Happy New Year everyone. Well – here we go again. We have found ourselves in yet another lockdown and it will be a tough one. It is day one as I type this blog. This is the only way we can try to beat this awful virus. This new strain is so terrible seeing as it is between 50 and 70% more infectious than the original variant. People are quick to accuse Boris of stopping their lives but the fault largely lays with all those who flouted the rules. I admit that Boris was a little slow with his decision making but the government and scientists were caught out by the new virulent strain. It upsets me to see it has been named as “The Kent Strain”. Kent being where I come from. I am sure whoever the first person was found to be infected by this particular strain must have caught it from elsewhere. I am not sure if I was infected by it or not. I walked over to Tesco’s on 18th December to post a few letters and buy a few bits. I was horrified to find that no one in there was wearing their masks properly. They were all walking around with masks underneath their noses. And breathing particles and droplets into the air. The man who served me took his mask off when he was talking to me and he was walking closer towards me while I was stepping backwards to keep my distance away from him. Then a man barrelled right into me – he was running backwards and not looking where he was going. It was impossible for me to step out of his way without getting into someone else’s way. Sure enough 5 days later I became unwell. And I remained that way for another 10 days. I had Covid type symptoms which finished off with a very strange type of cold. It was obvious I caught a virus of some sort while I was at Tesco’s because I had not been anywhere after that day and I had not been in contact with anyone other than my husband. And he was fine. And whatever I had could not have possible resulted in any other way without being near another person with the same virus. So I put the whole thing down to that fact that as I was wearing my mask properly at Tesco’s and others were not – I must have breathed in a small quantity of particles that were streaming in the air. I wanted to get tested but as the daily figures are to scaryingly high and the local testing demand was colossal, I was not able to get a local appointment. So I left it. Then I found that two days later, I felt a lot better and almost back to my normal self. I did however wonder if it was Con and Dec who had cured me via the Zoom meeting we had on Sunday. They always did have magic powers to make their fans feel better. It is certain that I caught a virus at Tesco’s but whether it was Covid or another one – I will never know for sure.

I hope you all had a good Christmas. It probably was not the same for a lot of people. Mine was a Tier 4 style Christmas and we were not allowed to mix with another household. So it was just my husband and I staying at home together watching TV. I did at least manage to cook a delicious Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings which was the highlight of our day. New Year was another quiet time spent at home. We stayed up to watch the outstanding firework and drone display over the River Thames filmed on BBC1.

The Zoom meeting that Con and Dec hosted on 3rd January was fantastic. They showed us recordings of their times spent over the festive season. It started with Dec’s birthday which was different from his usual ones. As Dec was still living under the tier 2 restrictions until Boxing Day, his family was able to visit him in his garden. Oliver had set up a gazebo where they had a buffet and a birthday cake laid out. The family split up into two groups so six were at one end standing a socially distance apart from each other in order to abide by the rule of six. And another three stood further away. Victoria presented a cake with candles to Dec to blow out but as Covid rules disallowed that to happen, Dec fanned out the flames with a magazine.  

Then Dec showed us a video of his little Christmas at home with Sandy and Victoria who was there as an extra since she lives alone and is included in with Dec’s household as her own support bubble. We saw them sitting at the table ready to eat a lovely modest tasty looking meal. Not the greedy quantities my husband and I devour – maybe we should start being more like Dec and Sandy in future. So they made the best of it all and it looked like they had a lovely time within their own family unit. They wished us all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Con told us that he and his daughter Carole spent Christmas with his son Michael and his family. Then he showed us a video of himself and Carole celebrating the New Year. Carole looked lovely. It isn’t often that we see her talking in front of the camera as she is a very private person. But there she was donning a silver top hat identical to the one Con was wearing and she wished us all a Happy New Year. They showed us the firework display on their TV set and then they went outside to see all the fireworks being set off in the sky above Elland. And I must say they looked equally as spectacular as those we saw from London.

Con and Dec went on to talking about the vaccinations. I had previously asked if they would do that to try and encourage everyone to consider having it done themselves. Especially those who were against it or were a bit wary. Con said he had his done just before Christmas and that it all went well. The place where he went had plenty of staff giving directions of where he should park his car and where to walk as he went into the building. He was escorted into the doctor’s room where he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeve. And all he felt was a slight prick in his arm. He said he felt fine afterwards although there was one day later on when he didn’t feel his usual self, but he soon shook that off and was fine again. Dec told us that Sandy had been vaccinated too and how well organised it was at their doctor’s surgery. He was well impressed with the service she received from the NHS and Dec said he cannot understand why the media publishes such damning reports about their performance. The boys asked Lynda Hawkes of her opinion as she was the only other member of our Zoom group who had been vaccinated and she said how pleased she was with hers and the fact it is no different from the flu jab. As an ex-nurse, she was able to offer her services as a volunteer in order to help with a rapid roll out in her area. Dec asked Bernadette McManus for her opinion as she is an NHS worker. Bernadette said she is a member of the admin team was expecting to be vaccinated very soon and she said her observations of going out in her local area were seeing people huddled in groups and breaking the rules. Which partly explains why we are where we are right now.

Con and Dec played three wonderful song videos to us. The first was “Eire Canal” which John Leyland suggested. He had been there anyway and had the song ringing in his mind as he toured the area. Then Con and Dec sang the next song in line from their hits. It was “Hello Dolly” from 1965. Dec did a brilliant job on putting the film together with all sorts of effects combining several images of them both melting into each other. And he sourced a video with a classic 1960s style ring dial type telephone. The last video was what Dec described as a “Rough Video” of them singing “A Man Like Me” with Dec taking the lead. It is a beautiful song co-written by Dec himself and John Dartnell who is a song writer. I used to see John at their shows in the early 00s. He looks like a wizard with a long beard and he in fact was given a part in a Harry Potter film.  I really hope Dec will get that song recorded on a CD for us soon. It is a lovely tune – the type I would want to listen to over and over again. There are other pieces that Dec has written over the years and I think they are all brilliant. Dec did say recently his one regret is that he didn’t write more of his own songs.

I had my starring part at the end of the meeting – which I did not think Dec would keep on the video – but to my surprise he did. I showed everyone a present I received for Christmas from a friend of mine who went to see their last St Patrick’s Night Show at Folkestone with me in 2019. It was a Christmas Elf Cushion that had Dec & Con written at the top. Basically informing them that they were on elf duty. So I told Con and Dec that first of all my friend must think they are leprechauns having seen them wearing their green hats during their show and the fact that it is Dec who introduces himself first at the beginning of their show – followed on by Con which made her think they are known as Dec & Con The Bachelors instead of Con & Dec The Bachelors. Which is the name sequence that has always rolled off our tongues when we speak about them. This is ever since John Stokes left the band. As they were always referred to as Con, Dec and John until 1984 and Con. Dec and Pete between 1984 and the early 90s.

I got up this morning to an email from Dec which was entitled “Breaking News” He informed me and all the others on his circular list that now we are in another harsh lockdown that they will endeavour to do weekly shows for us. Keeping the first Sunday of every month as they have been until now and the rest lasting for half an hour with ad-lib chatting and some crazy singing. They are so good to us fans keeping us entertained during these difficult times.  They probably need to keep themselves occupied anyway. Con won’t be able to play golf as the golf clubs are now closed. He said in any case, he feels safer staying at home right now – as I do too. John Leyland commented upon their weekly meetings being a huge commitment. Maybe with the ad-libbing and on the spot chatting the boys won’t need to put in many hours before-hand to prepare themselves for the interim meetings on weeks 2, 3, 4 and possibly 5 of each month. This lockdown will be harder because we are in the middle of winter and we cannot spend time outside in the way we did during the spring lockdown.

I conduct Zoom meetings myself with a few members of our group. We help each other as some live alone and others cannot go out at all. I live with a husband who does not speak at all some days, so I feel lonely. The boys are doing such a brilliant job by getting us through this misery with their different ways of entertaining us. I doubt many other celebrities do the same for their fans. And I appreciate the fans as well – those that help me and other fans too. I have made some lovely new friends since the boys’ Zoom meetings began. That is Lynda Hawkes, John Hutchinson and Bernadette MacManus. All the others who join in are people I have known for many years. The bunch of Bachelors fans is a great group to be in.

I won’t include Ask A Bachelor questions this time as there was too much else to write about on this occasion.

Look after yourselves and keep safe.

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