Good news or bad on ending lockdown? No single voice is emerging!

Ipswich town centre

Many people appear comfortable with going back to the shops. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

We've been getting out a bit more over the last couple of weeks, visiting friends and family that we haven't seen in person since last autumn - which has prompted a real hope that we may be able to live a bit more "normally" in the not too distant future.

But the mixed messages we get from the government and experts does often leave many people feeling very confused - and I'm not sure that's really helpful in the present circumstances.

The idea of having large music events in Liverpool and allowing a full-house into the World Snooker Final in Sheffield does seem fairly sensible if they are regarded as scientific test events and all those attending have Covid tests before and after the event.

But I am puzzled as to why scientists are prepared to carry out big experiments that will attract young people, certainly in the case of the Liverpool events, who are unlikely to have been vaccinated - but are not prepared to allow care home residents who have had two vaccinations to go to their doctor's surgery without forcing them to then self-isolate for 10 to 14-days afterwards.

As someone who has had my second jab within the last 10 days, maybe I am feeling a little smug - but when I see the figures for the UK I do feel hopeful that we can start to emerge into a more sociable world. I can look forward to going back to the cinema and to having a coffee inside a cafe with a friend.

It will be nice not to sit shivering on an outside table while smoke from the next table wafts over you and reminds you how ghastly pubs were before smoking inside public places was banned!

But while part of me is looking forward to opening up: To cinema trips. To going on more train rides. To actually visiting friends and relations in their homes, not just their gardens, there is also a bit of nervousness as well.

Ipswich Cineworld

I can't wait to get back in the cinema - even if I do have to wear a mask inside it! - Credit: Emily Townsend

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We're still being told by experts that social distancing and wearing masks will have to remain indefinitely.

We're told one day that the vaccines are not a silver bullet and there may be a third (or fourth) wave around the corner waiting to catch us out. The next we're told that we should be able to avoid another wave - but that those of us over 50 should get another jab between September and December.

A little bit of me does feel guilty at this point after seeing all the reports from India where the government is struggling to get a single jab into the most vulnerable people's arms as millions suffer from Covid.

What all this does show is that as we start to emerge from the nightmare of the last 15 months - and deep down, I do feel we are starting to emerge - things will never, ever return to exactly where they were in early March 2020.

What Covid has done to many of us is to remind us that we are not indestructible - that we do have to be careful. And that risk is a part of our lives.

We have to decide what is important to us and whether it is worth the risk. During the height of the lockdowns last March and at the start of this year, I was  nervous about the idea of going to the shops. The family relied heavily on orders being delivered.

Now with the vaccine in my arm I'm quite happy to go around the supermarkets choosing what I fancy on the shelves. - but I really cannot imagine when I'll be happy to go back to a packed concert.

Paul Geater getting on a train

I'm looking forward to more rail trips. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

I hope I do soon feel comfortable to take a train trip to Lowestoft and then across to Norwich on the most attractive trip in East Anglia. But we are still being told to "Minimise Travel" every time we venture out on to a major road.

I'm not sure why Highways England were trying to guilt-trip us with their huge signs as we drove down to east London to meet our daughter in a pub beer garden near her home at the weekend, but I have to say it didn't really work!

So in 11 days' time we will have a significant easing of lockdown. I will be one of the first to get a ticket to see Godzilla vs Kong at Cineworld (I really am looking forward to that). I will soon be renewing my Senior Railcard and buying an Anglia Plus ticket for a day out on the new Stadler trains. 

But I'll still be using a mask when I need to. I'll still think twice about going into a crowded restaurant, and as for taking a foreign holiday . . .  you cannot be serious!

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