And so to Betwixtmas, that strange in between period between Christmas and New Year where no one is quite sure which day of the week it is, whether it is a normal day or a bank holiday and when exactly the bins might be collected.

Actually, and I appreciate this is not exactly the sort of breaking news you turn to your humble correspondent for, my rubbish collection days over the festive period have, for the first time in living memory, remained entirely unchanged.

There is a certain point in a man’s life – and it is predominantly a man’s life, I suspect – when refuse collection timetables become a matter of fascination.

Usually over Christmas, the council does its best to try and catch you out: splitting the collections, or delaying them, or bringing in an extra weekend service.

Forget to pay attention and you suddenly find your back alley is doing a recreation of the Winter of Discontent (who says my jokes aren’t topical?).

Anyway. When I did turn to the council website, ready to do battle, I found myself disappointed to discover that there was no change to the collection.

Was the council trying to double bluff me? Were they daring me to put my bins out as normal and guffaw with laughter when their trucks failed to turn up? Or had they simply failed to update the website before heading off on their own holidays?

It says something for the New Normal that in a usual year, the bin collection days are randomly rejigged, but when everything else it out of kilter, the schedule stays the same.

I know that one shouldn’t really put any emotional investment in the days that your recycling is collected, but I did find a modicum – modicrumb? – of comfort in that regularity of routine.

Because elsewhere, Christmas has been both normal and not normal. Better than last year, obviously, but now laced with that extra worry of who got you an extra present of Omicron to go with the bath salts.

At every turn, new normal questions arise. Will the family lateral flow test be part of the new Christmas routine? What do we do with the antivax granny who still wants to see her grandchildren? Will I regain the use of my legs after a frozen drink in a pub beer garden?

As the end of 2021 approaches, it remains unclear whether Omicron will fizzle out like a disappointing new year’s firework display or kick on to shut us all down for January.

So far, the government are echoing my refuse collection (insert your own joke here) and are opting for no change. Fingers crossed that’s the right call. Happy New Year!

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