O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

We Regret to Announce an Interruption to our normal program

Toon Traveller vs The Lockdown

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent for outsideleft.com
Things never noticed in March, now missed...

Covid will pass, death tolls fall, 
hospital beds empty, jobs restart.

Businesses will fail, 
Banks will recover furloughed  payments, 
Jobs. Some will be lost forever. 

Future Tax increases endured, 
Price increases complained about, 
But borne resentfully, painfully.

But what am I looking forward to? 
Easy to say, like online dreamers, 
Better rewards for today’s key workers, 
Better welfare support, 
More housing, 
Renewed appreciation of the world, 
More Green Energy, 
Serious carbon capture,
A life of Quality not Quantity. 

It’s the up close and personal that really matter, 
the things missed, 
Anticipating, child like at Christmas, 
their all too welcome return.  
Things revelled in, treasured, loved, and now lost, gone but not forgotten. 
Things never noticed in March, now missed like a youthful love, as May turns to June. 

Gigs? still got the tickets. 
Football, fixture fixated, anticipating a hyped frenetic return. 

I expected to miss  pubs, quizzes and beers, chatters and laughs, 
and yes the mad wrong answers, haven’t got a clue jokes, 
tunes on the ears’ edge, the tongue’s tip,  buried in memory cul de sac of age. 

All great BUT it’s the preliminaries, the greetings, hugs, embraces, 
precious memories so human,
so warm, these will be gone eons longer than lockdown.  
Their return, a different normality, a slight freeze from me, that hesitancy between hugger and hugged, 
I’ve got lingering doubts, fears, we all have.  
This warmth I fear will be a long time gone before it’s return, in even an arm to shoulder touch. 

When the last lockdown lifts 
and, cinemas, bars, clubs, reopen  
they’ll be welcomed like lost friends, with open arms, mouth, stomach, and wallet. 
I’ll pass the first night, first pint, first fight, first crisps and curry at night’s end. 

It will NOT be ‘welcome back old friend’ with a salutational  raised glass to ANY pub,
 but a raised coffee cup, “Saluti Adriano’s Cafe”, 
Gosforth High Street, in the heart of Tyneside’s Muesli belt. 
Adriano’s window on the high street world, 
premium window stool, 
Guardian on the shelf, 
Cappuccino in hand, 
panna cotta on the plate, 
calories and cholesterol NEVER tasted so good. 
So it’s the food? Partly. The coffee? As good as any.  The seats, an average bar stool.  
So, what makes it the most treasured, missed and passionately chased place for my new normality? 

The babble of Italian staff’s chatter, 
the saucer and spoon’s singing chink, 
the scream of steam in a cup, 
the low sound of Italian TV, 
tourist posters for Milan, Verona.  
Roma and Fiorentina  scarves, wall strung.  
Napoli shirt, signed Maradona and  framed San Siro photos, 
Expresso memories , Birra, pasta, and amaretto, sunshine. 
Dirt cheap rambling, stumbling, stuttering trains. 
Fields, hay sheathed, trees vined, wined, and olive groved.  
Check clothed tables, anti-pasta, gelaeto, and limeonchello, delights, ahhh  taglatelli, Tarragon, and Tuscany, 
such are memories.

Window’s world view, 
Bus stopped people, change pocket fumbling
Shopped and homeward bound.

Me, their lives’ wondering, stories imagining. 

People passing, dog walkers or dog walked, hounds’ leash straining. 
Bus processions, shoppers clamber, fared, ticketed and seated. 

Sun streamed streets, 
north facing seats, 
cool and coffeed. 
Rain splashed windows, 
puddle splashed walkers, 
coats shaken, 
brollys pumped, 
spray n  dry, 
winter windows, 
steamed, and frosted,  
door opens,  
welcome,  “benvenuto”,  “Chiao, chico”.

Yeah “Grazie “ Adrianos vistas and memories, hoping for normal service soon. 

see more stories from outsideleft's Fiction & Poetry archive »»

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.

Outsideleft Night In
OL's Daily Playlist to Stay In For
mon.29.june, OUTSIDELEFT 100


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...

sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Behind the Counterculture #20: Lenny Henry
Greta Alfaro's Fourteenth Station
Greta Alfaro's new show is opening in Valencia
Nathan Solid Takes It From Behind.
Rebel Art Too
Leafcutter John literally coaxes stories from the floors of the Beaconsfield Art Center in Soundtrap II, a mash up of sonics, visuals and more...
Behind the Counterculture #32: Marilyn
He brought joy to thousands with the hit ''Calling Your Name" in 1983...
The 4th Annual Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
Movie makers of the world - watch out - Shane O'Reilly is about to punch your ticket
Some of our favorite things...