ESP’s Man About Town Pep Cipriano is back with his own perspective on life in the Boro, Valentine’s Day, lockdown dating and video calls…


Let’s be honest, despite lockdown Valentine’s Day probably has the same insignificance to most of us as it always has – unless of course February 14 happens to be your wedding anniversary.

But the subject of love and relationships is probably more prevalent now than it’s ever been, as singletons look forward to being set free from their lockdown leashes and go in search of that heart-flickering companionship that’s been deprived of them for the last few months.

So, when the dating scene tries to re-emerge, are there any tips on what to say during date one that’ll pave the way for date two and beyond? Yes, of course there are!

For some reason my inbox is plagued with Valentine’s and love lark this time of year but one email got my attention over the rest.

It basically said we should forget about relying on chemistry on the first date and focus instead on asking the right questions, which will be the deciding factor in whether you get to see her/him again.

The advice is to avoid talking about money, politics, religion or your ex-partner. Shame, as I happen to think all of that is important when choosing the right person.

Anyway, instead, asking the below seven questions is recommended in order to get a green light for date two.

The last time I went on a date was 1987. This means I’ve added my responses to the questions, which in my fantasy were being asked by Kate Beckinsale.

By my reckoning I think she’ll be impressed by my carefully thought-out answers and we’ll end up going on a second date.

Who are the most important people in your life?

My mum because she cooks and irons better than me. My accountant and my barber.

What makes you laugh?

My Whoopie Cushion.

Do you read reviews or just go with your gut?

Are you testing me about your role in Underworld?

What do your Saturdays usually look like?

Up around 1pm. McDonalds. Facebook. Dukes of Hazzard. KFC. Beer. Bed.

What’s the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

I used to put up goal posts on council football pitches.

What’s your signature drink?

Cherry B.

What’s your most valuable possession?

My radiator key. You never know when you might need to bleed your radiators.


Research by MetLife UK has revealed that 72% of employers and 62% of employees feel their relationship has been negatively impacted by Covid-19.

Two in five office employees who’ve been working from home say there’s been a fall in collaboration and social interaction among colleagues, representing a decline in that all-important connection with a work family.

Yes, homeworking has removed many of the cultural, emotional and communications bonds employers have spent decades establishing, but it’s also revolutionised how and where we work.

I actually think I’ve got to know my colleagues even better than I would have done in the office by talking to them on video via Teams.

Video-calling is arguably a more intimate way of communicating with your colleagues. Sometimes in an office environment you never really get to know the person in front of you because you’re essentially meeting their representative.

The switch to a homeworking environment provides more opportunity to bond and get to know the person better by simply being in a less formal and more comfortable setting.

in the last few months, I’ve seen colleagues transform from a fully made-up face to wearing no make-up and to trading a tie for a tracksuit top. I’ve met (mainly by accident) their pets, their partners, their children and even their neighbours.

But more importantly, I feel I’ve met the real them – and with it some interesting video backgrounds (unless they’ve chosen to blur them), which is another insight into their personalities and the people they are outside of the office.

So, for me, I’m thankful for homeworking and video calling because without it I’d be unaware of some bizarre connections made, things in common and knowing what motivates them to be the best version of their true self when I’m starring down a screen at them for hours on end. Thank you, video calling.


If you’re frustrated with the lack of arts and culture opportunities where you live then your views could help shape the city’s next culture strategy.

Arts organisation Metal is working with Peterborough City Council and Arts Council England to develop a new 10-year strategy and they’re inviting you to take a five-minute survey, which is open until March 1.

A finalised strategy based on existing research and the survey responses will be published mid-summer.

Having my views considered about the city I’ve lived in all my life is very important to me and this is a gift we shouldn’t ignore.

So, please send this link Peterborough: a strategy for culture to 2030 Survey ( to people you know who are always moaning about not being consulted on proposed changes to where they live and explain they’ve got an opportunity to help make the city an even better place for the next generation.

If you’re after more information, you can email Mark Richards or


You could add a few extra pounds and pence to your bank balance just by sharing your interest, hobby or pastime with others.

City College Peterborough wants to hear from anyone with a passion for their pastime who would like to support our communities by sharing their interest with others.

Informal community learning tasters for adults (19+) are short sessions of around an hour (sometimes broken up into short 15-minute segments) designed to engage people to improve their health, confidence and wellbeing by embracing something new and, for some, tempting them into their first step towards further learning.

The taster sessions can be about a whole range of subjects such as: arts and crafts, cookery, languages, history, science, basic IT, writing, spelling, grammar, gardening, Tai chi, model-making and practically anything that has a broad appeal.

Anyone interested in sharing their skills do not need to be an expert or a qualified tutor, as the college will provide support to design and record an engaging online session.

If this sounds like you, email Debbie Chalmers or call 01733 761361 (ext. 844).


So, major Lockdown 2 is drawing to a close and even though we’re not out of the woods yet I’m desperate for a change of routine and scenery like we all are.

It’s been almost a year since the first lockdown and I’ll look back at this period of my life both with frustration and gratefulness.

Aside from the obvious things we’ve all been deprived of; we’ve also had other stuff that’s wound us up and that’s made us smile during the pandemic. Here are my top five good, bad and the ugly.


  1. Rediscovering fudge tart

  2. Fudge tart for breakfast

  3. Fudge tart for lunch

  4. Fudge tart for dinner

  1. Is it me or is the Halifax “We’re the people to trust” TV advert on 5,000 times a day?!

  2. People who say this pandemic isn’t killing as many as we’re being told. And those who think Covid-19 was created by some covert organisation in an attempt to control us and something to do with money and oil and blah, blah, blah

  3. A busy Fletton Parkway pre-pandemic and busy Fletton Parkway in lockdown. Spot the difference?

  4. Idiots having lockdown parties

  5. The long-term effect of isolation and less physical human interaction


  1. My love handles

  2. The emergence of a second chin

  3. My Tom Hanks in Cast Away hair

  4. The thought of me on the beach this summer

  5. My love handles. Did I say that already?


What’s yours been since last March?

In Lockdown 1 I was a little naïve. I bought a new pair of ‘best’ jeans to go out in, a gym membership and a horn upgrade for my car.

Almost a year later and my jeans seriously do not fit, my gym is full of tumbleweed and I’ve still got the same full tank of petrol in my car.

But in Lockdown 2 I bought a belter. The ‘Push-up Rack Board’ trains your shoulders, triceps, chest and back.

All I need now is something to train my brain to use it instead of tripping over it on the way to the fridge.


Absolute genius. I’m not lying when I say episodes of Columbo have helped me through some of those long, dark and cold lockdown weekends when leaving the house would have been more depressing than staying in it.

Yes, I’ve seen most of the episodes more than once down the years but I’m now beginning to appreciate them more than ever. There’s no substitute for quality and the ones filmed in the 1970s are easily his best. If Columbo was around today he’d have solved Covid-19 without breaking sweat.


  1. Shevchenko – did you get a new plug?

  2. Dave – I’ll find another MOT for a catch-up

  3. Tim – it’s about time isn’t it?

  4. Beer ‘Zoom’ Squad – let’s book another in

  5. Stew – Enrica wants to meet you again…

  6. Lenny – I need a mattress

#CityCulturePeterborough #KeepPeterboroughPositive #ManAboutTown #PepCipriano

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