Monday, October 26th
Feeling rather glum today. Now that the clocks have gone back, it’s going dark by the time I’ve finished work. It’s also getting colder, and I can guarantee that the office will not pay a penny towards our heating bills. And it’s rained for much of the day. Warrington is moving into Tier 3 earlier than originally announced, and Nottingham and some areas close to it are also moving into Tier 3. There are threats of even tighter restrictions. It’s no better in France, Spain, Belgium etc, which are weeks ahead of us – in fact, it’s getting worse. Everyone is so fed up.
Meanwhile, the row over what does and doesn’t count as “essential” during the Welsh lockdown is getting increasingly silly. One man went shopping in nothing but his pants, as a protest over clothes being classed as non-essential. And one woman was told that she wasn’t allowed to buy sanitary products!
I’m trying to be cheerful, but it really is difficult. Things just seem to be getting worse and worse.
Tuesday, October 27th
367 deaths today, the highest daily figure since June. OK, Tuesday’s always the worst day because of the catch-up from the weekend, but even so. And infection rates keep rising. The Manchester Evening News published a list of hotspots by ward, rather than by borough, and there was just no pattern or logic to it. It all just seems to be random.
Protests in Milan and Turin last night turned violent, as Ultras infiltrated what were meant to be peaceful protests over restrictions.
Andy Burnham’s launched a “one GM fund” to try to help local businesses. Gary Neville appears to be very involved with it. And over 50 Northern Tory MPs have asked the government for answers on how we move forward. They haven’t got any.
Wednesday, October 28th
Germany is going into “lockdown lite”. Sounds as if France could be going into lockdown heavy.
The whole of Nottinghamshire is now going into Tier 3 on Friday. Why didn’t they just say that to start with? Why say it would be some areas but not others, and then change their minds five minutes later? Shops there won’t be allowed to sell alcohol after 9pm. Er, why is this a rule in Nottinghamshire but nowhere else?! And all parts of Staffordshire still in Tier 1 will be going into Tier 2. Meanwhile, social clubs in some Tier 3 areas have been told that it’s OK for them to sell alcohol without substantial meals, because the ban’s only for pubs. Does anyone understand any of this?!
Bristol has created its own personal tier! “Tier 1 Plus”. Hey, let’s all create our own tiers.
An increasing number of matches are being called off due to virus outbreaks. Football clubs are being allowed to postpone matches, but rugby league clubs are being made to forfeit them, which seems rather mean.
Marcus Rashford’s meal vouchers petition has now got over 1 million signatures.
Everyone is fed up.
But, on a happier note, we beat Leipzig 5-0 tonight!! And Marcus Rashford scored a hat trick. The club are calling for fans, albeit a reduced number of fans, to be allowed back into stadia, but I can’t see it happening ATM … but at least we’ve made a great start to the Champions League.
Thursday, October 29th
It has rained ALL day. OK, that’s not the virus’s fault, but it hasn’t exactly made anyone feel any better.
West Yorkshire’s being pushed into Tier 3 from Monday, and it looks as if the West Midlands may follow. Infection rates sadly remain highest here in the North West, but are now rising fastest in the Midlands and parts of the South.
Various areas are moving into Tier 2 – Telford and the Wrekin, the city of Oxford, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, parts of Derbyshire, and Luton
The social club alcohol loophole’s been closed.
The G-Mex Nightingale Hospital’s now taking (non-virus) patients.
The new Scottish tiers have been announced. Nowhere’s going into Tier 4 yet, but the Tier 3 rules are worse than they are here.
Bobby Ball’s died after testing positive for the virus. Very sad news. Such a lovely man.
In the middle of all this, the EHRC’s found the Labour Party guilty of anti-Semitic harassment and discrimination, and’s also found that there was political interference in complaints on the issue. It’s absolutely the right verdict. The likes of Harold Wilson and John Smith must be turning in their graves, and it really shames everyone that a mainstream British political party should have come to this. The current leadership accepted the verdict and agreed to work to try to change things, but that vile anti-Semite Corbyn reacted by insisting that there wasn’t a big problem and that it was all a plot by his political opponents and the media. Keir Starmer, quite rightly, has suspended him from the Labour Party. So that’s giving the media something to talk about other than the virus and Donald Trump.
Friday, October 30th
Nobby Stiles died today. Nothing to do with the virus, and he’d been ill for a while, but it’s very sad news.
I am miserable because I put on a load of weight on holiday and now weigh even more than I did before lockdown.
The number of cases in the North East seems to have stabilised. Sadly, it’s still rising here, and elsewhere. We’re being given no sort of info on where people are getting it. OK, a lot of people may genuinely have no idea, but surely it must be possible to trace some sort of links/patterns within particular areas?
Traffic jams of over 430 miles have formed as people leave Paris … er, to spend lockdown elsewhere. Where?!! Has everyone in Paris got a holiday pad on the Riviera or something?! And Belgium is going into lockdown. No haircuts until mid-December.
People in Notts are being banned from going out for tea and scones/cake . “Substantial meals” only. FFS.
There is a growing feeling here that a national lockdown is inevitable. Not because anyone thinks it’s a good idea, just because no-one’s got any other ideas. It’ll be interesting to see if the Welsh and Northern Irish “firebreaks” have done any good. Wales is giving up on local lockdowns, but the powers that be here insist that the tier system is the way to go. Not that we see much of them. Boris is practically invisible, and Priti Patel even more so. Even Rishi Sunak seems to have disappeared. Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock, Robert Jenrick and George Eustice all pop up from time to time, but where is Boris? I’m not keen on Nicola Sturgeon, but at least she’s visible.
A Swiss study claims that a new strain of the virus appeared in Spain over the summer and then spread across Europe. And a South African study claims that infections are dropping there because they’re approaching herd immunity. Who knows?
Saturday, October 31st
We’re going into lockdown. On Thursday. For a MONTH. Damn, that means I miss the Dunham lights, unless I can rebook. My hairdresser rang to ask if I could go on Monday, which is way too early but it’s needs must. Yes, I know that my hair and the Dunham lights are not the main issues here, but my brain’s a bit addled.
Schools, colleges, universities and nurseries will remain open. So will workplaces if people can’t work from home. So it’s kind of “lockdown lite”, like in Germany. Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants have to close apart from deliveries and take-aways. So will “non-essential retail outlets”, and entertainment places. We haven’t got all the details yet, but gyms and hairdressers will have to close. So will golf clubs (poor Dad!), although it’s not clear about other amateur sporting activities? What National Trust places? And can we go out by car for a walk? That sounds really stupid, but I mean are we allowed to drive a few miles to somewhere other than our local park? And presumably garden centres can stay open?
The furlough scheme will now continue for another month, which is something. However, could someone please tell me why a 67% of wages “support” scheme is apparently considered adequate for the North West and Yorkshire, but, when the South goes into lockdown as well, it’s decided that it should be 80%?
This has all been decided because the latest lot of statistics suggest that the virus is spreading more quickly than expected, and the NHS is in danger of running out of capacity. It’s not a surprise, but it’s all happened so quickly. It was all over the papers, the TV, the radio and the internet this morning, and it seems that the plans were leaked. I’ve often wondered if all these “leaks” aren’t deliberate, to give people time to get used to the latest restrictions before they’re announced officially, but this certainly wasn’t – they wouldn’t have planned to announce it on a Saturday. And they clearly weren’t ready: we were initially told that the press conference would be at 4, then at 5, then at half 6, and it ended up being at 1/4 to 7. This is ridiculous – surely the secret services should be able to find out where these leaks are coming from?
Bleurgh. Is there no end to this bloody nightmare? And, when this month of lockdown’s over, it’s back to the bloody tier system. I’ve had an e-mail to say that my booking for Blackpool Illuminations has been cancelled, but I’d like to rebook if we’ll be able to go in December, but, if we’re still in bloody Tier 3, it’ll be against “guidance”. Carlisle’s going into Tier 2, not that that’s very relevant for now. But West Yorkshire is now not going into Tier 3. Just to confuse everyone a bit more.
Went to Dunham Massey – the only NT place actually within “Greater Manchester” – this morning.
In March, people got really into walking, cycling, jogging, and online PE lessons with Joe Wicks. This time, everyone’s, like, bleurgh, pass the vodka/gin/wine and the chocolates/biscuits.
So here we are. Lockdown II.
In other news, a) Sean Connery has died and b) England have won the Six Nations (nearly 8 months late).
Sunday, November 1st
How many domestic problems have I had during this pandemic? The toilet flush broke. The toilet seat broke. The oven broke. Then there was the nightmare lightning strike. Last night, I noticed a wet patch on the kitchen ceiling. I barely slept all night. Got the plumber out this morning, and he reckoned it was the toilet again. How can a toilet cause so much trouble?! He replaced a valve. But the wet patch has kept getting bigger – I understand that the water already there had to come through, but it’s panicking me, even though I’m hoping it’s pretty much stopped now. And the kitchen ceiling looks a mess.
I did not need this, on top of Lockdown II. Several friends have said that their mental health is suffering now.
After that, I went into town, to get a new watch battery, do some of the “Windows of Creativity” trail (including this one, showing Emmeline Pankhurst, whom I sure would never have been fazed by a leaking toilet), and go to The Vienna Coffee House before it has to close again. It was hard not to feel sad. We should be getting ready for the Christmas markets to open. And, of course, we should have the Remembrance Sunday parades a week today. Instead … well, who knows how many businesses may never reopen?
Then it rained nearly all afternoon. And United lost to Arsenal. What a terrible start to the league season.
And Bobby Charlton’s been diagnosed with dementia, which I’m very sad about.
Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have both made it clear how narked everyone in the North is over the furlough scheme issue. They’ve also called for schools to close. There’s quite a debate going on about schools. I can see both sides of it: it’s hard to know what to think. And Michael Gove’s said that the lockdown may go on for more than a month. He had to say that, when asked, because he couldn’t commit to its only being a month when no-one knows how things’ll go.
On a happier note, the rate of increase locally has slowed significantly.
So endeth a rather crap week. Next week, Lockdown II.