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Here’s this month’s regular Man About Town column from Pep Cipriano, who like the rest of us is currently more Man About the Lounge on lockdown…


Lockdown. Now there’s a word we won’t forget in a hurry.

For the most part I’ve been absolutely fine with it and maybe I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’m disciplined by nature and haven’t fallen to the depths of over-indulging in anything whether it be food, television or some other potentially addictive distraction during a time when we’re all pushing the limitations of our mental strength.

I live alone and coming through this unscathed is something I’m proud of. There’s been days when I haven’t talked to another human being but that’s been fine. It’s fine because, in a way, I’ve been in isolation since Christmas when I was made redundant from my job.

I kind of had a head-start on what it’s like to have structure, routine and purpose taken away from you after years of being on a treadmill because I have a mortgage to pay.

I still have a mortgage to pay, so returning to meaningful employment is key, but my journey has been held up with many companies currently freezing recruitment.

So, instead of going out of my mind and escaping in beer, books or even music – I’ve been occupying my brain by keeping creative. Writing comes naturally to me and it’s one of the reasons I’ve remained on track.

Another way I’ve been passing my time is by not feeling guilty that I actually have time in the first place. I’ve often got to the evening (when my routine is largely the same as pre-lockdown) and felt satisfied that I’ve done absolutely nothing all day.

It’s called rest and we all need it. We need rest away from the mental bruising of our jobs, we need rest away from burning out at the gym and sometimes we actually need rest away from people.

This period (key workers aside) is a time for self-healing and more importantly, self-discovery. Most of us should have learnt a new skill during self-isolation. And this is because we’ve had one thing that we’ve always struggled to get more of and that’s time.

Time has given us more dedication to our children, our pets, our partner – our everything. Time has allowed us to be honest with ourselves, test ourselves, teach ourselves and be critical of ourselves. Time has shown us how to value more and become better versions of ourselves. Time has made us industrious.

Yes, to some of us time has been torture. But in the long-run if lockdown was just what you needed to realise you have to leave your partner, get that better job, become that more attentive parent, start that diet or be that better listener then you’ll be a new and improved version of you when this is all over.

There’s always a silver lining and one of the traits of an optimistic person (not to be confused with a positive person) is to acknowledge we’re in a tunnel but to see the light at the end of it. How bright that light will be once you get there is determined by yourself.

Dazzle now while we’ve been given the gift of time and trust me, you’ll be the one shining at the end.


I love a top ten, so I thought I’d compile three of my own.

The first is my routine before the lockdown and during the lockdown. The danger is, I’m quite liking the look of my current typical week…

Ten things I used to do:

  1. Get up at 7.30am

  2. Shave every day

  3. Apply for jobs

  4. Go for coffee

  5. Get some lurve

  6. Cuddle

  7. Go to the gym

  8. Cough near someone without feeling I’ve broken the law

  9. Drive my cars

  10. Only wash my hands after I’d been to the toilet

Ten things I’ve been doing:

  1. Getting up at 10.30am, not bothering to dress

  2. Shaving weekly and pruned once

  3. Obsessing with plucking ear and nose hair

  4. Tutting at people glaring at me because I’m wearing a mask and gloves

  5. Cleaning, painting, sorting, fixing and learning

  6. Polishing my car – three times

  7. Appreciating old holiday photos

  8. Cycling 20 miles (I self-served at McDoggals / Dog in a Doublet)

  9. Changing a bolt on my car and destroying my knuckle

  10. Writing my will and funeral plan

I’ve also discovered lots of things and here are just ten of them…

  1. I don’t need sugar in coffee (I ran out and forgot to buy some)

  2. My toenails grow really fast

  3. Ferry Meadows is a real gem with a wooden badger, we should be proud

  4. Lemon curd goes really well with Dairylea

  5. People in the western hemisphere eat too much

  6. There’s more than one use for baby oil

  7. I can still pull a wheelie on my Chopper

  8. How to use my oven

  9. So many people are unhappy at home

  10. It’s not in our DNA to be good at social distancing

And finally, here’s what I’m looking forward to when we’re finally all allowed to be something like normal again…

  1. Having a Gregg’s sausage and bean bake

  2. People watching while sipping a flat white

  3. Going for a drive because I can

  4. A bit of slap and tickle…

  5. Having my a**e kicked into shape at the gym

  6. A haircut

  7. Drinking with the Beer Squad (and Joe)

  8. Picking up a copy of ESP!

  9. Debating a load of nonsense during dinner at my mum’s

  10. Not laying in bed all morning to make me late for the couch


The world of course hasn’t completely stood still during lockdown and it’s good to see that the deserted Whitworth Mill on Fletton Quays is set to be sold and developed.

Bedford-based property development company Samsons will be converting some of the mill into their office space but the upper floors will be made into a hotel (yes, another one) while the ground floor is being proposed as an arts performance space, restaurant and bar.

It’ll be the last major piece to complete Fletton Quays, which was first occupied by the city council offices around 18 months ago, followed by Greggs, the CITB and Bewiched Coffee.

Other major regeneration work ticking along nicely is the Queensgate / North Westgate project, the demolishing of the cattle market car park and the revamping of the surrounding area.

Add to this a new university and relocation of the football club and it’s sure going to be all change for the better in the city centre within the next couple of years.


A study carried out by Virgin Media of 1,500 adults currently working from home with their partner found that 46 per cent have only just discovered what their other half does for a living.

Prior to the lockdown, all they knew was their significant other ‘works in an office’ and ‘has lots of meetings’.

I’m flabbergasted. That’s like saying: “Well, I know our daughter’s name is Amy but I’m not sure if it’s spelt Amy, Amie or Ami.”

Seriously, people, get your head out of your phones and get to know the person you supposedly love. Talk, ask questions and show interest – you just might find out they checked out months ago and are having an affair!


It’s done a great job of prising me out of my money during lockdown. Here’s a bunch of items isolation made me buy that I don’t even need: Brillo pads, picture hanging strips, engine bay stickers, Hot Chocolate greatest hits CD, scented candles, wheel stud caps, weed killer, yoga mat, skipping rope, 16 tubes of toothpaste, 180 bubblegums, a ball of string, a socket set, a water bottle and some copper grease spray.


  1. Gary – thanks for the check-ins brother

  2. ‘Lettuce’ – get on a call with Ravsi!

  3. TJ – what about my MOT?

  4. Carlo – keep the videos coming

  5. Dom – soon be time to get your top off

  6. Dave – see you on the boat!

Pep Cipriano


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