The tang of cleaning fluid permeates the house, climbing up its staircase to the rafters and prickling my nose with toxic fumes. We are at home with the poisonous though, inhaling cigarette after cigarette and dining on the charred flesh of animals. This afternoon we re-open the pub for the first time since March. "For the first time since March" seems a constant refrain these days, and perhaps too soon, with the rising number in cases, regularly in the 200s and 300s, the newspapers warning of a second lockdown. It all feels so normalised now. We couldn't get away enough from people, and here we are, joining book clubs, drinking wine in restaurants, and celebrating GAA county league victories. Anyways, I am required to hope for the best, and so I shall, I suppose, editing out any apocalyptic phrases from emails and reading as if I have a long future of reading books. God, what a time.