Hair, holidays and hugs are what I'm planning after lockdown - Christa Ackroyd

This week I was very tempted to slap on the blue woad Braveheart style, jump on my daughter’s horse and ride around the countryside shouting ‘Freeeeeedom’ at the top of my voice. Then I realised I would probably get arrested.

Robert Eaton prepares for the reopening of his Leeds Russell Eaton salon after the first lockdown last year. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

But Mel Gibson impersonations aside, this week I feel lighter, brighter and more positive than I have done in months. Now we can start to plan for a future which until Monday seemed only a pipe dream.

Boris’s timetable is not set in stone, but the train is finally moving and we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

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So back to the future. For me it is all about the three H’s. First hair. Yes, I know it’s frivolous, you may even call me vain (with some justification) but anything will be better than continuing to hack off chunks of my barnet with the kitchen scissors before slapping on a supermarket colour while missing huge patches at the back, although I do feel my husband’s new nickname of ‘badger’ is somewhat uncalled for. Nevertheless, the word ‘hairdresser’ is writ large on my calendar for April 12.

Then comes holidays. “Where would you like to go,” asked a friend? “Further than the end of my street,” was my answer. I don’t care where. Just a change of scenery will do just fine and let’s be honest, a night in Whitby will seem like the holiday of a lifetime when it happens. So that’s the plan. Providing we are on track for one-family staycations again by the same date.

Remember I am an optimist. When we do finally get away, I have it all planned out. On the way, whatever the weather, we will stop at our favourite pub and eat a meal outside. Because we will be able to. Oh, to eat someone else’s food. It’s not that I am a bad cook. I am simply a bored cook. Oh, to eat fish and chips soaked in vinegar with a wooden fork out of the paper looking out to sea. It’s the stuff lockdown dreams have been made of. I can taste it now.

But holidays and hair cuts mean nothing in comparison with phrase three of my lockdown escape route. Because written on my calendar towards the end of June and encircled with a massive heart is just one word. ‘Hugs’. Because when that happens it will be proof that it’s over, or at least we can live with it. So non huggers beware. I’m coming for you, children and grandchildren first of course. So there you have it. Three steps to freedom...hair, holiday and hugs.

So how are we going to get there. I really don’t care as long as we do. And if that means a vaccine passport then so be it. I carry a driving licence to prove I can drive. I carry a passport if I want to leave the country. I have to have my dogs microchipped.

So a vaccine passport will hardly change my life, and to hell with my civil liberties. What on earth do you think has been happening to our civil liberties these past 12 months? And for good reason. The way of life we had taken for granted was stopped in its tracks. We were told where we could go and who we could see. How far we could travel and how far we should stay away from other people. And for months there seemed no way out. Well, I have said it before and I will say it again, the vaccine is our way out. And if I have to carry a piece of paper saying I have had one to pick up the pieces of my life I will do. For my sake and for others.

Look I know there are problems. Some will wait longer than others for the vaccine. Some won’t be able to have it for medical reasons, so a vaccine exemption certificate issued by a doctor is the obvious alternative.

But if I were a tradesman wanting to reclaim what’s left of my business, particularly if I plied my trade in other people’s homes, I would be adding the fact I had been vaccinated on my business card and website.

People are going to be cautious and anything which eases them back into society is worth considering. If I was an elderly lady (stop right there with the jokes) and I had been on my own for months, I would certainly feel safer inviting someone into my house who had made the effort to prove to me they were safe.

I don’t agree with the Pimlico plumbers of this world saying ‘no vaccine, no job’ but I certainly would apply that condition if I were running a hospital or a nursing home. Part of the job you have applied for is to look after those in your care safely. And that means protecting others from this terrible virus which has attacked the weak, the vulnerable and the seriously ill.

As far as major events are concerned if I wouldn’t go as far as a vaccine certificate, I would certainly be calling for on the spot rapid testing before gaining entry. It’s one or the other for now at least.

To those who won’t take up the jab because they don’t believe it’s safe, well that’s up to you. Nineteen million or so have done and no one has died. And before you say, how do we know?

Let me say this. There is no way with the online and media attention surrounding the vaccine programme we would not learn of serious illness, or even worse, from having the vaccine if it were happening. So it isn’t.

Of course if every adult in this country just agreed to it we wouldn’t need to even consider proof of vaccination. Though I suspect all but the die hard anti vaxxers will finally have one if it means they can fly away on holiday.

And that, I think, will be a condition of foreign travel for some time to come. Good. Because judging by the slow progress other countries are making with their own vaccination programmes I want to ensure as few people as possible bring it back here again.

Until then a vaccination certificate is the least of my worries. I’ll leave that tricky decision to the Government. All I want is my freedom back, whatever it takes. Now pass me the blue face paint and saddle up that there horse.