is everything a rock star should be: Big, flashy and, most of all, someone capable of not taking himself too seriously.
PUTIN SA DOG HOUSE
GEORGE W BUSH, the former President of America, told a disturbing story about Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
During a visit to the White House, Putin noticed the small size of the Bush family’s beloved little terrier, Barney.
A year later, the President and Mrs Bush visited Mr Putin in Russia.
“Vladimir said, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’” Bush recalled.
“And this big dog came out, clearly bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looked at me and said, ‘Bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney’.”
How do we deal with someone whose mind works like the worst kind of dog owner in a park near you, but is currently mobilizing troops on the Ukrainian border?
I wonder what he thought this week when Liz Truss, our foreign secretary, told him to behave himself.
I can’t imagine him shivering in his furry boots in the winter than when Gavin Williamson, then secretary of defense, told him to “shut up and leave”.
Who will he listen to? I suggest a few word choices from Roy Keane, who is on the side of one of his really big dogs, can do the trick.
As a footnote to the Bush-Putin little dog-big dog story, someone who knows Putin should have said to Bush: “Just be thankful that he only compares the size of your respective dogs.”
The miracle of Spurs ’injury time at Leicester this week, from losing 2-1 to winning 3-2, put me in the mind of one of my worst days as a West Brom fan-and believe me me, that is a very competitive field.
Nine years ago. We are 2-0 in Reading and cruising. Not even close. Some of the house fans started filing out. We shouted, “Is there a fire drill?” theirs.
Then, with eight minutes left, Reading scored. And then scored a penalty.
And then, with bang in 90 minutes, scored a win. Three goals in eight minutes.
Reading 3 West Brom 2.
We no longer bothered to hang out for injury time. Reading fans shouted, “Is there a fire drill?” to us as we walk away.
Funny old game.
DON’T FOOL THE TOURIST SIGHT
AN interesting thing happened in the BBC’s brilliant thriller series The Tourist.
In it, super handsome Jamie Dornan has not one but two love interests.
Nothing unusual in that for a good-looking chap like him.
The thing is, however, that one of her love interests, Luci, played by Shalom Brune-Franklin, is gorgeous.
But the other, Helen, played by Danielle Macdonald is, instead, overweight. Certainly not your classic beauty.
But as the story progresses, it all changes slightly. His feelings for them change, and so do yours.
Well, I still did. I know who I find more attractive.
The beautiful is also a bronze in Line Of Duty, and I’ve stopped trusting anyone in AC12 now, so he still hasn’t had a chance with me.
LOANS THEFT SHAME
I CANNOT believe the lack of anger at the £ 4billion worth of fraudulently taking out emergency loans to Covid that the Government has said it can no longer recover.
No one comes out of this story with any credit. I know the Chancellor was in a hurry to help, but in the Treasury’s haste the scheme was clearly poorly designed and managed so it was easily mischievous.
And I can’t understand why Rishi Sunak and the rest of the people who stole from us all to the tune of £ 4billion aren’t spitting furiously.
A pox to them all, these thieves.
Someday their grandchildren will want to know what they did in the big Covid crisis in the early 2020s.
“Oh, I stole a huge amount from my fellow taxpayers,” they would say.
Embarrassing, really scary.
I’M ON THE SCROLL
ONE of the things I saw on Twitter. One frowned at me in recognition, the other made me laugh.
- US writer Delia Cai tweeted: “Another night of staring at the big screen while scrolling on the small screen to reward myself with staring at the medium screen all week.” Ouch. That is me. Staring at my computer all day then watching TV while scrolling on my phone.
- From the so-called Fesshole: “When I dry my dog’s feet after he’s in the garden, I pretend I’m the 4th officer looking at a player’s studs. Then I give him a pat on the bum and say ‘have a good game son’. “
- It’s expensive. That’s what I’m going to do from now on.