Monday, May 11th
I feel OK in myself – especially as the weather’s picked up again, and it was nice in the park – but I’m having anxiety pains. My right leg hurt so much this morning that it was painful to walk, but then it eased up when I saw that there were no scary updates on my phone. But started up again when I went into the kitchen to make breakfast – that’s years of eating issues for you!
The holiday company replied to say that they haven’t yet heard from their head office about the Iceland trip, which is ridiculous when the balance is due next week. I realise that they’ve got a load of July trips to sort out, but they should have contacted me by now. I’ll have to hassle them if I don’t hear within the next couple of days. There’s no way it can run, sadly.
Meanwhile, I’m a bit confused … as is everyone else. You can drive as far as you want, to exercise, but the Lake District doesn’t want visitors yet. And what if car parks are closed? Not to mention toilets!! Golf clubs are reopening, so Dad’s chuffed. But no professional sport until June, even behind closed doors. And hairdressers can’t reopen until July at the earliest. Oh FFS! They were amongst the earliest places to reopen in Austria and Denmark. But there are a lot of questions. I’m not criticising Boris, because he could only say so much in a ten minute speech, but there’s a lot to think about.
I’m very saddened by the amount of spite and political point-scoring going on. Not so much from Opposition politicians – Keir Starmer’s questions were all quite reasonable – but from the Bitter Remoaner brigade on social media. We had 3 1/2 years of this, because they wouldn’t accept the result of the referendum, and I really hoped that we could move on. You’d think people could unite at such a difficult time, and so many people have been so wonderful, and so keen to help others. But this lot … . I quite understand that many people are genuinely worried about the health risks associated with using public transport, or reopening schools. We all are. But they’re not bothered about that: it’s just spite. Utter rubbish is being spouted, about it all being about preventing millionaires losing money, which is arrant nonsense when it’s small businesses being worse hit. I really did hope we’d moved on from this sort of thing, but sadly it appears not. I’m just trying to ignore it.
My brother-in-law’s office will be reviewing the situation, as Fagin would say 🙂 , in mid-June. No news from mine. I’m quite happy to stay working from home!
Tuesday, May 12th
E-mailed the holiday company again. I understand that it’s a difficult time for them, but I need this sorting before the balance becomes due for payment next week. They said that the trip was being cancelled, and it was just a case of sending out the paperwork. It’s not like I didn’t know that, but I’m still sad. And, whilst sunbathing holidays may be possible later in the year, I can’t see that coach tours will be, and sunbathing holidays aren’t my thing at all. Coach tours have been the biggest thing in my year since 1996. They’ve kept me going through some very dark times. The thought of not having them is very difficult to deal with.
The death toll is way up again today. It happens every Tuesday, with the catch-up from the weekend, but even so. Why is it not coming down?
And I am not very pleased that my favourite singer Bryan Adams has had a huge rant at China. What was he thinking of?
Went to Tesco and M&S this morning. If you go a little bit after they open, there are no queues. It was also quiet in the park today: the weather hasn’t been very nice.
Not sure whom I’d most like to throttle, the spiteful political points-scorers or the people who let their horrible dogs keep barking.
A couple of bits of better news. The golf club is reopening, although only 2 people can play at once, and they have to stay well apart. This does not affect me personally, but will make a big difference to my dad. And BT Sport are going to be showing all the Bundesliga matches.
Wednesday, May 13th
We are now officially allowed out for more than one walk a day, and to sit in parks. So, after work, and after my earlier walk to the park, I walked down to the frozen yoghurt shop (takeaway, fat-free!) and then sat on the grass in the flower park. It was really nice.
Still no official word from the holiday company. Not impressed. I know they’ve got a lot to deal with, but they’d normally have a load of travel documents to send out, so it’s only the same volume of e-mails.
Golf clubs have reopened. And, hooray, tennis players are allowed to train in Mallorca again!
Worried about the situation in Brazil, though. It’s getting bad there.
Thursday, May 14th
Hooray!! EastEnders is starting filming again! No definite news on Coronation Street or Emmerdale yet, but hopefully they’ll follow suit. It’s going to be hard work rewriting all the storylines, but I’m sure they’ll sort something.
The National Trust has said that it’s reopening car parks. It’s as clear as mud, though. I’ve trawled their website and Google for info on which ones, but found nothing. Do they just mean car parks which aren’t attached to properties, like the one at Alderley Edge, or do they also mean the ones at places like Dunham Massey?
There were lots of people sat on the grass at the park, when I went for my walk. I know I should be glad to be in work and without any worry about redundancy, but, when I had to get up at stupid o’clock to do some housework, it’s hard not to be envious of people who are getting some time out, and clearing out their houses, catching up on To Be Read book piles, etc! And, indeed, of people whose workplaces are being caring and supportive at this difficult time. We have not had so much as an e-mail saying that they hope everyone is well – just a nastily-worded e-mail last Monday, saying that everyone should remember that the first Monday in May was not a Bank Holiday this year, and a lot of complaints every time the slightest thing has gone wrong. I’m not very impressed.
Clap For Our Carers tonight. Then I need to wash and respray my hair! Hairdressers in New Zealand have reopened, and there were queues round the block at midnight! There was also a picture in the Manchester Evening News of a long queue as Newbank Garden Centre in Radcliffe reopened. I got a load of plants from there in March, before lockdown started, and have got a few more plants from Tesco since, so I don’t really need any more, but I’m delighted for Newbank, as long as people queue sensibly. Sadly, a lot of businesses here and elsewhere are not going to survive this, but at least it looks as if garden centres will be saved.
Friday, May 15th
Some of the big fast food chains are reopening some branches for takeaways. My sister queued for an hour at a drive through Starbucks! Each to their own, but I don’t think I’ll be waiting an hour anywhere!
The tennis season’s been officially suspended until the end of July, but it was effectively suspended until the middle of July anyway. More noteworthy is the fact that the League 2 season’s been suspended. Decision on promotion and relegation to follow. I just hope that all the clubs survive.
Not much good news at all today, really. I was excited about the National Trust car parks reopening, but they’re now saying that there’ll be limited numbers and there’ll be a booking system. I see their point, but, whilst that’ll be fine if you live near somewhere like Fountains Abbey, in the middle of nowhere, and aren’t working so can go on weekdays, the chances of striking lucky enough to get a slot at Dunham Massey, Quarry Bank Mill, Lyme Park or Speke Park at a weekend are going to be pretty slim. They’re saying that it’ll be the same when properties reopen. I was thinking that, if hotels reopen but the Lakes still don’t want visitors, I could go somewhere down south and visit some of the big NT places I’ve never seen there … but there’s no point booking a hotel and time off work if it’s going to be pot luck whether I can go to the places concerned or not.
Also, I heard today that a friend’s been made redundant – permanently, not just furloughed – because of the economic effects of the virus/lockdown. I suspect that many people will sadly end up in the same boat.
But, hey, it’s the weekend! Cloudy and windy today, but I walked to Sainsbury’s Local and back, and then to the park later. There are loads of goslings now 🙂 .
Saturday, May 16th
Eventful day today. I’ve been out!! Only as far as Hollingworth Lake, but it’s a start. I thought that driving on the motorway, even just as far as Rochdale, might feel weird, but it felt wonderful. It wasn’t busy – although this was at 9 o’clock on a very dull morning (the sun came out later) – and the vast majority of people were observing social distancing. The exceptions were 4 stupid cyclists who a) clearly weren’t part of the same household, b) were all over the path instead of in single file and c) sniggered at other people’s attempts to avoid them. But there are a few idiots everywhere. I’ve even seen people letting their kids into the playground at the park, even though there are signs up saying that it’s closed for safety reasons. But we can’t all keep our lives on hold because of a few idiots. I had a nice walk round the lake, and in the woods where there were still loads of bluebells out.
The Olive and Pickle, the lovely café there’s, set up a kiosk. They said they’d just opened it yesterday. I had a takeaway cup of tea. It’ll hardly make up for all their lost business, but it’s a start. I hope things go well for them.
I was quite shocked by how low the level of the lake was, incidentally. The wetland bits are now drylands! With all the worry over the virus and lockdown, the fact that we’ve hardly had any rain for two months has been rather overlooked.
Then I had my scone at home, and did some housework.
Then Mum and Dad came round for a socially distanced visit. They seem fine, just fed up with things like we all are. And then I watched Borussia Dortmund v Schalke – this being the Bundesliga’s first day back. It’s not like watching our own teams, and it’s very, very odd watching a football match with no fans, no noise, but owt’s better than nowt and I hope other leagues can restart soon.
After that, I went for my walk in the park, and , later, watched the substitute Eurovision thing. It was quite entertaining. And maybe it’s because I’m a historian, but the video of “Hallelujah” being sung in the deserted streets of Jerusalem’s Old City was incredibly moving.
Nationally, there’s a row going on over reopening schools. Why can’t people try to work together? I appreciate that there are safety concerns, but how exactly is teaching unions threatening to sue the Government going to help? We seemed to be trying to work together when this started, but the haters, egged on by the Guardian and the Mirror, now seem determined to do anything rather than try to find solutions. The Children’s Commissioner’s told them all to get their act together. And I’m concerned about the Fat Haters using coronavirus as an excuse to demonise overweight people. (I’ve lost weight this week, but am always very sensitive on the subject). Yes, the virus does seem to affect overweight people particularly badly, but there are enough mental health problems as it is, without creating more. Why can’t people just try to be NICE?!
It’s been a positive day, though. You wouldn’t think that driving a few miles on the M60 and the M62 could be so exciting, but it was!
Sunday, May 18th
EIGHT weeks (almost) of lockdown! People are getting really fed up now. And more and more divisions are appearing. I do understand that people in countryside and seaside areas are worried that an influx of visitors may bring infection, but I’m also getting a Kinder Scout Mass Trespass vibe about the “stay away” messages – and the continued closure of public toilets to try to deter visitors. People in urban and suburban areas have very limited access to open spaces, and no-one owns national parks. And I wasn’t very pleased to see that someone from Best Western had said that hotels might not reopen fully until 2021. No doubt he’s on a whacking great salary, being paid in full – what are they going to do about their staff, once the furlough system ends, and what about independent shops and cafes in tourist areas? It’s all very difficult. We need to try to work together.
I went to Clifton Country Park today. It’s not far, but I’d never been there before. If the National Trust don’t make more progress in reopening parkland, they might find that people have discovered new places to visit and don’t renew their memberships. I went the wrong way out of the car park – the stupid map there made it look like the river was on the right! – and ended up in a load of woods instead of by the river. There were people around, so I wasn’t scared, and it was actually pretty interesting because there were some disused pits down there, but I was very grateful when a kind person was able to direct me to the river. Lovely place.
Later, I went on my usual walk to Heaton Park. It gets busy by mid-afternoon, but some areas are quieter than others, so you can avoid all the cyclists, skateboards, hordes of kids on bikes, people who let their dogs run all over the path, etc, if you stick to those! There were lots of goslings. And I saw my uncle. The park is the social centre of the world these days: I saw my brother-in-law’s mum and dad there yesterday.
Watched a bit more silent football – Union Berlin v Bayern Munich. And I’ve started binge-watching the final series of Vikings. I was waiting for the History Channel to show it, just because it’s easier to watch things on Sky than to load an app, but there’s no sign of it so I’m watching it on Amazon Prime.
I shall chase the holiday company again tomorrow. This is getting ridiculous!!
Nice sunny day. That reminds me, I need to water the garden.
And so ends yet another week in lockdown!