Being the fan of democracy that I am, I asked Bryan what I should write about for this week’s column; he suggested the rain and then ran out of ideas. So that was as helpful as a hedgehog in a balloon factory, and I was therefore forced to do my job and think for myself – precisely what my job requires.
I’m not quite 40 – mid-June heralds a new decade – but I have been offered my jab; I don’t even need to specify any more detail, do I? It’s the Oxford / Astra Zeneca jab, and I’ve been invited to a chat before the jab at Saga to make sure it’s right for me.
One eccentric part of the system was when I needed to book both jabs in the same phone call, but there were no bookings at Saga; the nearest was in Essex. “What?” Bryan later exclaimed. “We’ve got to go to Essex for a day? Could I have chocolate?” I had to bitterly disappoint him; I could ring up and correct it before the second appointment. He sought reassurance that chocolate would be involved at some point, and I couldn’t help but think I was being conned; after all, I am the one who is having an injection.
In any case, the simple pleasures in life continue to be what I love the most; a haircut is very satisfying, especially after so much time away. Bryan was always very reluctant to let me loose on his hair, as he didn’t want a repeat of the razor crop he had during Lockdown One, but it had got to the point recently when “needs must”, and he finally conceded to me having a go on his hair with my clippers.
There are times in everyone’s life when they make a mistake, and I did then; I should not have said “yes”. I had shaved Bryan’s hair before, but never when it was so long; I misjudged my abilities (very scant) and nearly butchered his entire hair. In the end, my mother (who I phoned desperately seeking advice on how to salvage a terrible situation) came up and stared wordlessly at it for a moment before making a faux-silk purse out of a sow’s ear. It was entirely manageable for the next few weeks of school – thank heavens.
On Friday just gone, Matt’s Headroom was our destination after school; I have been going to that barber shop – and seeing Matt & Gavin even before that, when they worked for Malcolm’s Barbers – for nearly three decades. They were able to rescue his hair like the experts they were and ensure it looked perfect; Bryan was delighted, and so I was – I know that I will never be asked to cut Bryan’s hair again, and that’s probably for the best.
I am finding that our weeks are filling up again now as things start to reopen; Bryan has swimming and dancing every week (two lessons he is obsessed by), and it’s lovely to be able to give him those opportunities. But I do find myself missing a few small aspects of lockdown; the slower pace from time to time, and it makes me appreciate how much I want to teach Bryan that as well – how to slow down and enjoy the sound of birds and the sight of a sunset. Being a parent in lockdown has given me more skills; if I can homeschool him for more months than I care to imagine, then I cope with pretty much anything. I am not as anxious now as I was when Bryan first came home, and our relationship has strengthened a lot – I couldn’t ask for much else.