Monday, February 15th
Hooray, Rafa beat Fabio, and in straight sets 🙂 . A very tough looking QF against Stef Tsitsipas now awaits.
Depending on what you read, eating places will be reopening in March/May/not until August, hotels will be reopening in time for Easter weekend/in time for Whit Bank Holiday weekend/not until August, and all schoolkids/some schoolkids will be going back to school on March 8th. Very little is being said about these bloody travel restrictions.
The quarantine hotel system began today. People using it have to fly into either London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Farnborough or Birmingham. Yes, you did see “London” three times in the list of five. No, you did not see any mention of Manchester, the biggest international travel hub in the country after Heathrow, nor, indeed, of anywhere else in the entire North of England. And how many international flights go into Farnborough?! FFS.
The issue of people from certain ethnic minorities not taking up the offer of the vaccine is getting really problematic. Leicester Hospital Trust’s said that only 36.9% of black staff members, and only 43.2% of staff members with Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, have taken up the offer of the vaccine. The numbers of white staff members and staff members with Indian heritage who’ve been vaccinated are way, way higher. And this is amongst healthcare workers, who are presumably very well educated about the virus and the vaccine. I don’t think anyone foresaw this problem, but it could throw quite a spanner in the works. Big efforts are being made to convince people from ethnic minority groups to be vaccinated, but they don’t seem to be working.
And the weather has perked up. And this is the first week in months that it’ll be light enough for me to sit in the flower park with my weekly frozen yoghurt. I normally go on Tuesdays, but tomorrow’s Pancake Day and I’m fat enough without having frozen yoghurt (even if it is fat free) and pancakes on the same day.
Tuesday, February 16th
My sister had her first jab today, which is good news! She’s only 43, but classes as clinically vulnerable because she’s borderline diabetic. Goodness only knows when I’ll get done. Obviously I don’t expect to be given priority over clinically vulnerable people or frontline workers, but the waiting’s very frustrating.
The latest polls show that 89% of people intend to be vaccinated, but there is this concern over the low take-up amongst some ethnic minority groups. It’s been announced that a character in Emmerdale is going to be vaccinated, and I would assume other soap operas will do the same: it’s only a soap storyline, but a cast member who is from an ethnic minority group’s criticised the scriptwriters for “pushing” the vaccine and said that no-one should be forced to have something that’s “experimental”. I don’t think anyone foresaw this issue arising, and it’s worrying.
Also, there’s another mutant version of the virus on the loose. And the mutant of the Kent mutant has now appeared in Moston and Harpurhey, which is very close to home.
The Pancake Day football match in Atherstone, Warwickshire, which dates back 821 years, 15 years before the signing of the Magna Carta, has had to be cancelled, for the first time ever. It carried on through plague, failed harvests, the Civil War, Cromwell’s repression and both World Wars, but was cancelled by bloody Covid-19. That really upset me, for some reason.
However, it’s been a lovely, sunny, springlike day, and there was quite a holiday atmosphere in the park, with kids off school for half term. The youngest age groups in Scotland are to go back to school next week.
Awful day at the tennis, though! Sascha had so many chances … he should have won every set, but Nole won 3 of 4 … and now plays Karatsev, who beat Grisha, who was injured. I’d love to think that Karatsev could beat Nole, but it so isn’t happening. Meanwhile, Rafa’s got to play Stef, and, if he beats him, probably Medvedev.
Finally, another 1.7 million people are to be told to shield. I quite appreciate that, when the pandemic started, no-one knew that certain conditions/factors made people more vulnerable, but it seems a bit late now. Anyone in this group will be prioritised for vaccination … although a lot of them are in the groups vaccinated already, so they’re going from the hope of getting their lives back to some sort of normal to being told not to go out.
I have these moments of joy, because spring’s coming, and it’s so precious … my favourite season, daffodils and lambs and trips to the Lakes, to Chirk, to Bolton Abbey, to Biddulph Grange, etc. Then it hits me, all over again, that, because of the bloody travel restrictions, it won’t be happening. For a second year in a row.
Wednesday, February 17th
Why does the Australian Open always break my heart? Well, practically always. I wasn’t expecting miracles, after Rafa had so little match practice beforehand, but he was 2 sets to love up on Stef, came so close to winning it in 3 … and lost it in 5. I am very sad 😦 .
Nice weather again. The park’s been very busy all week, because of school half term. This is the problem – in densely-populated urban areas, there are very few places to go during lockdown, so everyone ends up in the same place. Some crocuses are coming through, but no daffodils yet.
There are all sorts of rumours about which restrictions will and won’t be lifted when. I’m trying to ignore them. We just don’t know, and getting upset over speculation doesn’t help.
On and on and on … when will this nightmare ever end?
Thursday, February 18th
United won 4-0 away to Real Sociedad … in Turin. 4-0! Good start to the Europa League 🙂 .
The National League North and South seasons’ve been declared null and void 😦 .
Serena just can’t get this 24th Grand Slam title … she lost to Naomi, who now plays Jennifer Brady in the final. Karatsev put up a decent fight, but was never going to beat Nole. Fans back in today.
Northern Ireland’s lockdown’s been extended until April 1st. But schools are to reopen for some academic years on March 8th. There hasn’t even been an announcement about schools reopening in England yet, but whingeing teaching unions are already objecting to everything. All this talk about reopening, but when will these evil travel restrictions be lifted? People in Northern Ireland are to be allowed to meet up outdoors in groups of 10 from March 8th, but that’s not a lot of use unless all your relatives and friends live nearby. There are now clear signs of infections falling in the older age groups, and over 30% of the population’s now had their first jab, so progress is being made, but we cannot carry on with these restrictions indefinitely.
Friday, February 19th
Bleurgh, I am totally fed up. WHY are infection rates not dropping here as quickly as they are everywhere else? After the Kent variant took off, we had rates well below average, but now they’re dropping rapidly in most places, especially the south, but not here. WHY? We have been under extra restrictions since bloody July. There are various theories:
- Population density. This makes some sense. Obviously it should apply to London too, but it seems likely that a lot of people in London contracted the virus in early 2020, before either lockdown or mass testing, and therefore had antibodies, and also that London was further along on the “curve” when things reopened in July.
- More people at work … not necessarily essential workers, but people who can’t work from home. There are a lot more blue collar workers in the North and Midlands than in the South. Also, a lot of offices are open when they shouldn’t be.
- Multi-generational housing/overcrowding … this may well be an issue, but the areas currently worst affected aren’t those where the occurrence of this is highest. Having said which, it’s noticeable that the area least affected is Trafford, which includes the wealthiest parts of the conurbation.
- Linked to point 1 ), a “reservoir of infection” … sounds vague, but kind of makes sense.
- Issues related to particular ethnic/religious groups, who have been particularly badly hit.
If the f***ing tier system’s brought back, we’re knackered. And it doesn’t work, anyway. Nothing seems to work. The Mayor of Preston’s suggested that the worst-hit areas should be prioritised for vaccination. It’s a very sensible suggestion.
Nothing seems to bring my weight down, either.
There’s some talk of everyone in their 40s being vaccinated as soon as people in their 50s have been done. The JCVI want to keep going down by age brackets. But selfish teaching unions may pressurise the authorities into taking a different route.
The lockdown in Wales has been extended for another 3 weeks.
I hope Prince Philip’s OK. He’s to remain in hospital until next week.
The second Aussie Open SF was, sadly, a bit of a damp squib … so frustrating that Stef, having beaten Rafa, lost rather tamely to Daniil.
Weather cold and windy.
I really am fed up. We’ve had 11 months of this. I want to see my sister and bro-in-law and the kids. I want to go to the Lake District. I want to go on holiday. I want to go to Old Trafford. I’d quite like just to go into town. Some days, I can Keep Calm and Carry On. Some days, I just want to kick and scream!
Saturday, February 20th
Thoroughly fed up. The borough of Bury now has the 20th highest rate in the country. Bolton’s got the 10th highest rate in the country, but at least rates there are coming down. Tameside’s seen the biggest week-on-week increase in the country. WHY is our area being hit so hard by this? Nearly all the areas down south which had rates way above ours in late December have now got rates well below ours. Why won’t ours come down?
Also, every time I lose a few pounds, they go straight back on. What am I meant to do, starve? I look like a Great Fat Hair Monster.
And I’d intended to go to Hollingworth Lake after the Aussie Open ladies’ singles final – which saw Naomi Osaka beat Jennifer Brady – but, due to miserable weather, just went to the park, again.
Why is our area being so badly affected?
Also very concerned about Prince Philip. Prince Charles went to visit him today, and visitors aren’t generally being allowed.
Sunday, February 21st
Boris says that all adults in the UK should have been offered a vaccination by the end of July. Let’s hope so! Vaccinations are the only way out of this – we thought last summer that maybe we could live with it, but then it came roaring back with a vengeance.
Israel’s reopened hotels, gyms, zoos, museums, etc … but only to people who’ve been vaccinated. To be fair, I think most adults there have now been offered a vaccination, but it’s incredibly hard on those who want to be vaccinated but haven’t been called yet.
The Aussie Open final was a damp squib. Bah. Daniil put up a fight in the first set, but Nole took it 7-5, and then broke back after Daniil had led in the 2nd set, and it was one way traffic after that. Better news with United beating Newcastle, 3-1, but City are running away with it.
Today has been a better day. The weather was better, and I went to Hollingworth Lake and it really helped just to get a little way away from home. I love the park and the local takeaway cafes, but I really am feeling trapped. And I had a terrible day yesterday. Everyone’s having bad days, and all you can say to people is to try to move on and hope that the next day will be better, but that doesn’t work for me because of The Scales. The main reason I was so upset was because, after my weight had stayed the same for a few days, I’d somehow put on 3lbs between Friday and my official weigh day on Saturday. That on top of everything else triggered the worst compulsive eating binge I’d had in ages, and, because The Scales love to kick you when you’re down, of course I’d put on another lb today. So I can’t move on. It’s hard enough to lose 1lb, never mind 4. I’m struggling with OCD issues as well … it’s hard to control anything when you’re trapped like this, and all the things you normally do to cope are banned. And it’s hard to feel positive when rates are rising here even though they’re falling practically everywhere else. You feel bad for moaning, but a lot of people are struggling.
Boris is making his big announcement tomorrow. I feel sorry for him: whatever he says, people will moan. But we can’t go on like this.
No daffodils at Hollingworth Lake yet, but there were crocuses.
We know that the risk of transmission outdoors is low. Lift these horrible travel restrictions. Please.