Perhaps we are all caught in a conundrum. Shops and pubs are opening their doors and each one of us is contemplating the right time to step inside. I probably needed a slight push, make that a shove - for I have easily slipped into a comfort zone of trainers, picnics and parks.

Radio Jackie phoned me last Friday to ask me what life was like in Wimbledon Village without the tennis. “Cripes!” I thought, I haven’t a clue, so I rang a friend to join me for a coffee and go and check out my old stomping ground. I have to admit, it was weird. The Young’s Pubs which pepper the village were still closed and many shops still had no sign of life. Yet, with each step I felt slightly braver and began to linger a little longer at the entrance.

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I could see that many cafés and boutiques had created a slick entrance and exit path. Kelly McAteer who owns Hemingways, which had stayed open throughout the lockdown, saw my eyes darting around, curious, but not ready to take that small step for woman, but such a leap of faith for Wimbledon. She kindly came to the wide entrance and offered me a coffee. Her reassurance and smile helped me step inside. “How are you?” she asked. A commonly used phrase perhaps, yet this time it was loaded with care and genuine interest.

Before I knew it, I was sitting inside and I listened intently to her experience of Hemingways being one of the few places open over the last few months. “It’s been incredible,” she told me. Locals and more young folk than she had seen before enjoyed collecting fresh warm pizza and cocktails and taking them to Wimbledon Common to catch up with a friend. “How civilised,” Emily from Jackie News replied as I reiterated my new found knowledge in my radio interview the next day.

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Sleeping more soundly that night, I woke up to an invite to The Ivy Café, Wimbledon. As my yellow high heels glared at me behind a mountain of trainers, I took a deep breath and wondered if it were brave or foolish to make a deliberate plan to spend a considerable time in a restaurant. My initial hesitation was silenced as I packed a small clutch with only a cotton floral mask, phone and hand sanitiser, I had no intention of reapplying lipstick in the Ladies. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by a screen that was there to take my temperature and was then guided to my seat to meet my friend Adrian Mills, The Chairman of Wimbledon Village Business Association. It seemed both our mutual responsibility to support businesses and staff who have spent weeks preparing for this moment, and it was fascinating.

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Yes, there were less tables and yes, there was a sweet smelling hand sanitiser on each table. But, honestly, when caught up in conversation, it felt as good as it always did. As I walked home, I wondered if my office diary would soon transform back from Zoom to an abundance of lunch meetings in Wimbledon. To be honest, no it won’t. Like many, I have learnt a new way to manage children whilst working from home, and long may it last. However, a treat out with friends once in a while, well that is a pleasure I look forward to repeating safely over this incredibly clean and sanitised summer.

Enjoy a clean & safe recovery,