A haircut, a hug...I’m missing the small things

PUBLISHED: 08:49 11 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 11 July 2020

It's the little things we are missing, like a haircut and a beard trim     Photo: Steven Downes

It's the little things we are missing, like a haircut and a beard trim Photo: Steven Downes


I’m excited, very excited.

Lucky them! Steven Downes is missing the small things, like having a hug         Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdLucky them! Steven Downes is missing the small things, like having a hug Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

This weekend, I am GOING FOR A BEER with my old mate Chris.

Five months ago, a pint with a pal was normal, routine, run-of-the-mill - something to look forward to, but not to get carried away over.

But I cannot wait. And it has made me realise just how much I am missing the rhythm of normal life.

Sitting inside or outside a pub, drinking a decent beer, talking rubbish with a friend I’ve known since we were four...absolute bliss.

After four months of largely being on my own, living and working in a two-up, two-down, with just my demons for company, friends and family mean more than ever.

In fact, when you analyse what you miss the most while in lockdown, the little things are actually the big things. Like these:

■ Hugging

When I was at school, boys did not hug their friends, unless they wanted homophobic bullying to come their way (sadly common in the 1980s).

Now, hugging has become the standard way of greeting someone you know. And I am a big fan.

Humans were born to be hugged - we are tremendously tactile creatures.

On the few occasions that I’ve seen a friend in recent weeks, there has been that initial awkward moment when you have to check yourself from the bear hug and end up going for an elbow bump. It leaves things incomplete, and I am looking forward to it ending.

■ Haircut and beard trim

I currently look like a ginger backing singer for the Inspiral Carpets, or a washed-up 1990s Take That tribute act.

My neat side parting has been composted by lockdown and grown like Japanese knotweed. It is getting in my eyes and on my nerves.

On Thursday, I am going to the barber to have the weed-killer-and-shears treatment. I might even be able to have my hedgerow beard trimmed and shaped, too.

I used to think nothing of it, but now I’ll savour every snip - and thoroughly enjoy that moment of emerging into the street looking streamlined.

■ Football

I don’t mean Norwich City - what they are doing at the moment is not football, it’s puffball.

I mean REAL football: a kickabout in the park, training at Sportspark, and the Holy Grail - a Sunday league match.

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Nothing beats the camaraderie, the connection, the collisions, the comedy. I’ve lost my fitness, and massively missed my mates.

I loved Newsman Celtic before lockdown: now I adore every one of them.

Last weekend, six of us met at Eaton Park and kicked a ball to each other while chatting and laughing.

■ Monthly massage

Ok, this sounds more luxury than routine, but it was a must for me.

Playing football three times a week at age 46 left me stiff and creaky: Emma’s thumbs of steel had a way of untying the knots. Pain meant gain, but now I’m as agile as a wardrobe.

The next time I lie on the massage table, there’ll be much more flesh to press and less muscle to massage.

■ Spontaneity

You know, just doing something because you feel like and because you can. Like turning a quick pint at the pub into a crawl, or getting a load of mates round to watch footie, or hopping on the bus and going somewhere, anywhere.

At the moment, understandably, it’s all too planned, too restricted, too straitjacketed.

■ Grandchildren

I’d give up all of the above and more to be able to give my new grandson a hug. He was born during lockdown, and he’s reached four months without getting the traditional cheek rash from a Granddad Beard cuddle.

Likewise his brother and sister, who I’m missing so very much.

Maybe lockdown is in some way good for us, as it has made us realise what is important. But I’m guessing we’ll soon get back to taking everything for granted.

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