In the last few years, the news cycle has been more dramatic than one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills after being served a weak Aperol spritz. Everything is on fire, everything is unfair, and everyone is distracting themselves with King Charles’s sausage fingers and Harry Styles’s trousers and the Apple iOS 16 update – or they’re crying and wailing and sharing poorly drawn cartoons of Paddington on social media, wondering what on earth is going to happen next.
But despite all the mad stuff that’s been going on in the world, personally I feel like I’ve been in a weird rut since 2020. Somehow day-to-day life feels pretty samey. Boring, even. I work, I scroll through the binfire of hell that is the internet and screenshot memes about Chris Pine, and I still do my
stupid lockdown walk, which has stubbornly inserted itself into my routine like a guest that refuses to leave. Occasionally I may go to M&S and buy a salad, which feels like such a novelty that I should put it in my diary.
When I try to do more than a few things a week, though, like I would have done in 2019, I feel completely overwhelmed. Two days in a row in the office and I’m practically dead, and if I go out with friends, I pay for it for weeks. I find everything weirdly emotional and intense, and I’m wary of people (because recent evidence points to them being completely mad), but also in awe of them. It’s a strange knife-edge between suffocating boredom and sensory overload.
Some people though, are not deterred by post-pandemic fatigue. instead, they’re taking life by the balls, abseiling down tall buildings and milking goats with Lady Leshurr in Northampton. Last week, I belatedly discovered comedian Rosie Jones’s Channel 4 show Trip Hazard where she does just that, and I felt something shift inside me. A glimmer of… what was that? Inspiration?
The format isn’t exactly original (comedian and guest celeb go to different counties in the UK and do wacky local stuff) but watching Rosie Jones try new things and either smash them or balls them up is an absolute tonic. Unlike most presenters, who like to marinate in their own egos while exploring Tuscany in a vintage sports car, Rosie goes all in, unfazed by Viking reenactments, rap battles, stunt driving, microlite flying and sheep herding. Narrated by Joanna Lumley of all people, it’s joyfully silly and goofy, and gave me a sense that there was a richer life on my doorstep if I could only summon the enthusiasm. There are loads of goats to milk out there! What’s stopping me?
So, last week I took myself on a very low-key lone adventure to the glittering metropolis of Troon on the Ayrshire coast, about 45 minutes outside Glasgow. (I know, I’m a regular Eddie the Eagle, aren’t I?) When I arrived, I was immediately rewarded with miles and miles of silvery sand and big skies – like being given an amazing present. I had a sandwich and bought some old-fashioned champagne glasses from the charity shop, then I sat on a bench that said ‘In Memory of Ida, 83 Years Young’ and almost fell asleep in the sunshine. Literally nothing happened, but even this tiny jaunt out of my uncomfortable comfort zone was a pleasure. So I’d like to thank Rosie Jones for inspiring me to go and sit on a bench somewhere else and making me feel less insane. At least now I have something to put in my diary apart from “had a nice prawn salad for my lunch”. And you never know, next week I might even go to Ayr – which I hear also has an M&S. Crazy times.