By Debbie James

A delicious whiff of onions, sizzling in a frying pan last night, whisked me back to happy memories of summer events.

For a blissful but flitting moment, I was transported from my kitchen to the Royal Welsh showground, on a warm and sunny day and surrounded by lovely people.

Remember going to events and get-togethers?

The news that the Royal Welsh Show has been cancelled for the second year running, not to mention multiple smaller events that shape the summer calendar in rural Pembrokeshire, is a reminder that despite the vaccination programme we seem to have made little progress in the direction of life as we knew it pre-pandemic.

Everyone is doing their best to replicate events in virtual format but I struggle with that, they just remind me how remote we have all become from each other.

The other evening I was listening to a work-related webinar being delivered by a vet but his internet connection persistently failed.

He kept fading in and out and his presentation became a succession of disjointed sentences that made no sense but he valiantly ploughed on.

People voiced their frustration in the ‘chat’ section and some abruptly left.

When his connection was restored, the vet admitted he would much rather be delivering his presentation in a room full of people, preferably with a beer involved. It was an evening meeting after all.

The source of his internet breakdown was revealed the following day to be horses chewing the cables at the relay station!

Remote events, we are told, are better for the environment and it is mooted that they may be here to stay post-pandemic. But take away our opportunities for human contact and we remove one of life’s great joys.

We are all beholden to the virtual format in this moment of pandemic but in the long term let it complement but not replace physical events. Coming together allows us to feel that all is well on Earth.