Few things have made people appreciate the simple pleasures of life than the restrictions everyone has had to put up with during the pandemic for more than a year.
Whether it is one’s own garden or bits of local greenery in those ‘stay at home’ times, the rediscovered joys of reading, or the simple enjoyment of sitting outside the pub enjoying a drink, everything people have been able to do, whenever they have been able to do it, has been a cause for celebration.
Now, however, things are getting serious, or perhaps seriously fun. With vaccinations continuing at a rapid rate while infections, hospital admissions and deaths continue to fall - the latter to single figures - prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that there will be a further easing of lockdown on May 17th.
The biggest headline-grabbing element of that will be that people have the option of hugging those they don’t live with or are in a bubble with. Alongside this is the fact that up to six people can meet indoors and as many as 30 can gather together outside.
All that means there could be some great reunions this month, with long-awaited hugs exchanged, some fine meals enjoyed together and a few backyard barbecues, weather-permitting. People can even stay overnight, so it’s a good idea to get something in for breakfast as well.
If you are planning such a gathering, now is a great time to buy bulk food orders, getting in items like baps, burgers and sausages, veg, sauces, cheese, soft drinks and snacks and everything else that will go into making a great party or barbecue.
That is not all, of course; If 30 people can gather, that means picnics in the park are in order, or getting groups together to go walking in a group, for which some hearty food and drink will be required to keep energy levels up. Another option is to enjoy outdoor theatre, taking some tasty snacks along while enjoying a great show on a sunny early summer evening.
When it comes to the bargain foods we have available, there’s everything from cereals and pasta to biscuits and crisps.
Of course, there are some folk who have novel ideas about some of these things. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow recently issued the strange revelation that she “went off the rails” during lockdown by eating bread and pasta, as if this were some truly terrible confession.
Most of us, however, are not celebrities with odd ideas of what constitutes having it tough. The reality is a bit of comfort food is no bad thing in hard times. Nor, of course, is something tasty and suited to a party when things are getting better.
So while eating properly may seem like a bad idea for some celebrities, now is a time to get some food in and be ready to entertain, to enjoy the sound and smell of meat sizzling on the barbecue, to enjoy a drink, share a hug and really feel like life is coming back.