I should be waking up today in a lovely little villa in Lanzarote. At a pretty harbour nearby you can watch ferries taking passengers to and from sister island Fuerteventura, which sits hazily in the distance. I enjoy watching colourful bougainvilleas swaying in the breeze in rhythm with my slumbers outside the villa.
Now I can only dream about it as I sit at home in Aberdeen watching bees hanging around my sunflowers, after our flight was cancelled. This is actually quite a soothing experience in these stressful times.
Many of us do not give it a second thought, but we have been impacted mentally in various ways by the pandemic. We might just not realise it.
I saw two young men fighting as I drove into a supermarket car park the other day, and a later incident where police ran towards a couple in the middle of a busy dual carriageway who seemed to be having a “domestic”. Were they pandemic-related or just normal life?
The bees were indeed very busy, but they also share similar circadian body processes as us – they sleep when it is dark and wake with the light.
But some like a lie in, too. I watched a couple of bees making up their “beds” for the night on my sunflowers. They turned in at about 7pm and were still snoozing away motionless after 9am the next morning.
I wondered if they had literally fallen off the twig, as in deceased, but they roused themselves and off they went foraging on their daily chores. The pandemic can’t stop nature.
Some scientists suspect bees might actually dream when they sleep because tests proved they can store memory – they remember new repetitive actions, a bit like dogs. I wonder if they dream of flying off somewhere nice on holiday for a break from the monotony of honey production.
Jet2 cancelled our flight with just two weeks to go. We thought we had got away with it this time – we have already seen four flights cancelled this year.
And just in case you think I gallivant all over the world non-stop like a millionaire, I kept booking the same couple of trips with different airlines in the hope I might strike lucky eventually.
The final blow was delivered as we ate fish and chips in a seaside restaurant near Aberdeen. In an act of reckless abandon my wife and I started discussing our favourite restaurants in Lanzarote and even the dishes we would order when we arrived.
We were tempting fate, of course, but being ravenous at the time meant we could only think about food as we waited for our meal.
“It’ll be just our luck if they cancel our flight now,” my wife joked as we tucked in. Yes, you’ve guessed what comes next.
I glanced down nervously at my mobile phone. And there it was – an email from Jet2 with its familiar ominous cancellation message: “These are your options….”
My wife did not know whether to laugh or cry. I think she really wanted to cry, but we sought consolation by trying in vain to convince ourselves we would not have enjoyed our pandemic break. I think a lot of people have cried in anguish during this daily nightmare.
The P&J reported a few days ago about a woman driver, 76, who was in tears after being traumatised by Aberdeen’s woeful new “Covid-spacing” street changes, which are supposed to make us feel better.
Most days I feel the same as her while navigating around this total mess. It’s a dog’s dinner of confusion made worse by little prior public consultation.
The woman’s breakdown was symbolic of how many feel about this project, but also the bigger struggle to live our lives.
It makes you wonder whether muddling officials and politicians at all levels and corners of the UK, who are trying to protect us from Covid-19, are doing more harm than good by damaging our mental health.
They swerve erratically from feeble timidity to overreaction, along with the usual frustrating blanket government approach.
Take the sensible idea of creating air corridors to safe places within countries or being more selective about which parts of states to quarantine.
Lanzarote and the rest of the Canaries are screaming out to be treated differently to mainland Spain, with strong justification.
“You selfish so-and-so – you would say that, wouldn’t you?” I hear you say.
But when another similar cancellation, to mainland Spain instead, hit me earlier in the Covid-19 crisis I agreed it made sense at the time. For almost two months the UK Government has been under pressure to exempt islands such as the Canaries because the Foreign Office travel ban is unwarranted.
I suspect the government will relent soon, but it has dithered far too long for countless thousands, including me.
Not to be outdone, I booked the same Lanzarote villa again for October. What was that? I’ve gone completely mad, you think? But I mean October next year, not next month.
Surely a vaccine will have been rolling off the shelves for months by then and the “war” against Covid-19 might be almost over?
We can dream – it might keep us sane.