Editor’s Letter: My lockdown silver linings

We’re getting there, everyone. Spring is in the air. Millions have been vaccinated. The plans are in place to open everything again. Soon we will hug everyone we love. But while we all rush to get back to normal, there are actually a few things from pandemic living that I hope stay. Such as…

Jo Elvin
  • Personal space – maybe it’s a London thing, but I do not miss harassed strangers slamming into me as they rush on by, or launching a gale-force yawn into my mouth. I’m loving people pausing on the street and respectfully giving each other a couple of metres to pass. Let’s keep that going.
  • The death of air kissing – ever since a burly stranger grabbed me and, before I knew what was happening, soaked both sides of my mouth and then announced he had the flu, well, I’m not keen. What’s wrong with a smile and a ‘nice to meet you’, eh?
  • Not blowing out birthday candles – I was ahead of my time on this one. For years I’ve endured everyone’s eye-rolling as I really couldn’t bring myself to tuck into a slice of cake after I’d watched the birthday girl or boy blow all over it, their spittle still glistening on my frosting. Let’s cherish this new-found appreciation for hygiene and our precious immunity. (Besides, the amount of candles I need is getting expensive.)
  • Bra-lessness – straps that fall down past your shirt sleeve all day. Metal bits that dig into your back and under boob. The cheapest ones are around £20. WHY on earth did we ever decide these things were so important? Sometimes I think the only purpose a bra serves is to provide the euphoric feeling of relief you get from ripping it off at the end of the day. We didn’t need them to work from home, so why do we need them to work anywhere else? Enough, I say.
  • Elastic waistbands – something tells me that while the pandemic has been a boom time for all manner of athleisure and loungewear, the fashion industry will stage the most violent volte-face we’ve ever seen in favour of high waists, drainpipe legs, ankle-breaking stilettos, probably even damned corsets. I hope you will stand firm with me against this collective assault on our comfort.

But seriously, do you know what I really hope we retain when we finally escape this locked-down life? I hope we continue to really see one another and to notice those who really need us to notice them. I feel that for the first time in many, many years, we’ve stopped to think about the invisible grafters in our midst. Those who keep the wheels on our society, for not much in the way of recognition or money. People such as frontline health workers, shop staff, those who clean our streets and show up day after day to keep our transport moving. I’m thinking, particularly as I write this, about full-time carers. Rochelle Bugg, on page 46, putting her life on hold to nurse her mother before the pandemic made me think yet again of those – particularly young people – who sacrifice so much for the loved ones in their lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if, after we’re free of all this, we don’t forget that many people’s truly difficult lives will still be difficult. In the past year we’ve had such an outpouring of appreciation, of donations, of clapping in the streets, of giving up our spaces in supermarket queues, or raising hell when people are going broke just from parking at their workplace.

I think a combination of all of the above is a future I’m truly excited about.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

Boden knocks it out of the park again with a nice mix of comfy and quirky. Trainers, £65, boden.co.uk

A chic retreat for the boss of my house. Pet bed, £27.99, zara.com

With heels or trainers, this will always look spring fresh. Dress, £69, Mix/Cefinn, next.co.uk