Cafés. Remember them? Not so long ago that we could meet a friend for a coffee and a cake, or perk up a trip to the shops with a timely cup of tea…

In fact, it was a week ago today that the UK government closed all sit-down dining venues, including restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafeterias. You could get a take-away latte but to get comfortable and have a catch-up became forbidden. In case you caught something more than the news.

As the country remains eerily quiet under the lockdown, it’s hard to recall that sitting next to someone was something we actively did by choice. Now, it’s difficult to look back on our actions without something like alarm.

People shaking hands and hugging? Sharing dishes and clinking each other’s wine glasses? Those things feel like a small hymn to a long-vanished, rose-scented idyll. TWO METRES APART, people! PUT SOME GLOVES ON. WHERE IS YOUR MASK?

A sharing platter? Are you INSANE?

Ah, that Joni Mitchell moment. We really don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone.

And when the virus is in retreat, how many of those empty chairs and tables will still be waiting for us?


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