Fear Versus FOMO and Some Time Spent ‘On The Beach’

‘Is it me?’, as the affable Terry Wogan used to say, or are others feeling a bit fearful at the moment as we ease into a new kind of normal. We were a bit later in opening up various sectors of our economy here in Scotland, but we’re getting there, and I can finally get my hair licked into shape, visit friends inside, have a meal in a restaurant, and perhaps, even consider a staycation. Of course all this easing of the lockdown makes the possibility of a dreaded second wave more likely, but we can’t stay in our houses for ever, can we?

This week I decided it was time to put myself out there again, so touched base with a few friends, offering up suggestions of things we could do. The responses were interesting. One set of friends wouldn’t be able to do anything for a while, as they were off on a walking holiday for two weeks with three other couples, staying at various fine dining establishments on the way. Other friends, most of whom are usually up for socialising and having fun, are not quite ready to venture out yet, and even a socially-distanced drink in the garden is still a bridge too far. For some, Fear is trumping Fear of Missing Out it seems.

I did have lunch in one of my favourite restaurants this week though, and it was just lovely being able to do such a seemingly normal thing again, albeit in a very empty room where the number of tables has been reduced greatly. The serving staff wore masks and visors, so…. a bit weird, but the new normal as we keep saying. It did concern me that the prices on the menu were exactly the same, as it should be obvious to even the most financially illiterate person that no restaurant can remotely turn in a profit any more if they don’t radically change tack, but at the moment they’re just trying to woo their customers back before it’s too late. But anyway, my old work colleague and I had a wonderful couple of hours, and this time, for me, FOMO trumped Fear.

My favourite eatery

The next evening I invited another friend round for a movie night. This was the first time we’ve had anyone other than family in the house since March, so a big deal. I still have a DVD player so we picked a film she hadn’t seen before and cracked open a bottle of wine. This was something we used to do quite a lot, but of course not since lockdown, so a real treat. Again, FOMO trumped Fear.

By the Friday, Mr WIAA decided to take the afternoon off, and we headed north in the car in order to work out whether a coastal staycation might be a possibility for late summer. It was a glorious sunny day and after stopping off for some lunch at a place which is now only offering a reduced menu in a open-sided marquee kind of affair, we made it to the beaches of East Sutherland. It was busy, but not Bournemouth on a bank holiday busy, so hoping to book something in one of the many holiday spots soon.

On the way home we took a bit of a detour to visit The Mermaid of The North – Not quite as demure as the little mermaid in Copenhagen, and not something you usually stumble upon whilst visiting the beaches of Scotland, but now on the popular North Coast 500 route map.

The Mermaid of the North

And here’s a funny one – I didn’t even realise I had taken this picture, but it seems I must have accidentally “clicked”, just after capturing our mesmerised mermaid. I love images of shapes, colours and textures so was quite chuffed when it popped up on my screen without me even knowing it had been taken.

Pebble beach, far away in time….

All seemed to be going pretty well for me until I got an unexpected booking for the holiday hideaway. As a host I am now responsible for the well-being of the guests who come to stay with me, but with this pesky virus lurking goodness knows where, the cleaning protocols are onerous indeed. Because I have a cousin coming to stay this week I would only have a day to turn everything around, getting the house ready for my new guests. After realising I would have to renew every bit of bedding, remove all soft furnishings & paper, deep clean and covid-sanitise the whole house (even the mattresses), I realised it would be impossible. The thought of one of my guests becoming ill on my watch made me fearful (would I be sued?), so I quickly cancelled their booking and have now foregone what would have been some very welcome earnings. Fear won this time over FOMO.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – It’s all about the balance isn’t it and some of us are desperate to get back out there, whereas others are still a tad fearful. I had been experiencing FOMO, so I did put myself out there and had a nice week, but things are most definitely not ‘normal’ and earning your living from the hospitality and tourism sectors at the moment is nigh impossible. Touch wood we turn a corner soon in our efforts to control this thing, but I’m not holding my breath.

After posting non-pandemic related stuff for three weeks now, I seem to have returned to my old ways. Just an interlude though, as I like to get my thoughts down for posterity more than anything else. As for the song, there are many beach-related ones out there and I have already alluded to Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins in the caption for my pebble shot above. The one I’m going to share however is On The Beach by Chris Rea from 1986. I had a particularly nice summer that year as I went with the flatmates of the time to Zakynthos in Greece for my first ever all-girls holiday. One of those flatmates (the one I spent Live Aid day with and whom I wrote about last time) later moved south and ended up in Berkshire, living in a house next to the one Chris Rea used to own. He had a recording studio in the garden and I often wondered when we went to visit whether On The Beach had actually been recorded there.

On The Beach by Chris Rea:

It seems Chris Rea also had a nice summer in 1986 as On the Beach was inspired by a trip to the Spanish island of Formentera off the coast of Ibiza. Chris is quoted as saying, ‘That’s where me and my wife, became me and my wife. That’s what it’s about. Yeah, I was ‘between the eyes of love.’ It’s a lovely island’. Sadly, visiting any holiday island is fraught with difficulty at the moment, as we all continue to fight the invisible virus. Time to perhaps just plug in the earbuds, listen to those waves roll in, and imagine yourself there.

What’s your favourite beach-related song? I’d love to hear from you and as you all know by now, I always reply.

Until next time….

On The Beach Lyrics
(Song by Chris Rea)

Between the eyes of love I call your name
Behind the guarded walls I used to go
Upon a summer wind there’s a certain melody
Takes me back to the place that I know
Down on the beach

The secrets of the summer I will keep
The sands of time will blow a mystery
No-one but you and I
Underneath that moonlit sky
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach

Forever in my dreams my heart will be
Hanging on to this sweet memory
A day of strange desire
And a night that burned like fire
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach


John Medd from Are We There Yet? reminded me in the comments boxes that a couple of years ago, he’d written about Chris Rea and On The Beach. The version of the song I shared above was the one released as a single, however the original version from the  album of the same name was a much slower, more contemplative affair. If you click on the link to John’s blog you will see that most people now prefer the original, but in case you want to check it out for yourself, here is a clip.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

23 thoughts on “Fear Versus FOMO and Some Time Spent ‘On The Beach’”

    1. I did have a nice week and it’s all about weighing up the risk I suppose. Where I live there have been no new infections for over a fortnight and I really needed to do something normal for once, to raise my spirits. Many of our restaurants have outdoor tables now but I doubt if they will stay in business for much longer if things carry on like this. A sorry state of affairs and such a shame for the entrepreneurs who set them up.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A very pertinent post, Alyson, as we too are pondering the possibilities of peri-post-Covid. And thank you for the brain exercise, I managed to remember where the pebble lyric was from before the reveal (excellent song, though maybe less for ‘clerk’😆) .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good name for this phase, peri-post-covid – Not an easy phase to navigate either as seen from the dilemmas written about above. Still can’t believe the timing of your Inverness trip – Had you left it even a week later, things were starting to shut down. Opening up again is not easy but at least you know I put safety first, which I suspect not all hosts will be able to do.

      Yes Echo Beach – I was actually an “office clerk” when that record came out, but compared with the “paperless office” and “working from home” scenarios of today, it wasn’t boring at all – Still in touch with some of the people from those days as on top of getting the work done, there was always some social event being planned. Changed days indeed.


  2. You know that feeling, that déjà vu feeling?
    Great song; as is Echo Beach (well, great riff anyway).
    FOMO is all in the mind, isn’t it? What others around me are or are not doing concerns me not a jot. But that may just be me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought I’d mentioned that story about the recording studio next to my friend’s house but couldn’t remember where – Now I know! That was 2 and a half years ago now though – Where does the time go as I always say around here.

      FOMO is a thing and I was just interested last week in how some people have no particular fear at all about going back out again doing regular stuff, yet some are still holed up in their houses sanitising their shopping which gets delivered in a van. I did think it was time to get a bit more adventurous as I felt I was missing out, but some not feeling that at all yet it seems.


  3. I think at the moment that it’s entirely reasonable to be anxious (choose your own level)..and let’s face it, most of the responders here will probably be well past the stage of FOMO. I’m a reasonably confident person, usually, but at the moment things are still a bit up in the air for my liking.
    What other restaurant choices would you recommend locally..the wife and myself like the Rocpool…we’re not local so any recommendations, for the future would be appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi again – Crikey, first it turned out your are an Aiberdeen loon and now it seems you are reasonably familiar with my home town. I tried to keep quite anonymous for a start around here but I seem to be sharing more and more as time goes by, and at some point I’ll be rumbled. Not that I should be unduly worried but I do sometimes write about people without their knowledge, so have to take care.

      Yes, we all have to choose our own level when it comes to deciding on when to venture out, but it has been really busy up here over the last week so plenty of people quite confident now about doing so. As for FOMO I wasn’t really meaning the kind of FOMO teenagers using social media experience, it was more that it included the word Fear and it seemed a good term for my title as was going to write about the two camps people seem to fall into at the moment.

      As for restaurants, Rocpool with its Albert Roux restaurant certainly is high-end and very nice. Can’t say I’ve often been as my budget is usually mid-range and we like the Mustard Seed (in the picture), the Kitchen across the river from it and the tapas bar La Tortina Assesina on Castle Street. At the moment not many are up and running again fully, but it used to be that on a nice summer’s evening there were loads of places along the river that were packed full. Contrast on Ness Bank is another nice one and if you like Gastropub kinda fare the Waterfront on Huntly Street is pretty good and they have live music. It could be some time before live music gets going again which is a shame as we have so many venues but just the times we are living through. Hope that helps.


      1. Hi Alyson, thanks for the recommendations. We only go to the Rocpool as a treat whenever we spend any time in your part of the country…most time’s we’re just driving through whenever we come to the mainland.
        We’ve been in the tapas before, many moons ago and it was excellent. We’ll definitely try some of your recommendations…thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you are managing to get out and about, Alyson. We managed Pie Night at a local restaurant (I can never resist a pie) and a bizarre visit to Alyon Towers for Sam. It feels strange to be doing these things again. There are moments when you forget and everything feels really normal… then you turn a corner and there’s someone in a mask or a one way system or a sign reminding you you can’t do the most basic thing… and reality comes crashing back in.

    Hope you get more bookings soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you’re getting out and about yourself and a Pie Night! Scones AND Pies are your thing it seems. But you’re right, just when we think everything feels normal, something pops up to remind us it’s not. Town was really busy yesterday so it all felt normal – I headed along to the bank but when I got there someone was manning the door reminding us that we can do most things online now and you’re only allowed in, with your mask, if it’s for something that really can’t be dealt with in any other way. I had wanted to move my paltry savings out of the 0.02% interest account it fell into during lockdown into something better but the reply was, “there isn’t anything better”. A sign of the times.


  5. I’m glad to hear you’ve broken out into the wider world! It’s definitely about finding your own comfort level but so strange when you step back and look at the way we are now having to assess and decide on the smallest actions we take. I made my first trip out socially last week; a cousin and his wife were in the area and didn’t give much notice – “can we meet for a cuppa on our way home?” they said out of the blue – and so I agreed to meet them in a local pub’s spacious garden. It felt safe enough to prompt me to invite a friend who’s having a hard time of it to join me for a quick lunch at the same place today, so I’m off out again; blimey, no stopping me now… (except there is, I am still v cautious, just taking baby steps!)

    Absolutely love your pebble photo, what a lovely serendipitous shot.

    Hope you get more bookings soon and with manageable time-frames. I must say we’re a bit perturbed at the bookings in the cottage next door – not sure how they’re doing it as they have had end-to-end visitors, guests leaving at 11am on a Monday morning and new ones arriving at 3pm same day, the cleaner only seems to be in there for an hour or so. It’s only couples using one bedroom in a tiny house but I can’t help but wonder how thorough the Covid-sanitising has been in between…. hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You too then – It seems the last week or so has been the turning point for many of us but still a bit weird. As it turns out my cousin and his family came to stay in the holiday house this week and I had gone to great lengths to socially distance with them but it all kind of fell by the wayside. They are not too fearful at all but they have kids and have been going to work throughout so haven’t ever been able to do the whole “stay at home” thing anyway.

      I am so chuffed with that pebble shot and think it could make a good canvas – I’ve just got the shower-room finished that was started in mid-March and would look good in there I think.

      From what you say, they are ignoring all the protocols for doing changeovers, as we now have to leave 3 hours before cleaning staff (me) should even be entering the property after guests leave. Also, with the amount of things on the checklist to be sanitised after the deep clean there is no way you can do it in less than 24 hours. All bedding has to be removed/replaced and the linen to be washed at high temperatures. I am a bit hacked off that many will say they are adhering to the protocols but then not actually carry it through as no-one can really prove otherwise. Guests are also so desperate to get away they probably take the risk that all will be well, but personally I don’t want to go down that route. I’m a bit upset I lost out on a good booking but there was no way I could have done everything in the time I had.

      Talking of getting back to normal, one saving grace during this time has been that my mum was happy in her care home and their routine hadn’t changed too much at all. As of last weekend however there is a new edict that they must not leave their rooms and just have their food handed in. My mum hardly spent any time in her room and was always with her friends in the lounge/dining area allocated to their corridor. It seems mistakes were made with care homes early on so the govt are now putting in place really strict guidelines. For people with dementia this is a disaster and makes a mockery of the vast sums she has to pay to stay there. It was like a really nice hotel with all sorts of entertainment, activities, and best of all company, but no more. She will get so distressed and it has really thrown me this week. They have gone from close to normal to not normal at all, so the opposite to what the rest of us are experiencing. So sad.


      1. I’m so sorry to hear this about your mum’s care home situation, that’s awful. I wonder if anything can be done to change this back, are there any campaigns you can add your voice to, I imagine there are going to be so many affected by this. Really keeping fingers crossed for you and your mum that there will be enough of an outcry at this change that the situation will be revisited and can be amended very soon – keeping people physically safe is one thing but not at such great expense to their wellbeing in other areas.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s such a shame but the govt got their fingers burnt so are now being super-cautious. I have no doubt lots of families will be really upset about this new situation but we are at the mercy of “the rules”. Has affected me more than anything during this period of crisis, even DD’s forced return home as her life has kind of improved.


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