Lockdown Week 15 – June 29th to July 5th 2020 inclusive

Monday, June 29th

Today should have been the first day of Wimbledon.  But there is no tennis, it has poured down nearly all day – I went out to the park, and later for a short walk, and both times it started pouring down whilst I was out, and was so windy that it was hard to keep my brolly up – and the temperature’s more suited to November than June.  Bah!  And I’m fed up of not knowing when online booking for things will open, and worrying that I’ll miss it.  And it looks as if poor Leicester will have to keep stricter regulations for another couple of weeks.

On a happier note, my favourite café is reopening this weekend!  And my elder nephew went back to school today – mornings only, reams of paperwork, and there are only three weeks of the academic year left anyway, but it’s a start!

 

Tuesday, June 30th

Another cold, wet day.  I’ve decided that I need to cancel my booking for Japan … I’m sad about it, but, even if the trip goes ahead, it’s not the time for long-distance travel.  I made a list of European trips as an alternative, but they all say that they’re only going with Lufthansa so I’d have to change in Germany, which is ridiculous because Jet2.com will be flying from Manchester to Rome and Venice by then, and the tour company’s always used them before.  I sent an e-mail asking about all this, but the person I’ve been dealing with is off this week, so I re-sent it to the general address, and no-one’s answered (yet).  My sister is stressed out trying to cancel a holiday to America.

Off to the frozen yoghurt shop, then it’s United v Brighton.

Getting very little contact from work, and I don’t think clients are checking work e-mails.

 

Wednesday, July 1st

The holiday company have not got back to me.  The weight I somehow put on overnight last week has not come off.  Booking for something I wanted to book is opening on Friday … when I can’t watch the website because I’ve got the chiropodist.  And I went into the office this morning and felt really uncomfortable being there.  And there is no Wimbledon.  And Wigan Athletic have gone into administration.

On the plus side, we beat Brighton last night, the dental surgery has finally reopened, and it has stopped raining.

I just can’t see an end to this.  Leicester’s back in lockdown.  We’re still registering nearly 200 deaths a day.  WHY?  Nowhere else is.  Death rates are supposed to be back to normal, so it doesn’t make any sense.  Melbourne’s also back in lockdown, the situation in the US is bad, it’s bad in India too, and the US has bought up practically the entire global supply of remdesivir.  When is this nightmare ever, ever going to end?

 

Thursday, July 2nd

The French Open is apparently going to have stadia 60% full!  Which will be the same as usual, as the prawn croissant brigade only ever take their seats for Rafa, Roger, Jo or Gael!!  I’d assumed it’d be behind closed doors.

The holiday company have sent me an e-mail saying they’ll get back to me.  They haven’t done.  And the office laptop had a huge strop this morning and lost the IP address for the remote connection, although it’s working now.

And it managed to stay dry whilst I was in the park today, which was good.

I feel as if there should be an air of excitement ahead of pubs etc reopening, but the Leicester lockdown and the situation in America have really cast a wet blanket over everything.  And cases are quite high in several other places, many of which are local.  The authorities will not do anything about community transmission because they’re more afraid of being accused of racism than they are of the danger to public health.  So everyone’s feeling a bit despondent … and it’s all so political, with so many people more concerned about criticising the government than about trying to find solutions.

And, as much as I accept that it’s a nightmare, every solution raises new problems.  For example, it’s been suggested that schools should vary starting times, so that there aren’t hordes of kids all streaming in through the doors and hanging around in the cloakroom/locker areas at once.  That makes sense.  But it won’t fit in with transport timetables, especially for private schools where a lot of kids get school buses, or in rural areas where buses only run once an hour.  And what about primary schools, where most kids are dropped off by parents, who may have 2 or 3 kids in different academic years?  But school attendance will be mandatory again from September, unless there are very good medical reasons.

 

Friday, July 3rd

I don’t know what I’m more sick of, this horrible depressing rain or being chained to the office computer.  But, on the positive side, I’ve got a place on a Windermere Lake Cruise steamer for next Saturday!   They actually open tomorrow, but a) the forecast’s vile and b) I’d already booked Fountains Abbey.  I’ve waited nearly 4 months: I suppose I can wait another week.

The air bridges have been announced, but the holiday company have not got back to me.

I went to the chiropodist this morning.  The magazines in reception have been replaced by pictures of feet!  And the chiropodist was wearing a mask and gown.  And I had to leave by a side door!

 

Super Saturday, July 4th

This is so-called “Super Saturday”, when hairdressers, pubs, cafes, restaurants and hotels can reopen.  The doom merchants are insisting that zillions of people will be falling down drunk all over the country and the virus will spread like wildfire, but I can’t see it.  Observed en route to Fountains Abbey – a lot of caravans heading for the coast, and a long queue outside a barber’s shop.  I left here in torrential rain, but it was dry in Ripon, and I had a really nice time.  And, hooray, the visitor centre tea room (although sadly not the lakeside tea room) was open (for takeaways), and they had lovely National Trust scones, straight out of the oven!

It was pouring down when I got home, but dried up later, when I went for a late walk in the park.  The farm centre cafe’s now reopened, the ice cream vans are back, and, hooray, some of the toilets have reopened!!

This was after United v Bournemouth.  We won 5-2!   Really exciting, eventful match … such a shame that we couldn’t be there in person to watch it, but still.  We’ve restarted well … but it’s no good unless someone else slips up.

I am due at the hairdresser’s at 8am tomorrow.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to be going anywhere!

 

Sunday, July 5th

Hooray, I have had my hair cut and coloured!  I actually look like me again!  It was a bit weird with me in a mask and my hairdresser in a visor, and not being able to have a cup of tea, but it was the usual nice friendly atmosphere.  I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for nearly 20 years.  The salon’s opening 7 days a week, and extra hours each day, for now, and anyone who’s too nervous to go in the main salon can have their hair done in a room upstairs which isn’t usually used.

Later, I went into town, to my favourite café, The Vienna Coffee House, which reopened yesterday.

It was quiet … which was nice for me, because my main issue with going to cafes/pubs/restaurants is the fear of being caught by “test and trace”, and I certainly won’t be going into one during the three weeks before my “staycation”, but not so for them.  It’s early days, though, and town was certainly much busier than it was the last time I went.  You do have to fear for businesses, though, and for the transport networks too, with theatres still closed, no live music, and no crowds at football matches.  This rotten weather isn’t helping – London’s been busier, because it’s been nice there, but it’s been very windy here, and now it’s raining again.  It rained whilst I was on my way back from the park, too.  Bah!

Oh well.  We do need to try to stay positive.  I don’t watch BBC News any more, because of its negative attitude and the way it criticises the Government’s every move, but now Sky News is getting as bad!   Negativity won’t help.

I still can’t quite believe that all this is happening.  My admiration for the generations who lived through the world wars, especially, because of the Blitz,  the Second World War, was always high, but it’s now higher than ever.   Our lives have been turned upside down.

But, hey, hairdressers are open, and cafes are open!  Some places of worship have reopened, and some weddings have taken place.  It’s just all so far from normal.  I want normal back.

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye lockdown locks, hello cafes, stay safe

  Hooray!  For the first time since March 19th, I’ve had my hair cut and coloured, and I no longer look like an ageing refugee from the 1980s (even if my music collection is still pretty much entirely 1980s).  I’ve been to my favourite café in town:  it reopened this weekend.  And, at Fountains Abbey yesterday, I had my first National Trust scone since March 14th.   I’ve been very impressed with the safety measures that most – not quite all, but most – organisations have put in place, and all the amount of hard work, not to mention that money, that’s gone into it all.  The salon’s even got a room upstairs where vulnerable or nervous clients can have their hair done away from anyone other than their stylist.

These are very strange and difficult times, and there’s no sign of things getting back to normal any time soon, but – and I do appreciate that things are different for people with health issues, and I do so wish they weren’t – we can’t shut the country down indefinitely, or else we’re going to end up with mass unemployment and a mental health pandemic.  So we need to move on.  Carefully.

We’re not using to dealing with an invisible enemy.  We can do defiance.  We marched back into town after the IRA bombing in 1996 and the Islamic fundamentalist bombing in 2017, determined that we weren’t going to be defeated by terrorists.  We’ve heard about how our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generation kept calm and carried on when the Luftwaffe were raining bombs down on our city night after night.  But, as some of our American friends are sadly finding out, defiance doesn’t work against coronavirus.   Social distancing, more frequent handwashing, wearing masks where appropriate … these are things we’ve all got to do.

It’s weird seeing hand sanitising stations at the entrances to shops, salons, cafes, restaurants, pubs and shopping centres.  It’s weird when you go to have your hair done, and you’re wearing a mask and the hairdresser’s wearing a visor – and you can’t even have a cup of tea.  It’s weird being asked to follow a one way system round the Arndale Centre, and to use certain doors only as an entrance and other doors only as an exit.

And it’s very weird indeed having to give your details when you go to a café.  That freaked me out a bit.  I’ve got a “staycation” booked for August, and I won’t be going to any cafes for three weeks prior to that.  This “test and trace” thing is not good for my anxiety, as much as I understand the need for it.  I’ve been very freaked out by the pictures from Leicester, which is in local lockdown.  Police everywhere, people being stopped and asked for their details if they’re out in their cars … again, I understand the need for it, but these are things we associate with totalitarian regimes, or at least with wartime.  Seeing that going on in a British city in peacetime is very scary indeed.

But we need to move on.  So many job cuts have sadly been announced already.  More will follow.  And there are quality of life issues: many people are beginning to struggle mentally.  And this is the only way we can move on: we’ve seen from what’s happened elsewhere that we can’t just go back to how things were.  How I wish we could.  I want to go to a football match.  I want to know that the Christmas markets are going to be on.  I’m worried about what’s going to happen to the local economy.  Metrolink’ve just spent a fortune on the Trafford Centre extension, and hardly anyone’s using it.   Hotels can reopen, but people come to Manchester to go to the theatre or live concerts or football matches, and you can’t do any of that at the moment.  I’m extremely worried about the future of theatres and live music venues.  And when will the gym reopen?

But we’re making a start.  And it’s been great.   I cannot say how relieved I am to have had my hair done!   It was getting to the point where I was amazed that people still recognised me.  And it was lovely to be back at The Vienna Coffee House.  And it was nice to feel that I was giving people my little bit of support.  I’ve been going to The Vienna Coffee House ever since it opened, I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for nearly 20 years, and my life would be very empty without the National Trust (and its scones).

Who knows when this nightmare’s ever going to end?  My respect for the generations who lived through six years of war, and then the austerity years afterwards, is growing even higher than it already was, every single day.    But this weekend’s been a big step forward.  We just all need to be so careful, and it’s not easy, when this is all so strange and different.  But most people are really trying – especially all the hairdressers and pub landlords/landladies and café/restaurant owners and managers who’ve worked so hard to get ready for reopening.   As Boris said, let’s not blow it!   Let’s enjoy it instead.