A Post-Lockdown Walk Around South Queensferry
This week, however, brought a text message from the government letting us know that Terry’s shielding guidelines have been almost completely lifted (I think the only thing he’s NOT supposed to do that the rest of us can is eat inside a restaurant, although apparently sitting outside one is A-OK…), so we decided to brave a trip to somewhere a little bit busier than our usual haunts.
The little town of South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, is one of our favourite places for a stroll: so much so, in fact, that we even got married there – a fact that totally devastated Max when I cheerfully relayed it to him in the car on the way there. “But I don’t WANT to get married, mummy!” he wailed. And then there was a long and complicated conversation about marriage, and why that would not be happening to any of us that day. Yes.
He cheered up, however, when he saw how many little sweet shops there are in the town, and was completely won over when we agreed to buy him something from one of them: an event which was a pretty big deal for Terry and me too, actually, given that it was the first time any of us had been inside an OMGSHOP, since MARCH. MARCH, people.
I mean, I know everyone’s much too cool to even mention the whole “global pandemic” thing any more, but I, of course, have never been cool, which is why my mind is still completely blown by the fact that Terry had to wait five months, and then put on a face mask, in order to buy a lollipop for his kid, while Max and I waited outside, making sure we stayed at least 2 metres away from any passers-by. I mean, how nuts is THAT, seriously?
I don’t mean to imply that I have any issue with the mask-wearing, by the way, because I absolutely don’t. It’s just that it’s all so surreal to me still that I can’t help but mention it, even though everyone else is totally OVER the whole thing by now. Like, I still can’t believe that the words, “Terry’s allowed to go into shops again,” came out of my mouth this week, as if that was a completely normal development to be updating people on, you know?
Also, because I am really freaking tedious about all of this, I spend a LOT of times these days saying things like, “Imagine if the LAST time we came here, someone had told us that the NEXT time we were here, we’d have to wear facemasks to go into shops!” And then Terry has to nod at this amazing observation, and then make this face, so I know he’s thinking carefully about what I just said, even though he’s 100% just thinking about Call of Duty or something:
As for Max, meanwhile, I’ve no idea why he’s looking so quizzical here (Or, indeed, why he appears to be at least 32 all of a sudden…) , but I DO know it’s probably not anything pandemic-related, because, sad though it is to say it, this is all totally normal to him. He did ask why daddy was wearing a mask to go into the shop, but calmly accepted my explanation that it was to “protect him from The Germs,” and hasn’t mentioned it since.
He seemed completely oblivious to the people we passed in face masks, which I was really glad about: I was a bit worried that it would seem scary to him to see people with their faces covered, but nope, he took it completely in his stride, thus proving the power of a Really Good Lollipop to distract you from just about anything.
Once we’d walked through the town (Which Max actually really enjoyed, on account of his fascination with “old houses”, right now. We’ve no idea where it came from, but he always wants to know if the buildings we pass are OLD or not, and, in a place like South Queensferry High Street the answer is almost always “yes”…), we headed down onto the beach, to forage for sea glass, and pretend to be in the Famous Five…
In pre-pandemic times (Or “precedented times”, as I now think of them…) you can get boat rides from here, or eat at one of the many little restaurants scattered along the High Street. For now, though, we just thanked our stars that toddlers have the ability to find endless interest in just about anything: the pebbled beach might not have been quite as interesting as Max’s lollipop, obviously, but it came pretty close – and that was good enough for us. For now.
So, it might not have been exactly the kind of visit we’re used to, but it was still a pretty good one: and, who knows, maybe NEXT time we go to South Queensferry, I’ll be able to bore Terry yet again, by saying something like, “Remember the last time we came here? Could you even have imagined how much better things would be this time?” Well, you have to hope, right?