Monday, April 12th
Non-essential retail, hairdressers and beauty parlours, gyms and swimming pools, outdoor attractions such as zoos, self-contained holiday accommodation and outdoor hospitality all reopened today! Well, some hospitality places are still shut because they haven’t got room for much or any outdoor seating, and some businesses sadly haven’t made it this far; but it’s a big day. Let’s hope that, this time, we really are on the way out of this nightmare.
I had a blood donation appointment in town this morning, and, woo-hoo, I sat at a table outside a café to have a cup of tea beforehand! Long queues outside shoe shops, weirdly. Maybe everyone’s worn their shoes out with all the walking during lockdown! Later, out for a walk locally, I saw loads of people sat outside pubs and cafes, and queues outside walk-in hairdressers/barbers. And this is even though the temperature was below freezing this morning, and not much warmer later! But it’s been lovely and sunny … unlike in Monte Carlo, where rain interrupted the tennis 😦 .
A few bluebells in Heaton Park, but not many yet.
Prince Harry’s arrived back in the UK. Let’s hope he doesn’t cause any trouble.
And the man sent by the insurance company to check the ceiling for asbestos has been. I’ve now got to wait for the results. What a nightmare. When I first found the leak, I thought I’d just need to have the bath re-sealed, but now all this.
Tuesday, April 13th
- Vaccination bookings for people in the 45-49 age group in England are now being taken. It wouldn’t let me book the Prestwich centre, for some annoying reason – I think that’s just doing second jabs at the moment – but it let me book Cheetham Hill, which is only a couple of miles away, for Thursday evening, and it also let me make an appointment for my second dose. I’m a bit nervous because I know some people felt rotten for a couple of days afterwards, but let’s just get it done. This came after the announcement last night that all over 50s had been offered a first dose, slightly ahead of the target date of April 15th.
- I have had my hair cut and properly dyed, for the first time in 4 months!!
- The average infection rate across Greater Manchester is below 50 per 100,000 for the first time since the beginning of September.
- Over 94% of over 50s in our borough have now had their first jab. Practically everywhere in the country’s over 90%, apart from a few London boroughs.
A few bits of not so good news – there are now concerns that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may also be linked to rare blood clots, the situation in Brazil is horrendous, and several cases of the South African variant have been found in South London. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet. But, hopefully, we’re getting there.
Wednesday, April 14th
Rafa beat Delbonis 6-1 6-2 in Monte Carlo. I feel like the clay court season’s really here now! And my magnolia has produced its first flower of the year.
Denmark’s said it won’t be using the AstraZeneca vaccine, and South Africa, the US and other countries are pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We’re never going to get the whole world vaccinated at this rate.
My holiday company’s now cancelled all trips up to and including mid-June. So mine in mid-July is officially still on, but I can’t see it happening.
Thursday, April 15th
Yes, I’ve had my first jab! Separate post for that (above).
In other news, Rafa beat Grisha 6-1 6-1, Dan Evans beat Nole (!!), and I’m pleased that the Queen’s decided to invite Countess Mountbatten (maybe it would have been too much for Lady Pamela?) and representatives of Prince Philip’s sisters’ families to the funeral.
Now hoping I don’t have a bad reaction. I wish people wouldn’t feel the need to tell me that they felt ill afterwards!
Friday, April 16th
I seem to be OK after the vaccination, touch wood. But Rafa lost to Rublev 😦 . 2-6 6-4 2-6. The first set and a half was the worst I’ve ever seen him play in Monte Carlo. Then he came back to level it, but fell apart in the final set. I suppose you can’t expect miracles when he hasn’t played a match since the Australian Open. And it made me very late for tea at Mum and Dad’s! Spring is so complicated, with the clay court season …
Asbestos Man didn’t find anything. Phew. So now I need to try to get a plasterer in. Also, the guy was supposed to come and cut the grass yesterday, but he never turned up.
The EU says it probably won’t order any more supplies of the Astra Zeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, even though the European health watchdog’s said that the risk from the virus is far higher than the risk from the vaccines. Well, that’s their lookout – all the more for everyone else. Infection levels here are back to where they were in September. Some worrying talk about a nasty new mutant, originating in India, though.
Saturday, April 17th
That all went as well as it could’ve done, I think. So hard for anyone to hold a funeral at the moment: funerals are difficult enough at the best of times, without having to cope with limited numbers, face masks, social distancing and the congregation not being able to join in the singing. The music was beautiful, and the parade beforehand was perfect, but it was very sad to see the Queen sitting all on her own. I was a bit tearful when I saw Prince Philip’s cap sitting on the seat of his carriage, but I got very tearful when I saw the Queen.
Whilst most of the country was mourning, a woman was arrested for running topless through the grounds of Windsor Castle. I don’t suppose the Queen was amused, but Philip would have roared with laughter.
Before the funeral, I went to Tatton Park. I’m not impressed that they’ve put the parking fee up (it was high enough already), but anyway. It was the most beautiful sunny day, both here and at Windsor, and I was very glad to be able to see the lambs, piglets and bluebells there, after missing them last year because we were in lockdown.
There are still a few “minimise travel” signs up, but everyone’s out and about now. Thankfully, the weather’s being kind to us, and we’re out in the fresh air. And, touch wood, we’re doing OK … but deaths have passed three million globally. Things in India are very worrying indeed. Boris probably wishes he hadn’t arranged to visit there now, but he can’t very well pull out without causing offence. Brazil’s in a bad way, and Canada’s struggling now.
Dan Evans lost his Monte Carlo SF to Stef Tsitsipas 😦 . And City won’t be winning the Quadruple: Chelsea beat them in the Cup semis today. I really couldn’t have taken the gloating over a Quadruple.
A strange day, all in all. Rest in peace, Prince Philip. You were a one-off. You will be missed.
Sunday, April 18th
Like there’s not enough to worry about, there’s now talk of a European Super League. Yes, there’ve been similar rumours on and off for over 30 years, but this sounds quite serious – and United, City, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea have signed up for it, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. Fans, former players and journalists are united in condemning it, and I’m deeply ashamed that United are involved. Greed, greed, greed. And at a time like this. I just hope it comes to nothing.
On a happier note, we beat Burnley, 3-1. And some fans are inside Wembley for the second Cup SF, one of a number of pilot events taking place.
And it’s been the most gorgeous warm, sunny day – hard to believe we woke up to snow a week ago. There are people sat out at pubs, cafes and restaurants all over the place. I went to Beeston Castle this morning, and the views were just glorious. Then I stopped at the Great Budworth ice cream farm on the way home. It was wonderful to get out on to the A49 and just drive. Round here, you cannot go more than a couple of hundred yards without having to stop at yet another set of bloody traffic lights, and it really does get me down. OK, sometimes you get stuck behind tractors, caravans or horseboxes on rural roads, but, thankfully, I didn’t today. The traffic and the traffic lights here really do make me feel trapped: it was so lovely just to drive.
Then I watched the Monte Carlo final. For so many years, you could pretty much guarantee that Rafa’d win Monte Carlo. Not any longer 😦 . But it was lovely to see Stef win his first Masters title. And then United v Burnley.
Infection rates in our borough are now below the national average – 25.7, with the rate across England 27.8 – which is incredible when you think that we had one of the ten highest rates in the country not so long ago, at over 200. The week-on-week rates in some local boroughs are up slightly, which isn’t great, but the highest rate is only 60.3, and even a few cases make a big difference with numbers now thankfully so low. 62.4% of adults across the UK have now had their first jab. Compare that to 529 in Paris – I just don’t see how we can let foreign travel resume at the moment, and risk upsetting the apple cart.
And so endeth another week!