Monday, September 14th
Rates here were unfortunately back up a bit yesterday, but the rate of increase has certainly slowed. Both Liverpool and Birmingham have now got higher infection rates than Manchester. I’m trying to make some sort of sense of the trends, but they don’t really make any sense at all.
I am annoyed with the Manchester Evening News, something which very rarely happens. It should be appealing to everyone to pull together and stick to the rules, and, if it helps, publishing interviews with people who’ve been personally affected by the virus and want to make others understand how serious it can be. Instead, all it seems interested in is slagging off the Westminster government. Could we just stop all the political points-scoring, please? This is a major crisis. We need unity, not division. Everyone’s very quick to moan and criticise. No-one seems to be trying to do anything to help.
Lovely sunny day today. The “Rule of Six” is now in force. I did not see one group of more than six people in the park, which was hopeful … although it’s pubs and houses, not parks, where the virus spread.
And congratulations on Dominic Thiem, and commiserations to Sascha Zverev, after a crazy US Open final! I got to bed at about half 1 this morning, but never mind. And now it’s Rome. In September! Rafa plays on Wednesday. At last …
Tuesday, September 15th
I’m getting very downhearted about the way that people, and especially sections of the media, are using the pandemic to try to score political points and promote division and conflict. These are dangerous times. There’s been a noticeable increase in hospital admissions in Bolton. There’s also been a rise in infections and in hospital admissions nationwide – and also in deaths, although the numbers are very small. In Bordeaux and Marseille, hospitals are beginning to struggle to cope. The Netherlands is recording more daily infections now than it was in April, although that’s partly due to more testing. We all need to pull together. It is not helpful for left-wing newspapers and political points-scorers on social media to claim that different rules are being set for the upper-classes because grouse shooting is exempt from the “rule of six”. It’s also nonsense. It’s exempt because it’s a sport. Whilst I don’t approve of people shooting wildlife for sport, football, netball, hockey, rugby, cricket and numerous other sports are also exempt.
Very warm today – over 80 degrees early afternoon. Due to cool down tomorrow.
And unemployment is, inevitably, up – something that the I’m all right Jacks/Jills working from home on full pay and calling for a second lockdown might want to bear in mind. The furlough scheme is due to finish at the end of October. I take the point that some businesses, sadly, will never recover from this, and that it’d be better to help people to find new jobs than to carry on like this, but it’s a lot easier said than done.
Wednesday, September 16th
Waiting for the evening session in Rome to start. It’s been nearly seven months since Rafa last played. I just hope it isn’t a disaster. But, oh, I will be so glad to see him back!
I would be glad to see him back anyway, but I need cheering up today. I am so sick of all the grousing. Pun intended! This is the biggest national and international crisis since the Second World War, and the Opposition and the media are trying to score political points by mithering about grouse shooting. All we are hearing is negativity. Yes, there are major problems with the testing system not being able to cope. There’s been a huge increase in the number of people wanting tests. It’s not good. But moaning and criticising will not help. Has no-one got anything constructive to say? And now the Archbishop of Canterbury’s stuck his nose in, saying that the rule of six (now also in force in the Republic of Ireland) damages family life. Yes, we know that. No-one likes it. But has he got a better idea?
And I feel as if we’re being forgotten. We’ve had these local restrictions in place for weeks, and they don’t seem to be doing any good. Will we be put under even tighter restrictions, like Oldham, or even like Bolton? As things stand, my sister and brother-in-law and the kids cannot visit unless they pay to stay in a hotel and meet us in the park. And, even if they did that, they wouldn’t be allowed to see me and Mum and Dad together. But, if we weren’t under these local restrictions, at least they’d be able to visit us separately, and I’d be able to visit my uncle and cousins. And, if it gets worse, like it is in Oldham, Birmingham, etc then technically I’ll be breaking the rules if I pass someone I know in the street and stop to exchange pleasantries with them! If it was London under local restrictions, it’d be the headlines of the news every day.
The council have finally moved themselves, but only to send out a text alert telling people to book a test if they feel ill. Everyone knows that. So many people want tests that the system can’t cope. What they should be doing is warning/encouraging people to keep the rules.
On a lighter note, someone got on a bus at Salford precinct, about 4 miles from here, and used a snake as a face covering! Seriously.
Thursday, September 17th
Rafa’s comeback yesterday evening went really well 🙂 . He beat Pablo 6-1 6-1. I was worried that he’d be rusty after 6 1/2 months away. It’s about the only thing that is going well, though. Oh, except that the decorator’s been, and painted the outside of the house.
The French government’s said that only 5,000 fans will be allowed on Chatrier, and none on the other courts. At least the French Open’s going ahead, though. That’s a positive. “Pilot” events with 1,000 fans are to go ahead here, but the prospect of 78,000 of us being allowed into old Trafford looks a very long way away.
Infection rates in our borough have shot up today, after holding steady for a few days. It’s like the Eurovision Song Contest – one set of results can send you shooting up the scoreboard 😦 . Tameside, which’s been struggling, is now doing better. But Bury and Salford are doing worse.
Kearsley – an area on the Manchester/Salford side of Bolton, about 5 miles from me – is now the coronavirus capital of the country. Why Kearsley? Why Bolton?
Two million people in the North East are being put under local restrictions. No mixing with other households/bubbles. Pubs etc to close from 10pm to 5am. Food places only to offer table service. The authorities there say that a lot of the problems are to do with late night drinking – people get pissed and forget to observe social distancing. This has been said about other areas too. So why hasn’t a 10pm closing time been brought in everywhere? FFS, why should we all have to suffer because of people getting drunk?
This is a nightmare.
Friday, September 18th
Restrictions have now been extended to Merseyside – i.e. St Helens, Southport etc, as well as Liverpool and the Wirral -, Warrington, Halton (Widnes) and all parts of (the post-1974 administrative area known as Lancashire even though it’s only part of the proper historic county of) Lancashire not already under restrictions, other than Blackpool. Why is Blackpool doing better than everywhere else? Interesting. Plus additional parts of Leicestershire, and Wolverhampton, and the bits of West Yorkshire which were in lockdown but were then taken out of it. Not Wigan, Stockport or Leeds. It’s all getting very confusing – people in these areas can only meet those outside their households/bubbles in outdoor areas which aren’t private gardens, like us, but are getting the curfew/table service rules, like the North East.
It does now seem all but certain that nationwide restrictions will be coming in shortly. Apologies for being self-centred. but I’m panicking in case this puts the kibosh on my trip to Bath in the 3rd week of October. As we are not being allowed to carry holidays forward, I’d then end up spending my week off hanging around the local park … which is pretty crap, given how often I’ve had to say no to meeting family and friends in other parts of the country due to not having enough holiday days, or been unable to do the coach tour I wanted for the same reason. Maybe they’ll just close pubs. Apart from selfish reasons, I hope they don’t close hotels because this is Blackpool Illuminations season, and they can’t afford to lose that as well as all the months lost already.
I wish now that I’d taken time off in July, but, when I was booking, it seemed more sensible to wait. At least I got my week in the Lakes in August.
I am increasingly annoyed with the political points-scoring. The Labour health spokesman was wittering on about how it’s all the Government’s fault that you can’t visit your grandma. He sounded like a five year old telling the teacher than another kid started it. Not one word of any sort of helpful suggestion. Nicola Sturgeon, rather more sensibly, has requested a COBRA meeting. No-one knows WTF to do, though. France, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic …
I am so sick of this!!
Saturday, September 19th
Apologies for being self-centred, but work have said we can’t carry holidays forward, so I have limited rebooking options, and I am now panicking over rumours of a two week lockdown to include the week of school half term. I’m due to go the week before half term, so I don’t know if it’d affect me or not, so I don’t know what to do. And it may be OK … it could just be closing pubs and restaurants, so, assuming that the hotel stayed open (which it might or might not … presumably they could offer room service/packed meals?), I’d be OK. But … I mean, what does closing pubs have to do with school half term? No-one knows what the hell’s going to happen. But, meanwhile, I’m panicking.
When our borough went into local lockdown, the infection rate was around 16 per 100,000. It’s now almost 120 per 100,000. Well, that’s really working, isn’t it? Where are people getting the virus? I appreciate that some people may genuinely have no idea, but some must. And a Bolton councillor’s confirmed the reports that someone got the virus on holiday, didn’t quarantine when they got back, went on a pub crawl, and spread it all round. They want locking up. But then it shouldn’t have spread so easily – what is going on in pubs?
And we lost our first match of the season, 3-1 to Palace. And then Rafa lost to Schwartzman in the Italian Open QFs. In both cases, great performances from opponents, but that didn’t excuse the very disappointing performances …. bleurgh!
Until this evening, I’d had the most lovely day! I went to Bakewell and Matlock Bath. Both were quite busy – bearing out what’s been said about small town centres recovering more quickly than larger ones. Buxton also looked busy, as I drove through it on the way back, but Stockport didn’t, and the infamous Trafford Centre traffic just wasn’t there at all … although I suppose people don’t tend to go to shopping centres on nice, warn, sunny Indian Summer days. I had such a nice time! The weather was gorgeous, and the scenery was glorious … such a lovely, lovely day. But now all this stress 😦 .
Sunday, September 20th
Another lovely sunny day, after a bit of rain this morning. I went to Skipton and Grassington. I hadn’t been to Grassington for ages, but everyone’s talking about it because the new All Creatures Great and Small‘s been filmed there! Same story in the Dales as in the Peaks – everywhere’s quite busy. However, the cafes/tea rooms were all, as they were in the Peaks, trying so hard – tables moved well apart, everything being cleaned after each party left. But then there’ve been reports of mayhem in Blackpool.
Fines are to be brought in for people who don’t self-isolate when required to do so. Why is this only happening now? And it won’t work anyway. People who can afford to pay won’t care, and people who can’t afford to pay won’t pay.
Cheddar Gorge and Caves are closing down, saying that they can’t see things getting better any time soon. Some caves are letting people in on a limited numbers basis, but others either don’t feel it’s worth it or can’t set up a “Covid-safe” system due to the layout of the caves. It’s the first well-known tourist attraction to go.
There’ve been major protests in Madrid over travel restrictions and other measures there. People have had enough. And, yes, I know that my grandparents’ generation lived through six years of war. There was more sense of unity then. Why can’t people keep the bloody rules? I don’t mean people having a few relatives or friends round: I mean people having house parties, or some of the stories about crowding in bars.
Oh, when will this ever end?