From red carpet to real life…SUSANNA REID

From red carpet to real life…SUSANNA REID: Why do I feel I’m the only person still following the Covid rules?

  • Susanna Reid went to uni in Bristol and is embarrassed she wasn’t more clued up 
  • The TV presenter asks if she is the only one still trying to follow the Covid rules  
  • She said was hard seeing Kate Garraway talking about her husband’s condition 

One of my friends went to a barbecue at the weekend, but found herself scratching her head when it turned out three families had jumped at the invite and, with children, the party added up to 14 guests.

The Government stipulates you can meet five people so that was one rule broken even before the corks were popped. But, of course, it would have been rude to turn their backs on their host and drive home.

And, in any case, Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely had done the same thing a few weeks before, and he’s promoting the pilot track-and-trace app. If those in charge are doing it, what’s to stop the rest of us?

Reader, my friend stayed. After a few glasses of wine, things got worse. Social distancing attempts seemed pointless as each guest shared salad servers and plates. Then a thunderstorm meant everyone was driven indoors.

Susanna Reid said she feels embarrassed to be such a stickler when she sees the way some of her friends are relaxing their attitudes 

‘Does it make a difference that we kept the door open?’ she wailed to me afterwards. I don’t think a mass gathering in the conservatory is quite what the Government had in mind.

Am I the only one who’s still trying to follow all the rules? I feel embarrassed to be such a stickler when I see the way some of my friends are relaxing their attitudes.

I’ve noticed a growing horde of people who consider lockdown pretty much over. Skipping over to the neighbours, a nod to social distancing by not hugging, before cracking open a bottle of rosé and thinking, ‘what the heck, we’re all in it together’?

I can’t bring myself to join them. This is where I am, and it feels like it’s becoming an increasingly lonely place. The gradual lifting of lockdown has left us in limbo. And with all of us in our own camps when it comes to following, or bending, the rules, it’s hard to know where you are, even with your family.

At least my friend was invited to a party. I haven’t had any invitations, I suspect because my friends realise I would turn them down. But I do keep hearing about them. I feel like putting my fingers in my ears when I’m told about garden parties that turn into dinner parties and the refrain, ‘oh, no one’s taking any notice of the lockdown now’.

Does this make me guilty by association? I know my friends are mostly respectful of the rules, but I can see some of them becoming irritable that I’m more of an uptight stickler as relaxation spreads.

I’m sure some people have been inclined to break out because of the ‘Dominic Cummings effect’. Perhaps they have seen the mass protests and sunny beach trips and decided a small gathering in the living room is relatively low risk.

For MY part, I am nervously beginning to take advantage of seeing loved ones outside in gardens and in the park, all fully within the guidelines. I want it to feel normal, but it’s a strain.

Last week, I met up for a walk with a friend who thinks she had Covid-19 in March and there was a lot to catch up on. But it was a weird, slightly tense experience as I mentally measured two metres as we navigated narrow paths together. Groups around us had no such compunction —there was free-flowing contact and I envied them.

I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse for us Lockdown Loners as the rules get looser, with pubs, bars and restaurants possibly open in less than a fortnight.

Already the cracks are getting wider in the logic of it all. How does it make sense that I can go into a TV studio four days a week and sit two metres from my co-host and four camera operators, but I can’t leave Television Centre and walk down the road to my best friend’s family kitchen?

Our basic need for human connection is at the bottom of the priority list but, yesterday, a ray of hope emerged as the Government eased social distancing to allow ‘support bubbles’, so people living alone can join the bubble of another household.

Single parents and single grandparents can stay overnight with their relatives from Saturday.

At last, some humanity has crept into the rules. Although it will lead to some painful choices, such as elderly parents having to choose between their adult children. But at least there will be hugs again.

Now come on Boris, expand the bubble to a wider group.


Those trendy maxis make me look pregnant

They are the look of the summer, a modern dress that covers a multitude of sins. But at 5 ft 4 in and and curvy, I look swamped in a maxi.

I’ve tried the broderie anglaise- style that makes me look like I’m getting married; the crumpled cheesecloth that resembles an Edwardian nightdress; and a neck-to-ankle floral number that I could smuggle friends and family inside.

Granted, they cover up the extra lockdown pounds, but I look full-term pregnant.

I ordered some online but, with a heavy heart, only kept the midi, pictured. Pop two tent poles in them and I could go camping!

The TV presenter ordered some maxi dresses online but, with a heavy heart, only kept the midi, pictured

Trust me, your support means everything to my friend Kate 

Watching my friend Kate Garraway describing her husband Derek Draper’s condition on Good Morning Britain was heartbreaking.

She has such strength even to be able to put into words what she and their children are going through.

Derek, pictured with Kate, has been in intensive care for almost three months after contracting Covid-19 in March.

Derek, pictured with Kate, has been in intensive care for almost three months after contracting Covid-19 in March

Kate is hoping for a miracle in his recovery and for him to break through.

After her moving interview, so many people got in touch with Good Morning Britain to send their support. They were moved to tears at her anguish, but inspired by her courage.

Derek is a strong, clever, insightful man devoted to his gorgeous wife and children.

Kate feels stronger just by knowing that all our support is there.

A painful reckoning 

I spent my university days 30 years ago in Bristol studying politics. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t more clued up about its slave-trading past.

In protests last weekend, the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston, pictured, was toppled into the harbour where he moored his hideously cruel ships, which trafficked tens of thousands of West African men, women and children. And the city’s concert venue Colston Hall has committed to finding a new name.

I doubt that’s the end of Bristol’s reckoning with its painful past.

In protests last weekend, the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston, pictured, was toppled into the harbour where he moored his hideously cruel ships

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