Happy New Tier

‘It’s like the Last Supper,’ Spanish John said behind his mask as he passed our table at a safe distance.

We’d booked into the Lush Places pub at the last minute for a meal yesterday after hearing the Prime Minister’s announcement that by midnight, Dorset would be moved up from Tier 2 to Tier 3, scuppering New Year’s Eve parties everywhere.

It’s hugely disappointing although inevitable. We’ve all got to do our bit for the greater good. But I feel so desperately sorry for local, independent businesses which are in danger of going under.

And all those schoolchildren and teachers, not knowing their arses from their elbows.

Here in Lush Places, we’ll support the pub as best we can by ordering takeaway meals. It’s the least we can do, until we perhaps go up a tier or there’s a national lockdown.

I was all set to take the dogs to the beach this morning until it dawned on me that this pleasure is now restricted because everyone in Tier 3 needs to stay within their own community.

So the girls and I set off up the hill until I made the mistake of letting Ruby off halfway up. She was gone for forty minutes, chasing pheasants and squirrels in the undergrowth on the common, with occasional forays around the field where I was standing just to let me know she wasn’t far away.

She finally came back, tail wagging and teeth chattering. It’s cold out there today. The upside is the countryside looks beautiful.

Tonight, as the church clock strikes midnight and everyone would usually be coming out of the pub in a conga to join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne in a big circle and then kissing friends and neighbours, Mr Grigg and I might just go out in our masks and pyjamas and say a quiet hello to the Cold Moon as it wanes its way into 2021.

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to better times on the horizon.

Keep safe.

Love, Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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