ARE we all adapting to the ‘new normal’ of our socially-distanced lockdown existence?

It seems that most of us have.

There have been very obvious side-effects of life in a time of coronavirus – some of them good, some of them not so good.

I know we have had warm and sunny weather over recent weeks and it may just be my imagination but the sky looks more intensely blue, birdsong sounds louder and I can’t recall a time when we had so many glorious sunsets in succession.

But putting to one side the permanent feeling of anxiety that a potentially fatal disease that doesn’t have a cure engenders, being in lockdown does also have some less welcome, unforeseen consequences.

I wouldn’t go as far as Jean-Paul Sartre in agreeing that ‘hell is other people’. But maybe something along the lines of ‘other people can be intensely irritating and anti-social’.

Let’s start with dog owners.

As regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of dogs in general but I accept that a lot of other people are.

So in a spirit of reconciliation, if people keep their dogs on a lead and under control in public, I’m prepared to live and let live. I’ve always socially-distanced myself from dogs in any event (I just don’t trust them and would cross the road to avoid them).

Now like most people, I’ve been taking my one piece of state-sanctioned exercise a day and that has generally involved a walk round the estate where I live – not something I would necessarily have done before the lockdown.

And what has become increasingly obvious is there are some dog owners who haven’t wholeheartedly taken on board the need to clean up after their pets.

Putting it as politely as I can, the pavements on my estate are littered with little black bags full of dog mess.

Now I don’t know if this is the ‘product’ of one dog over a period to time or whether a number of dog owners think this an acceptable way to behave.

Whoever or whatever is the cause, if you can’t clean up properly after your dog, you shouldn’t be allowed to have one.

So on to my second socially-distanced lockdown gripe – cyclists.

Cyclists so infuriated the good people of Little Bollington that someone put up a sign telling them to stop riding through the village and stay in their local area. After a bit of a media kerfuffle, the signs have now been taken down by the parish council.

With some rapid backtracking, it said in a statement: “We as a community welcome anyone who wishes to visit or pass through our village.

“We would ask that everyone ensures they respect social distancing.”

I have a certain amount of sympathy with whoever put up the signs in the first place, which brings me on to my complaint. I am making every effort to abide by the social distance rules. I have no desire to contract the coronavirus and end up on a ventilator in Warrington Hospital.

So can I please ask all those cyclists who think it’s ok to ride on pavements to just stop doing it.

On at least four occasions over recent weeks, cyclists have sneaked up behind me, passing within a few feet. So much for social distancing.

It’s not as though the roads are busy, for goodness sake.

And finally, unintended – and intensely irritating – lockdown consequence No 3.

I hate other people’s music.

Yes, I know the it’s been warm and the sun has been shining. Yes, I know you want to be out in your gardens, perhaps having a barbecue and yes, I know you want to listen to your favourite sounds.

But sound carries.

I could just about tolerate the radio station playing hits from the 1990s. But Smooth Radio for three hours? No thanks. Smooth Radio sells itself as ‘Your Relaxing Music Mix’. Well it didn’t relax me.