Updated: Oct 7, 2021
ESP’S Man About Town, Pep Cipriano is back for a hug as he drops by some of the Peterborough’s new venues and says there’s plenty to look forward to this year…
JUST CALL ME HUGGY BEAR
In fact, I’m going to change my name by deed poll to Huggy Bear. I’ve got so much in common with the Starsky & Hutch character it’s scary.
Huggy was cool, connected and charismatic (blow your own trumpet why don’t you Pep).
But he was too cool for hugging whereas I’m semi-jabbed up and been hugging friends, family, the old lady behind the post office counter, the lamppost outside my house and even my car.
I’d even hug (because the poor fella needs one) Eurovision flop James Newman but Michelle Keegan remains top of my squeeze list.
When the relaxing of restrictions meant that we could physically embrace one another again, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the person I actually ended up giving my first hug to.
But to stay safe we must remember to:
Think before we hug
Ask the intended hugee permission for a hug
Hug with caution
And before I announce who it was, let’s just take a quick look at the science of a hug for a few sentences…
Hugging has a lot to do with our evolutionary past and basically, we do it because monkeys do it. But our skin is a lot less hairy (debateable where I’m concerned), so it retains a network of touch-sensitive nerves that link directly to the brain, where they stimulate the release of endorphins.
This makes us feel good and that flood of endorphins is re-enforced by the release of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress and makes us feel connected to the other person.
So, it should have been the woman I’ve been chatting to online in lockdown, but my first hug was with Peterborough Telegraph photographer David Lowndes.
I took a stroll into town and he was the first person I bumped into. The rest is lockdown roadmap history. Not sure I felt the connection scientists refer to but nonetheless we were both smiling following our three-second clinch.
Folks, if you’ve been hugging like your life depends on it, remember who your first hug was because we all came so close to having to wrap our arms around trees for the rest of our lives.
MORE REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
If hugging’s got me excited then seeing some new venues starting up when the leisure and hospitality sector reopened was a confidence-booster we all needed too.
When one door closes another always eventually opens and while the city centre may have lost a handful of places to eat, drink and shop, there’s plenty of new ventures open and planning to surface in the coming months.
The vacant Tamu dessert restaurant in Cowgate is now Blind Tiger. It’s an inviting bar that’s a decent stop for a coffee and a pastry in the morning and a good choice for craft beer and wine from lunchtime onwards.
It’s designed in a kind of industrial and contemporary way with a couple of quirky additions including a swing seat. I liked the vibe it’s already giving off and it should be a popular place for people with varying tastes, especially if you like cheese and charcuterie boards, which look yum.
There’s seating for 40 outside, which perfectly lends itself to the location of the venue and owner Neil Treliving told me by mid-summer the plan is to open downstairs with some snug sofa seating.
Things are also looking up across the other side of town. Gossip is a new café on Midgate, offering a mix of Balkan and Turkish light-bites along with various drinks, including a damn good strawberry milkshake that lasted 30 seconds in my hands.
It opened in May and hopefully by now they’re able to serve alcohol and extend seating to outdoors. Just around the corner, with The Solstice closed for good, Coyotes Bar and Grill is currently flying the entertainment flag alone for that end of the city centre. Hopefully not for long though.
It must be nearly seven years since New York, New York, MYU and Liquid nightclubs threw in the towel. There was a time when New Road ruled in clubland with the likes of The Bar, Toho, Ghost and Liquid all attracting thousands of revellers.
And just when I thought Peterborough’s clubbing days were long gone there’s some hope for a comeback on the horizon. A 4am licence has been applied to open the former New York, New York under the name Rhythm Rooms.
If successful, we could see a return to something like the glory days on New Road and a club will undoubtedly be a welcome boost for Coyotes, plus eateries the 2020 World Buffet and Turkish Kitchen. Fingers crossed and watch this space.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
Two words: pure genius. Not sure if those two words are copyrighted but I don’t care because this contraption in Queensgate in Peterborough is a life saver for people like me whose phones are permanently glued to their face. It’s probably been there for ages and goes to show how the smallest of things make me happy now that we’re free to roam again. Maybe I need to get out more…
TOP 10 STUFF I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO
May was a good month because in the middle of it most of us started to remember what normal felt like.
We’re almost there. I’ve eaten inside a restaurant and drank inside a pub, which has meant I’ve finally been able to put my winter coat and gloves away!
I’m back to my gym class (aching and moaning as usual) and it was great to be at the Antiques Fair at Peterborough Arena. Despite there being fewer stalls and Covid-safe changes to the event layout, it was still good to be outside wheeling and dealing on behalf of my brother’s business.
There’s still so much I’m looking forward to doing and here’s my Top 10.
Use a retail store changing room instead of having to take those post-Covid tight jeans back every time.
Have a proper espresso and sfogliatella in Naples.
Date women again.
Go to the Maxey Classic Car & Bike Show (August 14).
Sneeze in front of someone and not be glared at like I’m wearing crocs or something equally inappropriate.
Watch the latter stages of the European Championships in the company of dozens of pungent-smelling friends crammed into a living room.
Going to a wedding where there’s actually more people than in a queue at my local chippy.
Running late and being stuck in traffic on the way to work.
Shaking someone’s hand without having to immediately sanitise if I want a KFC.
Live in the moment. If it feels good, do it. Worrying about tomorrow’s consequences takes you to a place that doesn’t exist.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
The guy in this photo with me is called Gino. I have no idea why, but he wants to send the link to this photo to a guy in Bedford. I think it’s so that Gino can provide photographic proof he has at least three friends. So, here you go Gino… you’re welcome.
MY WORD OF THE MONTH: EUROS
So, after months of being trapped indoors with limited stuff to do, I’ve been out like the rest of us. But June is the start of the football European Championships, which means I’m not leaving my house until July. And here’s why I love (take with a pinch of sarcasm) the Euros:
Beer and more beer, partisan commentary, annoying Ian Wright, bibbing in Fletton and Woodston, having to hear “Can’t you just record it?”, shock opening game result, fans in stadiums! mindless hooliganism, the Italian national anthem, boring final, too many Pringles and the end of date night for a month.
Sheva – let’s watch a game…
Lettuce and Ravsi – must be curry time?
Hamza – Italians do it better!
Dave – can I place my boat drink order?
Wolf Pack – time for our next session
Mikey – time for that pizza gig?