Robert in Lockdown – January 7 2021

Robert's dad takes a festive dip.

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The festive perineum (which I recently learned is the term for those strange days between Christmas and New Year when nobody knows what day of the week it is) was even stranger than usual this year.

No big family gatherings, no nights with pals in the pub, and a sense of foreboding about how the country would pay the debt we owed to the coronavirus after the relaxation of restrictions for Christmas.

On top of all this, there was of course one question on the lips of every Robert in Lockdown reader this Christmas. A question that I’m sure has been giving you all sleepless nights.

That question is: how did Robert’s dad react when the pizza oven was unveiled?

Well I am delighted to be able to offer you a belated bit of Christmas cheer whilst we are plunged into strict lockdown.

He seems, so far, and despite initial protestations, to be quite delighted with it. In fact (if you’ll pardon this horrendous pun) I would go as far as to say he is genuinely fired up about it.

Turkey pizza wasn’t quite on the menu but the Christmas dinner and all the leftovers were not long finished when we had the oven set up outside and had begun cooking our first pizzas.

They were such a success that, if it weren’t for the latest restrictions, we would almost certainly have set up business by now!

Overcome with Christmas spirit (and perhaps some stronger spirits too), and now quite euphoric about this surprise present he hadn’t initially wanted, Dad threw a complete festive curve ball.

He had been talking on FaceTime to his cousin in Inverlochy that day and had apparently promised to go for a swim in the River Lochy!

Not long later, the three of us were down at the river while Dad, who had turned 76 on Christmas Day, took the plunge dressed in only his swimming shorts with the air temperature a mere 0 degrees C.

As you’ll see in the attached photograph, it was a surreal sight to witness which perhaps summarised a rather surreal festive perineum!

We do indeed live in strange times and, while I was very lucky to be with family, I can’t help but miss the festivities of previous years.

Last year, Tide Lines played to a very memorable crowd in the Ironworks (Inverness) on the 28th; then I headed to Portree to watch the New Year Old Firm game on the 29th; Uist for a Trail West dance that night; Benbecula on the 30th; Broadford Hall on Hogmanay; and Edinbane on the 1st.

This year, I’ve only travelled from our house to the River Lochy!

I’m sure all the brilliant bands and artists who featured on Hogmanay television or social media events will say the same thing: let’s batten down the hatches and get through the next few months in the hope of being able to play live to real life audiences in 2021.

In the mean time, I’m off to throw another pizza in the oven!