Freedom? Week 1, July 19th to 25th 2021 inclusive

Monday, July 19th

So this is freedom!  Or maybe not, with the threat of 10 days’ self-isolation hanging over everyone’s heads, and the bloody “pingdemic” causing so much chaos that there are now plans for a small number of essential workers to be exempt from self-isolation and be tested regularly instead.   The people at the small businesses here in the Lakes are all so nervous in case one person tests positive, the others all have to self-isolate and they lose 10 days’ much-needed takings, and loads of people are on edge in case their kids have to self-isolate (a lot of schools break up this week) and they lose their holidays.  In fact, some people are keeping kids off school for that reason, and I don’t blame them.  Meanwhile, vaccine passports (negative tests won’t count) are to be required for nightclubs, and there’s talk of doing the same for sports events.  FFS, have they ever seen the chaos as 78,000 people all try to get into Old Trafford with security checks, never mind vaccine passport checks too?!

On a happier note, I have had a nice day at Ullswater – I went to Aira Force first (after a slight delay due to sheep on the road!), then to Pooley Bridge, and then to Askham Hall where I’d never been before.  And then I went for a swim in Grasmere.  I’m always nervous of “wild swimming” in case someone nicks my stuff, but it was fine!   It’s really hot out, and due to be hot for the rest of the week too.

The one way system round the hotel’s been done away with, and most of the hotel staff have stopped wearing masks, but most of the shops and some of the cafes are sticking with them (masks, I mean!).


Tuesday, July 20th

96 deaths today, which is worrying, but numbers are always high on Tuesdays due to the catch-up for the weekend.  There’s a lot of confusion over who’ll be exempt from self-isolation, and how it’ll work.  And almost a third of secondary school kids were off school last week.  This is crazy.

But I’ve had another nice day!   Mostly around Ambleside today, and I went over to Bowness and back by boat, and then I walked right round Grasmere later.  Such lovely weather!


Wednesday, July 21st

Now there’s talk that Spain could be made “amber plus”.   I think most people have given up on the idea of going abroad this summer: certainly there are plenty of people here in the Lakes.  Lovely to see everyone out enjoying themselves in the sunshine.  I’ve been to Keswick today, and then I went up to Mirehouse, and then later went to Allan Bank, back at Grasmere.   Loads of watersports going on.  Loads of eating going on, in my case!!


Thursday, July 22nd

Case numbers seem to be falling.   Don’t say it too loudly, but … well, they are.   That’s the good news.  The bad news is concern about the “pingdemic” affecting supermarkets, although TBH I think that’s just panic-mongering.   And Australia and New Zealand have pulled out of the rugby league World Cup, due to issues about quarantining when they get home.  That’s a huge blow – I mean, without them, it’s … well, hardly the same.

And the holiday company have cancelled my trip to Scotland.  I am so angry and upset: they will be getting a very nasty e-mail when I get home.   Their excuse is that they haven’t got enough bookings, because they were expecting people to come from America.  I get that, but they’d have known that 3 weeks ago when I booked.  And they aren’t supposed to cancel things later than 11-12 weeks beforehand, and it’s only 8 weeks ago.  I’ve paid for my train ticket to Edinburgh, bought books and guidebooks, booked the time off work … and I was really looking forward to it.  I’m so upset.  Why didn’t they warn me when I booked?  It was only 3 weeks ago.

I’ve been to Levens Hall today, with a brief stop off at Bowness en route, and then into Kendal, and then later I did the Grasmere to Rydal walk.  I came back on the bus – it was hot, and it’s uphill coming back!   But I did walk all the way there.


Friday, July 23rd

The Tokyo Olympics have started.  Fingers crossed that all goes well!   And cases are down again, hooray … although there’s some talk of a new variant, but not a scary one like the Delta.  Food production staff are to go on this testing rather than self-isolation scheme.

Buttermere today.  Then I had great ideas about climbing up to Easedale Tarn, but I was, er,envisioning a gently sloping Sound of Music esque hill,  not a rocky path on a sheer incline … let’s say that I got so far and admitted defeat!   But I did walk 5 1/2 miles round Buttermere!


Saturday, July 24th

Cases down again … no-one seems to be quite sure why, but there’s definitely a downward trend.

I went to St Bees this morning, then Cockermouth.  There was nothing much in St Bees and not that much in Cockermouth, but, hey, it was somewhere different … and I then had a nice afternoon in Ambleside (I couldn’t face driving through the traffic to go back to Bowness) and Grasmere.  There’s been some heavy rain in some parts of the country at various times during the week, but it’s just been glorious here.  Gold star for the weather!


Sunday, July 25th

Last day 😦 .   But it’s been a lovely holiday.  And case numbers are down again.  And we’ve got our first two Olympic medals!!  A silver and a bronze!   Go Team GB!

I walked from Wray Castle to Claife Heights today.  Then back again!   The “walkers’ ticket” whereby you get a boat from Bowness to Ambleside,  another boat from Ambleside to Wray and then a boat back from Claife to Bowness isn’t available again yet.  So I walked 9 miles.  Er, and then blew the calorie burn-off on an early afternoon tea in Hawkshead!   Then stopped at Sizergh Castle … and then home.  “Staycation” over!




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