Coronavirus- Sucking The Fun Out of Life.

I am very grateful to be healthy and am doing my best to stay that way so am (largely) sticking to the ever-changing laws and recommendations even though I am not entirely confident there is any rhyme or reason to the specific declarations. Having said that, is it just me or is coronavirus, or rather the guidelines around limiting its impact, sucking the fun out of life?

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@adamsky1973?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Adam NieĊ›cioruk</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/coronavirus?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>

We went away to Portsmouth for the weekend with friends and planned some shopping, eating and drinking. Images from my social media show a similar weekend this time last year where we wandered freely and experienced fun spontaneously. That's no longer possible.

Luckily I get anxious if I don't have a plan A, B and possibly C so in many ways it was a relief to have some things planned. I booked venues for Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner and cocktails. I also booked Sunday lunch which was so amazing actually I wrote a review.)

So it was OK. We ended up having fun thanks to the combination of being out with good friends and vast quantities of good food and cocktails. 

madmumof7 and friends at Outside In Food Court

However I would imagine that those who are a little more free-spirited would find the need to book everything really limiting.

I was desperate to visit three other cocktail bars in the city but they were fully booked even weeks in advance. And an attempt to grab a "first come first served" table at The Alchemist at Gunwharf Quays also proved fruitless. Short of standing there for an hour glaring at people in a bid to intimidate them into leaving there was very little chance of getting one of the few outdoor tables. I mean, I was up for the staring thing but my son was less keen.

We even had to queue, theme park style, to get into Gunwharf Quays. Admittedly not for long but once we were allowed in, many of the shops I wanted to visit had queues of varying lengths outside. Frankly I could not be arsed to queue so it was a short and inexpensive shopping trip. 

Inside a mall in the city centre the floor was covered with confusing tape and arrows marking out a one way system which most people seemed to be ignoring. I found the extra sensory load and the people ignoring the markings made the whole experience extremely stressful.

We struggled with Uber cars for our group of six as none of the drivers would allow someone to sit in the front. I didn't mind the request to wear masks in the car and of course that's one of the new tightenings of the mask-wearing rules.

madmumof7 wearing mask

I didn't mind giving my details for track and trace everywhere and I didn't mind wearing masks to leave our table to head to the toilet but I missed the mingling and the chance to engage with other people apart from our group. On the plus side I did appreciate having a guaranteed seat at a table which meant I felt able to risk wearing heels for the first time in ages! 

Table service is good as long as the staff have time - at one of the venues we had a very long wait at times and couldn't even chase our order or order another drink as you weren't allowed to approach the bar. We ended up desperately trying to attract the attention of passing staff just to get another drink. More places need to get online apps up and running!

I wonder how spontaneous attraction could work for singletons in this COVID-19 world. No chance of cheeky chat after meeting someone in a bar or club for instance. No exchanging smiles when the masks cover your mouth. Everything has to be planned and booked and socially distanced.

Back home and I've settled into a sort of self-imposed semi-lockdown. The appeal of popping out for a wander round the shops has diminished. I used to organise "live lounge" events where friends and neighbours would come round to listen to musicians perform in my house. Not possible now. 

In fact since there are 9 of us in our immediate family and 6 of us live in the same house we actually can't legally have anyone round, not even my older boys. And now it seems like the summer weather really has deserted us so meeting friends outside is losing its appeal too.

So many simple pleasures are now not possible or are stilted by the regulations. Even our post-church cuppa is not allowed.

And the army of officious enforcers is growing, loudly reminding me to sanitise, keep my distance, fill in a track and trace form... Yes, yes I'm doing it. I heard there will be COVID-19 marshalls patrolling towns and city centres and am wondering who might want that job. Those who for whom being traffic wardens isn't enough?

Don't misunderstand me. I am actually happy to abide by the masking, sanitising and distancing but as one who finds those queue monitors in McDonalds irritating I am not loving being told loudly to do something before I've even had chance to approach the vat of hand gel. 

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@kellysikkema?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Kelly Sikkema</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/coronavirus?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>

These restrictions on life are minor I know and actually the pub shutting at ten won't make much difference to me as I am usually home in bed by then. I'm self-employed so no office Christmas parties to miss although I will miss the round of house parties which usually happen in our little village over the festive season. We won't even be able to go and sing carols around the Christmas tree on our village green. 

In many ways we are lucky. My husband can't work from home and for the last seven years I have so no change there. Our income hasn't been impacted as much as many others and we live in a beautiful area and have a garden.

It's just somehow I've got a growing feeling that coronavirus is sucking the fun out of almost all aspects of life.