Digested week: I’m back in the office after six months and it’s not going well | John Crace

My J and H keys have been sanitised to death, the reduced seating is full and my anxiety levels are sky high

It’s the same every time. I spend months looking forward to my summer holidays, only to find that the positive effects of being away have worn off within a few days of getting home. This year was no exception, not helped by the government’s decision to end recess a week early, which meant I had to work for the last three days of our second improvised holiday with close friends in Norfolk. Having to leave everyone on Holkham beach on a rare sunny day to get back in time to watch a Matt Hancock statement was not exactly my idea of a fun day out. As it was, it took me the best part of the week to wind down and by the time I felt vaguely relaxed we were packing to go home. It was too cold to swim this time – at least for me, others were rather more brave – but we did get some lovely walks in along the coast. By about day five of the holiday, the dog – who generally never turns down a walk – was completely knackered and pleading for a bit of personal time. As the others went off to see the Anish Kapoor exhibition at Houghton Hall, Herbie stayed behind with me to watch prime minister’s questions. I’ve never much liked the end of summer at the best of times – the nights closing in never fail to lower my mood – but this year has been more difficult than most because I feel cheated of seeing my daughter, who remains out of reach in Minneapolis. I know other people have had to endure far worse during the coronavirus pandemic, but I do miss her dreadfully. It was early December last year that I last saw her and who knows when quarantine-free travel between the US and the UK will resume? I feel so proud of the woman she has become: someone capable of making a life with a man she loves in a foreign country. But part of me can’t help wishing we had brought her up to be just a little less independent.

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