Bank Holiday Monday, August 31st
We were able today to see some other relations who live in London, and whom none of us (i.e. Mum, Dad and I) had seen since before lockdown, so that was lovely.
After the under 12s cricket, we went out to eat … last day of Eat Out To Help Out!
And the US Open has started … minus a) Rafa and b) fans. But it’s started 🙂 .
And there’s talk of Portugal being put back on the quarantine list, when it’s only been off it for five minutes. This is ridiculous. I understand the concerns about avoiding importing cases from abroad, but all this on-off-no-notice stuff is making it impossible. Oh, when will I be able to go abroad again? When will my lovely coach tours resume?
Tuesday, September 1st
The infection rate in Italy has apparently doubled in a week. I just don’t get this. I don’t get how the infection rate in Bolton can have gone up so much in a week either, but, OK, in one town, one cluster can have a big effect. But across an entire country, with over 50 million people?! The rate’s also up in Glasgow, where restrictions have been imposed.
We’re being told that footfall is being much slower to recover in big cities like Manchester and Liverpool than in smaller towns, but that doesn’t surprise me. A lot of the footfall in big cities is from people going into shops before/after going to events (the weekend just gone should have been Manchester Pride), football matches, the theatre, the cinema, etc, and that just isn’t happening at the moment.
I had a problem with my car this morning, and had to go to Kwik Fit. Luckily, they weren’t busy, and I was only there for about half an hour, and hopefully it’s now sorted – touch wood! But, had I had to go and be trapped in the office, I wouldn’t have been able to get it sorted … and this is really stressing me out, because they’ll probably want us back in soon, and probably the number one reason I’ve struggled so badly with anxiety over the years is this issue of struggling to get things sorted because of being trapped in an office.
I’m also worried about my weight. After months of struggling, I’d done much better since lockdown started, but then it all went back on on holiday. I always pile weight on on holiday, because my metabolism’s so bad that any break from my diet leads to disaster, but the gym is still closed (and I’ve still not had my refund) and I will lose my long daily walk if (when) I have to go back to the office.
I know. I’m catastrophising. But not without good cause!
Wednesday, September 2nd
FFS! Bolton and Trafford came out of local lockdown at midnight, and were back in it by midday. My hopes of our borough being released this week or even next week are fading fast, after this. So, so fed up. And it rained all afternoon. And Scotland and Wales have put Greece back on the quarantine list. We’re supposed to be feeling cheerful because kids – sorry, “young people” (when did “children” become “young people”) are back at school, but I feel like this local lockdown’s never going to end. Thank goodness for the US Open!
Thursday, September 3rd
The infection rate in our borough is 25 per 100,000, and we are in local lockdown with no suggestion that it will be lifted. The infection rate in Middlesbrough is 35 per 100,000. In Stoke, it’s 31. In Birmingham, it’s 30. None of those places are in local lockdown. Why is the North West being picked on? Also, why have I still not had my refund from the gym, and why are Sky refusing to answer the phone (on a number which they e-mailed me) unless you say you are in a vulnerable group? Gah! This has been going on for nearly 6 months now: using it as an excuse for crap service is no longer acceptable.
On a happier note, the sun is out today. And my elder nephew started secondary school today. Thankfully, he’s so excited about being at a big, grown up school and going on the bus that he doesn’t seem fazed by all the stuff with masks and bubbles and zones. In some ways it’s easier for kids in the first year of secondary school, because it’s a new start so it’s not as if they’ve missed a whole term out of an ongoing syllabus. Younger nephew goes back on Monday.
Friday, September 4th
Leeds has been added to the “watchlist”. Rates here continue to fall, and are well below those in Leeds – and less than half those in Corby which, presumably because it’s not in the north, is being left alone – but there’s no talk of lifting restrictions here. Rates are also falling in the city centre, but unfortunately are rising in most of the other local boroughs. I’m so fed up of this. When will it ever end?
Portugal’s been put back on the quarantine list by Wales and Scotland, but not by England and Northern Ireland. The Greek islands have also been put on the list in Wales, and the whole of Greece in Scotland. This is silly. If you live in Chester but work in Wrexham, or live in Hereford but work in Hay-on-Wye, and you’ve just come back from Portugal, are you allowed to go to work or not? Does anyone know?!
Andy Murray’s out of the US Open, beaten by Felix Double A.
I went to the office this morning, to collect some stuff. Thankfully, they seem to have realised that being nice to people works better than the other way! There was a form on my desk saying that, if I was planning to stay there all day (which I was not), I had to sign something to say that I hadn’t got any virus symptoms. No-one does want to stay all day, though. This can’t go on indefinitely, and I accept that, but I really don’t want to go back, and that seems to be the general feeling across the country. For one thing, there’s the genuine fear of getting the virus at your workplace or on public transport, and also of then passing it on to a vulnerable relative or friend. There’s also the fear of the sheer bloody inconvenience of having to self-isolate if a colleague or client with whom you’ve been in close contact gets the virus.
And there’s the fact that working from home is much better. From my viewpoint, the main thing is that it takes away the terrible anxiety of how to cope if someone needs to be at home because a repair person or delivery person is coming. And it takes away the horrible feeling of being trapped. Also, if you need to make a personal phone call which can only be done during working hours, you can do so without everyone else hearing all your private medical or financial issues. You’re not wasting time and money commuting. And you’re not having to put up with other people coughing, sneezing, clearing their throats, bellowing down the phone on hands free, hogging the kettle, or opening all the windows in the middle of winter!
Who knows how all this will pan out?
Later – more changes! Corby, Kettering, Middlesbrough and South Tyneside are now also on the watchlist.
Later again – why can’t they announce everything at once?! Soft play centres, beauty salons, casinos etc will all be able to reopen here from Tuesday. Except in Bolton. And pools and gyms can reopen in Blackburn.
Saturday, September 5th
I went to Shugborough today. The sun came out and it was lovely. I posted on Facebook to say that I was having morning tea at the Queen’s cousin’s house 🙂 . It’s the first time since all this started that I’ve been to an NT property where you’ve been able to sit inside the tea room, although I prefer to sit, and did sit, outside anyway.
People in Bolton have been asked to avoid mixing with anyone outside their bubbles, and not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. WTF is going on in Bolton? In some areas, increased rates are due to clusters associated with one workplace, childcare centre, pub or indeed illegal party, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Bolton. One minute the rates there were right down, and now they’re the highest in the country. It has been claimed that it’s due to someone who got the virus in Spain, didn’t quarantine, and went on a pub crawl.
Last night’s US Open match between Sascha Zverev and Adrian Mannarino was delayed for 4 hours whilst the State of New York decided whether or not it was OK for Adrian to play, because he’d been in contact with Benoit Paire, who’d tested positive for the virus. Adrian had played two matches already, and no-one seemed to have an issue with that. Today, Kiki Mladenovic, another of the “Paire 11”, was issued with a “quarantine order” by the state of New York, and forbidden to leave her hotel – meaning that she and Timea Babos, the top seeds, had to pull out of the ladies’ doubles. Also, it was announced that the UEFA Nations League match between the Czech Republic and Scotland was off because some of the Czech squad had tested positive, but then it was announced that the match was going ahead, with “new players and new staff”. No, me neither!
Boris says that civil servants should go back to their offices, so that everyone else will. The words “non” and “sequitur” spring to mind.
And there have been anti-restriction protests in Edinburgh.
Sunday, September 6th
Local infection rates are up again. I could cry. Will we never get out of this? Nationwide, there were 1,813 new cases yesterday, but 2,988 today, the highest number in one day since May. It doesn’t make any sense. How can there be such a big change in one day? Portugal is struggling again, and Italy’s seeing an increase in cases. But it’s infections, not deaths.
Jerusalem, of all places, appears to have the highest infection rate in the world.
I am sick of having to pre-book everything. If you’re travelling to somewhere a couple of hours away, how are you supposed to know what the traffic’ll be like, or how long it’ll take to park, or, if you’re going somewhere first, how long you’ll be at the first place, and whether you’ll be delayed by waits in cafes or queues in toilets or anything else? And you can’t book some places until a few days beforehand, which is stressful if you want to book accommodation. Gah!
Went into town today. I had a walk round, and went to my favourite café for a sandwich. I was pleased to find that there were plenty of people in there … although, with tables moved apart due to social distancing, it perhaps looked busier than it was. Most cafes were busy, but shops weren’t, which was interesting. That seems to rule out fear of the virus or watching the pennies as a reason for shops being quiet. Are people not going into town because cinemas, galleries etc aren’t open as usual? Is it because there are no out of town visitors because there are no concerts or theatre events, and fans aren’t allowed into football matches? Can people not be mithered with masks, queues (although only a few shops had queues outside them), and not being able to try on clothes? The vast majority of people were wearing masks indoors, but a few idiots weren’t. And there were loads of people selling masks from trolleys on Market Street – and no-one hassling you to do surveys or sign petitions.
The council have put up banners on King Street, saying things like “New normal, same Manchester” and “New chapter, same history”. And “You are not alone”. I don’t often praise the council, but I thought that that struck exactly the right note. We are not getting this from Westminster at the moment. Sort it, please, Boris. And the media aren’t helping, promoting division rather than unity. So much for all that “Spirit of the Blitz” talk back in March and April, eh?