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.

 

The Summer of Staycations – holidaying in the age of Covid-19

  The lovely coach tours of  Iceland and Japan which I booked last year and had been so looking forward to were cancelled due to the evil virus, and I didn’t fancy a week in a beach resort on my own, panicking in case wherever I was got added to the naughty list and I had to self-isolate for a fortnight … so, like many people, I went for a staycation, and had 9 days in the Lake District.  It’s somewhere very special to me, and, given how little annual leave we get, I normally only go there for day trips or weekends, or a Bank Holiday weekend at most; so it was really rather lovely to get this additional time there, and to visit some areas which I don’t normally get chance to see.  OK, there were some wet times, but there were plenty of dry times, and even some glorious sunshine.  So, what was it like being on holiday in the age of Covid-19?   Did I feel safe in the hotel and in busy tourist places?   How different  was it being in a rural area, where many shops are very small and can only let a few people in at a time, to being in a big city?  And what was it like having to plan everything like a military operation, because you now have to pre-book most things: you can’t just turn up!   Well, it was lovely, but it wasn’t quite like going on holiday in normal times!

It was good to see “no vacancies” signs on nearly all the hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, rooms, cottage let sites, campsites, etc.  The Lake District and other tourist areas have suffered terribly this year, first with the bad weather in February and early March and then with lockdown.  And it could be some time before overseas visitors come back: there are usually a lot of Japanese and American tourists in the Lakes, and a lot of money was spent last year on promoting the area in China, which, sadly, was money down the drain, not that anyone was to know that at the time.  So, hopefully, the staycation boom we’re seeing this year can give the “Lakeland” economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

However, there are issues with that.  The roads in the Lake District were not built for heavy traffic, there’s a limited amount of parking available, and it can be difficult to stay 3 foot, never mind 6 foot, away from other people on narrow pavements.  There’s also, obviously, concern from residents about large numbers of people coming in at this time, and we’ve also seen a worrying increase in littering in the last few months.  I have to say, though, that I didn’t really experience any problems.  Nowhere was so crowded that I felt that there was anything to worry about, and the issues with parking and traffic were no worse than they usually are on sunny summer days.  However, there isn’t anywhere in the Lakes where people really tend to congregate, because you tend to walk around.  The problems seem to be happening more in beach areas in Devon and Cornwall, where people stay in the same places.

What there were were some issues (what’s another word for “issues”?!)  with limits on the numbers of people allowed into shops and cafes/restaurants.  A few places weren’t open at all.  Most eating places were open, but, with tables having been moved further apart, and not everywhere having the room for outdoor seating, there were queues and waits in some places.  However, nearly everywhere was operating a take-away service, and that was great.  Well, as long as the weather behaved (and there were no wasps around)!   I’ve never eaten and drunk outdoors as much in my life as I’ve done in the last 5 months: it’s like being in an Enid Blyton, Elinor M Brent-Dyer or Lorna Hill book!   It’s lovely.

Except if it’s raining!  Oh, and except for the dogs.  The one big killer about staycations is that so many people have dogs with them.  But, mostly, it’s lovely.  I did eat indoors at the hotel, though: there were outdoor tables, but they weren’t really in use for evening meals.  And the tables in the restaurant had been moved well apart, with some people being asked to sit in the bar or lounge, and the hotel having to turn away people who weren’t staying there.  The hotel restaurant was also providing disposable condiments, so you got little sachets of salt, pepper, vinegar, tomato ketchup, etc, and cutlery rolled in serviettes with “sanitised” stickers on them.  And, at breakfast, you got those little plastic things of jam and marmalade – and there was no breakfast buffet, as buffets are currently no-go.

What else was different at the hotel?  I think that the original idea was for rooms only to be made up if people asked, but people must have got fed up of that, so the rooms were made up daily, as usual, unless you specifically asked for them not to be.  There was hand sanitiser everywhere, in the hotel and in shops and elsewhere.  And the staff were wearing masks in the restaurant, although I have to say that no-one was sticking to the rules about wearing masks in the hotel reception area … but it’s only a small hotel, so it’s not as if there’s a lounge/lobby area where people hang around.  And, at the hotel and in some other places, they were saying that they’d not got as many staff on as usual, so there might be waits … now, was that because of the virus, or was it an excuse?!

People did better with wearing masks in shops, though.  And whilst ordering in cafes, which I have to say is something which people aren’t sticking to at home.  The shop situation is quite different in the Lakes to that at home: here, the shops in the city centre are generally big, and the small shops in the suburbs are generally quiet.  In the Lake District, there are a lot of small shops and, with so many tourists around, there were some queues.  The Co-ops had a “traffic light” system – when the maximum number of people allowed were in the shop, the light went red and the automatic doors closed!

I do wonder how it’s all affecting business.  How long are you going to wait in a queue to buy a postcard or a souvenir fridge magnet, or something else which you’d like but don’t actually need?  One small bookshop was only allowing one person in at a time.  10 minutes’ browsing time max, but, if there are 3 people in front of you, that means you’ll have to wait half an hour to go in.  However much you might want to support local businesses, are you going to wait half an hour, if you’ve got somewhere else to be, or a bored child (or partner, or friend!) tugging at your arm, and you can open the Amazon app on your phone and order a book in a matter of seconds?  I worry about the effect that this is having on small shops, and I don’t know what the answer is.

Oh, and so many places were asking for card payments only!  It doesn’t bother me, but I hardly use cash at all these days, except for some car parking machines which won’t take cards.

The pre-booking was a hassle, though.  I’ve got mixed feelings about this: I understand that some places can get quite crowded, but I think it’s all a bit OTT.  There are enormous estates – not particularly in the Lakes, but in other areas – where large numbers of people can walk around without getting too close to anyone else.  And it is a problem.  Some places let you book well in advance, but you don’t always know that far in advance where you’ll be up to.  Others only let you book a few days in advance, which is even worse, because what if you’ve made plans but then can’t get a slot?  If you’re away for more than a week then, unless you travel with a laptop, you have to try to book on a small mobile phone screen, which isn’t easy.  And some places are very inconsistent about when they make the next week’s tickets available and, if you’re out or working, you can’t be checking the website every five minutes.  Then there’s the Great British Weather.  You book your tickets for outdoor seats on a boat trip or a walk round some nice gardens … and then, on the day, the rain is coming down in torrents!

And it’s the timing.  With the National Trust, you only get a 30 minute slot.  You can’t even go into the car park before that, or go in at all after it.  If you’re travelling some distance, it’s very hard to be within 30 minutes: traffic conditions can vary a lot from one day to another.  And, if you want to go somewhere beforehand, it’s a nightmare: how can you know exactly how long you’ll want to be at the first place, or how long you might have to queue for the tea rooms or the toilets, and that’s before you even start with the traffic.  So, yep, I see the problem, but it is undoubtedly a pain.  And I just want to have a moan at Ullswater Steamers, who refuse to sell single tickets.  Windermere Lake Cruises, the Coniston Launch and the Keswick Launch are quite happy to sell single tickets – which I appreciate in particular from lovely Windermere Lake Cruises, of whom I’m a regular customer, because they’re allocating seats so it is an issue if they’ve got to leave one empty because a customer is on their own.  I hope this isn’t going to be an issue with theatres and cinemas get going again.  I’ve already seen someone getting upset online because they’d been told that they couldn’t book a single ticket for a scenic railway … again, Windermere were great about this, and let me book a single ticket for the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

I suppose the pre-booking avoids having to queue for the ticket office, and rush to be near the front of the queue when the steamers are ready for boarding.  But it is generally a bit of a pain!   But, hey, at least things are open and up and running again!  I booked a Windermere Lake Cruise as soon as they started running again, in July, and I did three more (yes, three!) during my staycation, including the cruise which is combined with the steam railway trip. I spent some time in lovely, familiar Bowness, and Waterhead, and also at Ambleside which I don’t usually have time to walk round properly.  And I stayed in Grasmere and went to Coniston, Hawkshead and Near Sawrey, which I usually do in daffodil time, late March/early April.  I usually do the walk from Wray Castle to Claife Heights in May, when the bluebells are out: this year, I did it in August.  And I walked all the way back, seeing as the small boats which usually take you back to Bowness weren’t running because of the virus!  And I also went to Keswick, Bassenthwaite (where a bride and groom were having their photos taken), Borrowdale, Muncaster Castle, Holker Hall and Pooley Bridge, and, hey, I walked from Grasmere to Rydal.  And, as usual, stopped off at SIzergh Castle on the way home.  So it was a busy 9 days.  But it was lovely.

I miss going abroad, though.  I’m hoping desperately that I’ll be able to do my Iceland and Japan trips next year: I’ve rebooked them.  But, in this strange year, I had a lovely staycation, and I’ll never forget those 9 days in my beloved Lake District.  I’ve often regretted the fact that I don’t get chance to spend more time there.  This summer, I did.

 

Masks on the Steamer

Does that sound like a bad Agatha Christie novel 🙂 ?   Windermere’s a very special and important place to me, and I have missed it badly over the last four months, just when I needed its relaxing influence most.  I went 9 days before lockdown started, and then we weren’t allowed to travel, then they asked people to keep staying away because of concerns about the infection rate in the area, and then it kept raining at the weekends!  But, yesterday, I finally made it back.  Windermere Lake Cruises reopened last week – round trips only, pre-booking, and masks on, but the lovely boats *are* running again – and nearly all the shops and cafes in Bowness are open, and I assume it’s the same elsewhere.  Safety precautions are being followed, but the Lake District, after all the vile weather in February and early March and then lockdown, is back in business.  I am so very glad.

As far as the boat trips go, it’s a bit of a pain that you can’t go from Bowness to Ambleside or the west shore and back again, but it is what is, and I was just glad to be back out on the water at all!   Everyone has to wear a mask, and some seats are being left empty so that people weren’t getting too close.  The powers that be did an inspection before the boats started running again, and said that everything was OK.

Pretty much all the eating places are open.  On a dry day, there isn’t a problem, because most of them have outdoor tables.  I was quite surprised by how busy they were, even inside, but sanitiser’s being used, and, in some places, staff are wearing masks and gloves.  Perspex screens are being used even at places where there’s no seating and you just order at a window.  If you don’t want to sit inside – and, whilst I don’t think the risk of catching the virus in a café or bar is very high, I’m nervous of being caught by the test and trace system if I’m inside a cafe and it’s busy – and there are no outdoor tables free, or if the weather’s, then it won’t be a problem because pretty much everywhere’s offering a takeaway option.  If you want a three course meal, it’s not so easy, but, if you’re happy with a sandwich, a jacket potato, a scone or a cake, you’ll be fine.

The shops all have hand sanitiser at the doors, and larger places are operating one-way systems.  The big problem (other than the fact that the public toilets don’t open till 10am, which is ridiculous) is that pavements get crowded – not helped by the fact that people walk along them with horrible dogs, or whilst looking at their phones instead of at where they’re going – and you can’t step into the road because of the traffic, but we can’t shut the country down indefinitely, and so it’s a case of being careful, sanitising your hands regularly, and, if you feel more comfortable doing so, wearing a mask.

These are strange times, but it was so good to be back.  I hate it when I can’t go to the Lake District: I need to go there regularly!  And the Lake District needs us.  It’s unlikely that the coachloads of Japanese and American tourists will be back any time soon, and all the money that was by the Lake District Tourist Board on promoting the area to China, like all the money that was spent by Metrolink on the new line to carry football crowds to Old Trafford and shoppers to the Trafford Centre, is … well, it’s not going to be reaping dividends any time soon.  But the Lakes are still there.  They’re always there.  They were there for the Romantic poets, they were there for  Victorian tourists who travelled there for a break from our smoky industrial towns and cities, and they’re there for us.

I was so happy to be going back that I got a bit tearful just getting in the car in my own drive outside my own house.  When I caught the first glimpse of the lake from the A591, I just could not wait to get there: I was practically screaming at the people in the cars in front of me to get out of my way.  There aren’t usually any cars in front of me at 1/4 to 8 in the morning, but people are on the move now, “staycations” are the way to go, and hopefully the Lake District can benefit from that.  And, oh, it was good to be back!!  I haven’t half missed it.

 

Early March 2020 – panic-buying, and more and more cases of the virus

Sunday, March 1st

There’s been a case of the virus in Bury now.  That’s only six miles away.  It’s the first one in the local area.  That’s a bit scary.  Meanwhile, everything else here goes on as normal.  I still haven’t managed to get to the Lake District this year, because of the rotten weather, but I went to Lyme Park this morning.  Rafa won Acapulco 🙂 .  And City won the Carabao Cup – suppose I should congratulate them, even though it rankles!

 

Monday, March 2nd

Mum and Dad have cancelled their summer holiday to Italy.  They were due to fly to Rome and then pick up a cruise, and were nervous because of all these poor people getting stuck on cruise ships where someone’s tested positive for the virus.  My holiday company’s cancelled all tours to Northern Italy for the time being.  The Swiss Football League’s been suspended for two weeks, the pre-season club football tournament in Asia’s been cancelled, and the Irish cricket tour of Thailand’s been called off.  Other than the Democratic primaries in America, there’s little other than coronavirus-related stuff on the news these days.

 

Tuesday, March 3rd

There are now 51 cases in the UK.  The news channels and websites flash up every new case at the bottom of the screen, like a goal in a football match, which is very odd.  A graduation ceremony at one of the London universities has been cancelled.  There are panicky reports that 20% of the British workforce could be off sick at any one time.

 

Wednesday, March 4th

There’ve now been 107 deaths in Italy, because of the virus, and there’ve been 73 new cases diagnosed in France today alone.  A lot of flights are being cancelled.    Sport in Italy’s now got to be played behind closed doors, and schools, colleges and universities are being closed, like they were in China.  The Olympic relay’s going ahead, but the London Book Fair’s been called off, and the release of the new James Bond film’s been delayed.  And, bizarrely, people are stocking up on toilet paper!!  The virus doesn’t cause stomach upsets, but there seem to have been reports in Australia that most toilet paper there was imported from China and supplies were going to run short, so people started panic-buying, and then the pictures went viral and now it’s happening here and in other countries too!!

 

Thursday, March 5th

The first virus-related death in the UK.  An woman in her 70s, with underlying health conditions, has died in Berkshire.  Very, very sad.

My sister has succumbed to the Great Toilet Roll Panic and bought a load of toilet rolls.   And other stuff.  I do my big Tesco and M&S shop on a Friday, but I had to go into the Sainsbury’s Local near work for a couple of bits today, and found myself getting caught up in it all and buying some toilet rolls and Dettol.  You don’t want to panic, but nor do you want to be the person who’s left without.  People have even nicked toilet rolls from public toilets in Australia, because shops are selling out of it!!  Hand sanitiser’s running short too, because we keep being told it’s important to wash our hands more often – although Sainsbury’s Local did have some.  Mine are getting quite sore from all this extra washing.  It’s not like I don’t wash my hands normally, but not this much!

The Premier League’s banned handshakes between players.  And the Six Nations matches in Italy have been called off.  I can’t see how the Six Nations can be finished now – unless it’s left for months.  And what about the Champions League and the Europa League?  There are quite a few Italian clubs involved.

And now Flybe’s collapsed – the cancellation of flights due to coronavirus has been the final straw.  Oh, what a nightmare this all is!

 

Friday, March 6th

There’s been a second virus-related death in the UK, this time in Milton Keynes.  Things in Italy are getting worse and worse, and Iran’s suffering too.  This is just all awful.  The Scotland v France women’s Six Nations match is off, because a Scotland player tested positive for the virus.

There was toilet roll in Tesco tonight, but only white toilet roll, and I wanted cream!  Why have panic-buyers bought up all the cream toilet roll but left the white?!  Not a single bottle of hand sanitiser to be had, though.  Someone at my office bought two bottles on Amazon for £109 each.  Can you believe that?!  I wouldn’t mind, but Sainsbury’s Local near the office had some, and their bottles were only £3 each!  This panic-buying is really getting very silly.

The weather forecast for the Lakes for the weekend is awful.  Again.  Gah!!

 

Saturday, March 7th

The family of the man yesterday have been saying how they weren’t even allowed to be with him, for fear of infection.  This virus is just horrendous.  There’s now talk of “social detachment” for the over-70s.  How’s that going to work.  Am I not supposed to see Mum and Dad?  Or my uncle, who lives on his own?  Or my brother-in-law’s parents?   So many rumours.   And now 3,500 people are stuck on a cruise ship off the coast of California, because of the virus.

It’s like there are now two groups of people.  Those of us trying to “Keep Calm and Carry On”, and those who are panic-buying.  I’m not criticising anyone: it’s scary.  Some people have cancelled restaurant bookings.

Went to Speke Hall today.  The daffodils there are always early, but they’re particularly early this year.  Then to Newbank Garden Centre.  Getting my garden ready for spring!

 

Sunday, March 8th

What a strange day.  It should have been a wonderful day, because we beat City, 2-0!  Old Trafford was packed – no viruses were keeping people away from the derby!   It was a really manic last few minutes.  Amazing atmosphere.  I came out absolutely buzzing!   Even Liverpool must be pleased that we won, because they’re very, very close to the title now.

But … later on, it was announced that a man had died from the virus (although I think we’re meant to say “with” the virus – it’s all a bit confusing, especially as it mainly seems to affect people with underlying health conditions) at Crumpsall Hospital, North Manchester General.  That’s my local hospital.  Whew.  That really hit me.  This is here – it’s here, amongst us.  That poor man, and his poor family and friends.  64 new cases in the UK today.

Fans have been banned from the Bahrain Grand Prix now.

This morning, I went to Ilkley, as I always do at this time of year – there’s a nice riverside walk there, and I like to see the Easter eggs and simnel cakes in Betty’s.  It was the first time I’d ever got a table in Betty’s without having to queue.  It may just have been because I was so early, because of needing to get home in time to go to the match, but it does seem that people are getting a bit nervous about going out, because of this virus.

Where on earth will all this end?