Coronavirus Diary 77: Haircuts and toilets

It’s hard to believe that I bought my house on the 31st January 2020 and in all that time, I haven’t had my hair cut. As hard as it is for some in government and business to believe, there were lots of us all ready thinking about the Coronavirus epidemic several months before it became official.

As someone with frequent lung-related illnesses, it seemed inherently too risky to go and get my hair cut in January and February 2020 as was borne out by the fact the government made it illegal to do so, at least after the deaths of umpteen thousands of people a month or two later.

For many there was the opportunity to have their cut in the hot summer when life regained some measure of normality all the way through towards Christmas but it seemed a bit strange to me to just do something that was illegal a day before but was now perfectly safe just because the government said that was the case.  A little bit like declaring it illegal to jump off a cliff but then suddenly it is safe to do as the government has decided gravity is no longer a thing.

Additionally was the fact that I wasn’t going to waste a precious £10 or so of money on just getting a hair cut, such a simple and inexpensive thing to do but just one of the many differentiations between the vast majority of people and those of us who the government has deliberately decide to ExcludedUK from all help whatsoever.

Back in December when some people made a 10 hour return journey to drop me off food and supplies for the winter, arrangements were made for me to get a free haircut but another lockdown happened and that was that.

Me in my Cousin-It phase from The Addams Family!

Me in my Cousin-It phase from The Addams Family!

This week, 16 months after my last hair cut, I finally got round to getting it done.  Not only was my haircut free but so was most of my travel and with absolutely nothing else to fill up my day (much like every other day), I hopped on a deserted train for my date with destiny.

It must be said there are many places closer to where I live that cut hair and whilst not having my hair cut has saved me £200 or possibly more, these same local businesses have lost that money, a small indicator of the wider financial impact on excluding 3 million people from any help whatsoever.

I got the train to the little town of Apsley, nestled in a valley in the edge of the Chilterns, not too far from Berkhamsted where I had a day out last September.  It was all very exciting to go out and about and I found the barbers no problem at all.  The tricky bit was getting my free cut as I had no guarantee it wasn’t some weird ruse.  As it happened there was no joke but the lady in question couldn’t remember her offer until I showed her the screenshot of a conversation and then it all clicked into place.

It’s a little bizarre getting your hair cut with a mask on and to me it was a little bizarre just to be in building other than my house and have someone to talk to.   There was a general consensus that not only did I have a lot of hair but also very thick hair.

What a difference a haircut made, no longer was I constantly getting hair in my mouth and food, at risk of setting it on fire from candles or having to wear a thick wooly hat just to keep it nominally in place.  I was free again!

It was whilst musing my light-headedness and awaiting for the return train home at the railway station that I decided it wouldn’t hurt if I used the toilet.  It was clean enough inside, not particularly thrilling but just what you’d expect from a deserted toilet in the middle of a pandemic.

It was only when I came out of the toilet however that i realised I had actually been in the ‘Ladies’ toilet.  In my 15 months of Shielding alone, I’d completely forgotten that Men and Women had separate toilets.  Fortunately there were no witnesses and at least now I know that toilets for ladies are in fact barely any different for men.  Just thinking about it now, I thought it odd at the time there was no urinal but I just thought it was one of those things.

Post Hair Cut

Post Hair Cut

As an aside, you might remember back in September a builder knocked at my door asking to speak to my parents, perhaps my already lengthy hair and baggy clothes fooled him into thinking I was a schoolboy. Well today I had to buy some replacement scissors and was asked to produce proof that I was over 18 and could legally purchase scissors… despite my having reached that age very nearly 30 years ago!  

Oh well, what have you completely forgotten about during the pandemic?  Don’t say happiness or hope, I reserve them for myself!

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
This entry was posted in Funny & Humour, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Coronavirus Diary 77: Haircuts and toilets

  1. More about missing something than forgetting.. many norms won’t quite return, I opine. Big upheavals since 2020.. Nevertheless, all the best 🙏🏻💝🙏🏻.

    Liked by 1 person

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