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.