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Like most of the rest of you our Christmas Day was spent behind closed doors. Just the three of us with a continual loop of Christmas music, a fridge full of food, a shiny paper mountain of discarded wrapping paper, board games and a few glasses of champagne. The toasts for better times for the world beyond midnight this coming Thursday.

Fortunately though yesterday’s conversation was dominated about how pleased we were to have made the pilgrimage to Sarasota. We felt lucky that we were able to get a change of scene, and a taste of the world outside, my first trek off island for 11 months and for the little-un and island-fevered-other-half more than a year.

We did a fair bit of ‘house stuff’ and spates of shopping, but also we made sure every day we did ‘fun stuff’ as well. The outdoor movie night watching It’s A Wonderful Life, Sarasota Polo, hurtling through trees at Treeumph and retaining my title at mini-golf the highlights.

After getting back on Christmas Eve afternoon we are now tagged with a wrist band and quarantining, with the rules loosening as we get (hopefully) negative Covid tests. Five in total. The pre-departure and arrival one all good so far.

Travelling was a strange experience, even packing. I would spend in a normal year about 60 nights away from home, but my packing muscle memory had vanished, not helped by us moving house in the meantime and not knowing where anything was.

To add to the sense of starting over, Bermuda has a brand new airport terminal, which has only just opened. So, instead of walking through the other one with my eyes closed, this was very different, with added Covid rules.

We flew to Miami airport, and it was dead the week before Christmas, and on the way back we connected through Atlanta, the busiest airport in the world in 2019 with over 110 million passengers. This was Christmas Eve and the numbers were in hundreds, with nearly every shop and restaurant shuttered. It was a surreal experience.

Florida has not been known for it’s acceptance of a global pandemic and it’s rules and consideration towards others, but noting that Sarasota is a little bit different, we were pleasantly surprised how almost everyone was solicitous in keeping distance and the wearing of masks. Not everyone for sure, but the vast majority.

Even our house contractor, a blind follower of Trump with similar wacky beliefs was far more circumspect. Not surprising when he and almost everyone he works with had contracted Covid, and when I pushed him on why some work hadn’t been done…. The guy died he told me. “Of the virus.” That was a little awkward.

For us the week away was just what the doctor ordered. A large lungful of different air, an opportunity to do different things in another environment and a good old family time outside of these four walls.

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