A.J. Walker



A Solo Christmas - Ho Ho Ho

Well in Liverpool we are in Tier 2 at the moment and that should be the same until at least the New Year. This means there are some places open that aren't in Tier 3 like museums, galleries and some hospitality. Which is good, but then again not that great for many people. If you are going to meet someone indoors it is a maximum of six people and they should be from your household and/or bubble. Now I've not been in a bubble until last week, when I went to my mate's house. Unfortunately I have not had the chance to go back to see him as he's ended up being in hospital since then (nothing to do with me being there, he's just quite ill). I must have one of the shortest tenured bubble.

So if I want to go to a pub or restaurant I have exactly zero people I can go with - in accordance with the regs and guidance. Great. I haven't even been to the pubs in Liverpool since they reopened a couple of weeks ago tomorrow. On any day I've had off from work I just have not had the desire to go into town to spend money and time eating something in a pub just so I can have a couple of pints. Normally if I went into town I'd go to three or four pubs and at the moment that would mean three or four things to eat. Even where there are 'cheap' options you can be looking at a fiver for a pie & peas or a ciabatta. So straightaway you can add that £15-20 to the price of your beer - as well as the calories to your waistline and the anguish of the whole experience.

You can think, well hey this is great for the virus. I mean I ain't gonna catch or spread a virus if I just don't go out. So well done with this legislation. Then again, that business and its suppliers won't be selling any beer to keep themselves going either. How many people haven't the money to spend or the inclination to go out in the current circumstances? The real ale pubs in Liverpool have all gone the full mile to provide Covid safe environments and the whole NHS track thing. I've never felt anything but safe in them (even when I didn't have to eat food). But I just don't have the money to spend on three multiple meals or the desire to eat them either. It is a nonsense for the individual and the business. The pubs that are trading aren't doing what they could be doing in terms of custom (especially at Christmas).

The virus is still here and we need to be doing the best we can to control its spread: I completely agree, but with distancing, cleanliness and masks then we can do a fair bit just being sensible. The virus is still here and if we do things wrong or relax it will grow in the community without a doubt.

And then we have Christmas. My god, the government in their wisdom tell us not to mix and keep alert etc but for five days at Christmas we can throw our caution to the wind and not be in any danger: of contravening any law. But it's not a football playing WWI truce, the virus isn't putting its weapons down for the event. So the virus can do nothing but spread more over that five days. How can they justify this? I mean if I can't safely meet with a couple of the family or friends indoors this weekend then how can I the following weekend? It is a bad decision. Of course we'd all like to meet up with whoever we want at Christmas, and every other damn day. But we understand why we can't at the moment. It is just one Christmas. It'll be nice next Christmas if everyone could look back at this one and think that they hadn't caused people to get ill - or die - due to the need pass out a few presents, eat a roast dinner, play a sill game or two, and then fall asleep in front of the tele.

The weeks around Christmas last year were bad for family reasons, but the actual day itself - at my sister's - was really nice; and she did a fabulous job. But this year I'm not going to go around. Because the right thing to do is not risk spreading the virus. My sister works hard in a food environment and has not been ill this year, and has been very conscious of the risk, and me similarly. If I went I'd be there with at least five people all of who have friends or family they bubble with, and people they work with, which soon makes the risk substantially higher. We all see people on the TV or via Social Media who are a little more relaxed (or don't give a damn about the whole thing). I'm sorry not to be going, and I do feel pressure to go because the government says we can. How many people will be pressurised this year to go to houses and meet with people who may be infected and two or three weeks down the road be 'a statistic'? And of course after the inevitable rise in cases in January how long till everyone is in Tier 3 again or even a full scale lockdown for the sake of a stupid decision made about Christmas?

Don't feel pressurised to go. Do what's right for you at this time. And also don't pressurise your friends or family to do things that they don't want to do this year, or is outside the regs and guidance - shit I'd love to go down the pub with me mates. But I'm not going to. Boy I can't wait until we can.

So on Christmas day I'll be watching a boxset, or a film or two, and making a roast dinner for one - Ho Ho Ho! But I know it is the right thing to do. I will be trying to get a mini-keg or two of local beer in for Xmas and Boxing Day too to make it feel at least a little better - and to support the local breweries (it's a true win-win).