The road to freedom? Week 1 , March 29th to April 4th 2021 inclusive

Lockdown

Monday, March 29th

Well, this is day on on The Roadmap To Freedom, but I feel a bit out of things.  Mum and Dad have been to London to be reunited with my sister and brother-in-law and the kids, and other people have been meeting family and friends or playing outdoor sport, and I’ve just been chained to the office laptop or going for a walk in the park!   Roll on Good Friday!   The powers that be have said it’s OK to travel around the country to see family and friends, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t have a day out, as long as I stay outdoors.

The Novavax vaccine will hopefully be available by June.

Well, let’s just hope there are no more lockdowns.  Enough is enough.

 

Tuesday, March 30th

Another warm, sunny day. Loads of people in the park. And the lowest weekly death toll since October.

The situation in Europe is worrying, though.

Oh, roll on Good Friday, when I’ll be able to get a taste of this freedom, all being well!! It can’t come soon enough!!

 

Wednesday, March 31st

Second jabs outnumbered first jabs for the first time today.  I feel a bit like a third class citizen now – full vaccinated people, first jab people, and the rest of us!!

Another warm, sunny day, with loads of people in the park.  Please, please stay dry for the Easter weekend.

It looks as if France could be heading back into lockdown, and things in the Netherlands aren’t too clever either.   Thankfully, we’re doing OK – touch wood.  Well, over 50 deaths a day, which is hardly “OK”, but compared to over 1,000 a day, at the peak of the second wave, things have improved very significantly.

 

April Fools’ Day/Maundy Thursday, April 1st

Typical, just as we get towards the Bank Holiday weekend, it goes cold again!  But it’s dry, touch wood.

Shielding ends today.

France is indeed back in lockdown.  But we’re remaining steady, at around 4,500 to 5,000 new infections and 40 to 50 deaths per day.  And we should be allowed back into Wales soon, hooray!  And we beat Poland 2-1 last night, so fingers crossed for World Cup qualification.

Hooray, at last I feel like I can join the roadmap to freedom, four days after everyone who wasn’t trapped with work crap!!

But … we’re now being told that, when cafes etc reopen on April 12th, everyone’s got to sign in, and have their details kept for 21 days.  What, even for sitting outside?   That’s just put me right off!!    Oh well, let’s not worry about that just now …

 

Good Friday, April 2nd

Hooray!   I have finally made it back to Windermere!   It’s been so long.   I drove up to Bowness this morning, and had a bit of time there.  And the weather was glorious!

Then I got the steamer across to Waterhead/Ambleside.  I thought the steamers’d be busy, but they weren’t.  They only restarted yesterday, in the end, and they said that yesterday was just dead.  I think a lot of people are confused about these “minimise travel” rules, and, also, people possibly didn’t realise that anything at Windermere would be open.  But it got busier later.  Fingers crossed for a good spring and summer.  As bad as things here have been, it’s been far, far worse for tourist areas.  The cafes here have been busy doing takeaways, but most of those at Windermere only reopened today.  In fact, I got the Waterhead Coffee Shop’s first blueberry scone since they had to close due to lockdown!

The daffodils at Borrans Park were out!  And then I came back on the Swift, the new steamer which was only launched last year – my first trip on her.

Then I had more time in Bowness … oh, my lovely, beloved Bowness, how I have missed you!

And then I went to Sizergh Castle on the way home.  I love daffodil season at Sizergh!

And there were lambs!  Well, there were also loads of lambs in the fields off the M6 and the A591, but I couldn’t very well take photos whilst I was driving!  Sizergh lambs:

Oh, how I needed that.   It’s frustrating not being able to go abroad, but not being able to travel within the country’s been far, far worse.  Let’s hope we don’t ever go back there.

In other news, I’m sorry to hear that Sachin Tendulkar’s in hospital with Covid, and there’s a row going on here over vaccine passports.  If they try to introduce vaccine passports for football grounds, theatres etc now, when most under 50s are unable to get vaccinated, it will be incredibly unfair and cause a lot of trouble.  Once everyone’s been offered a vaccination … I don’t know.  The idea of having to show papers, and denying certain people access … it does smack a bit of Nazi Germany, and that’s what people are uncomfortable about.  We’ll see.

Anyway.  Gold star for the weather, and, oh, how I have missed Windermere!! 

 

Saturday, April 3rd

This morning was cloudy, and then we had glorious sunshine by late afternoon.  The other way round would have been better, but never mind!  I went for a walk round town this morning.  It’s April, and it was the first time I’d been into town this year – how crazy is that?!  Very quiet.  I don’t know what else I expected, given that non-essential shops, theatres, cinemas, museums etc are all closed, but it was weird.

However, all being well, non-essential shops will be reopening a week on Monday, as will hairdressers and outdoor seating at cafes/pubs/restaurants.  Boris is due to give a press conference on Monday night, confirming whether or not it’ll go ahead, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t.  We “only” recorded 10 Covid deaths yesterday, although obviously it was a Bank Holiday.  We may also get some news on the vexed question of vaccine passports.  Boris is the last person you’d expect to back something like that, but apparently he does.  And there’s also talk of a “traffic light” system for foreign travel – meaning the same palaver as last year, with things being moved on and off lists at the last minute.  But it seems very unlikely that the April 12th easing won’t go ahead.  Roll on haircuts!   

 

Easter Sunday, April 4th

It looks as if both the “traffic light” system for foreign travel and the vaccine passport system will be going ahead, with the passport system to be trialled at the Carabao Cup final and various other events.  Ugh.  But, by the time the new football season starts, everyone should have had at least their first jab.

Meanwhile … just as life seemed to be looking up at last, I came downstairs this morning to find water coming through the kitchen ceiling for the THIRD time in a year.  I slipped on it, and whacked my knee and arm on the wooden floor.  Then I took the cover off the light fitting, to try to see what was going on, and, in my agitated state, dropped it, whereupon it smashed to smithereens.  So I have now got no cover for the light, water coming through the ceiling, a ceiling that needs repainting again, and a bruised knee.  I think it’s the bath this time, not the shower.  I was going to ring the emergency plumber – of course, it just had to happen on Easter Day, when hardly anyone’s working – but they charge a fortune, and last time the guy made a mess of the job and I had to get him to come back.  So I’m hoping to get the ordinary plumbers next week. and am hoping fervently that the dripping gets no worse.

After all this, I had complete hysterics and rang my poor mum and dad in floods of tears.

Bleurgh.

Once I’d mopped the floor, mopped up the tears and put a bucket down, I turned to chocolate. Some people have said their supermarkets are short of Easter eggs this year, but I’m pleased to say that ours isn’t.  Here is my Easter egg, with its accompanying Malt-Easter bunnies:

I then went to Biddulph Grange, as planned.  I was very sad not to see the woodland walk in daffodil season last year, but here it is in all its glory, this year:

Also, they had Easter special hot cross scones:

I then stopped at Alderley Edge on the way home:

So that was all very nice.  But I now need to get:

  1. A plumber.
  2. The decorator (again).
  3. The electrician (for the light fitting).
    And it was all fine this time yesterday.  Why does life throw you curveballs like this?  And I keep panicking about what’ll happen when I have to go back to being Trapped in the office and something like this happens.

And, on top of all this, there are fears that the French Open might be postponed.  If that idiot Macron spent a bit more time trying to deal with the virus situation in France and a bit less time making Anglophobic remarks, things might not be in this mess.  But they are. 

But we beat Brighton, 2-1.  Sadly, nothing is going to stop City from winning the league, but fingers crossed for a top four finish this year.

 

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.