Lockdown Week 3, April 6th to 12th 2020 inclusive

Monday, April 6th

Les Miserables at the Lowry, in mid-May, has been cancelled now.  They said it’d be rearranged for next year.  The British Open’s also been cancelled, and that wasn’t until … well, the week after Wimbledon.  Stuff being cancelled for July does not bode well for my holiday to Iceland.  I’ve pretty much given up hope of it now 😦 .

I tried to upload a video using the Facebook app on my phone, and it didn’t work.  It’s hardly a huge trauma, and apparently not unusual, but it’s upsetting my obsessive brain and I really wish I hadn’t tried now!

I know – these are hardly major issues, when so many people are tragically losing their lives.  Pep Guardiola’s mum’s died, in Spain.  Very sad.  City and United fans alike are expressing their condolences, and so’s everyone else.

On a happier note, I’ve joined a Whatsapp group for the people in my book group (the one for which the March meeting was cancelled).   Most people in it are on Facebook anyway, but some aren’t.   And both United and City have confirmed that none of their staff will be furloughed.  Liverpool have reversed their decision on furloughing.

Later – oh dear!   Some very worrying news tonight.  Boris has been taken into intensive care.  We’ve not been told much, but no-one goes into intensive care unless things are pretty bad.


Tuesday, April 7th

Didn’t sleep very well last night.  I think it was all the worry about Boris.  I wish the media’d shut up with the dramatics about what the procedures for running the country are when the PM’s hors de combat.  We’ve been told that Dominic Raab’s overseeing things, and that the rest of the Cabinet and their medical/scientific advisors are all involved.

No deaths in China today!  And Austria and Denmark are talking about easing restrictions.  Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Meanwhile, the British Athletics Championships in June, to which I was going, have been rescheduled for August.  I’m not convinced they’ll be able to go ahead in August, but let’s see.  And my blood donation appointment’s been cancelled, because the local session (on the 25th) is off, which is rather annoying because we’re being told that blood supplies are urgently needed.   Staff shortages, presumably, or maybe an issue with the venue?

Went to Tesco this morning.  Shopping is now a very complicated experience!   First of all, you have to make sure that you’re not there at a time reserved for NHS staff or elderly/vulnerable people … which at M&S is usually between 8 (when they open) and 9, but at Tesco is between 9 and 10, so I had to time it so that I was out of Tesco before 9 but not at M&S until after 9!  Then you have to queue outside, because only so many people are allowed in at once.   You now have to follow a one-way system, and then, instead of waiting at a till, you have to wait in the furthest aisle until you’re told that a till’s available.  This is the booze aisle, so you’re stood there surrounded by bottles of vodka, gin, wine etc!   I also had to go to the pharmacy for some catarrh medicine (Tesco pharmacy didn’t have any), but hadn’t realised it now wasn’t opening until 9 o’clock, so I had to wait outside there as well.  It’s all very complicated, as I said!

Public transport is now running far less frequently than usual, but there are still buses and trams about.  The  X41 and X43 buses are flashing up “Thank you NHS” and “Thank you Key Workers” – I saw some today.

More excitingly, we’ve had Chinook helicopters flying overhead today!  They’re going into Barton Aerodrome to drop off supplies for the new hospital – the G-Mex Centre (as everyone round here still calls it) is being made into one of the new Nightingale Hospitals.  I’m sort of got used to not seeing any aircraft in the sky, and I’m certainly not used to seeing Chinooks!

And the park looks lovely in the sunshine …


Wednesday, April 8th

Oh dear!  Every time the number of deaths with coronavirus in the UK drops, it goes up again.  938 today.  938.  I know it was to be expected, after what happened in Italy and Spain, but … 938.

Better news of Boris, though.  He’s sitting up in bed and “positively engaging” with medical staff.  He’s clearly been in a very, very bad way, but hopefully he’s on the other side of it now.

My official “Letter from Boris” came today.  They’re officially called government letters about coronavirus or something, but everyone’s referring to them as “Letters from Boris”.  They only say what we’ve already been told anyway, about the lockdown rules, but it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever had a letter from 10 Downing Street!   My Inside Soap magazine also came- it usually comes on a Tuesday, but the post’s running a bit slowly at the moment.  I’m very glad it’s running at all, though – three cheers for postmen/women!

Another lovely sunny day.  Usual routine – work, walk, work!  Well, except, today, for going into the office briefly, to drop some files off and collect others, and to print some stuff out because I’ve only got a small printer at home.

Passover started today, the first of several festivals, in different religions, this month.  A lot of ministers and religious groups are streaming services on line, for different religions/denominations.  My second cousin in Leeds is doing one every day.  Not my thing, but it’s bringing comfort to a lot of people.  Religious festivals are, obviously, a time when a lot of people like together with family and friends, but not this year.  A lot of people are organising meet-ups over Zoom, though.  Our book group’s also holding meet-ups on Zoom, a few times a week, but I’m scared to use it in case I break something: I’m not very good with technology and am terrified of something breaking at a time when I won’t be able to get it sorted .

I still can’t quite believe that all this is happening. How can our lives be turned upside down, just like that? As a kid, I sometimes wondered what’d happen if there was another world war, after two in two generations, but I never imagined this. I know some people have read sci-fi books in which some deadly virus takes over the world, but I never have done. It’s just … well, it’s unimaginable, but it’s happening.


Maundy Thursday, April 9th

My holiday company’s cancelled all tours up to and including the end of June.  My trip to Iceland, which is in July, will presumably be in the next batch to be cancelled.  It’s hardly as if they’ve got much choice, and it’s hardly as if anyone can go on holiday with so many countries on lockdown, and Easyjet aren’t even flying at the moment, but … I booked this holiday last September (to make sure I got a date after Wimbledon and before the Olympics!) and have been looking forward to it ever since.  Yes, I know that it’s selfish to be worrying about holidays when so many lives have tragically been lost, but don’t tell me that most people aren’t doing the same.   Final payments have to be made eight weeks in advance, so I assume a decision about July trips will come in early May.   I’m losing hope of being able to go on my trip to Japan too: mid-October seemed a long way off when all this started, but it doesn’t any more.  And who knows which trips’ll be on offer next year, after the hit that the airlines and holiday companies are taking from this?  Not to mention issues about working annual leave round available dates.


On a lighter note, Dad’s been dusting!  Mum is astounded.  They’ve been married for over 51 years and he’s never dusted before!!    He really must be bored!

“Clap for our Carers” this evening.  A lot of people are banging saucepans, but I decided to be different and blow the mini-Alpenhorn I got in Switzerland and ring the mini Liberty Bell I got in Philadelphia!

No soaps on on a Thursday.  Every other weekday, at least one of them’s on.  There are loads of films on, though, and I’m catching up on some of the stuff I’ve had on my Sky Planner for ages but not had chance to watch.


Good Friday, April 10th

Mum and Dad paid a semi-illicit visit today.  Lots of people are doing this with other family members: technically you’re not supposed to, but you’re still “social distancing” if the resident stands in the doorway and the visitors stand at the bottom of the drive.  And they were out on “approved business” (driving to the park for a walk – they usually walk round the golf course near them, but you’re allowed to drive somewhere for exercise, as long as it’s not far, and it’s only 4 miles or so from theirs), just took a slight diversion.  It was so nice to see them in the flesh!  I left my Inside Soap magazines out for them, and they took them and left their Hello! magazines for me to read.  I also saw my brother-in-law’s mum in the park, and have spoken to some of the neighbours, so it’s been quite a sociable day!

A four day weekend, and perfect weather for it, for once … shame we can’t head out into the countryside to enjoy it!  Thank heavens for Heaton Park … where the first bluebells are out!  That’s amazing.  I’ve never seen bluebells out in North Manchester this early in May before.  I won’t be getting to do my annual bluebell walks at Capesthorne Hall or along the western shore of Windermere this year 😦 , but, as I keep saying, thank heavens for Heaton Park!  The blossom on the trees is absolutely gorgeous.  The daffodils are dying off now, but some of them are still going, and now we’ve got the bluebells coming through.  I took another different route today, past the donkeys!  Then, later, I washed my car, again.  A lot of car-washing is going on at the moment- it’s something to do.

And the gardener’s been … despite the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday! I wasn’t sure he was coming, and was very pleased to see him. The window cleaners are still working, as well. Some people – the spiritual heirs of the sort of people who put their neighbours on ducking stools, or denounced them to Cromwell’s Puritan goosesteppers or the Spanish Inquisition or the KGB – have been whingeing about seeing gardeners or window cleaners working, which annoys me. As long as people are working outdoors, and not coming into contact with anyone else, and wearing gloves (which they are doing), what’s the problem?  Are there not enough people unable to earn at the moment as it is?  Do they think money grows on trees?!

On a different note, several local places have Good Friday traditions, which won’t be happening this year.  In Ramsbottom, it’s rolling eggs down Holcombe Hill.  In Bolton, it’s climbing up Rivington Pike.  Here in Prestwich, it’s eating fish and chips from Armstrongs!  There’s usually a queue right round the block.  I think they’re open for takeaways ordered via Deliveroo – quite a lot of places are – but I decided to make my own low-calorie version.  Battered cod and chips fried in oil aren’t really the things to be eating on the day before weigh-in!   So I had smoked salmon and chips oven-cooked in low fat spray!  I even posted a picture on Facebook 🙂 .


Easter Saturday, April 11th

Some very sad news today.  The man who ran the shop which is the local Hermes drop-off/collection point has died with coronavirus.  I didn’t go in there often, but I did sometimes, if I had parcels to send with Hermes.  So many deaths.

The Queen’s recorded an Easter message, talking about lighting the darkness.  She always says exactly the right thing.  It’s New York suffering the most, at the moment.  Things are horrendous here, but even worse there.

Two letters from the National Blood Service came, one confirming that the local blood session had been cancelled, and another one (why didn’t they put them in the same envelope?) asking me to rebook.  I’ll see what’s available.  Apparently blood donation does class as essential travel.

I was hoping I was getting on a roll with losing weight, but have had a setback … and this was even before having my scone, and then I’ve got my Easter egg and a simnel slice to start on tomorrow.   I did still have my scone – by the forget-me-nots, this time!  They’re doing really well: the tulips and some of the other plants are on the way out now, but the forget-me-nots are going strong.

And here endeth my career in online gambling – I bet on Dinamo Minsk to beat Goredeya seeing as I couldn’t get the money out, and they lost!

And no more Holby City, after next week 😦 .  There mustn’t be any more episodes in the can.  Apparently the ventilators they use really work, and have been donated to the NHS.

On a happier note, my second Windermere photo’s now also been included in a Windermere Lake Cruises Facebook postcard!


Easter Day, Sunday, April 12th

An unpleasant landmark today – 10,000 UK deaths with coronavirus.  The real total’s probably far higher than that: that’s just the figure for deaths in hospitals, and there are some utterly horrendous stories coming out about how bad things are in care homes.

Boris, who’s thankfully on the mend now, has made a very emotional speech thanking the medical staff who cared for him.  He said that, for 48 hours, things could have gone either way.

Switzerland’s beaming messages of hope on to the side of the Matterhorn, including messages to the UK and other countries.  Such a nice idea.

I’ve eaten rather more of my first Easter egg (one for today, one for Orthodox Easter next week) in one day that I intended too – oops!   And I had some of the simnel slice.  And lamb for tea.  I spend too much time thinking about food!

I’ve written a fanfic, about some of the characters in the one of my favourite book series coping with lockdown.  I don’t know whether to post it or not.  It’s certainly not intended to be flippant, but I don’t know if people might think it is.  Still pondering.

Saw some police in the park, again.  There were concerns that rule-breaking might increase over the Bank Holiday weekend, but I don’t think it has done.

And so another week in lockdown ends!  I’m catching up on books and films, anyway.  And it’s very odd that we’re having such a prolonged spell of good weather, especially this early in the year, but long may it last.  It did rain overnight, but had cleared up by the morning.   Going out for a walk/jog/bike ride is the best part of most people’s days.


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