'Ready to enjoy our beautiful county once again' - reporters look forward to restrictions lifting on April 12

Non-essential shops will reopen on April 12.

Non-essential shops will reopen on April 12. - Credit: Archant

As the beer begins to flow and the tills begin to ring once again on Monday, our journalists say what they can't wait to get back to.

From Monday restrictions will lift allowing pubs, gyms, non-essential shops and many more businesses and attractions to reopen for the first time in months.

Donna-Louise Bishop, 35, community life correspondent

Donna-Louise Bishop, 35, of Cawston, is the community life correspondent for Archant Norfolk.

Donna-Louise Bishop, 35, of Cawston, is the community life correspondent for Archant Norfolk. - Credit: Donna-Louise Bishop

It’s the simple things in life, but I can’t wait to be able to take the boys out somewhere where we can have a proper family day out. 

A cream tea at Blickling Hall, screaming with enjoyment on the rides at Pettitts Adventure Park, or tucking into donuts on Great Yarmouth’s seafront while counting how many Joyland tokens we have left. 

We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy picnics at our local park but after the hundredth time of doing that, we’re ready to enjoy our beautiful county once again – and perhaps with even more gratitude and thankfulness than before.

Chris Lakey, 60, head of sport

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It’s all very well people, saying ‘you’ve got a great head of hair for your age (cheeky)’, but after more than three months without a trim, it does start to get on your nerves. 

I’ve missed football with crowds, I’ve missed visiting family, and I have missed a few birthday parties. And I have missed Paul Brown. The only man I trust to stand next to me with a sharp instrument. 

Given he texted me the moment the blond bombshell put a big X on April 12 as the day barbers’ shops could open again, I guess he sees a profit in trying to do something with the thatch I’ve been carrying around. Rumour is he’s bagging it up for a local taxidermist who has a giraffe to stuff for a wedding present. Don’t believe a word. 

But for however long it takes, I shall enjoy the moments as Paul weaves his magic... it will be ‘shear’ delight. 

Charles Bliss, 30, features writer

Charles Bliss outside an onsen in Nozawa, Japan

Charles Bliss outside an onsen in Nozawa, Japan - Credit: Charles Bliss

I’m dying to resume my membership at Nuffield Health in Norwich. It was last open on Christmas Eve and I have been craving it every day since. I’ve struggled to exercise at home during the winter lockdown and can’t wait to dip my feet in the swimming and spa pools.

Let me at it.

Tom Bristow, 34, investigations editor

Tom Bristow and his son George.

Tom Bristow and his son George. - Credit: Tom Bristow

My son, George, was born on December 2 - the day the country’s second lockdown expired (remember that one?).

For a couple of confused weeks, we could introduce him to family and friends before another lockdown loomed. 

Now 18 weeks old, he has spent all but two weeks of his life in some sort of lockdown. 

He won’t remember this time, of course, but we’ve missed out on the things new parents look forward to - taking him to his first swimming classes, going to parent and baby groups and travelling to different parts of the country to meet relatives.

Half of his family are in Scotland, including all of his cousins, and come the end of this month, we think we’ll finally be allowed to travel up there.

From Monday, all children’s activities indoors can start again. Hanging out in a community hall with lots of other screaming babies is not something many people look forward to, but for us it will be a huge step on the way to giving him a 'normal' babyhood. 

Liz Coates, 51, senior reporter

Liz Coates, 51, senior reporter

Liz Coates, 51, senior reporter - Credit: Liz Coates

I love walking and I love pubs.

I have done plenty of the former, almost obsessively during lockdown, but none - of course - of the latter.

Combining the two will be a marvellous thing, just as the weather starts to warm up.

There are few things more enjoyable than striding out across our glorious countryside and coast and finding a lovely beer garden with a classic pub menu (preferably a circular route for maximum satisfaction). 

It doesn't even need to have a view.

A pub walk is definitely the thing I have missed the most.

A walk on its own is good exercise but add in a pub and it's a whole new level of refreshment-based pleasure.

So, I can't wait to go back to some of Norfolk's wonderful walking pubs for a much-missed pint, one of the great joys of living in our rural county.

Rosemary Dixon, librarian

In one word, spontaneity!

Spur of the moment decisions to take the high road elsewhere.

The delicious freedom of observing the weather one fine morning and deciding to take a trip to, say, Suffolk or beyond.

The prospect at a moment's notice of an alfresco meal somewhere other than one's back garden or even, daringly, inside a pub, cafe or restaurant.

Unscheduled visits from friends and families who, on the spot, are invited to stay for a coffee, maybe even lunch.

Browsing bookshops or second-hand stalls and markets, with no fixed purpose or intention to buy.

Serendipity in all its multifarious forms.