Am I the only one who, when this all began in March, believed that things would be 'normal' by the summer?
That we'd be able to take uninterrupted holidays, trips to the cinema, attend concerts and comedy gigs, even simply just venture out of an evening without much thought and at least for me, I'd be back to doing what I love; speaking onstage at events.
Of course none of this has happened and now we're starting to think, okay, right, maybe by Christmas..?
So here we are, in what appears to be an infinite cycle of uncertainty. A cycle that I confess I find hard to imagine ending.
I'm struggling with the absence of hope. Not even in the grand sense, but the lack of hope for things to come. Our years usually run to a rhythm, broken up with festivities and celebrations, which, during darker, tougher days give us something to look forward to.
Sadly with the Covid-19 pandemic our summer plans were blighted and now as the leaves change from green to brown and the festive season also looks to be disrupted, it's tough to find the hope.
However, as I reflect over the past year, I realise I am profoundly lucky. Yes, we too, like many, have lost people close to us, we have struggled with work and felt trapped by the lack of spontaneity and freedom.
But on the positive side, my wife and I have developed little routines, some daft, but important none the less, which have given us small glimmers of light. Small things to look forward to during the week, really enjoying the simple pleasures.
My favourite new routine has become making hummus. I don't know why or where the idea came from, but Saturday is now Homemade Hummus Day.
I found a basic recipe by Jamie Oliver but added my own twist to it by adding fried onions to bring extra depth and deliciousness to it.
Homemade Hummus Day Recipe
2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and save some chickpeas for decoration)
4 tsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coriander or parsley leaves (optional)
2 onions, diced
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle of chili flakes
Add the onion, a quarter of the garlic, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, sugar and a dash of salt and pepper into a frying pan. Fry for 30 minutes until crispy and golden then blitz in the blender.
Add the chickpeas and liquid, lemon juice, garlic, paprika if using, a good pinch of salt, the tahini and extra virgin olive oil
Blitz until creamy
Garnish with coriander and/or parsley leaves, saved chickpeas and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Serve with cucumber, carrots, bread, peppers or whatever you like!
Eat with gusto
The weird thing is that these Saturdays have become something we really look forward to!
I'm not saying it has to be hummus, you can dip your pitta in to whatever you like but the important thing to remember is that we haven’t lost control of everything and that by creating little sparks of joy throughout your week you might just start to feel a little more hope.
It doesn't need to be grandiose and I know it can never replace all the special festivities we might have missed or can no longer do but this little routine gives me something to look forward to during the week and that's made all the difference, so maybe it's something worth trying.