How many places do you visit in one day nowadays? I visit one place – the local shop. I am not a hermit. I do venture out further afield at weekends to see friends normally at a cafe or restaurant in Central London. The photo is of me on an overground train going into London Charing Cross.

When news of the New Zealand Covid outbreak broke I was amazed to read that the source was one person (a midlifer aged 58) who had visited 23 places over a long weekend. My immediate conclusion was that he must have been a tourist. Who visits 23 places over a long weekend!

I called my friend in New Zealand. ‘Was this person a tourist?’ I asked. My friend went silent for a second before proceeding to tell me that the infected midlifer was a local national who had visited ‘normal’ places. I consider myself normal and visiting more than three places over a long weekend would have me living someone else’s life (while a pandemic is on). Then I got myself in a twist. Was the sick person ‘normal’ to have been living quite so freely or were the places he visited ‘normal’ or even both, I wondered.

It’s important to mention at this point that New Zealand has been Covid free for some months now because they have a very sane Prime Minister who understands basic concepts like transmission and Delta Variant. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that this person was visiting ‘normal’ places. He was though unvaccinated.

After some moments of contemplation it dawned on me that I had forgotten what life was like pre-pandemic. The 23 places which the infected midlifer had visited included shops, a petrol station and other such humdrum sites. That semblance of normality has escaped most of us in the UK since March 2020. At the peak of the pandemic in 2020 I didn’t leave my home for a week at a time. Places I visited numbered ZERO. I bet it was the same for many of you too.

The whole concept of ‘normal’ shows that it sits on shifting terrain. New Zealand is now in a strict lockdown. Most of their citizens will probably be struggling to visit one place a day now. This the new normal. The pandemic has changed the way we live and common sense dictates that you live accordingly.

Any talk of learning to live with the virus so life can get back to normal is, at best, a delusion. Take care and good luck with whatever your normal is these days. I can’t say that I want to go back to visiting many places over a space of few days. The slower pace of life suits me. It’s my new normal.

P/S I firmly believe that the pandemic is real and that vaccines are, in the main, life savers. If you are an anti-vaxxer or a Covid-denier please don’t bother leaving a comment.