SO we’re all on a one-way road to freedom, or the ‘new normal’ or whatever it is that awaits us on June 21, that magical date when the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact, when we can say goodbye to wearing masks and social distancing.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything will go to plan and I’ll finally get to do all the things I’ve not been able to do for more than a year.

Top of my list is having the family to stay. None of my family live locally and it will be a joy to have them under my roof again.

Second will be a trip to Lidl. Yes, I know this is a bit of weird one but I do miss going to Lidl now and then and didn’t fancy taking it on during the height of the pandemic. I trust myself to follow social distancing rules but I’m not so convinced other people are as careful as I am and the evidence seems to be that supermarkets are not quite as safe as I would like them to be.

And then there will be the big, set-piece trip to Manchester to sample the delights of its craft beer scene. That’s been one of my aims since before we were all locked down in March last year.

And perhaps I’m being wildly optimistic here but I do have a two-week holiday to Spain booked for the end of June and I’m hoping against hope that restrictions on international travel will be lifted in time for me to get away.

But maybe there could be some downsides to the irreversible, one-way road to freedom. I’m being particularly self-centred here but I am a little concerned that if everything goes according to plan, the ‘stay at home’ rule will be lifted on March 29.

Regular readers of this column will by now know I’ve been happily working from home since before the first official lockdown was imposed. And when I say I’ve been happy to work from home, I really mean it and I’d be delighted for that to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to the government’s ‘roadmap’ statement, after March 29, “people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes”.

And the words doing the heavy lifting in that statement are ‘where they can’. There’s no doubt I feel I can successfully work from home but I get the feeling that people such as me will be at the mercy of bosses and company owners who, maybe justifiably, say it’s time to get everyone back in the office.

If that’s the case, it should make for some interesting conversations with various HR departments.

Of course, people hear what they want to hear.

It very much looks like the only thing that’s really set in stone is the first of the Step 1 dates – March 8 – when all children and students return ‘safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges’. In an attempt to make it safe, the government is introducing twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils, in addition to regular testing for all teachers, to reduce the chance of the virus spreading.

I hope it goes well for all concerned and let’s face it, it couldn’t go much worse than the last time the government tried to get kids back to school, opening them up for just one day before deciding to close again.

There are U-turns and then there are Boris Johnson U-turns.

Anyway, as for the rest of the landmark dates on the road to ‘freedom’, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

All it will take is one variant of the Covid-19 virus to escape into the wild that can evade vaccines and we’ll all be back to square one while we wait for the pharmaceutical companies to do their thing all over again.

That’s probably me and my ‘glass half full’ take on life. Hopefully everything will go just swimmingly. Let’s hope so.