The road to freedom? Week 14, June 28th to July 4th 2021 inclusive

Monday, June 28th

The good news is that Wimbledon’s started.  The bad news is that Stef lost in the first round (OK, he had a tough draw, against Frances Tiafoe, but FFS!), it rained for much of the day (in London, not here) and Jo Konta had to pull out after a member of her team tested positive.

Sajid Javid’s said that restrictions’ll be ending on July 19th and we can get back to normal, but how can we when we’re all being held hostage by this bloody test, trace and isolate thing?   Freddie Nielsen’s also had to pull out after a member of his team tested positive.  My elder nephew was pulled out of class today and told that he’d have to go home from school and self-isolate for 10 days because he was a “close contact” of someone in his French group who’d tested positive.  He doesn’t even do French!  He does Spanish instead.  It turned out that they’d mixed him up with another kid with the same first name.  So he’s OK, but the other kid has joined the thousands of others across the country who are missing school even though they themselves have tested negative.

Meanwhile, case numbers are soaring.  It looked as if Salford had turned a corner, but, sadly, the rate there is on the up again.  And it’s horrendous in the city centre, because there are so many students there.   We’re ahead of most places in terms of the Delta variant.   It’s rife in the Moscow area, and also in South Africa (just as the Lions tour starts), but is only just gathering pace across most of Western and Central Europe.  And, as they’re also behind us in terms of vaccinations, they’re imposing restrictions.   Malta’s now said that it’s only open to British tourists who’ve been fully vaccinated – and the restriction applies to anyone 12 and over, but kids under 18 can’t get vaccinated ATM.  Portugal’s said that British visitors who aren’t fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for a fortnight.

And, after all Merkel’s pontificating about the EU having common rules, Germany’s said that anyone entering Germany from Portugal will have to quarantine.  What a hypocrite.  Cue an exodus of Germans from the Algarve.

The whole thing is chaos.

But … deaths and hospitalisations are NOT really going up.


Tuesday, June 29th

Wa-hey!   We beat Germany!   At last, we beat Germany!  2-0.  Into the QFs, against either Sweden or Ukraine.  And what a night last night, with Switzerland beating France on penalties and Andy Murray’s match and … ooh, it was all happening.   England have beaten Germany.

And Sturgeon has had to back down!  The travel ban on Manchester, Salford and Bolton (although unfortunately not Blackburn with Darwen) has been lifted.  I rang my travel insurance, and they said that, if I book something tomorrow (the ban is lifted at midnight) then they will cover the cost if Sturgeon reimposes a ban.   Hopefully she won’t, but who knows with that one.


Wednesday, June 30th

The holiday company has said it will give me a refund if Sturgeon imposes a ban.  So I’ve booked.  Fingers crossed!!

Meanwhile, there’s a hoo-ha going on over the QF, which will be against Ukraine in Rome, because Italy’s currently imposing a 5 day quarantine on arrivals from the UK.

A study’s shown that Greater Manchester suffered 25% higher mortality from Covid than England as a whole.  This is just Greater Manchester: I don’t know if similar studies are being done for other areas – and we’re talking about urban, northern areas here.  When this nightmare started, I never expected our region to end up being the centre of it.   It’s pretty shocking and upsetting.

On a happier note, it’s all eyes on Wimbledon!


Thursday, July 1st

It is hot.  I just hope it doesn’t all end in a deluge just when I’m in the Lakes!

Every night seems to end in either extra time at the football or a late match at Wimbledon at the moment.   Not complaining: it’s wonderful!   But I am so far behind with my soap operas 🙂 !   Five set thriller involving Andy Murray (who won in the end) last night.  Amazing stuff.

The Germans, not content with trying to bully Portugal into banning British tourists, are now trying to bully UEFA into moving matches away from Wembley.  WTF?  It hasn’t even got anything to do with them: they aren’t in the tournament any more!   I can’t work out whether it’s sour grapes over Brexit, an attempt to divert attention away from how slow their vaccination rollout’s been, or both.

Case numbers are soaring, though, it has to be admitted.  But hospitalisations and deaths, thankfully, aren’t.  The highest numbers are in Scotland.  Please tell me that Sturgeon isn’t going to reintroduce restrictions just as I’ve booked my coach tour!   People from Blackburn are still banned from Scotland.  People from Hyndburn (Accrington etc), where rates are higher than they are in Blackburn, are not.  Newcastle now has higher rates than central Manchester or Salford, and Liverpool has higher rates than 7 out of 10 Greater Manchester boroughs.  Bury has thankfully stabilised, for now, but Wigan’s rates are way up.  And there’s no sign of an end to it.   It still looks as if restrictions will be lifted on July 19th, though.

And our first home match of the season has been moved to 12:30 … meaning that, short of causing a huge family row, Dad and I cannot go because it clashes with my cousin’s pre-wedding party.  We are so annoyed.  We could have sloped off early and got there for 3, and 5:15 or any time on Sunday would have been fine, but … bleurgh.  2 away matches and an international break after that, so it’ll be mid-September before we get to go.  So, so fed up!!


Friday, July 2nd

It’s hard work trying to keep up with the football and all the tennis at the same time!

We really need to lose this nightmare self-isolation system.  It’s not even like it bloody works – case numbers are sky-rocketing everywhere.  Don’t ask me what happened to the “extra support” we were offered.  We never got it, and nor did Liverpool.   Anyway, a load of trains were cancelled today, because a few people at Northern Rail tested positive so all their colleagues are self-isolating.  And some kids at my elder nephew’s school were sent home after one kid had a positive lateral flow test result, only to be told to come back in when the kid had a negative PCR test result!   Parents don’t know whether they’re coming or going, and teachers are trying to teach some kids in person and some kids online at the same time.

And the press unhelpfully decided to panic people by saying that anyone who’d had an AZ vaccine from a batch made in India would be banned from going to an EU country because the Indian vaccine wasn’t recognised by the EU!   Technically, it isn’t at the moment, but it’s exactly the same as the AZ vaccine made here and it’s just a case of sorting out some paperwork.

OK, I am going to try to forget about all the Covid stress for the rest of this evening, and enjoy the tennis and the football!


Saturday, July 3rd

Tonight’s the night!   8pm, Rome, England v Ukraine.   The tension is mounting!!

My plan for today was to go out early, before play started at Wimbledon.  But it was absolutely pouring down, and didn’t clear up until later, so I ended up just going out for two short walks in between matches.   Can Daniil, Sascha or Matteo beat Nole?  Or could Roger, who beat Cam Norrie today, really win it again?  Andy lost to Denis Shapovalov last night: I really like Denis, but it was a shame to see Andy go out.  Dan Evans also lost, to Seb Korda, son of Petr, which made me feel old.  But well done to Emma Raducanu, into the last 16 on a wild card – amazing.

Angela Merkel has been whining at Boris about the number of fans allowed into Wembley.  Can that woman not mind her own business?!


Later – it’s coming home!   Well we’re certainly coming home from Rome to Wembley!  England 4-0 Ukraine, wa-hey!   And all the other QFs went the way I wanted too, so it’s England v Denmark and Spain v Italy.   Wednesday night, semi-final …


Sunday, July 4th

I was actually lucky with the weather today!   I think North Yorkshire had heavy rain yesterday, but it was glorious at Fountains Abbey this morning … whilst it was wet in Manchester.  It started throwing it down whilst I was halfway home, and I don’t like driving in heavy rain, but it was better than walking in heavy rain!

I do know that stressing about what the weather will do in a fortnight’s time is not helpful …

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of talk going on about lifting restrictions.  I really don’t know what to think.  We cannot live under restrictions indefinitely.  And, thankfully, hospitalisations and deaths are not going up.  But, when infection rates in Bolton dropped sharply, it looked as if the problems caused by the Delta variant would last for a few weeks, peak, and decline.  But that’s not happening.  They’re going up again everywhere.  And showing absolutely no sign of peaking, never mind declining.  If we decide that we’ll just have to live with this, we can’t keep the self-isolation system.  Every flaming train on the Cumbrian Coast Line was cancelled yesterday, because of people self-isolating.  And the situation in schools is chaos.   At this rate, it’s going to be like some Solomon Grundy thing – everyone back in the office on Monday, two people at home due to kids self-isolating on Tuesday, Joe in HR got pinged by the Test and Trace app on Wednesday, tested positive on Thursday, everyone off work for 10 days from Friday!

Heigh-ho …


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