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Updated: Aug 23, 2021

ESP’s Man About Town, Pep Cipriano, is back with his latest thoughts on life in the Boro as life opens out again…


Back in the day when I used to run 10ks and the odd half marathon (I’m considering a comeback) I used to moan for the first couple of miles.

I was always a slow starter and it was mainly due to not having the correct mindset as I launched myself off the start line.

But as I got into my stride, I’d relax, breathe and fall into a rhythm that took me to a place beyond my subconsciousness. I’d suck up each mile as if it wasn’t there and my strained look at the very start was replaced by a smile. Yes, I’ve been known to smile.

What altered my mindset was my ability to picture the finish line and all its associated glory. I’d zone into my thoughts and find continuous momentum in placing myself past the finish line and all the endorphin-boosting glory that went with it.

Today, I’m picturing the finish line according to Boris Johnson’s roadmap that’s on target to ‘end’ by mid-June. What we all need between now and then is not to lose our heads. This means patience, common sense and discipline because none of us need to go through all of this again.

We’ve all been affected by the pandemic in different ways. Some of us have been mentally tipped over the edge and some of us have been exposed to frailties within our mindset that until now we never knew we had issues with.

We’re all to some degree bruised and battered and a large proportion of us have changed, probably for good. There’s social anxiety among us, there’s some resentment and there’s a feeling of being in limbo but most of all there’s a wave of optimism and relief.

When I take a look at myself, yes, I feel different. On one hand I’m thankful the pandemic encouraged me to lean on my mental resources as well as opening up new opportunities. In the main, I’ve successfully navigated my way through it by staying creative, adapting to challenges and picturing that finishing line.

But as we approach the end of the roadmap, I’m almost finding myself feeling a bit lost, which is the last feeling I expected! I’ve done all the things that most of us have – like going for a beer, a meal and a spot of retail therapy – but I’ve found it strangely surreal and a tad overwhelming.

It’s almost as if returning to ‘normal’ isn’t normal and what a weird feeling that is. But I know this oddness is temporary and instead of trying desperately to remember what my life and routine used to be like, I’m focusing on the now and the opportunities my life reset button has presented for me.

The virus will never go away and face coverings and social distancing will probably be a part of our everyday lives for a long time. We’ve all had to make life adjustments but we’re resilient and if you’re reading this then count your blessings. Stay on track, picture the finish line and we’ll all end up completing this marathon as winners.


How lucky are we that within a week of another layer of restrictions being lifted the sun came out and so it seemed did the whole of Peterborough!

I strolled into the city centre and hadn’t seen it so vibrant for years. But what I really wanted to do was enjoy a cappuccino and a slice of millionaire’s shortbread at the Willow Café, Bar & Restaurant because I can.

The value to our city of Central Park and Ferry Meadows cannot be underestimated and if the last year has shown us anything it’s that getting outside and enjoying our award-winning green spaces has been a godsend.

Our city centre and its surrounding parks and leisure facilities has started to bounce back and even more prosperity is on its way.

The government’s Towns Fund deal is on course to bring £22 million of investment into Peterborough, with a number of projects planned for the city centre. These include The Vine library culture and community hub, riverfront improvements, expanding our museum and a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the river.

Then there’s the £60 million extension to Queensgate Shopping Centre, which will house a multiplex cinema, more shops and food court opening this year.

There’s also almost £200k from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund for City Culture Peterborough to get the museum, Flag Fen, libraries and Key Theatre all reopened and back on track. Plus, let’s not forget the university build is well underway.

I’ve written this on numerous occasions in almost a quarter of a century of being a city columnist: “Peterborough is going places.” This time the impact is going to be bigger and more sustainable than it’s ever been. Maybe now we can finally shake off our ‘city with a town mentality’ identity.


Correctly guess what my latest unnecessary and (hopefully) final lockdown purchase was (pictured right) and I’ll let you have it free of charge.


Yes, we’ve got two of them in May and this year they might feel a little more like normal: Beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, flip-flops and muffin tops, torrential rain, Sunny Hunny, barbecue when it’s six degrees, call in sick Tuesday, destroy it yourself DIY, traffic jams, and beer, beer, beer, beer.


  • Wolf Pack – we’re back on!

  • Hamza & John – alfresco pizza?

  • Gary – time to get the wasps out

  • ‘Lettuce’ – no more coffee to go now

  • Anne-Marie – here’s your mention!

  • Jo – it’s been emotional


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