It is a Friday morning. I sip my strong sweet coffee and sit out in the garden. I’m feeling rather sorry for myself right now as our cruise ship would have been due to depart this afternoon. There will be no Greek sunsets to marvel at in 2020, no cultural trips to some ancient amphitheatre, no homemade taramasalata, large organic black olives or Kleftiko and sadly no sip of ouzo followed by some Greek dancing in a Taverna! I was so looking forward to it as I’ve never passed through the Greek Islands before, I hope I get there eventually. The good news I suppose is that that my credit card won’t get a hammering this year!

I suppose it would be fair to say that in recent years, many of us have become spoilt brats to some extent, jet setting around like there’s no tomorrow. In his column in the Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson has recently suggested that we should really all look on the bright side, commenting: “You won’t need to pack any insect repellent, you won’t have to leave your dog behind and we won’t have to spend two hours in a packed foreign airport!” Yes, very true.

Instead, this summer we’ll have to think out of the box a little and head to places closer to home that are perhaps more rural and subtle in their beauty and not obvious tourist destinations. Rural sea-view properties and spacious villas dotted along a coastline would be ideal, yet when the whole of the English population is eventually given the green light to travel, I can imagine how incredibly busy those long sandy beaches will be.

As a child, my husband went on many camping holidays with his parents. Caravanning around the English countryside was a delight and destinations included Lyme Regis and the Norfolk Broads. He reminisces “Zooming about on my bike was great fun!” Along with making new friends, sipping hot chocolate in the evening and reading his book at night with the aid of a torch under his sleeping bag feeling all cosy in the warm as the pitter patter of rain on the canvas eventually sent him off to sleep. “Waking up to the savoury smell of sizzling bacon before sitting down to a delicious full English Breakfast, I used to love that the most!”

We sit on the sofa and chat before dinner. I listen to his holiday ideas for this year. I accept that there are basically two options: going camping or maybe hiring a camper van. Am I ready for such a shift?! I’ve only ever been camping once or twice and didn’t enjoy it all that much, but at least it will be a change of scenery and all of that walking and fresh air can only be a good thing! Maybe I’ll see the odd castle or cathedral that I’ve never visited before. It looks like it’s time for some old-fashioned holidays involving flying kites and exploring rock pools followed by an evening of playing cards or a board game.

I nod my head and listen, his enthusiasm is to some degree infectious and I try to let go of the fact that I’d rather be on the sun-kissed deck of a cruise ship right now somewhere in the Mediterranean sipping a Pimms and Lemonade on the rocks with a slice of orange, before dinner to be followed by some uplifting musical theatre.

Obviously, after what we’ve all been through, I think each and every one of us could really do with a holiday very soon. We may all be feeling a bit bedraggled and confused as the lockdown eases. Mixed feelings of resentment at having lost 3 months of our lives to this pandemic and happy relief, perhaps grateful that we survived the storm and hopeful about moving on with our lives.

Despite our anxieties, we are emerging into a new normal. I have enjoyed the lockdown at times, being outstretched on my sofa listening to Coldplay in Concert not sure what time of the day it was, spontaneously deciding to bake rock buns in the middle of the afternoon, and going to bed in the small hours after catching up with old classic films like Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire.

There may be a myriad of questions still at the backs of our minds. As we are aware, Italy was two weeks ahead of us in all of this and as we are now seeing, Italian citizens especially of the affluent Bergamo one of the cities hardest hit by Covid, are angry about how things were handled. No doubt in a few weeks’ time we too will want answers to countless questions like: Why didn’t the lockdown happen earlier? Why did so many doctors and nurses have to die when they were just doing their job? So sad.

We have traversed an introspective period and been given an opportunity to reassess how our personal lives were unfolding pre-Covid. For many of us, it’s been a bit of a maturation process which has involved admitting some personal truths that have been reflected back to us, removing the veils of illusion from our sleepy eyes.