Jonathan Metliss eases out of Lockdown depression with a return to normality
I have now been in Lockdown for some four months at my house in Sussex. The flowers are in full bloom, the trees and hedges are starting to get overgrown and the birds and butterflies, and assorted wildlife, are still keeping me company.
But things are changing, and hopefully for the better, notwithstanding the various mixed messages from the Government. “To wear a mask, or not to wear a mask?” That is the question. I have made up my mind that I have to return as much as possible to the normality of my previous life after this 16-week siesta.
I have had my hair cut and my beard removed at the first available opportunity, and I have started to visit London and my close family, together with the few friends that I have still have, on a more frequent basis. More importantly, I also made a visit to my manicurist and my hands and toenails are now in good shape.
However, I remain confused about the social distancing rules. It amazes me that the Leeds and Liverpool supporters are allowed to congregate after their teams’ respective successes without any penal consequences. It makes a mockery of everything the Government says. I am trying to get tickets for the FA Cup Final, where my team, Chelsea, are playing – I understand that there are plenty available and you can sit where you like!
I have now been brave enough to eat out locally on a couple of occasions – both were in the open air and I was wearing a mask. So far, no adverse consequences. I have also purchased tickets for “Jesus Christ Superstar, The Concert” at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which opens on 13 August.
I have attended my synagogue in London, which sadly was very sparsely populated, and an open air service in Brighton in the sun where we all congregated in the garden – shades of Israel and South Africa. I certainly preferred the latter. There was appropriate social distancing on each occasion.
But, some things never change. On the Sussex front, the lady with the noisy pool has sold her house, having turned off the pump, but the purchaser has put it on again. So, another headache, along with the neighbour behind me, who has decided to cut back my trees and hedges in the middle of summer. Another letter going out from my solicitors!
I am still purchasing sporting memorabilia at online auctions and attending various religious talks and seminars by Zoom, which I continue to find inspiring and comforting.
As far as business is concerned, I feel quite re-energised and excited about a relative return to normality. Most business has still been conducted online and by Zoom. I organised another very successful Axiom Stone Real Estate lunch on 5 July, with over 100 attendees. I was also instrumental in an exhaustive advertising campaign in local London and provincial newspapers promoting the services of Axiom Stone.
Without doubt, the end of furlough will be a challenge to the business community, albeit an opportunity for the Axiom Stone employment team.
I am now getting bolder by thinking about going into the office one or two days a week, and have even met two of my colleagues in Berkeley Square, (both were female and at a distance) with a Pret a Manger coffee, but no nightingales! New instructions are rolling in following my introductions, which is further evidence of a return to normal business. Even one of my connections at Citigroup has asked to meet me for a coffee.
On a personal note, I have the energy and vigour to pursue a piece of litigation frozen through the Lockdown.
I am staying alert, keeping my distance and being sensible, notwithstanding being chastised by my 40-year-old lawyer son on a pretty regular basis. But, I need to start living again, as we all do, which will help to restore my sanity and mental well-being as well as my peace of mind.
I hope that you can all join me in this endeavour.
Jonathan Metliss is Chairman of Axiom Stone Solicitors