I am bemused by how many people appear to be enjoying lockdown – and talk as though it might be a new way forward.
The new era whereby work is something that we did, do you remember? Or that work is something we do – but we now do it from home. How civilised and fine for lawyers and best-selling authors – but not so good for taxi drivers or the people who pick our fruit, or stock the shelves...
And not much consideration either for the people who hoped to retire this year nor for the debt we are hitching on to the back of our young people, not to mention the millions of people who are losing their jobs. As many as 30 million people in the US alone.
That said, I too am enjoying lockdown - to a point.
I have nice accommodation. We have a garden where I can feed my birds and potter during our unseasonably beautiful weather in London. We even have a garden room! Household members each have their own bedroom, although Nikki and I still choose to share but even then we have options if one of us (her) finally decides to call time. And by and large, we are a happy household although my jokes and general eccentricities are definitely waning and despite their pleas, I can’t seem to rein it in either.
And despite not being able to do any shows – I have kept myself busy. Skirting boards have been painted. You’ve seen the bird table already and I can now access my shed and even find a few things.
And I am writing of course – which I hope is noticeable but I mention it anyway. I have significantly upped my blog and pod quota (you’re welcome), I’m curating a new venture on Patreon (thank you to all my followers) and of course embarking on writing my new novel - which is proceeding at a decent pace – Chapter 7 completed and about to be posted online - and is set to become a worldwide smash…
My sense of delusion remains undiminished BTW – and hardly needs pointing out.
And yet I am desperate for lockdown to end and the world to begin turning and churning again. And yes, to get back to my day job. Back on stage again to face the lights and the darkness.
But also, to welcome back the more mundane. To sit in a pub again with a pint of beer and a bunch of mates to enjoy a good old moan with. Or to hug my mum again because telling her that ‘I love her’ just feels hollow by comparison.
And being an avid but poor golfer, I’ve missed the game and my opportunity to improve!
And yet since the golf courses have reopened, it hasn’t been the green idyll I had imagined.
I have played three times already – and each time with Tom because of restrictions with club memberships and only two players (two balls) being allowed.
You would think that after such a long layoff, that these rounds would be extra special. The father and son moments that make everything worth it. All the parental sacrifices that are required. The sleepless nights. The hours on the touchline. The hours coaching and encouraging. And the rebuking our children because it’s necessary and no matter that they hate us for it. Being prepared not to be their best friend. That’s a pitfall that is always best avoided.
And years later then - just two guys out on the course – teeing it up and giving it a bash.
Which is exactly what has happened on every occasion – me taking a very heavy bashing at the hands of my son. At the game I am supposed to love and by a young man I supposed...
It’s a funny thing, masculinity. Given that I introduced all my boys to this game. I bought them kit and coached them and I suffered their tantrums, it might be a source of pride to watch their balls sale 70 yards beyond mine and finally to disappear below ground in far less shots than I can manage.
And yet I strain every sinew to prevent this from happening. I try with all my mite to beat Tom, Sam or Harry and yet, the harder I try, the heavier my defeat.
And not just on the course but in life and show biz also because in-between shots, Tom fields calls from agents about filming schedules and other exciting matters – during which I tinker with my grip and try and come up with reasons not to top myself.
Strictly speaking, phones are not allowed on the golf course but there is dispensation for me since my phone hasn’t rung for years now.
In fact, the only Holland boy I can now beat at golf is Paddy and guess what? He won’t play me anymore. He refuses, as though he senses my need but is unwilling to oblige. How did I raise someone so cruel?
I am fortunate then that my lovely wife has accepted my invitation to take up this venerable game. Before lockdown she began lessons with a friend of hers and our local pro. It will be great if she really takes to the game. We can have holidays together with the boys and finally around the dinner table, Nikki will be able to contribute to the incessant golf chat.
And I say this in the full confidence that I will always have a member of the Holland household I can beat.
Unless that is, she one day decides that the spare bedroom is of interest to her – whereupon I will start deliberately missing putts.
But not a word to her, eh?