A whisky expert has been living in self-imposed lockdown for almost two years over fears he would lose his sense of smell if he caught Covid.
Blair Bowman, 31, started to limit what he was doing in February 2020 and went into lockdown a couple of weeks before it was imposed.
He previously travelled the world to places including Malaysia, Greece, Norway, Turkey and Spain, for a hyper-sociable role which included business dinners and lunches.
But for nearly two years Blair and his partner have lived in a ‘bubble’ in their home in Edinburgh, only leaving their home for walks and trips to pick up grocery shopping – which they do using click and collect.
Self-employed whisky broker Blair says it’s the most content he’s ever been, and working from home does not impact his job specialising in sourcing old and rare casks and bottles.
Blair said: “We’ve both been in this little bubble since the start and made a decision early on to wait for things to blow over.
“For me the loss of sense of taste and smell was so important and quite a hard-hitting thing that made me decide to be more cautious.
“About 40% of how we experience the world is taste and smell, I’d really miss being able to taste a nice coffee.
“It’s less about my job and more about how I’d enjoy life.
“There is no point in even drinking whisky because people have told me they can only experience the texture of it and not the flavours.
“It looks like a large number of people do recover their sense of smell and that gives me a lot of hope.”
Last summer when Covid was at its lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, Blair would get takeaway coffees and meet people at a distance outdoors.
When numbers began to rise the couple went back into self-imposed lockdown.
Blair said: “It’s no different from what we were all doing last year, I’ve just decided to do it a bit longer than everyone else.
“The short-term benefits of being out don’t outweigh the risks at the moment.
“I got over the fear of missing out things last year when we first came out of lockdown.
“I was looking at how high the numbers were at the end of June and I was in complete bewilderment.
“It wasn’t difficult but it made sense not to be doing stuff.”
He said his business has done better with fewer overheads – and he is enjoying life more, in anticipation that he will at some point feel ready to travel again.
Blair said: “I know I will have plenty of opportunities to travel, to have dinners and visit new places when I feel ready to do it.
“I’m more content than I’ve been at any other point in my life.
“My business is actually excelling and booming.
“I used to travel internationally – that was a lot of overheads.
“Obviously I enjoyed it and I look forward to going back to it eventually when I feel comfortable to do so but in one week, I can talk to clients in Japan, India, Europe and the USA and not have to leave my living room.”
Blair keeps track of statistics and research to help him determine what he is confident doing, but has yet to socialise indoors.
He added: “There is always going to be risk, there are always risks in life.
“But we know how high the risks are.
“Looking at the statistics and research helps keep you safe.
“It is very far from being gone and that is the thing keeping me away.”