We're doing our bit with Eat Out to Help Out | Alun Newman

Alun's family have been loving the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.Alun's family have been loving the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Alun's family have been loving the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
We’ve been doing our bit for the UK economy by Eating Out to Help Out.It’s assisted by the fact that we’ve been on holiday and also had a genuine reluctance to cook in our self-catering cottage.

There’s no doubt we spent more money than we would have normally and we ate on a scale that was impressive by anyone’s standards.

One anomaly that did appear, was the strange mathematical decision by some members of the party to buy items that they would never normally buy.

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Here’s an example: ‘I’ve never had lobster but it’s 10 pounds off’.

I point out that it’s still mentally expensive and we’re having lunch, not celebrating a lottery win.

Other comments included: ‘That’s an expensive steak but with the money off it’s more reasonable.’

I attempted to point out again, to the entire family, that the scheme is not a target based initiative.

Our goal is not to spend the same on more occasions.

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We’re eating out and that’s helping out. When we finally got the bill, the discount was highlighted on the receipt.

Once that gets into your psyche you start to believe that eating out is cheaper than almost any other option.

For reasons that are solely down to availability, we ended up spending our holiday in and around Glastonbury.

If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s in Somerset and has a famous hill with a Grade 1 monument on the top. The hill is called Glastonbury Tor. We decided to embark on this one afternoon.

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As you can imagine, the news landed like a guilty verdict at the Old Bailey.

However, it’s a busy route to the top of the tor and just as one of our team was complaining that they were about to die, we spotted another family having a far worse experience.

This lifted our spirits immensely.

It was a mum and dad with four teenage girls (there should be a government funded charity to support families of this size). Three children were towing the line but one had gone rogue.

By the looks of it, they'd gone on strike and refused to move off a wooden bench. The pack had been split.

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The dad had tried the ‘we’ll leave you here and go on without you’ but his bluff had been called. I nodded to him as he was returning to collect his lost sheep.

‘Time for a pep talk’, he said as he walked past down the slope.

By chance, about three-quarters of an hour later, we met the family again as we neared the summit.

They were back together, but the teenager in question was walking while Facetiming a friend and lamenting that they wanted to be anywhere but up this particular hill.

It was hilarious. It was brilliant.

The modern teenage mood has so many more potential avenues.

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In my day, the mood was a very personal moment. You’d disappear into yourself. You’d shut down. Maintain silence. Demonstrate just how cross you were.

Now the modern mood has so much more on offer.

You can Tweet about it, place your anger on Instagram, record a TikTok about it, Facetime a friend and chat live face to face from virtually anywhere.

But even with all these elements, it’s not going to stop parents taking children on family walks! Mood or no mood, get your shoes on, we’re going.

Who do you think you’re talking to?

I had to go to B&Q to get some wood. I’m rubbish at DIY, so these are treasured trips for me – I feel like a real man.

Tape measure. Pencil behind the ear. Old jeans on.

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As I'm cruising the aisles I decide to buy a new saw. I stand gazing at the options, mask on of course.

Next to me is a lady, mask on, viewing similar items.

As I reach out for the potential tool of choice, the lady next to me says: ‘No, no, don’t touch that’.

I recoiled.

I’ve been told off.

I turn and look at her giving ‘shocked’ eyes.

Why can’t I touch that? What have I done wrong?

Then I realise.

She’s not talking to me. She’s on a phone call.

It was already a tricky situation to navigate, like the person you think is speaking to you at the train station but they're really on the phone.

Now with everyone in masks that’s gone to another level.

Add to that wireless earpods and a bluetooth phone in the pocket and it’s a near impossibility to predict.

Something is lost when you can’t see the face of another.

However, if there is a silver lining, you can say what you like and pretend you're on a call.

Or talk to yourself out loud and everyone will think you’re chatting to a friend.