Festivals. It’s the topic of discussion amongst neighbours as we sit, two metres apart, on our front drives enjoying a socially distant Bank Holiday drink. We’re all being very careful, staying in our own drives, shouting across the road at the people we have only been allowed to wave at for weeks. It feels good to have some contact, albeit at a distance.
“I just can’t believe I’m not going to any festivals this year,” one neighbour is saying wistfully across the street. “I just want to get in my van, go somewhere and listen to some bands.” He sighs. He misses his own band – the freedom of rehearsals, comradery, going for a curry with the lads.
“I just want to go to a restaurant and have someone wait on me for a change,” chimes someone else. “Or to a spa,” says her 20-year old daughter dreamily. “A facial and a jacuzzi would do quite nicely right now.”
It’s a conversation being repeated throughout the land as our surreal weeks in lockdown are almost at double digits. We are not used to being confined. To being told we are not allowed to do what we want, when we want. Though we are mostly compliant and aware it is for the greater good, we have reached the longing phase, where we dream of the things we used to be able to do. As they say, you always want what you can’t have.
So, what is the best way to deal with this longing? There are murmurs of more freedoms on the horizon, but the when and the how is still all speculation, and without having had any real dates to work towards, our diaries seem empty and, to be fair, a little sad.
Perhaps it is time to hit the planning stage. We may not know exactly when normal life – whatever that may look like – will resume, but we can still use some of our moments of confinement to consider some of the things we really want to do on the other side. Really think about it. Make a list of the people we most want to see when we are allowed to travel again and plan some experiences to share together. A visit to a favourite restaurant or pub. A spa weekend with a good friend to celebrate the survival of homeschooling. Afternoon Tea with parents to celebrate the birthdays missed during lockdown. Gin tasting and a weekend away with a favourite group of friends. Fill up those sad, empty diary pages with hopeful dreams instead.
Trawling through the internet it’s easy to be inspired to find alternative ways to create memories. It seems that many businesses have used the period of enforced closure to the max, coming up with creative and inventive ways to make their customers feel connected. There are vouchers and special offers for almost any experience you may want, and most have 24–month redemption, too. Having a voucher makes the experience almost real. You know it is going to happen, even if you don’t know exactly when. And having something to look forward to is good for the soul.
Here are some of our favourite experiences you can buy now and enjoy later…
Pennyhill Park Spa, Surrey
A Spa Day for him! Perfect for a Father’s Day treat – a day of relaxation awaits him in The Spa at Pennyhill Park. He can enjoy a delicious smoothie, three-course buffet lunch, one hour treatment with a choice of facials, wraps, manicure or pedicure, or spa body scrub, and full use of The Spa. Spa vouchers are available for £190 and monetary vouchers are available from £25, here (valid for 24 months from purchase)
South Lodge Spa, Sussex
Two’s company at South Lodge! Give the gift of a truly relaxing and indulgent spa day with a loved one where you can experience all the treatments together in the special couple’s treatment room! Included for two is a 60 minute The Spa Massage, 30 minute The Spa Skin Booster facial, 45 minute The Spa Mud Room Experience and a glass of Ridgeview English sparkling wine. The day includes full access to all the wonderful facilities in the spa and a £30 food credit for a meal in either Botanica or Watershed restaurants. What a treat to look forward to! Spa vouchers are available for £500 and monetary vouchers are available from £25 here (valid for 24-months from purchase)
The Cottage in the Wood, Malvern
Treat a loved one to the promise of an escape in the tranquil surroundings of the Malverns, where The Cottage in the Wood offers guests a home away from home to relax in an exquisite setting. Gift Champagne afternoon tea with a selection of quintessential homemade treats and a decadent glass of Moët & Chandon, or an overnight stay in a comfortable room affording panoramic views of the Severn Valley and Cotswolds. Gift vouchers from £25 and valid for 18 months from purchase. 01684 588 860, www.cottageinthewood.co.uk/give/
The Torridon, Wester Ross
From magnificent celestial evenings with a local astronomer to a seven-course tasting menu in sumptuous restaurant 1887, The Torridon’s gift vouchers offer an abundance of unique experiences in the Scottish Highlands. Give the ultimate gift of luxury and comfort to a loved one, or treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime trip at The Torridon hotel, Torridon Inn and 1887 restaurant. Gift vouchers from £50 and valid for 18 months from purchase. https://www.thetorridon.com/around-the-resort/vouchers/, 01445 791 242