The road to freedom? Week 9, May 24th to 30th 2021 inclusive

Monday, May 24th

Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the rest of Lancashire and the rest of Cheshire are to be part of a scheme trialling extra support for people who are supposed to be self-isolating.  It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t deal with the problem of unsupportive bosses.  I don’t know what will.

People aged 32 and 33 are now able to book vaccinations.  We should, all being well, hit the target of offering all adults a first dose by the end of July.  The problem’s with the people not being vaccinated … only about 5% of people, but 5% of people can do a lot of damage.

I really am going to have horrific anxiety when I have to go back to being trapped in an office.  Take today.  I had a bit of a mishap with my left wing mirror, and it cracked.  It was my fault, and I could kick myself for it, but accidents happen.  I rang the garage.  Yes, no problem, come in and they’ll fit a new one.  Now, if this had happened when I’d been trapped in an office, it would have been a complete nightmare.  The repairs department doesn’t open at weekends, and I can’t get there after work because the rush hour traffic’s so bad that I can’t get there before the garage closes.  I could have tried to go in my dinner hour, but, although the garage is not far away, there are a million traffic lights in between, and they’re always all on red, and there’s always a long queue if you go anywhere in your dinner hour.  And, when I got there, I had to wait whilst they messed about because they couldn’t decide whether I needed to pay the parts department (because it was a part) or the service department (because it was being fitted), even though the two card machines were on the same desk (seriously).   It didn’t take long, but things like this just become impossible when you’re trapped in an office, and this is one of the main reasons I had a breakdown in 2013.  Ok, rant over!


Tuesday, May 25th 

Oh FFS.  After all the rows last year, I really thought we’d got past local restrictions, clear as mud guidance, and failure to consult local authorities.  But no.  Last night, it suddenly came up on the Manchester Evening News website that non-essential travel into and out of Bolton had been banned.   Not just Bolton, but also Blackburn, Burnley, Kirklees, North Tyneside, Leicester, Bedford and Hounslow.  And people there had been told not to meet indoors.  No news conference.  No tweet.  Nothing.  It’d just appeared on

This morning, everyone was up in arms.  Councils knew nothing about it.  Nor did MPs.  Nor did health authorities.

The leader of Bolton council joined Andy Burnham for the regular Greater Manchester press conference, and said that there weren’t any additional regulations.  At 1/4 to 5, it was confirmed that there were, indeed, no travel regulations or any other regulations.

What a muddle.

Tensions are rising.  We keep hearing about “Bolton”, but it’s not “Bolton” – it’s Lever Edge, where the infection rate is almost 2,000 per 100,000, and Rumworth.  Rates in other parts of the borough of Bolton are certainly not low, but they’re nothing like that they are in those areas.  There are widespread, reliable reports of people there not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing regulations.  And all the areas with high rates are areas with high Muslim populations – and the authorities accept that.  Bury council last night tweeted an appeal from the Chief Executive of a British Muslim organisation, urging people to get vaccinated.  Lever Edge’s got a vaccination rate of around 35%, compared to 70% nationwide.  A lot of comments are being made, and there’s a possible risk of tensions.

So are hospital admissions.

In other news, my dad (a retired pharmacist) is now a volunteer helper at one of the local vaccination centres.

Still can’t get a straight answer from the holiday company.   Meanwhile, Austria has banned direct flights from Britain because of the bloody Indian variant.


Wednesday, May 26th

Europa League final tonight!  Fingers and toes crossed …

In the meantime, we are having to listen to the rantings of Dominic Cummings.  According to him, the Government got everything about the pandemic wrong, from January 2020 onwards.  However, he knew best, and, if everyone had listened to him, it would all have been handled perfectly.  Graham Stringer asked him why he didn’t resign.  Cummings looked shifty, bleated a bit, then said that, if he had, it would have been better for everyone (the implication being that he’d have solved all the problems from the outside), but that he stayed because he thought he could solve the problems from the inside.  The man’s ego is unbelievable.  He then tried to blame Matt Hancock for everything that’s ever gone wrong in the history of the world, and said that Boris wasn’t fit to be PM.  It rather reminded me of the Harry and Meghan interview.  Nasty-minded, bitter people, who can’t accept the fact that they weren’t indispensable, trying to get revenge by slagging off everyone else, without providing a shred of evidence.  He couldn’t even be bothered to wear a jacket and tie.

Clearly, mistakes have been made, here and in many other countries, in the handling of the pandemic.  But, with the problems in Bolton spreading into Bury and Manchester, and rates rising in Kirklees and elsewhere, we need to be focusing on the current situation, not on someone’s personal vendetta.  There were 3,180 new cases in today’s figures.  That’s the highest for a while, I think.  France has now imposed compulsory quarantine for arrivals from the UK.   Macron is probably loving this.

On a more positive note, anyone aged 30 and over can now make an appointment for their first jab.


Later – oh, FFS.  We lost 11-10 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw.  Penalties are a lottery and you can’t criticise anyone over those, and congratulations to Villarreal, but we played poorly, failed to capitalise on having the bulk of the possession in the first half, and, generally, screwed up.  Very, very disappointed.


Thursday, May 27th

To add to life’s ten million other traumas, the French Open draw is the worst in the entire history of the universe.  Rafa and Nole in the same half.  Throw in Roger in Nole’s quarter, and Diego and Sinner in Rafa’s quarter.  It is a nightmare.

The decorator has painted the kitchen ceiling.  Again.

The rate at which infections are increasing is falling (if that makes sense) in Bolton, Bury and Trafford, although it’s up in the city centre and Oldham.  Cases are rising nationwide – 3,542 in today’s statistics.   A lot of infections are in secondary school kids.  OK, this may well be because secondary school kids are being tested twice a week, so more asymptomatic cases are being picked up than in adults, but it’s a worry – there are no plans at present to vaccinate kids.

I’ve e-mailed the holiday company again.  This is getting ridiculous.


Friday, May 28th

I have received an e-mail from the holiday company.  It read as if it’d been written by a five-year-old.  To be fair, I’m assuming that auto-correct was to blame for a lot of it, but, if you were sending a work e-mail, would you not check it through first?  The holiday is “defiantly” (I assume that this means “definitely”) going ahead.  But they have extended the payment deadline by a month “because of this”.  Well, if it’s “defiantly” going ahead, why extend the deadline?  However, they will inform me if it’s not going ahead.   I mean, WTF?   Why can’t they just tell the truth?  “We are waiting for our head office to make a decision, and we anticipate that this will be by Such A Date.”

Over 4,000 cases reported today.  Most of these are “the Indian variant”.  Oh, and apparently there’s now a Thai variant, as well.  And the R number, which we haven’t heard about for weeks, is back above 1.

Nicola Sturgeon’s said that Glasgow’s got to stay in lockdown.  This is getting ridiculous.  I seem to be using the word “ridiculous” a lot lately!

The single dose Janssen vaccine’s been approved for use in the UK.


Saturday, May 29th

Went to Bolton Abbey today.  Due to Covid, you are not allowed to move your car from one part of the estate to another, although it is fine to move yourself from one part to another.  No, me neither!   Anyway, this meant that I walked the whole thing – and it didn’t take nearly as long as their maps and website suggest, so I probably won’t move the car in future anyway!   Gorgeous sunny day.  Why couldn’t it have done this last weekend?!

Then I went to Boundary Mill on the way back and, hooray, I found a dress for my cousin’s wedding.  I don’t honestly know what I wanted, so I don’t know if this is it, but it ticks the boxes of long, not low cut at either the front or the back but without having a high neckline, not clingy, and not too expensive.  Hooray!

If the wedding goes ahead.  I really can’t see all restrictions being lifted on June 21st.

Infection rates are falling in Bolton, although they’re still over 400 per 100,000.  But additional help for neighbouring boroughs has been refused.  The Government’s got nasty announcements on local radio telling you to minimise travel into and out of Bolton, like it’s a leper colony or something.

Another e-mail from the holiday company.  No more decisions will be made until the green list’s updated, which won’t be until a week on Monday.  They do expect to run Iceland tours.  So I need to decide if I can deal with the Covid stuff or not.  I am not good with decisions.  And I wish I could have my second vaccination sooner.  And I gather that the app is horrendous.

OK, I am off to watch the Champions League final.  Nice to see City and Chelsea fans enjoying themselves in lovely Porto, but, if City win, we will never hear the end of it!

Later – Chelsea 1-0 City.


Sunday, May 30th

Finally, a hot, sunny Sunday!  Just rather annoying that, instead of being last Sunday, when I was in the Lakes, it was today, when I stayed in most of the day to watch the French Open.  Dominic Thiem and Dan Evans have both already managed to lose.  Nice to see some fans in the stadium, though 🙂 .

However, I did go to the new Royal Horticultural Society Bridgewater Gardens this morning.  Expensive for what they are, but very pretty, only 7 miles away, and, hooray, the RHS doesn’t allow dogs in its gardens!   The opening was delayed for a year due to lockdown etc, but it’s open now, and hopefully it’ll do well.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds got married yesterday, which was a bit odd because they’d apparently told people they were getting married next July – but, hey, as long as they’re happy!

Infection rates in Bolton are now falling sharply – but, worryingly, are rising in other areas, with Blackburn how having the highest infection rate in the country.  Why, oh why, is it always the North West?   This virus has got it in for us, I’m telling you.

Polls show that nearly half of people now feel that lifting all restrictions in June 21st would be too risky.  But it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, the sun is out, the tennis is on, so let’s try to enjoy the evening and not stress too much about virus stuff!  And congratulations to Blackpool, promoted to League 1.

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