Moving On Week 8 – August 24th to 30th 2020 inclusive

Monday, August 24th

Typical – first day back and it’s sunny!  A storm’s on the way, though.

The council are turning one of the two extremely busy lanes on the main road which runs past my estate into a cycle lane, so that everyone can cycle to school/work. So the very heavy traffic which crawls for miles at the best of times will be forced into one lane, leaving the other lane free for the two or three people who want to cycle in autumn and winter, when it’s usually pouring with rain and will be dark at rush hour.   FFS.  Talk about stupid!

Most of the talk ATM is about schools going back.  Teaching unions are trying desperately to stir up trouble, but everyone agrees that kids need to get back to school.  They’ve missed so much time already.  Schools in Northern Ireland went back today.

 

Tuesday, August 25th

What an awful day.  Heavy rain nearly all day … and I’ve got a horrible feeling that one of the grids outside needs unblocking, and I can’t ask anyone to come in the morning because I’ve got a blood donation appointment and don’t know exactly when I’ll be back.

There is now a row going on over whether or not kids should wear masks at school.  Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more rows over schools.

 

Wednesday, August 26th

Now masks do have to be worn in corridors etc at school in “local lockdown” areas, i.e. here.  I’m not sure how hygienic a mask’s going to be after it’s been shoved in a teenage boy’s grubby pocket or schoolbag all day, but whatever.   This is in England.  Masks have to be worn in corridors etc in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, and in schools in Wales “where social distancing is not possible” … er, and if head teachers say so.  Confused?  So is everyone.

This is just in secondary schools.

My elder nephew starts secondary school this year.  He’s not supposed to wear his blazer, because blazers are a virus risk.  No, me neither!

More job cuts have been announced.

And I’m stressed because the latest Facebook app update is causing a load of problems.  I’ve got my phone set to no auto updates, but the Facebook app does them anyway.

 

Thursday, August 27th

I just cried because my printer was playing up, but hopefully it’s OK now.  And the Facebook app seems to have been fixed.  But Word Press photos have suddenly decided not to display properly on Facebook, which is annoying.

WHY are infection rates in our borough going up, when rates elsewhere in the area are going down?  I don’t understand it – and it’s a big worry.   Having said that I don’t understand it, I still keep seeing people not wearing masks where they should be.  It’s really becoming a big concern now: we’ve got the 13th highest infection rate in the country.  Meanwhile, the Czech Republic and Switzerland are amongst the latest countries taken off the safe travel list.  And Paul Pogba has tested positive for the virus.

In other news, the Cincy tennis, which is actually being played in New York, has been suspended as part of some US sports thing over racism, and Hurricane Laura is battering Louisiana and Texas.  2020, the year that just keeps on giving!  Oh, and I finally plucked up the courage to weigh myself today, and a load of the weight I’ve lost from trying so hard for the last 5 months has gone back on in one week’s holiday.  Always happens, but never gets any less upsetting.

Heigh-ho.  Maybe tomorrow will be better!

 

Friday, August 28th

Restrictions have been lifted in Bolton, Stockport and Trafford.  Trafford council has got in a strop and said it didn’t want restrictions lifted.  No change here and in the other 5 boroughs, but rates in our borough have gone down in the last few days, so hopefully things are starting to move in the right direction.  Hyndburn, Burnley and parts of West Yorkshire are also having restrictions lifted.  I do wish reporters would learn how to pronounce “Keighley” properly.

The government’s also (just in England) trying to encourage people to go back to offices.  Oh, shut up!  I appreciate that there are concerns about sandwich shops etc in city centres suffering, but I don’t buy sandwiches!  The thought of being trapped in that depressing office for 5 days a week, when I’ve got used to being at home and going for a nice walk in the park every day … bleurgh.  I do accept that it’s coming, but I’d rather put it off as long as possible.  I do genuinely think it’s inappropriate to encourage people to return to work, with infection rates likely to rise once a) schools go back and b) the colder, darker months mean that people will be spending less time outdoors.

My elder nephew starts secondary school next week.  Although they are not in a lockdown area, the school has said that kids should wear masks outside the classroom.  My young cousin started secondary school today, and her school’s talking about taking kids’ temperatures.  In Spain, even primary school kids are having to wear masks, and people in Paris are now having to wear masks even when outdoors.  Infection rates in India are horrendous.  What a nightmare all this is!  But death rates and even hospital admission rates remain pretty low.

 

Saturday, August 29th

Hooray!!!!  Reunion Day!   I have finally seen my sister, brother-in-law and nephews again!  I haven’t been apart from my sister for this long since she was born.  Come to that, I haven’t been apart from either of my nephews for this long since they were born.   I am so, so sorry for people who’ve got loved ones in countries which we cannot visit at the moment: at least we can go to London.

However, due to local lockdown rules in Manchester, Mum, Dad and I are staying at a hotel.  Unlike the one in the Lakes, rooms at this one aren’t made up except by special request (there were seals on the doors!) and the restaurant isn’t open (you can order room service, but it’s a very limited and rather poor choice).

And I’ve been to my first live sports event since United v City in March … er, younger nephew’s under 9s football match!  To be followed on Monday by elder nephew’s under 12s cricket match!

We have been hearing all about the arrangements for school.  Kids cannot share any sort of stationery: they have to have their own.  If they’ve got PE, they are supposed to stay in their PE kit all day – how awful for the more self-conscious kids, especially girls.  Younger nephew, at primary school, will have dinner in his classroom.  Elder nephew, at secondary school, will get pre-packed airline-type meals if having school dinners.  Primary school kids generally stay in their own form rooms anyway, but now secondary school kids will too, unless they need to go to e.g. the art room or the science lab.  They won’t even be allowed to go back to their lockers, and will therefore have to lug around all their books for the entire day.  What a palaver!   It’s going to be very strange.

Oh, I am so glad that we’re all back together again!

 

Sunday, August 30th 

A full day in London – watching elder nephew’s cricket training, and then doing a sort of treasure hunt thing, basically a walk round Barnet but with clues for the kids to look for.  I think I was actually more excited than they were, because we got to see the site of the Battle of Barnet!

Infection rates in our borough are now falling, which is excellent news.  However, they’re back up in Bolton and Trafford, which is worrying – for them, and also for us because they might delay unlocking us now.

Benoit Paire has pulled out of the US Open after testing positive for the virus.

 

Moving On Weeks 6 and 7 – August 10th to 23rd 2020 inclusive

Monday, August 10th

I am now stressed about the weather.  Partly because storms are forecast, and I’m now terrified of lightning, and partly because, after a fortnight of decent weather, it’ll probably rain whilst I’m in the Lakes.  I’m also stressed about traffic, parking, queues in cafes and putting on weight.  But it makes a change from stressing about lockdown.

Schools went back in Scotland today, and I assume that they go back in Italy (where the infection rate’s remained low – could that be because they were further along in things when borders were reopened?), Spain, France, Portugal etc after Assumption Day.   It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

 

Tuesday, August 11th

We had storms overnight, but it’s been so hot today – really humid and horrible.  More storms are forecast.  Please let them all have gone away before Saturday!

We won our Europa League QF last night, in extra time against Copenhagen in Cologne.  We play either Wolves or Sevilla.

Scottish Higher results, which were “moderated” so that some kids got lower grades than their teachers gave them, have been un-moderated.  So now the grades are 14% higher than they were last year.  It’s all a bit of a muddle, and the same thing’s going to happen when A-level results came out.  It’s no-one’s fault: this has never happened before.

A Sky News report has found that most pubs aren’t even bothering to ask people for their details for contact tracing.  Following an outbreak of the virus in Aberdeen, linked to a number of pubs in the area, there’s been talk of giving councils increased power to close pubs down, but how can either council officials or the police check every pub in an area?  And I was the only person wearing a mask whilst ordering in both the park café and the frozen yogurt shop today.

Went to the office today, to collect some stuff.  Thankfully, things seem to have gone quiet.  Meanwhile, the latest unemployment statistics show that 730,000 people in the UK have … well, it’s all a bit confusing due to the furlough scheme, but there are 730,000 fewer people on payrolls than there were in March.  And this is with the furlough scheme.  This is just a nightmare.  There’s been a march through town this evening to draw attention to the plight of the live music industry, but I don’t know what can be done about it: how can we have tens of thousands of people inside the Arena, or even at an outdoor venue, with all this going on?

Heigh-ho.  Thank goodness for football!

 

Wednesday, August 12th

I do not know what to worry about first!

  1.  WTF is going on in Oldham?  Rochdale and Blackburn are both looking much better now, but things are out of control in Oldham.  If the whole region gets punished for this, I will be fuming.  And now I’m stressed about getting to the Lakes again.
  2. I’m also stressed about the weather.  The storm warning now extends until Monday.
  3. It is SO hot

A-level pupils who aren’t happy with their results can ask to use mock exam results instead.  This is just getting silly.

And it was announced today that the UK is in the deepest recession in history.  OK, it’s hardly a surprise, but it’s not good.  Things did look up in June, but … eeh, it’s not good.

The Japan tour that was cancelled isn’t running in 2021, which is a great shame.  I’ve booked another one, though.  Goodness knows where we’ll be at by then.  I’ve got more time off to have this year, as work won’t let us carry our holidays forward, but it’s so hard to know what to do!  We get so little annual leave that I really don’t want to waste it.

 

Thursday, August 13th

It feels like that Billy Joel song, “We didn’t start the fire”.   The pandemic.  The economic effects.  The row over A-level results day.  I am so, so sorry for the kids involved – A-level results day’s stressful enough, without all this.  But I do see the sense in “moderating” the grades, when the teacher-assessed grades were so much higher than last year’s results.  What I do not get is why everyone seems to have known what their assessed grades were.  And the silly kid who’s president of the NUS is trying to prove how “woke” she is by saying that the system’s racist.  How is a computer algorithm racist?  Then there’s the Scottish rail derailment.  The tension in Belarus.  The blast in Beirut.  The American presidential election.  And this awful heat and storms, although it has cooled down today.  Oh, and I’ve been bitten by 2 insects!

The infection rate is still rising in 7 of the 10 boroughs 😦 , but the rate of increase has slowed considerably in 4 and stayed similar in 1.  Rochdale’s had a bad week, but isn’t as bad as it was.  But things in Oldham are just horrendous – its rate is almost as high as those of 5 other boroughs added together.  Andy Burnham, perhaps feeling a bit sensitive after everyone slated him for agreeing to the whole area being put in special measures, has asked the Government not to do anything else with Oldham for now.  Given the rows going on over A-levels, and the fact that the soaring rate of infections in France is being conveniently ignored, I’m hoping they’ll decide to avoid any more controversy for now.  But things in Oldham are very worrying.

 

Friday, August 14th

The good news is that local restrictions aren’t being tightened, so I haven’t got to make a mad dash for the Chorley Travelodge or Premier Inn and can hopefully leave for the Lakes tomorrow morning.  However, they aren’t being eased either.  And, as we’re in the naughty corner – unlike several areas down south, which have far higher rates than ours but are just being left to it – we are excluded from the reopening of indoor theatres, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and soft play centres, and the restarting of close contact beauty treatments and, most upsettingly, wedding receptions.   There’s also talk again about letting fans into sports stadia, but I’m not holding my breath.

Nole’s playing the US Open, but Bianca Andreescu isn’t.

France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Aruba and the Turks and Caicos Islands have been taken off the travel corridor list, as of 4am tomorrow.  It’s not a surprise, but it was announced at 10 o’clock last night, 11 o’clock last night CET.  What a stupid, stupid time to announce it.  We’re now seeing a bizarre scenario – it’d be tasteless to say that it was like a scene from wartime, but in some ways it is – in which people are frantically trying to find passages back across the Channel.  Airfares have sky-rocketed, and trains and ferries are full.  Meanwhile, cases are soaring in many parts of Europe and elsewhere.  This is a nightmare.

Roll on the Lake District!!

 

I was on holiday in the Lake District from August 15th to 23rd inclusive, which I’ve written about HERE  .

Whilst I was away:

  1.  The Government agreed to use teacher-assessed grades for A-levels and GCSEs.
  2.   Portugal was taken off the quarantine list, but Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago were put on it.
  3.   Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen were taken out of local lockdown, as were some parts of West Yorkshire.
  4.   We lost to Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Europa League 😦 .  Sevilla went on to win it, and Bayern Munich
    won the Champions League.
  5.  The 75th anniversary of VJ Day was marked.
  6.  Everyone got very into the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which provided money off food and drink in participating outlets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays … sadly only during August!
  7.  The Cincinnati Masters started.  In New York.

 

A trip into town, mayhem at the US Open, and EastEnders returns

 

 

I went into town yesterday.  It wasn’t quiet, but it was certainly nothing like as busy as it would usually be on a Sunday.  Cafes seemed a lot busier than shops, which was interesting.  OK, maybe they looked busier (in terms of having few empty tables) than they actually were, because most had fewer tables than usual due to social distancing, but they certainly *looked* quite busy.  And is the Federal Café on Deansgate now the “in” place to see and be seen?  There was a great long queue of young people outside it.  I looked at the menu and didn’t find it particularly exciting, but seemingly it’s the cool place to go. I am clearly old and out of touch!   But the shopping areas were certainly quieter than usual.  So what are the reasons why?

BTW, I took this photo because I thought the Free Trade Hall (now the Radisson) looked nice in the sunshine. Then I realised that there were skyscrapers behind it, and decided that it was deeply symbolic because it showed the history of Manchester and the modern “Manctopia” (who thought up that ridiculous expression?!) thing together!  Ooh look, you can see the Peterloo plaque (the red circle), as well!

Also, the US Open gets more bonkers every day.  And EastEnders is back tonight.  “The Paire Eleven” sounds more like something from EastEnders – maybe a list of suspects? – than something to do with a tennis tournament.

This was a Sunday, so it was nothing to do with people working from home rather than being in their offices.  A lot of people, especially older people and those with medical conditions, are obviously nervous about going out and about, especially if it means using public transport.  And people are watching the pennies, given the effect of lockdown on the economy.  I’m not sure that it’s only, or even mainly, that, though.  People go into town because they’re going to the pictures, or the theatre, or a concert, or perhaps to galleries, museums or Central Library.  A lot of people, especially away fans, go into town before football matches.  People from out of town also visit to go to concerts or musicals, or to business conferences or private functions such as weddings.  None of that’s happening at the moment.   And maybe that helps to explain why cafes are so busy.  There aren’t that many other places to go to, if you don’t want to go for a walk.

And have we all got used to buying everything on line?   I was already buying a lot of stuff online.  When you’re stuck at work 5 days a week, it doesn’t leave that much time for shopping.  And, well before all this started, most shops had reduced their staff numbers so much that it’d become very hard to find someone to ask if you couldn’t find what you wanted; and don’t get me started on the queues at checkouts.  Lockdown’s pushed even more shopping online.  It’s a big problem for shops, and obviously there are small shops which just don’t have an online presence.

Are people also being put off by the hassle of having to wear masks and follow one way systems, and maybe having to queue to get into shops.  The only place with a really long queue, incidentally, was Zara, and that was all young people.  Must all have money to burn!  I don’t know that any of that’s putting people off, but I’ve heard plenty of people say that they don’t want to go to clothes shops whilst changing rooms are closed, because they don’t want to have to waste time taking things back if they don’t fit.

There’s also the issue of toilets!   The Arndale Centre’s got ladies’ loos only open in some places, and gents’ loos only open in others, which is a bit complicated if a man and a woman are out shopping together!

I’d like to see some more research done into this.  We usually get opinion polls about anything and everything, but there seem to be very few about why people are not going into city centres as much as they did pre-pandemic.  In particular, it seems strange that cafes – and, whilst there’s a lot more outdoor seating than there used to be, most of the seating is indoor – are so much busier than shops are.

There were plenty of people sat inside cafes with people who were clearly not part of their household.  That’s against local lockdown rules, but I’m not judging anyone for that.  We’re not talking about big rave-ups, just 2, 3 or 4 people sat together.  I’m not advocating rule-breaking, but we’re going to end up with a serious mental health pandemic if people are unable to spend time with their families and close friends.

Some people were wearing masks whilst waiting to order at the till in cafes … there seems to be a lot of confusion over this.  The vast majority of people were wearing masks inside shops and inside the corridors in the Arndale Centre. But there were still a few idiots without masks.  I accept that some people are exempt on medical grounds, but I can’t believe that they all were.  One man, on being refused admission to a shop because he wasn’t wearing a mask, asked if the shop had masks, as if it was everyone’s responsibility but his!  But we’re only talking about a small minority of people.

And, instead of the usual stalls selling mobile phone covers, football souvenirs and children’s toys on Market Street, and indeed the people trying to get you to complete surveys or sign petitions, there are now lots of street traders selling masks.  Very 2020.  But good for them, for adapting to “the new normal”.   There are signs everywhere reminding people to wear masks and observe social distancing, but there are also, on King Street, morale boosting banners saying things like “New Normal, Same Manchester”, “You’re Not Alone” and “New Chapter, Same History”.  Well done to the council for that.  Heaven knows that we could all do with some morale boosting.

As for the US Open … well, without Rafa, it’s not quite the same for me, and Roger’s missing as well.  So is Stan, and so are most of the women’s top ten.  And, of course, there are no fans.  Fans are supposed to be being allowed into Stade Roland Garros for the French Open but, given the state of affairs in Paris, I’m not sure whether or not that’ll actually happen.   But it’s been brilliant to have some live tennis, especially Grand Slam tennis, to watch at last.

However, it got off to an awkward start when Novak Djokovic decided to try to set up a rival players’ union.  There were some issues over the ATP at the start of the year, but, given what’s happened since, it’s hardly the time to be making waves.  Rafa and Roger both said as much.  The idea doesn’t seem to have got very far.  Then there was the saga of the Paire Eleven.  Benoit Paire tested positive for the virus.  He had to pull out of the tournament.  We were then told that eleven other players, who’d been in close contact with him, were now in a “bubble within a bubble”.

Then some of those players, notably Kiki Mladenovic, complained that they were being treated like prisoners and escorted everywhere.  Things got farcical when Sascha Zverev and Adrian Mannarino were told, just before their match was due to start, that they’d have to wait whilst the State of New York decided whether or not Adrian, who was one of the Paire Eleven, could play.  This was a third round match.  If they had issues with Adrian playing, why wait until the third round?!  And what about the rest of the Paire Eleven?  The match eventually went ahead, after a four hour delay!   And then Kiki was told that she wasn’t allowed to leave her hotel, meaning that she and Timea Babos, the top seeds, had to pull out of the women’s doubles.  Why wait until then?  And what about the rest of the Paire Eleven?   Does anyone know what’s going on?

On top of all this, Nole lost his rag after messing up the first set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta, and hit a ball away in anger … and it hit a line judge in the throat.  Thankfully, the line judge seems to be OK, but a ball travelling at speeds can be dangerous.  No-one’s suggesting for one second that Nole meant to hurt anyone, but, under the rules, he had to be disqualified.  It’s not the kind of headline that the US Tennis Association was hoping for!

What it does mean is that someone is going to win their first Grand Slam men’s singles title.  Annoyingly, it will not be Stef Tsitsipas, who managed to lose to Borna Coric after being 2 sets to 1 and 5-1 up.  Dominic Thiem?  Sascha Zverev?  Denis Shapovalov (I would love him to win, but am not sure he’s mature enough yet)?  Felix A-A?  Frances Tiafoe to become the first American man in years to win the US Open?   We shall see.

And EastEnders is back.   Coronation Street and Emmerdale have managed to keep going all the way through, but EastEnders has been off for weeks.  But now it’s back. And Coronation Street and Emmerdale are going back to six episodes a week.  We’re getting there!   Could we have Casualty and Holby City back as well, though, please?

 

Confused of Manchester … are we all with this?

  OK, folks.  From next Tuesday, beauty salons offering things like eyebrow threading, and casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas including soft play areas will be able to reopen round here.  Unless you live in Bolton (10 miles away), in which case they won’t.  But you still won’t be able to meet people in houses or gardens, only in the park.  Unless you live in Stockport (15 miles away) or Wigan (18 miles away) in which case you can meet up in houses or gardens.  If you live in Oldham (10 miles away in another direction) or Blackburn (22 miles away), you still won’t be able to meet people anywhere, even in the park.   But you’ll be able to have your eyebrows threaded – the no threading thing only applies to Bolton.  And swimming pools and gyms in Blackburn will be able to reopen.  They’re already open everywhere else.  Except Leicester.

In Corby, the infection rate is double the rate in our borough, but they’re not under restrictions.  But we are.

In Bolton (10 miles away) and Trafford (6 miles away), restrictions were lifted at midnight on Wednesday but re-imposed by midday.   To be fair to the authorities, the infection rate in Bolton had plummeted and the council there had asked for the local lockdown to be ended.  Then it suddenly sky-rocketed and is now the highest in the country.  No-one seems to have a clue how things turned round so quickly.  In Trafford, the Labour councillors and the Conservative MP for Sale and Altrincham are busy squabbling, all apparently far more interested in scoring points off each other than in what’s best for local communities.

And does anyone know what the situation is if you live on the outskirts of Chester (where Portugal isn’t on the quarantine list) but work 10 miles away in Wrexham (where Portugal is on the quarantine list) and are flying back from the Algarve tomorrow?  Can you go to work or not?  Anyone know?  I’m sure I don’t.

I’m not really having a go at the authorities.  I understand that the idea is to keep things local – and I moaned like mad when all 10 boroughs were put under restrictions because Oldham had high infection rates.   Oh, except if we’re talking abroad, where a rise in cases in one part of a country means that the entire country’s shoved on the quarantine list.  But it’s so bloody confusing that no-one’s sure what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not.  And I object strongly to the fact that restrictions are in place here when they aren’t in Corby, Middlesbrough and various other places where the infection rates are higher.  That’s not fair.

Rates in our borough had fallen.  But they’ve gone up a bit.   Trafford, Salford and Tameside are apparently all at risk of becoming “hotspots”.  I can’t see a way out of this.  All I can think is that London, like Italy, is doing better because it was further along “the curve” when restrictions were lifted, and that nowhere else is as densely populated.

And I don’t want to get my eyebrows threaded.  Nor do I want to go to a casino, a soft play centre, a bowling alley or an ice rink.  I want to be able to meet up with my family and friends in a house or garden.  Please, everyone, wear masks, wash your hands, and, above all, don’t meet up in big groups, because that seems to be what’s causing the problem.

And the actual numbers are so small anyway.  12 cases in our entire suburb, in one week.  And, because of that, this.  How long can we go on imposing restrictions because of so few cases, and with, thankfully, hardly anyone seriously ill?

Sweden, which never went into lockdown, now has the lowest infection rate in Europe.  Spain, which probably had the strictest lockdown, has by far the highest.  I’d assumed that that was due to tourists, but apparently a lot of it’s due to itinerant fruit pickers not being provided with decent accommodation and therefore being unable to observe social distancing.  In France, the virus is apparently spreading around nudist camps.

Even in areas which aren’t under local lockdown restrictions, everyone’s lost track of what they are and aren’t allowed to do.

Is a puzzlement …

 

Moving on, or maybe not, Week 5 – August 3rd to 9th 2020 inclusive

Monday, August 3rd

  1.  People who let their horrible dogs bark all the time should be locked up.
  2.  The burglar alarm service man has been.  So much easier to sort these things when you’re working from home!
  3.  The tables outside the park cafes have reappeared, so that the cafes can qualify for the new “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme, by which food and drink is half-price on certain days, to boost the hospitality sector.  However, seeing as they hadn’t advertised the fact that they were in the scheme, no-one knew about it until they paid, so no-one ordered anything they hadn’t been going to order anyway!!
  4.  I’ve had a reply from one of my MP’s minions, claiming that the North of England was definitely not being “ostracized”.  I contemplated replying, to point out that a) “ostracise” was completely the wrong word to use in this context and b) he shouldn’t be using American spellings, but couldn’t be bothered.

I am so stressed.  I was really looking forward to this staycation, and now I’m on edge all the time, in case we’re banned from travelling or anything else happens.  Hardly anyone in the region’s actually in hospital with the virus.  Most of the cases are amongst young people who’ve hardly been affected.  I quite appreciate that they could pass it on to someone else who could have it very badly, but it’s bloody frustrating that we can’t visit our families and friends just because a few people have got a bit of a cough.  And how long can this go on?  More and more job losses are being announced every day.

It’s not just here.  Festivals planned in Malta have been cancelled.  There’s been an outbreak on a cruise in Norway.  And I am so sorry for people in Melbourne, who’re practically under lock and key.

 

Tuesday, August 4th

Headline of an internet article today – “Pub closed after worker tests positive for virus following trip to Greater Manchester”.  Where had this person travelled from?  Land’s End?  John O’Groats?  No.  St Helens!  Which is, what, five miles outside the boundaries of Greater Manchester?  So someone from St Helens has got the virus, and is making out that they must have caught it when they nipped to a shop or café in Wigan for half an hour or so.  And this is being used to make it sound as if the whole of Greater Manchester should be treated as some sort of leper colony.  I have never heard such crap in my entire life.  But it’s out there.  And people down south or in Scotland aren’t going to know exactly where St Helens is.  Meanwhile, the bloody Guardian is trying to turn this into some sort of class war, by blaming the increase in cases on people who live in big houses in Hale Barns.

None of this is helping.

It’s just getting me totally stressed out.  I am absolutely desperate for this break, and don’t know what I’m going to do if it’s ruined because of idiots in other parts of the region ignoring social distancing guidelines.

A guy refilling the shelves in Tesco this morning was wearing full Spiderman headgear.  It made me laugh!

The Madrid Open’s been cancelled 😦 .

Later – and now Rafa’s pulled out of the US Open.  I quite understand his reasons, but … bleurgh.

 

Wednesday, August 5th

I woke up at half 4 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, and then burst into tears because I dropped a pile of papers.  I was feeling fine before all these restrictions were imposed because of high infection rates in Oldham and Blackburn.  And Nicola Sturgeon has slapped a travel ban on Aberdeen, which has completely panicked me.

The latest statistics show that, whilst the rate of infections is still increasing – and our area is regrettably getting worse – it’s not increasing at anything like it was in the two previous weeks.  And the overall rate for the region is about 27, and Blackburn hasn’t been put under a travel ban even though the rate there is nearly 90.  So hopefully it will be OK.  But I am stressed and upset now, instead of looking forward to my long-awaited break.

Went into a café today, for a takeaway drink, and the lady in front of me wasn’t wearing a mask.  She suddenly realised that she should be wearing one, took one out of her handbag, put it on, apologised profusely to the girl behind the counter, and said that she’d just forgotten.  The girl said that it didn’t matter and she didn’t have to wear it if she didn’t want to.  I mean, FFS!

Rafa’s said that he still hopes to play in Paris.  The US Open, if it goes ahead, will be the first Grand Slam event without both Rafa and Roger since 1999.

Some places have cancelled pantomimes.  The one here hasn’t been cancelled yet, but I can’t see it happening.  I usually book in June … although that’s usually because that’s when the football fixtures come out.

Europa League resumes tonight.

 

Thursday, August 6th

The number of infections is continuing to rise.  And it looks as if the new measures could be extended to Preston soon.  Why do things seem to be so bad in our region?  The likely explanation is that, because the pandemic got going in London earlier than it did here, we were that much further behind London on the “curve” when restrictions were eased.  Nowhere else, with the possible exception of the West Midlands, has got the same level of population density.

There were only 8 deaths “with coronavirus” nationwide today, though.  The number of deaths is falling.  It seems likely that most of the new infections are amongst younger people, who are far less likely to be seriously affected.  So are we just going to have to roll with it, and accept that people are going to get the virus?  Yes, you could get it.  You could also have a heart attack or be run over by a bus.

Skating rinks, bowling alleys and casinos are now supposed to be reopening a week on Saturday.  It seems unlikely that that will happen.  So why not bloody well say so?  It’s not fair to let places spend time and money getting ready to reopen, and then tell them the day before that they can’t, especially when it’s already been done once.

It’s not just here.  Things in Spain are bad, and France, Belgium and Luxembourg are all seeing significant increases in the numbers of cases.  Even Greece and Germany, which had been doing OK, are having more and more problems.

Went to the office this morning, to take some stuff back and collect more.  All this talk of getting people back into offices, which Boris was very keen on a couple of weeks ago, has died away.

 

Friday, August 7th

Bleurgh.  Had a nasty e-mail from the office today, saying that they were considering forcing people to go back to the office, because people are wasting part of the working day collecting files and dropping them off!  WTF?  How are people supposed to get the files?  Teleport them?  Not one word asking if people were OK.

Meanwhile, the local restrictions were supposed to be being reviewed weekly, but we’ve heard nothing.  I can’t imagine that anything’s going to be changed after a week, because it’d be way too soon for the new rules to have any effect, but at least tell us!  And tell people who run/work in casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks whether or not they can reopen next week.  The communication is appalling.

Our MP has protested about the fact that the whole area’s been lumped in together.  At least he’s tried!

Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra have been taken off the travel corridor list, and it looks as if France could be next.  The rules on Belgium apply from today for Wales and from tomorrow for England, presumably to give the Brussels gravy train brigade time to get back to Surrey.  Seeing as there aren’t any international airports in North or Mid Wales, anyone returning to there from Belgium today will be flying into an English airport.  How does that work?!  OK, I don’t suppose there are hordes of people from Wrexham or Bangor flying from Brussels to Ringway or Speke today, but the whole thing’s just so silly.

It’s all getting silly.  My mum and dad’ve had a mobile hairdresser round, touching their heads.  Yet, if my sister or my uncle went round, and stood 6ft away from them, in the garden, that would be breaking the law.  How does that work?!

Elena Svitolina and Kiki Bertens have both pulled out of the US Open.

 

Guidelines for meeting outdoors this sunny weekend:

England – max. 6 people from multiple households or 30 people from 2 (large!) households.
Wales – any number of people from 2 households only.
Scotland – max. 15 people from max. 5 households.
Northern Ireland – max. 30 people, no apparent limit on number of households.

Is it any wonder that people are confused?!

 

Saturday, August 8th

Nice sunny day today.  A bit too hot down south, but just nice here!  I had a lovely walk round Hollingworth Lake.  There were a lot of “We are at risk of lockdown” signs up, though.  Rochdale’s doing quite well with getting its infection rate down, but Oldham unfortunately isn’t, and, as Westminster seems intent on lumping the whole region together, it doesn’t look as if the restrictions’ll be lifted any time soon.  Well, I say “region”, but it’s done on council boundaries, which are so bloody arbitrary.  There’s no natural line between the areas covered by the councils of Stockport (included) and High Peak (excluded), Bolton (included) and Chorley (excluded), Wigan (included) and West Lancs (excluded) or Trafford (included) and Macclesfield (excluded).  The line runs right down the middle of particular streets.

It was finally confirmed yesterday evening that the restrictions will stay in place for another week, and that Preston will now also be included.  Leeds could be next.  But Swindon, Peterborough and Northampton, which have far higher rates than parts of our region, are being left alone.  It’s hard not to feel that there’s one rule for the North and another for the South.

The actual numbers are very low, though.  Our area looks bad this week, but that’s because of one cluster at one nursery.  The same for the city centre, because of one cluster at one postal sorting depot.  Headlines scream that rates in a particular area have doubled/trebled in a week, but, in these cases, there’s no real risk to the wider public.

A lot of new cases are now amongst under 30s.  This seems to be the same in other countries.  Younger people generally aren’t badly affected, and it’s usually younger people who don’t wear masks and ignore social distancing.  Yes, I know that it sounds as if we’re all looking for scapegoats.

Earlier, I had my hair cut … and was sorry to see that the café next door to the salon has had to close for a fortnight as the owner was unlucky enough to be in the Canary Islands the week when the rules were changed.  There are hardly any cases in the Canary Islands, but the whole of Spain’s been lumped together!

Sorry, I seem to be doing a lot of moaning, but it’s so frustrating. Although not as much as it is for the people in 3 Irish counties which have been put back into hard lockdown – no travel, restaurants closed, etc.

It has actually been a really nice day!   And we won the Test match.  Football, cricket, golf, rugby league … it’s all happening!  Except for tennis 😦 .

 

Sunday, August 9th

Outdoor café culture has really hit the Manchester suburbs – after all these years of it being joked about!   I’ve never seen so many outdoor tables.  Most of them are where they shouldn’t be, but who cares?  The weather’s about to change, but it’s been interesting to see in the meantime.

Boris is doing a lot of talking about prioritising schools going back and staying open.  I think nearly everyone agrees with this – apart from the teaching unions, whose priority is scoring political points rather than the welfare of children – but, if he really does shut down pubs again, there’s going to be a lot of trouble.

Stan’s pulled out of the US Open now.

Had a really lovely time at Erddig, although it was rather confusing that I *didn’t* have to wear a face mask in order to get my takeaway cream tea (although only one person was allowed into the small ordering area at a time, apart from the person serving, and they were behind a Perspex screen, so I suppose it didn’t make much difference anyway) because I was in Wales … whereas, had I been 10 miles or so nearer home, back inside England, I would have done!

It’s been a nice weekend generally.  Just hope the weather behaves for my staycation.  And also that work aren’t shitty next week and don’t try to bully us into going back.  I’m so disappointed, although not surprised, with the way they’ve behaved.

And it’s on to the next round of the Europa League tomorrow!  All go …

 

Moving On Week 4 – July 27th to August 2nd 2020 inclusive

Monday, July 27th

I’m rather upset today.  I made the decision a few weeks ago that I wasn’t going on the trip to Japan even if it went ahead, but the holiday company swore blind that trips in October would be going ahead, and we exchanged dozens of e-mails as I tried to find one that fitted in with the French Open and had direct flights from Manchester.  I provisionally booked one to Italy in October and one to France in November, and then today I got an e-mail to say that all October trips had been cancelled.  I appreciate that this is a continually moving situation, but they shouldn’t have let me do all that and then cancel it so soon afterwards: it’s not like Spain where there’s now a travel advisory warning against going.  No idea if the one to France’ll go ahead.  Horrible work will not let me carry holidays forward, so I don’t know what to do.  I really want to get abroad for a bit, but I don’t know if it’s practical, with so many attractions closed and the risk of quarantine being reintroduced at any time.  Even for somewhere domestic, it’s not like I can just turn up at NT places as and when any more.

I also feel a bit sad and vulnerable because, without coach trips, it’s difficult to go on your own.  Even within the UK, there’s only so far you want to drive on your own.  And the nice local restaurant from which many people are ordering deliveries will not deliver for orders under £30 so, unless you’re exceptionally greedy, single people are ruled out.  Neither Ullswater Steamers nor the Settle-Carlisle Railway will sell single tickets any more, due to social distancing – not wanting to leave a seat free on either side of someone.  I suspect it’ll be the same when cinemas and theatres reopen.

So I am rather sad today.

 

Tuesday, July 28th

Oh FFS.  Blackburn’s now got the highest infection rate in the country, Rochdale’s introduced restrictions, and now Oldham’s introduced restrictions as well.  This is all frighteningly close to home.  It’s not the relaxing of restrictions that’s the problem.  It’s the fact that people have been breaking them all along.

Marks & Spencer’s have got a sign up saying that people buying alcohol have to remove their masks at the till, because masks make it difficult to tell how old people are!   If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.

I got a drink from the park café today, and nearly everyone waiting to order was wearing masks.  But, wherever you go, there’s always someone who isn’t.

Going to the frozen yoghurt shop shortly.  Just watching some of this all-British tennis event.  Goodness knows when we’ll get any normal tennis events.  Tokyo’s now off as well.  Cincy’s supposed to be going ahead, but, with all these travel restrictions in place, it’s hard to know what’ll happen.   Meanwhile, people are busily cancelling trips to Europe.

Someone was supposed to ring me about refunding my gym subs.  Still waiting.

 

Wednesday, July 29th

Interesting development today – Rafa and Nole are both on the list of confirmed entries for Cincy, and therefore presumably both intend to play in the US Open.  I think we all thought Rafa’d decided to give it a miss.  Presumably they’ll all be exempt from quarantine rules?  I hope this all works out OK.

I was the only person waiting to order in the park café today who was actually wearing a mask.  And, at the frozen yoghurt shop yesterday, I was wearing a mask and the guy told me that I didn’t need to wear one, because the rules only applied to big supermarkets!  WTF?  And then you start wondering why you’re even bothering, and then people don’t bother because no-one else is bothering …

Nice weather today.  Please, please be like this for my week in the Lakes!!

 

Thursday, July 30th

All that talk about things being back to normal doesn’t half look like pie in the sky now.  The latest is that people with symptoms are supposed to self-isolate for 10 days rather than 7 days.  None of this is enforceable, and this seems to be the problem in Australia: people aren’t sticking to the rules because they’re worried that they won’t got paid, or may even lose their jobs, if they stay off work.

Gloomy news is coming in from all over the world: cases seem to be on the increase everywhere.

Ash Barty’s said that she won’t be playing at the US Open.  Everyone else is being vague.

My new masks came today.  Two United masks and one Manchester bee mask!

And my holiday to Japan has officially been cancelled.  I’d long since accepted that it wasn’t going to happen, and really it was a relief to get the e-mail and know that I won’t have to chase them for the credit note, but it’s another blow … I booked it long before any of this happened, and was so looking forward to it.  Travelling is such a big thing for me, and it’s completely off the menu at the moment.

 

Later – WTF??  It’s just been announced that separate households have been banned from meeting indoors in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.  I don’t believe this.  There isn’t a problem in our area.  Why the hell are we being punished because there’s been an increase in cases in Oldham and Rochdale?  I am really, really pissed off about this.  So the whole area – Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Wigan, Tameside, Bury, et al – gets punished because there’s an increase in cases in Oldham and Rochdale?  I am fuming.  It better bloody well hadn’t get any worse.  TBH, I haven’t been doing a lot of meeting people indoors anyway, except Mum and Dad and I assume I can still see them indoors because we’re in a bubble, but WTF?  I know I should be saying that it’s my civic duty and I’ll do whatever it takes, but that it’s not how I feel.  It’s not our area.  Why have all 10 boroughs been lumped in together?

 

Friday, July 31st

Ugh.  This is a total nightmare.  It’s not just in people’s houses, it’s also indoors at cafes etc, and in private gardens.  If the rate of infections in our area was high, I’d get it, but it’s not.  It’s 16 per 100,000 people, which is far lower than in many other parts of the country.  In Bacup, Rawtenstall, etc, the rate’s falling.  But we’ve all been lumped in with Oldham and Rochdale, where the rate’s 3 1/2 times higher than it is here.  This is bloody ridiculous.  And it was announced, on social media, at around half 9 last night, to come into force at midnight.  What were people whose parents were meant to be looking after their kids whilst they were at work meant to do?

Support bubbles are excluded.  And you can still go on holiday as long as it’s not with members of another household.  I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t have my break in the Lakes.  Please, please don’t let anything else happen within the next 2 weeks.  But my sister & co will now probably not be visiting, because they can’t see any of us unless it’s in a park.  I haven’t seen them since February.  First the Spanish quarantine, and now this.  I feel like we’re jinxed.  I’m very upset.

Everyone, including TV channels and newspapers, is saying openly that this has been done because it’s Eid al Adha today.  Even politicians from both main parties – Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and a local Conservative MP – are saying openly that the issue is largely within the South Asian community.  This isn’t racism: it’s what the statistics show.  I’m bothered that there are going to be community tensions if this continues.  People are very upset.  However, it’s also an issue about young people, from all ethnic backgrounds – the kind interpretation is that young people are more likely to have returned to their workplaces, but there are a lot of concerns about young people socialising without observing social distancing.

Nationwide, bowling alleys, casinos and skating rinks will now not be able to open tomorrow as planned.  I can’t say that this bothers me, but it will bother a lot of people, especially the owners of those businesses.  And couples were supposed to be have up to 30 people at wedding receptions from tomorrow, but that’s now off, which is going to devastate those affected.  Also, face masks have to be worn in places of worship, museums, galleries etc … and, at the park café today, there were about 20 people in the queue and hardly any of them were wearing masks.

I accept the stuff about casinos etc, but I bloody object to my area, where the rate of infection is not high, being subject to additional restrictions because it’s high in other boroughs in the area.  People are not happy.

 

Saturday, August 1st

I’ve had a big rant here – big rant – about how angry I am that a) we’ve been lumped in with areas where the rate of infection is over 5 times higher (Blackburn) than it is here and b) people are blatantly breaking the rules.   Also, the tabloids have gone full on Armageddon.  We are going back into full lockdown, there will be riots, the Army will be called out, the end of the world is nigh, etc etc.  On top of this, the Spanish health authorities want the Madrid Open cancelled.

On a happier note, the Cup Final went ahead, even if it was rather odd having it in August, with no fans present, and without a proper trophy presentation by Prince William.  But at least we got a Cup Final.  Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea.  The county cricket season’s started, and the rugby league season resumes tomorrow.

Shielding ends today, except in Wales, Leicester, Bradford and Blackburn-with-Darwen.  All the people who moaned that shielding was imposed in the first place are now moaning that shielding’s ended.  I don’t mean people who actually are shielding, for whose concerns I have the deepest sympathy:  I mean people who just moan about everything to try to score political points.

It’s actually been quite a nice day, apart from the stress over what might happen next.  I had a lovely morning at Biddulph Grange.   There was quite a complicated one way system, because of the narrow paths and tunnels, but everyone stuck to it.  I should have been there four months ago, to see the daffodils.  Instead, I was there to see the woodland walk full of early blackberries!   Time marcheth on …

 

Sunday, August 2nd

I’ve just sent a stroppy e-mail to my MP.  I appreciate that he’s only been in Parliament since December and that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock probably don’t even know his name, but one of the Stockport MPs has spoken out, so why can’t ours?  Sandwell in the West Midlands has got an infection rate of 40 per 100,000.  Ours is 16 per 100,000.  Why have restrictions been imposed here but not there?  A load of sarcastic memes are doing the rounds.  They don’t help.  There are also a load of wild rumours in the media.  The whole of London is going to be locked down.  All over 50s are going to be banned from going out … which would include the Prime Minister, the Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and half the Cabinet, so would certainly be interesting!   This doesn’t help either.

It poured down early on, but then the sun came out and it turned into a really nice day.  I had a lovely time at Tatton Park.

 

But I’m on edge because I’m desperate for this break in the Lake District and am frightened now that something’ll happen to stop it.

 

Moving On Week 3 – July 20th to 26th 2020 inclusive

Monday, July 20th

Some quite hopeful news today – the tests on the vaccine being developed in Oxford have shown very encouraging results.  It’s early days, but fingers crossed.

However, even Beefeaters are being made redundant now.  More job losses are coming every day :-(.

The overall situation’s improving, but things in Blackburn are getting worse, which is worrying.  France and Spain are also seeing some worrying local clusters.

Dry day today, and it was nice in the park.

I went into the office today, and handled things badly by blanking the bosses.  I was hoping to get in and out whilst they weren’t there, but they both turned up before I’d sorted all my stuff out!   I know I handled it badly, but I’m just so fed up about the way we’ve been treated.

 

Tuesday, July 21st

We have now been working from home for 18 weeks.  In that time, we have not once had so much as a three word e-mail saying “Is everyone OK?”.  Other firms have been checking on people regularly, and organising on-line activities so that people feel supported.  OK, it’s less of an issue now that lockdown’s over and people can see their families and friends again, but the fact that they never even asked if we were OK during the full lockdown was appalling.  It’s been eating away at me, so I decided that I would say, politely, that I realised that it was a difficult time but that it was disappointing, and then try to move on.

I was not expecting a grovelling apology, and for a big bouquet of flowers to be delivered to every team member.  I was kind of hoping for something along the lines of OK, point taken.  Instead, the response I got was that that they had not once, in 18 weeks, bothered to ask how anyone was because it would be “intrusive”.  These are the people who rang someone whilst she was in hospital, to hassle her about an unimportant work issue.  What a pathetic … it’s not even an excuse so much as a lie.  I’m even more annoyed now!

The Washington tennis event’s been cancelled.  I can’t honestly see the US Open going ahead.  Things in New York aren’t too bad, but, with the overall situation in America, quarantine requirements for players returning home afterwards are just going to be make it impossible.

I am off to the frozen yoghurt shop!

 

Wednesday, July 22nd

Today, we got an e-mail from work saying that unused holidays couldn’t be carried forward until next year because it wasn’t their problem that everyone’s plans had been cancelled.

The Government has tried to protect people from this by saying that holidays can be carried forward if people can’t take them, but, unfortunately, there’s a loophole allowing employers to get out of this if people are working from home rather than being furloughed.

So people who’ve been furloughed have been getting 80% of their pay for doing nothing for 4 months, and can carry their holidays forward, whereas people who’ve been working from home have been working full time through it all, and, unless their employers treat them decent, can’t carry days forward for holidays which were cancelled.  It’s hard not to feel bitter about this.  I don’t for one second mean to have a go at people who cannot work because their workplaces are closed and they can’t work from home, but it’s difficult not to feel hard done by.

Meanwhile, there are clusters in some very unlikely places, such as Carlisle.

Last home match of the season tonight.  In July, and without being able to go in person!  Strange times.

 

Thursday, July 23rd

We had an e-mail from work today, saying, no, not that they’d like to thank us for our efforts throughout this difficult time and that they hope we and our loved ones are OK, but that, whilst they “appreciate your desire to be in the office” (I did wonder if this was meant sarcastically, but I think they’re just delusional), it appears that safety requirements won’t be met if more than so many people are there at once.  So we have each been allocated two days a week on which we may work at the office.  May, not must.  I’ve said that I’ll stay at home for now.  Hooray!!  The wording was so rude and patronising, about how they’re happy with the fact that we are actually doing some work whilst we’re at home, like we’re a bunch of naughty schoolkids who might just have been throwing paper aeroplanes around as soon as the teacher’s back was turned.  And still not even “Hope you are all keeping well”.

My sister and brother-in-law and the kids are at an apartment in Spain.  It is hot and sunny.  I am very jealous.  I suppose there’s nothing to stop me from going to Spain, but sitting by the pool is a bit crap on your own!

We only managed to draw with West Ham last night, so still need at least a point on Sunday.  So stressful!

 

Friday, July 24th

From today, it is compulsory in England to wear masks in shops, shopping centres and takeaway food places.  I’ve been to:

  1. Sainsburys Local – most people wearing masks, some not.
  2. The Swatch Shop (watch needed a new strap) – I was the only person in the actual shop, but most people in the Arndale were wearing masks … but there are staff on the doors there.
  3. The café in the park – hardly anyone was wearing a mask.

Today has been a nightmare.  At 10 o’clock this morning, the doorbell rang.  I thought it was the postman.  No – it was a man saying that he’d come to cut down a tree in next door’s garden, and please would I move my car.  How bloody rude of next door not even to mention it.  What would they have done if I’d been out but the car had been in?  It’s now nearly 5 o’clock and the tree brigade (there are 5 of them) are still here.  And, when I got back from my walk in the park, they’d not only dumped a load of soil and twigs all over my path but had dug up one of the flags!   I didn’t want a row but I was fuming.  Anyway, they’ve now finally got the tree root out and are clearing up, but it’s all been pretty stressful.

 

Saturday, July 25th

Oh no!!  I haven’t seen my sister and brother-in-law and the kids since February.  I was meant to be seeing them as soon as they got back from Spain.  But, because of the upsurge of cases in Catalunya (which is 650 bloody miles from where they are), quarantine restrictions on people returning from Spain are being brought back in as of tomorrow.  I don’t believe this.

I’m rather put out, to say the least.  It’s been so long already.

I should think that a lot of people who were considering booking a last minute summer holiday abroad are now rethinking.

Is there no end to this?  It’s already nearly August.  There’s talk of the Christmas markets being cancelled – it’d be a huge emotional and economic blow, but I can’t see how they can go ahead, given how crowded they get.  Some Christmas events have already been cancelled.  A lot of people have rebooked holidays, not to mention weddings, for next year, but it’s looking increasingly likely that this could go on for months yet.  And, daft as this may sound, wasp season starts in a couple of months, and all this al fresco dining will not be much fun then.

It had been a nice day until this happened.   The forecast was for rain, which had upset me, but the forecast was wrong.  A full day’s play at the Test match.  And I had a lovely time at Speke Hall.  Quite a few areas were cordoned off, but the main gardens and woodlands were open, and I had a takeaway cream tea at a picnic table by an apple tree 🙂 .  It was so nice.  It actually felt like summer!

Gyms and indoor pools can reopen from today.  I don’t even know whether my gym’s reopened or not: I might ring and ask.  We are not currently getting coronavirus death statistics, as the figures are apparently crap.  Seriously.  And coronavirus has now hit Coronation Street.

 

Sunday, July 26th

Well, I should have been coming back from Iceland today, after Wimbledon and Euro 2020, and ready for the Olympics.  Instead, I’m here, and it’s been the last day of the Premier League season … and we did it!   Not sure how, given how badly we played, but we’ve made the Champions League!  And we won’t even qualify: we finished 3rd.

Whew!  That is a big boost, after the first the news about Spain (which has left a lot of people in a mess, and is the headlines of the news) and then the news, today, that my gym won’t be reopening until January.  This is bloody ridiculous. Gyms can open now.  OK, it’s quite a small gym, but it’s never that busy, so I can’t see the problem.  It’d just take a bit of effort – but they evidently don’t want to make that.  There was some muttering about refurbishment.  They’ll probably try to whack the price up.  I’ve asked for my money back (it’s an annual subscription) and someone’s supposed to be contacting me.

I don’t know what to do now.  A lot of people’ll go to other gyms, but this one’s just so convenient.  I’m getting exercise for now, because, as long as I’m not trapped in an office, I can go for a long walk every day, but this won’t go on for ever.  Another problem!!

Some rain today, but dry spells too.  I went to Wycoller Country Park – where the now-ruined Hall’s supposed to have been the inspiration for Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre – this morning, just for somewhere different to go, and then to the park before the match.  The toilets at Wycoller are locked, “due to coronavirus” (i.e. the council, who’ve already tried to close them down once, can’t be bothered cleaning them), but the cafe’s open for takeaways 🙂 .

Our council’s said that they’re planning for this to go on until next summer.  There seems to be no end to it.  But at least we’ve got that Champions League spot!

 

The Summer of Staycations – holidaying in the age of Covid-19

  The lovely coach tours of  Iceland and Japan which I booked last year and had been so looking forward to were cancelled due to the evil virus, and I didn’t fancy a week in a beach resort on my own, panicking in case wherever I was got added to the naughty list and I had to self-isolate for a fortnight … so, like many people, I went for a staycation, and had 9 days in the Lake District.  It’s somewhere very special to me, and, given how little annual leave we get, I normally only go there for day trips or weekends, or a Bank Holiday weekend at most; so it was really rather lovely to get this additional time there, and to visit some areas which I don’t normally get chance to see.  OK, there were some wet times, but there were plenty of dry times, and even some glorious sunshine.  So, what was it like being on holiday in the age of Covid-19?   Did I feel safe in the hotel and in busy tourist places?   How different  was it being in a rural area, where many shops are very small and can only let a few people in at a time, to being in a big city?  And what was it like having to plan everything like a military operation, because you now have to pre-book most things: you can’t just turn up!   Well, it was lovely, but it wasn’t quite like going on holiday in normal times!

It was good to see “no vacancies” signs on nearly all the hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, rooms, cottage let sites, campsites, etc.  The Lake District and other tourist areas have suffered terribly this year, first with the bad weather in February and early March and then with lockdown.  And it could be some time before overseas visitors come back: there are usually a lot of Japanese and American tourists in the Lakes, and a lot of money was spent last year on promoting the area in China, which, sadly, was money down the drain, not that anyone was to know that at the time.  So, hopefully, the staycation boom we’re seeing this year can give the “Lakeland” economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

However, there are issues with that.  The roads in the Lake District were not built for heavy traffic, there’s a limited amount of parking available, and it can be difficult to stay 3 foot, never mind 6 foot, away from other people on narrow pavements.  There’s also, obviously, concern from residents about large numbers of people coming in at this time, and we’ve also seen a worrying increase in littering in the last few months.  I have to say, though, that I didn’t really experience any problems.  Nowhere was so crowded that I felt that there was anything to worry about, and the issues with parking and traffic were no worse than they usually are on sunny summer days.  However, there isn’t anywhere in the Lakes where people really tend to congregate, because you tend to walk around.  The problems seem to be happening more in beach areas in Devon and Cornwall, where people stay in the same places.

What there were were some issues (what’s another word for “issues”?!)  with limits on the numbers of people allowed into shops and cafes/restaurants.  A few places weren’t open at all.  Most eating places were open, but, with tables having been moved further apart, and not everywhere having the room for outdoor seating, there were queues and waits in some places.  However, nearly everywhere was operating a take-away service, and that was great.  Well, as long as the weather behaved (and there were no wasps around)!   I’ve never eaten and drunk outdoors as much in my life as I’ve done in the last 5 months: it’s like being in an Enid Blyton, Elinor M Brent-Dyer or Lorna Hill book!   It’s lovely.

Except if it’s raining!  Oh, and except for the dogs.  The one big killer about staycations is that so many people have dogs with them.  But, mostly, it’s lovely.  I did eat indoors at the hotel, though: there were outdoor tables, but they weren’t really in use for evening meals.  And the tables in the restaurant had been moved well apart, with some people being asked to sit in the bar or lounge, and the hotel having to turn away people who weren’t staying there.  The hotel restaurant was also providing disposable condiments, so you got little sachets of salt, pepper, vinegar, tomato ketchup, etc, and cutlery rolled in serviettes with “sanitised” stickers on them.  And, at breakfast, you got those little plastic things of jam and marmalade – and there was no breakfast buffet, as buffets are currently no-go.

What else was different at the hotel?  I think that the original idea was for rooms only to be made up if people asked, but people must have got fed up of that, so the rooms were made up daily, as usual, unless you specifically asked for them not to be.  There was hand sanitiser everywhere, in the hotel and in shops and elsewhere.  And the staff were wearing masks in the restaurant, although I have to say that no-one was sticking to the rules about wearing masks in the hotel reception area … but it’s only a small hotel, so it’s not as if there’s a lounge/lobby area where people hang around.  And, at the hotel and in some other places, they were saying that they’d not got as many staff on as usual, so there might be waits … now, was that because of the virus, or was it an excuse?!

People did better with wearing masks in shops, though.  And whilst ordering in cafes, which I have to say is something which people aren’t sticking to at home.  The shop situation is quite different in the Lakes to that at home: here, the shops in the city centre are generally big, and the small shops in the suburbs are generally quiet.  In the Lake District, there are a lot of small shops and, with so many tourists around, there were some queues.  The Co-ops had a “traffic light” system – when the maximum number of people allowed were in the shop, the light went red and the automatic doors closed!

I do wonder how it’s all affecting business.  How long are you going to wait in a queue to buy a postcard or a souvenir fridge magnet, or something else which you’d like but don’t actually need?  One small bookshop was only allowing one person in at a time.  10 minutes’ browsing time max, but, if there are 3 people in front of you, that means you’ll have to wait half an hour to go in.  However much you might want to support local businesses, are you going to wait half an hour, if you’ve got somewhere else to be, or a bored child (or partner, or friend!) tugging at your arm, and you can open the Amazon app on your phone and order a book in a matter of seconds?  I worry about the effect that this is having on small shops, and I don’t know what the answer is.

Oh, and so many places were asking for card payments only!  It doesn’t bother me, but I hardly use cash at all these days, except for some car parking machines which won’t take cards.

The pre-booking was a hassle, though.  I’ve got mixed feelings about this: I understand that some places can get quite crowded, but I think it’s all a bit OTT.  There are enormous estates – not particularly in the Lakes, but in other areas – where large numbers of people can walk around without getting too close to anyone else.  And it is a problem.  Some places let you book well in advance, but you don’t always know that far in advance where you’ll be up to.  Others only let you book a few days in advance, which is even worse, because what if you’ve made plans but then can’t get a slot?  If you’re away for more than a week then, unless you travel with a laptop, you have to try to book on a small mobile phone screen, which isn’t easy.  And some places are very inconsistent about when they make the next week’s tickets available and, if you’re out or working, you can’t be checking the website every five minutes.  Then there’s the Great British Weather.  You book your tickets for outdoor seats on a boat trip or a walk round some nice gardens … and then, on the day, the rain is coming down in torrents!

And it’s the timing.  With the National Trust, you only get a 30 minute slot.  You can’t even go into the car park before that, or go in at all after it.  If you’re travelling some distance, it’s very hard to be within 30 minutes: traffic conditions can vary a lot from one day to another.  And, if you want to go somewhere beforehand, it’s a nightmare: how can you know exactly how long you’ll want to be at the first place, or how long you might have to queue for the tea rooms or the toilets, and that’s before you even start with the traffic.  So, yep, I see the problem, but it is undoubtedly a pain.  And I just want to have a moan at Ullswater Steamers, who refuse to sell single tickets.  Windermere Lake Cruises, the Coniston Launch and the Keswick Launch are quite happy to sell single tickets – which I appreciate in particular from lovely Windermere Lake Cruises, of whom I’m a regular customer, because they’re allocating seats so it is an issue if they’ve got to leave one empty because a customer is on their own.  I hope this isn’t going to be an issue with theatres and cinemas get going again.  I’ve already seen someone getting upset online because they’d been told that they couldn’t book a single ticket for a scenic railway … again, Windermere were great about this, and let me book a single ticket for the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

I suppose the pre-booking avoids having to queue for the ticket office, and rush to be near the front of the queue when the steamers are ready for boarding.  But it is generally a bit of a pain!   But, hey, at least things are open and up and running again!  I booked a Windermere Lake Cruise as soon as they started running again, in July, and I did three more (yes, three!) during my staycation, including the cruise which is combined with the steam railway trip. I spent some time in lovely, familiar Bowness, and Waterhead, and also at Ambleside which I don’t usually have time to walk round properly.  And I stayed in Grasmere and went to Coniston, Hawkshead and Near Sawrey, which I usually do in daffodil time, late March/early April.  I usually do the walk from Wray Castle to Claife Heights in May, when the bluebells are out: this year, I did it in August.  And I walked all the way back, seeing as the small boats which usually take you back to Bowness weren’t running because of the virus!  And I also went to Keswick, Bassenthwaite (where a bride and groom were having their photos taken), Borrowdale, Muncaster Castle, Holker Hall and Pooley Bridge, and, hey, I walked from Grasmere to Rydal.  And, as usual, stopped off at SIzergh Castle on the way home.  So it was a busy 9 days.  But it was lovely.

I miss going abroad, though.  I’m hoping desperately that I’ll be able to do my Iceland and Japan trips next year: I’ve rebooked them.  But, in this strange year, I had a lovely staycation, and I’ll never forget those 9 days in my beloved Lake District.  I’ve often regretted the fact that I don’t get chance to spend more time there.  This summer, I did.

 

Moving on Week 2 – July 13th to 19th 2020 inclusive

Monday, July 13th

Been much more productive today.  Must be the power of Windermere!  Rather wet and miserable out: the park was quiet.

Amongst other things, I watched a webinar about the updates to the furlough scheme.  What the hell are the idiots at HMRC playing at?  Capturing your orphan periods and establishing your high water mark.  WTF?  And the formulae are worse than the jargon.  It’s not even as if people can rely on software to help them out, because all this is so new that there is no software for it.   This is ridiculous.  The scheme’s supposed to protect jobs, not confuse and stress people.   And as for the crap being spouted by some people who are only interested in political points-scoring (this was on social media, not the webinar) – example, no-one should have to go back to work because it might lead to exploitation, businesses should be able to cope with being shut down, and it’s the government’s fault if they can’t.  I don’t know what planet some people are on!!

United v Southampton tonight.

 

Tuesday, July 14th

Oh dear: there’s now talk of imposing restrictions in Blackburn, only about 20 miles away.  Thankfully, the authorities have finally accepted that they need to acknowledge that the issues are mainly within particular communities, which everyone has been saying for months, and have spoken out about it, and got the Lancashire Council of Mosques involved to try to improve the situation.  I understand that no-one wants to risk looking like they’re stoking racial tensions, but controlling the virus has to be the main concern here.

Wearing masks in shops is to be compulsory from July 24th.  I wore one to Tesco this morning, and I don’t know why I bothered!  Hardly anyone else was wearing one.  And shop staff are going to be exempt.  I quite understand that no-one can wear a mask for hours on end, but what’s the point in customers wearing them if there are loads of staff on the shop floor who aren’t?   And there’s a lot of moaning going on, and fears that people will pretend to be asthmatic to get out of wearing them.  Heigh-ho!

And the tables at the farm centre café in the park have all been removed, because the stupid council said that the café hadn’t asked for permission.  Oh FFS.  We’re trying to rebuild the hospitality sector – the economy shrank by 19% in the last 3 months – and all the stupid council can do is put obstacles in people’s way!   I understand that they can’t have cafes on high streets putting tables out on the pavement, but these weren’t in anyone’s way.  Gah!

Also went to the office, and going to the frozen yoghurt shop now.  And we’ll draw a veil over last night’s disastrous injury time equaliser!

 

Wednesday, July 15th

Rain on St Swithin’s Day.  That just about sums up 2020!!  I keep forgetting that it’s the middle of July, because it feels more like November.

The update Sage put on for the new hospitality sector VAT rate has upset the office computers!

I need to stop buying drinks in the park.  It’s a waste of money – once a week is fine, but not every day.

Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to have decided that now is a good time to renew the conflict from the 1980s.  No, it really isn’t.

And I’ve ordered two new masks, one with a United crest on it and one with a Manchester bee on it!

 

Thursday, July 16th

Erk.  There was a power cut.  The power was back on in about 3/4 hour, but I’d decided to go for my walk in the park to try to calm my nerves down, checked the website, saw it was on again, and panicked all the way home about whether or not everything would be working OK.  Fortunately, it all seems to be all right.

Having issues with both binge-eating and anxiety at the moment.  I need a break … I wish I was going to the Lakes sooner, but I had to make a decision to book the hotel, and, at the time, I just didn’t know where we’d be up to.

There is now a row going on over Russia allegedly stealing other countries’ coronavirus research info. FFS, can’t all countries co-operate on this?  It’s a pandemic, not a James Bond film!

A memorial service for coronavirus victims  took place at Manchester Cathedral today.

 

Friday, July 17th

Boris wants people to go back to working at offices, despite the fact that the Chief Medical Officer’s said otherwise.  I assume he’s thinking that it’ll help places like Pret A Manger, which rely on office staff, but … well, there’s no way I’m going back to the office before I’ve been to the Lake District.  I do not EVER want to go back to that office … I just want to put it off as long as possible!

Rain is forecast for tomorrow, when I’m going to Chirk, and sun for Sunday, when I’m not.  Typical!   This is the problem with having to book in advance.  And, of course, it has to rain just as England are in a good position at the Old Trafford Test match!

I went to the dentist this morning.  What a palaver!  You have to put your bag in a plastic box, and then a nurse carries the box for you, in case you contaminate it!   All of which was rather pointless, as I had to get my bag out of the box so that a) I could get my purse to pay and b) I could get my diary to make my next appointment!

Today was the last day at primary school for my elder nephew and my little cousin.  Strange circumstances in which to be changing schools.

Captain Tom Moore was knighted by the Queen at Windsor today.  Such lovely, lovely photos of them – he aged 100, she aged 94, both such inspirations to all of us.  And, also at Windsor, Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.  I hope it was a lovely day for them, after all the hassle they’ve had with this wedding, and it’s so lovely that the Queen and Prince Philip were able to be there.

 

Saturday, July 18th

Today, I actually left England for the first time since February!   Considering that Chirk Castle in North Wales, one of my favourite National Trust sites, is so near that my car radio still picks up the Manchester stations there, it’s been rather strange not being able to go there earlier!   In some ways this was full circle … I  love the daffodils at Chirk, and I was all set to go there on Sunday, March 22nd, having rung up on Friday 20th to ask that they were open, and checked the website in the afternoon of Saturday 21st to confirm that they were open, only for them to change it (good job I checked) at about 8pm, to say that they were closing for the duration.  Four months later, I finally got there.  Much too late for the daffodils, sadly, but it was good to be back!

It rained nearly all the way there.  That’s the trouble with this pre-booking thing!  However, it dried up at around half 9, and stayed dry till 12, so that wasn’t too bad.

Later, I went to Sports Direct, because I needed some new trainers.  They were hardly letting anyone in at once, so a lot of annoyed people were waiting outside in the rain.  I know they don’t want shops to be crowded, but it’s a big shop and then could have got at least five times as many people in there without anyone getting within 6 feet of anyone else.   I nearly walked off, I really did need some new trainers.  I got them eventually, but it’s no wonder people aren’t going shopping, when you’re made to stand out in the rain for the best part of half an hour before going in.  To be fair, it’s only a few places which’ve got long queues, but still.

And it’s emerged that the death statistics for England have been messed up.  FFS!  They’re including the deaths of anyone who’s ever tested positive for the virus!  So someone could have had it in March, fully recovered by early April, and died of a heart attack in July, and their death is being put down as “died with coronavirus”.  I don’t believe this.  It certainly explains why the figures are so high, and not coming down like those in France, Spain, Italy etc are, but the level of incompetence beggars belief.

Local councils are to be given the power to introduce local restrictions.  There’s now an issue in Rochdale, which is only about 10 miles away and is a neighbouring borough.   97 of 114 new cases in Blackburn are in the South Asian community, and it’s the same situation in Rochdale, Pendle and Bradford.  At least the issue’s now being acknowledged by the authorities.  I know it’s very awkward to single out one community, but resources need to be directed to where the problem is, to help those most at risk.

Due to be sunny tomorrow.  Hooray!  And grass roots football can start again.

 

Sunday, July 19th

We lost the Cup semi-final 😦 .   Chelsea beat us 3-0.  It was just a disaster from start to finish.  I’m so disappointed.  We may still finish in the top 4, but to have won the Cup would have meant so, so much.  I don’t know what happened today: it was just awful.

And I should be in Iceland now.

But I’m not.

I am jealous of people who are jetting off on holiday.  No coach tours at the moment.  I could go on my own, but, whilst I’ve been on several city breaks on my own, it’s just not really the time for it – the castles, cathedrals etc which I’d normally spend my time seeing aren’t open as normal.

I’ve had a nice day, though.  Well, until the Cup disaster.  It’s been warm and sunny, and I went to Beeston Castle, and then to the ice cream farm in Great Budworth, and then to the park.  The A49 was busy – mainly due to horse boxes, caravans and cyclists holding everyone else up – but it was quiet on the other roads.  I like driving round country roads when it’s quiet!   Then, later, I went to the park.

Back on the virus front, it is unbelievable how selfish some people are. Over 250 people attended a funeral at a mosque in Blackburn, which has one of the highest rates of infection in the country. The legal limit for religious ceremonies is currently 30 – even the Queen’s granddaughter has to stick to that, so why can’t everyone else?  And over 3,000 people attended an illegal music festival near Bath. The noise was so loud that people over 20 miles away complained, but the police said that they couldn’t do anything about it.  WTF?  I hate to sound ranty and authoritarian, but these are not normal times.  Use bloody tear gas if necessary.   The vast majority of people are more or less sticking to the rules, but it only takes a few to set off a cluster of cases in one area, and then everyone suffers.  It’s very frustrating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving On Week 1 – July 6th to 12th 2020 inclusive

Monday, July 6th

What a difference it makes when the sun’s out!  It was lovely in the park when I went for my walk.  The cafes were busy, and people were sitting at the tables.  And the boats on the lake are running again.  Please, weather, stay nice!  The economy needs it.  And it makes people feel better.

Dad managed to knock his hearing aid out whilst putting his mask on before going into the bank!  Fortunately, some kind passers-by stopped to help him look for it, and one of them found it.  People with glasses are having trouble with mask loops as well.

Financial assistance for the arts sector’s been announced, but who knows when theatres will be able to reopen?  And now Pret A Manger’s announced branch closures and job cuts.  And the virus news from America, India, Serbia and Israel’s grim.  When will this ever end?!

 

Tuesday, July 7th

Today has not been a good day.

  1. It has rained all day.  Next week will probably be glorious, because it’s the week I’m not going away (having decided to wait until August, when it’s bound to rain!).
  2. The café I went to on Sunday’s sent me a thank you message, which is lovely, but does suggest that they got very few customers.  There are so many eating places and so many hotels in town – how can they all survive under these circumstances?  And a few pubs which only reopened on Saturday have already had to close after customers tested positive for the bloody virus.
  3. I couldn’t get going today – went to Tesco, M&S and Iceland, and to the park, and going to the frozen yoghurt shop soon (in the rain), but have eaten way too much and done very little work!
  4. Can’t make any progress with the holiday company as the person I’ve been dealing with – who is very nice – is off until Thursday.
  5. A very nice local restaurant is now doing deliveries.  So I thought I’d try it.  But they won’t take orders under £30.  That’s the cost of two average main courses.  So a person living on their own is effectively excluded, unless they’re exceptionally greedy.
  6.  Millions of people in Melbourne have been put back into lockdown for 6 weeks.  6 weeks!!
  7.  Rafa’s said he’ll play Madrid, which strongly suggests that he doesn’t plan to play the US Open.  Given both the coronavirus situation and the problems of switching from hard courts to clay courts so quickly, it’s quite understandable, but … bleurgh.

Maybe tomorrow will be better!!

 

Wednesday, July 8th

Today should have been men’s QF day.  And it’s the 30th anniversary of the glorious 1990 final.

It’s actually been dry today, hooray!!  Although it’s rained down south instead, delaying the start of play in the Test match at Southampton.

And the boats and cafes in the park were quite busy, hopefully bringing in money.  The Chancellor’s announced cuts in VAT for accommodation, attractions and eating out, and even a 50% discount for eating out during August, but, unfortunately, I don’t know what can be done about the fact that people are nervous of going out.  And, whilst I get the whole test and trace thing, I think it could damage the economy more than the virus has done.  I got an e-mail from the big garden centre today, informing me that, should I go there, my details will be taken from my loyalty card for test and trace!  If you’re sat next to someone in a café, fair enough, but the garden centre’s enormous: the chances that two people who were in there at the same time were anywhere near each other are remote.  At this rate, people won’t want to risk going anywhere.

 

Thursday, July 9th

Grey and miserable today, but at least it stayed dry.  I actually went to the park without my umbrella!

Watched some of the cricket, and also some of the tennis from Kitzbuhel.

Tesco have scrapped the one-way system, which seems very odd.

Gyms are going to be allowed to reopen from the end of July … although I’m not sure if I’ll be going back, even if mine reopens, because of test and trace.

I feel totally detached from work.  I am doing some work at home, but we get no contact from the office, other than the odd bit of nastiness.  I am past caring!

And the holiday company say they can’t do direct flights because they no longer deal with Jet2.com and EasyJet only go on certain days, and, on the days that work with Easyjet, they can’t book anything because the tours aren’t guaranteed to go!

 

Friday, July 10th

TGI Friday!   I am obviously not comparing myself to someone who works in healthcare, or to people doing other essential jobs, but I am struggling with the fact that I’ve been chained to the office laptop throughout this, with absolutely no support from the office.  And, whilst I appreciate that people can’t help the fact that their workplaces have been closed, some people have been off work on 80% pay for nearly 4 months, whilst many of us haven’t had any sort of break.  The lack of a break really is getting me down.  I should have been going to Iceland next week.  And, of course, the weather will be glorious next week, because it’s the week I decided not to go to the Lakes because it seemed too soon.

Moan over!

It has been dry for most of today, hooray … although the park is very muddy.

But I really do need a break …

 

Saturday, July 11th

Hooray, I have been to Windermere!   First time in four months.  I have missed it so much.   There should, of course, have been clear blue sky.  Instead, there was a lot of grey cloud, and a breeze which messed my hair up, but, hey, at least it didn’t rain!

I did my “socially distanced” steamer cruise, complete with mask.  It’s a pain that you can’t get off at Ambleside and then get a later boat back to Bowness, but it was just great to be back out on the water at all.

It was pretty busy.  I dread to think what the traffic and parking situation’ll be like by the time I go in August, but I’m glad for all the businesses there, which have been so badly hit.  I was amazed by how busy all the cafes and bars were … and they’re quite busy here, too.  I stuck to takeaways … not because I think there’s much chance of getting the virus in a café, but because of bloody track and trace.   Having said which, I wouldn’t usually sit inside on a dry day in Bowness anyway.  But everywhere was doing takeaways, and trying really hard to be careful – there were perspex screens up, a lot of places were only taking payment by card, everywhere had sanitiser at the doors, and there were one way systems in some places.

The public toilets didn’t open until 10am. FFS!  It’s July!  People are out and about well before 10 o’clock.

It was a lovely day.  I’ve missed it so much, and I feel so much better for being there.  Then I called at Sizergh Castle (pre-booked!) on the way home.

I kind of wish I was going now, rather than in 5 weeks’ time, but I had to make a decision and, at the time, I didn’t know when the hotels or the boats would be reopening.  And maybe castles will have reopened by mid-August?

I was feeling great until I got home and there was a depressing article in the paper about how rates are rising in our region, the rate’ll probably rise everywhere once summer’s over, and we’ll probably all be put back into lockdown.  Why do newspapers print articles like that?!  I’m trying to forget that I read it!

And this is the first day since lockdown started that I haven’t been to the park.  I didn’t get home till half 5, and, although part of me OCD-ishly wanted to go, it was too late, and I’d done plenty of walking already.  So glad to have been back to Windermere <3.

 

Sunday, July 12th

Of course, today, when I was supposed to be catching up on boring stuff, was warm and sunny!   So I went to Hollingworth Lake this morning, and the park this afternoon … and tried not to get upset over the fact that it should have been Wimbledon final day.

Hollingworth Lake was fine, but a group of 4 rude people in the park refused to get into single file so that I and other people could get past safely, which was annoying, and the kids’ playground was absolutely heaving.  Dozens of kids were absolutely crammed into the small square where you wait to go down the slide.  I don’t wish to be a killjoy, but it’s not on.   Michael Gove’s said that he trusts people’s courtesy and common sense.  Unfortunately, some people haven’t got any of either!!

What a strange year this has been.   I had some strawberries and cream in honour of the day, but … no Wimbledon, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with the US Open.  Apart from anything else, any non-American player who goes is going to have to self-isolate for a fortnight when they get back, ruling them out of the French Open warm-up events.  And, whilst New York isn’t too bad now, America had 66,000 new cases yesterday alone.

Strange times.  Strange times!!