Monday, March 1st
Another nice sunny day. Local rates are coming down again, thankfully.
I am way too fat, and my hair is a horrendous mess.
Six cases of “the Brazilian variant” have been found in the UK. One or possibly more of these relates to someone who flew into London on a connecting flight from Zurich, having flown to Zurich from Brazil. The issue of connecting flights is a big problem. And we don’t actually know who one of the other people infected is, because they didn’t fill in their form properly! FFS.
On a more positive note, data shows that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are very effective in preventing hospitalisation and death.
Several friends have said that they’ve already booked hair appointments. I’ve texted my hairdresser, but she hasn’t got back to me. I’m sure that there’s a very good reason for this, but it’s stressing me out!
Prince Philip’s been transferred to St Bart’s, which is rather worrying.
Tuesday, March 2nd
Yet another sunny day, but very cold overnight: I had to de-ice the car before going to Tesco this morning. Still too cold to put new plants in!
Thanks to that idiot Macron and his Anglophobic ranting against the AstraZeneca vaccine, large amounts of the said vaccine are lying unused in both France and Germany. Macron’s now eaten his words but, understandably, people are now nervous. Meanwhile, Slovakia’s following Hungary in getting stocks of the Sputnik vaccine from Russia, and it looks as if Austria and the Czech Republic may follow suit. Austria and Denmark are also in talks with Israel over vaccines. Normally, I’d be a little amused to see the European Disunion is such disarray, but not when people’s health and even lives are at stake. What the hell was Macron playing at?
And kids are getting ready to go back to school.
Wednesday, March 3rd
Seriously stressed about the lack of contact from my hairdresser 😦 .
I had a phone call from Old Trafford today, just to say that they’d be in touch about info for next season once more was known about how many people would be allowed back into stadia etc. I’m not sure why that merited a phone call, TBH, but maybe they’re just trying to be caring. The last match I went to was on March 8th 2020, almost exactly a year ago. A year without going to a football match.
Today was Budget Day. The furlough scheme and the other support schemes will continue until the end of September, but corporation tax for large companies will go up from April 2023, and personal tax allowances will be frozen. This whole thing’s an economic nightmare. It’s no-one’s fault, just something we’ve got to deal with, but we’re going to be dealing with the aftermath of this for years. And no-one really knows how much has changed permanently – we’re just going to have to see how it goes. Will people go back to going to physical shops rather than ordering online, and seeing films at the pictures rather than on Netflix? Will people go back to holding meetings in person rather than over Zoom? Only time will tell.
Thursday, March 4th
Hooray – rates in our borough are down 41% week-on-week, touch wood, and rates across the whole area are falling more quickly than they were, so fears of a return to the Evil Tier System are (I hope) receding. And rejoice, rejoice, I’ve got a hair appointment for April 13th!!
However, rates are rising in several Continental countries, notably Poland. And Italy has blocked the export to Australia of vaccine doses which have been legitimately ordered by Australia, under this unbelievably selfish European Union “I’m all right, Jack” policy.
My holiday company’s cancelled all tours up to the end of May. I’m so sorry for them – they’ve lost over a year’s business. I’m still officially booked for Iceland in July and Japan in October, re-booked from last year, but, sadly, I can’t see that either trip’s going to happen. However, Matt Hancock’s talking about “A Great British Summer” again, so fingers crossed that staycations will be on even if foreign holidays aren’t.
Friday, March 5th
Prince Philip’s back at the other hospital, after a heart procedure.
A lot of moaning’s going on over the lack of public sector pay rises. I’m afraid I haven’t got much sympathy. Private sector employers will be using the pandemic as an excuse to freeze pay for years. Public sector workers get unlimited paid sick pay, good pension schemes and loads of holidays: private sector workers get none of those things. And they have considerable job security, whereas a lot of private sector workers have lost their jobs or fear losing their jobs.
Cyprus has said that it’ll welcome British tourists who’re fully vaccinated. Here we go … most people who go to Cyprus are in the younger age groups and are therefore unlikely to have been fully vaccinated by the summer, and there’s going to be a lot of resentment about it.
The mystery person with the Brazilian variant’s been traced.
People going abroad from England now have to fill in a form saying that they’re going abroad for legitimate reasons.
And it’s cold!
Saturday, March 6th
I hope this nice weather doesn’t end when lockdown ends. It’s so, so frustrating having dry, sunny(ish) weekend days and not being able to get out into the countryside or the seaside. Yes, I know that there’s a pandemic, but, when I hear about the police patrolling beauty spots, it makes me feel like we’re back in the days of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, denying urban working people access to the countryside. I feel that all the more when I hear over and over again about how much worse urban areas have been affected than rural areas. Burnley’s virus death rate in January was double the national average. OK, OK, I don’t suppose that that would have changed if people from Burnley had been allowed to go to Blackpool or the Lakes or the Trough of Bowland, but lockdown definitely weighs a lot harder on some areas than on others.
Having said all that, I did get to Hollingworth Lake earlier.
I went off the main path to where the farms are, in the hope of seeing some lambs, but it’s too early! And I’ve been to the garden centre, and put the new plants in the garden. And I’ve been to Tesco, where (how sad is this?) I got quite excited over the new self-service machines, which do not go berserk if you take things out of “the bagging area”! Once you’ve scanned something, you can put it in a bag in your trolley or basket. Wa-hey!!
Local infection rates are now falling more quickly than the national average. No idea why, but long may it last!
Someone flew a helicopter from Barton Aerodrome to Chipping and back (about an 80 mile round trip) to collect a roast beef barm with caramelised onion gravy. Seriously.
Other than the pandemic and the derby match, the main talking point is Harry and Meghan. The Royal Family, the country and the entire Commonwealth are well rid of those two, but the nastiness is upsetting, and I’m sad to think of how distressing it must be for the Queen and Prince Philip.
Sunday, March 7th
Rejoice, rejoice – City 0 – 2 United!!
On the day of last year’s Etihad league derby, I was in Vienna, and celebrated victory (yes, we beat City twice in the league last season) with a late evening gluhwein at the Rathausplatz Christmas market, in the middle of crowds of people from all over the world having fun. This evening, I celebrated with a cup of tea in the front room. But, hey, the main thing is that we’re celebrating!
This time last year, we kept getting storms at the weekends. It was so frustrating, especially as the Lake District was particularly badly affected by them. This year, we’re getting all these lovely dry, sunny days, but we’re banned from going anywhere. Gah! However, hooray, we have got Heaton Park, and you can sometimes find a quiet area away from people with horrible barking dogs. I was in the park for ages.
Loads of kids playing football or cricket in big groups. Loads of people walking or even sitting in groups which weren’t big but were clearly more than one household. Everyone’s just had enough. I’m not excusing rule-breaking, but the virus doesn’t spread much outdoors, and it’s all just gone on for so long.
Schools go back tomorrow.
It’s a start. I hope.