Its hard to make sense of the fact that some people who I would like to spend the day with are only a mile or so away and yet I cannot do the most natural thing of dropping down the road to say hello with them. Today is my Birthday and for all sorts of strange reasons, a few months ago some of my closest friends and my family suggested we could have a celebration that was supposed to take place tomorrow at one of my friends home (because our home is not big enough). Truthfully I have never had a meaningful Birthday of that sort of scale before but this was a significant marker in my lifetime and so it seemed to make sense. So we began to invite some of my friends and many of them even agreed to come along and then as we continued to contact people COVID-19 emerged as a bit of a distraction. Then it became more than a distraction and so today instead of the last few hours of panic and preparation such as the making of the Chilli and the hiring of the various items it is a very different day. My daughter would have needed to come down from her home in London and she is very upset that she cannot get the train down here to see the rest of our family, even without a party taking place. On the other hand one of my friends who I first met 20 years ago and who is a great friend was not due to come to the party because my Birthday clashed with the date that his daughter was due to get married tomorrow in Barbados. Another friend who would not have been able to attend was due to be in Australia visiting her daughter who is having her first child and my friends first grandchild. So along with my lack of a Birthday Party a lot of other events are not taking place this weekend, or the events are taking place in a rather different way to how they were being planned a few weeks ago. The number of meetings we have participated in through Zoom and Lifesize Video Conferencing arrangements has become rather weird although we are beginning to get used to the technology and different arrangements. The clapping outside our front door on a Thursday night is emerging as a much more significant experience than what anyone could have imagined a month ago.
It may be my poor memory but I seem to have received far more Birthday wishes via LinkedIn and Facebook and by text than I recall ever before. It may be because I am celebrating a special Birthday or that like many other people, I am spending a lot more time on social media than usual and that my friends and colleagues are getting used to having far more virtual celebrations than we could have anticipated. I am very grateful in one sense that we have avoided breaking any rules or placing anyone in a difficult position. Sadly some of the people I had hoped to spend tomorrow with never even got an invitation because the C-19 emergence took place before I got in touch with them. Let us hope that an alternative opportunity will emerge, and that they will all be healthy enough to attend something in the future. Some of my friends who have young children are experiencing a very different development for their families than anything we would have imagined when our family was young. This is clearly a very strange time for all of us. Let us hope the lockdown ends very soon and that we all get fresh opportunities in the very near future!