I hate lying to you guys. I do. But for the past week, I’ve actually been back in London and the reason I haven’t shouted about it is, well it should be obvious really. It’s funny times at the moment. I didn’t really know what I was coming back to upon arrival. Throughout my entire time at home for Christmas it seemed like my whole friend group was in isolation. So many people advised, “just wait and come back late Jan,” “enjoy the open air and the dogs,” or “let this new strain run its course before coming home.” But, since I’m a stubborn old mule, I didn’t want to delay my plans for returning.
I arrived the day before New Year’s Eve and did an at home PCR test, so I had to wait for results to come back after mailing the sample through the post. I had already more or less decided 2022 was a year to be tip toed into anyway, so I just accepted that I’d be quarantining through NYE. What I wasn’t expecting, and I don’t know why I was this naive, was that the entirety of West London would be out partying until 7:30am! I’m old. It’s official. I put a sleep mask on, earpods in, and buried myself in my pillows for the duration. I was basically playing the game of pretending it was a normal day like any other because for the past two years, when I’ve made a big deal of the year ahead, things haven’t gone to plan. This was my new approach. In reality, I ended up once again with very little sleep but no happy memories with friends to make that sleep worth it. So damn it, 2022, you better deliver. Kidding, of course. Not taking any chances here… 2022, you just do you!
To bring you up to date, it’s been a quiet start. Like I said, the first part of that was intentional, the second part not so much. I’ve come back and it seems like 90% of my friends have been struck down with “The Vid.” This new transformer-named variant is sweeping across London at the moment and my meetings for the first week were, in the most part, completely cancelled. If I’m being honest, I’m being as careful as possible, but I fully expect that my time being “Omi” free may soon come to an end here in the big city.
In my head, I keep thinking I need to be one week ahead in everything just in case. One week of content always needs to be in my back pocket. That’s what I did coming over to London. I made sure I had a week of Lowcountry stuff to throw your way just in case the worst happened on the flight over and I tested positive upon my return.
I gotta tell you… I hate this way of working. I know we all do. We’re sick and tired of it. We want this to be over, we want things to be back to normal. And I guess, I wanted to talk about that a bit before this year officially kicks into gear. Because, unless I have to, I’m not just going to be sitting in this flat creating shopping guides for 2022. That’s not why you’re here. That’s not why I’m here. And the bottom line is this, none of us know how long we’re here for so we can’t waste away the time. Now I realise that comes with conditions. So let me add this…
I’m gonna get out there. I’m going to be careful. I’m triple vaxxed. I wear masks when required and often times even when not. I take all the precautions we’re being advised to take. But, I’m also getting on that airplane. I’m also going to that restaurant that lost 75% of its bookings over the Christmas period. And I’m going to be sharing every last second of it here, with you all.
The world has stopped for long enough. Hospitality and travel have been stabbed numerous times, often times in the back, throughout the past two years. I’ve watched as restaurants have closed, as staff numbers have been halved, as businesses have teetered on the brink of death, and I’m not going to watch anymore. Unless a government body tells me “you are legally not allowed to do this,” or a test comes back that is “positive” and clearly means I am putting others at risk with my presence, this is going to be a year of adventure!
So, buckle up. London, I’m back. But God willing, on January 17th, I’m on my first plane ride leading to a great adventure very far away…
But for now, and these next two weeks, I’m going to give you all the post-Christmas London love you can stomach, so come ready and hungry for all things Big Smoke.