What do you miss most about lockdown? Your favourite restaurants? Going away on holiday? Travelling wherever and whenever you want?
As for me, my “best restaurants ever” are never solely defined by the food I ate there. They’re invariably connected to special occasions in my life, to the people I shared them with, and a certain atmosphere which is created by the combination of it all. The time of year, the weather (really important, the weather: it shapes the taste of foods), the place, the food, the company, and the occasion. It’s strange how very distinctly I remember those memorable eating-out occasions.

Even those which were decades ago, I can still smell and taste. Maybe home you’ve managed to recreate dishes that bring back happy travel memories? Or you recall places you’ve visited that have given you immense pleasure? I have a few places where I am at my happiest which are out of bounds now. In my mind I take myself on a favourite walk in one of those places. Of course, looking at photographs is a great way of evoking memories too. But I’d better stop, I’m getting carried away by it all!

Finally, lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased in Europe. In Italy the first businesses to reopen werebears. In Greece, it was churches, hairdressers and bookshops. In Austria, DIY shops and tattoo parlours while in Hong Kong, despite a strict lockdown, restaurants were allowed to keep trading if tables were spaced out. Germany, however, has different priorities. The first places back in business there weren’t bars, churches or schools but car dealerships that have been selling BMWs, Audis and Mercedes since the middle of April.

But what about the UK? Here the demand for lockdown restrictions to be eased has focused on Britain’s twin obsessions of recycling and gardening: the opening of council tips and garden centres.Brits may be doom-scrolling through their phones and saddened by the latest news reports, but at least they can buy compost again…

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as an ebook (€0.99;£0.99), i-book, paperback &audiobook.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity

Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.