1st November 2020
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 31 – A New Slogan #Hands #Face #Space
At last we have a slogan that makes sense - #Hands #Face #Space – but is it too little too late? I think it is and doubt it will make any difference.
It is week 31 of lockdown in the UK and the number of cases continue to rise at an alarming rate. Yet, there is still evidence that people do not believe there is a pandemic or do not accept restrictions imposed to control it. They only have to look at the news to appreciate it is a global pandemic and other European countries such as Spain, France and Italy are on the verge of a second total lockdown. Here in England, Boris clings to his three-tier system of local lockdowns. I continue exploring my locality and writing articles.
Monday 19 October 2020
I spend the morning writing an article for Travel Radar. I had been pleased to read that Sean Doyle, the new CEO of British Airways, backs pre-flight testing. So do many airlines and the International Air Transport Association (as does IATA). However, governments are not so keen. Including the UK government which favours a test and release system. This will still involve 7 days’ quarantine before a test is done. If only the whole world would introduce pre-flight testing, then we could start travelling again.
This afternoon I set off to walk to Battlers Green Farm a complex of shops and a tearoom. I think I have a map of the route in my head. But I am wrong and I end up on the Battlers Green Housing Estate. Now a small settlement around a lovely little green, Phillimore Place. The green is surrounded by trees clothed in gorgeous autumn foliage. I remember an item on the news today that claimed these are the true colours of the leaves and they only turn green through photosynthesis in the sun.
I do find my way to Battlers Green Farm Rural Shopping Village. It has slowly grown since it started with a single farm shop sixty years ago. The foliage in the large courtyard is stunning. Some of the shops do not open on Monday and those that are open are about to close. The tea room, the Bull Pen, has served its last cream tea for the day. Battlers Green Farm is still a working farm and the complex is surrounded by open countryside. I have a look around and browse the Farm Shop before walking back to the flat.
This week we are bombarded with a new slogan #hands #face #space encourages us to wash our hands regularly, wear a face mask and keep a social distance from others. Greater Manchester is still resisting a move into Tier 3 after ten days debating the money that will be available to businesses that will be forced to close. But Government Ministers have given local leaders in Greater Manchester an ultimatum. They must agree a deal by Tuesday or they will be put in Tier 3 anyway. Wales has decided to impose a two-week lockdown from Friday.
Passengers flying from Heathrow can now pay for a rapid COVID-19 test. This will help those travelling to destinations where proof of a negative result is required on arrival
Tuesday 20 October 2020
I spend the morning working and listening to a Zoom conference about Italy. Zoom conferences and Webinairs are now a daily occurrence during lockdown. Some are very good and worth joining. Some not so good but I can be doing other things while listening. In the afternoon I set off to walk into the centre of Radlett to find the church. I discover a huge churchyard on the opposite side of the road. The church is locked. Strange to think that in times gone by the church was the place to go during troubled periods. Not so during the coronavirus pandemic. Another interesting discovery is the new Radlett Museum which will be opening soon – in theory. In practice everything could change tomorrow. Unlikely as our Prime Minister does not move that fast. He likes to give people notice so they can celebrate the next restriction and create yet another COVID-19 hotspot.
Greater Manchester is forced in Tier 3 lockdown from Firday after talks collapse. Pubs and bars will close, unless they are serving substantial meals, along with betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas. Household mixing is banned except in certain outdoor public spaces.
Wednesday 21 October 2020
I am going back to Dorset today. I had intended to leave very early this morning but it is raining heavily so I decide to wait until mid-morning. The weather does not improve and I drive through Storm Barbara to Sandbanks. I have to concentrate really hard as there is so much spray. But traffic on the motorways is still relatively light and there are no hold ups.
The rain has nearly stopped when I get to Sandbanks. After unpacking the car, I go for a walk around Poole Harbour to watch the sunset.
It was announced today that South Yorkshire will go into Tier 3 on Saturday.
Thursday 22 October 2020
Today my new boiler is fitted. The old one finally expired two weeks ago. There was no hope of a repair so I have to dig deep in my pockets and pay for a new one. I was lucky to get a cancellation so it could be fitted today. Boiling water to wash in was getting tedious. It takes all day. As the weather is nice I decide to go for a walk in the afternoon. I walk around the harbour to the Sandbanks Beach Café overlooking Sandbanks Beach. My temperature is taken when I go inside. I scan the bar code on my NHS Track and Trace app before going to the self-service counter. I select a very nice cheese scone with lots of butter from the COVID-19 buffet and order a mug of tea. I sit inside by the window. The café is quite busy but most people are outside on the terrace. When I get back to the flat I have a tutorial on how to use my new boiler. I have a portable thermostat – increase the temperature and the heating comes on. Turn on a hot tap and hot water gushes out. It is magic!
Friday 23 October 2020
It is food shop day today. This afternoon I get the bus into Poole. I am the only passenger on the top deck. I go straight to Sainsbury’s and do a food shop. It does not take long. So, I have time to go to Wilco where I buy a headband with reindeer antlers for my Christmas lunch on Sunday. The bus back to Sandbanks is late pulling out of the bus station as the driver cannot find reverse. He has to enlist to the help of a fellow employee who backs the bus out and then we are on our way. We head out of town doing a series of bunny hops as the driver struggles to get the bus under control. I am sitting on top deck, right at the front. As I clutch my shopping to my chest I get the giggles. This sparks a conversation with a couple sitting near me. Conversation is not easy when wearing face masks but we manage. This evening I have a practice session for a Zoom meeting I am guesting at next week. I will be talking about my work as a Tour Manager with TravelEyes leading groups of visually impaired and sighted travellers. It brings back some happy memories of trips I have done with them including a fabulous city break in Rome.
Nicola Sturgeon set out a five-level plan of local lockdown restrictions for Scotland today. The system will be similar to England's three-tier local lockdown rules. If approved at Holyrood next week, the new measures will come into force in Scotland on 2 November.
Saturday 24 October 2020
It rains all day today so I get some writing done. I abandon all hope of a walk but have twenty minutes on my exercise bike instead. We are being encouraged to open windows while at home as a defence against COVID-19. My plan is to drag the bike in front of the open patio door. But then I get very wet when I try opening the door. I only open it very slightly to push my camera out to take a photo of a huge flock of cormorants gathering on the exposed sands of Poole Harbour. I do persevere with the photography, between showers. A huge puddle has formed at the corner of Shore Road and Banks Road. Every time we have a heavy shower it spreads a bit more and I get some good images of vehicles splashing through it. These include an empty sightseeing bus that is still doing its route.
Today parts of South Yorkshire moved into Tier 3 of lockdown and Wales started its full lockdown. Police are patrolling the border to stop people going into Wales or making non-essential journeys.
Sunday 25 October 2020
I am woken at 5.15 by the sound of a fierce wind throwing large drops of rain at the window panes. Heavy showers and strong winds continue all morning. There are large flocks of birds in the harbour again. As they are fishing this would suggest a large shoal of fish out there. I do go out for a walk between showers in the morning but it is a brief respite and I get drenched in a sudden heavy shower. I have time dry out before I head for Lilliput Tennis Club where I have been invited to an early Christmas lunch. It is a large tennis club with bowls and a croquet lawn. It has a relatively small clubhouse but it is cosy and festive. There are quite a lot of people at this early Christmas lunch. We play musical tables for a while to ensure social distancing. Finally, everyone is settled and we can take our face masks off. I enjoy a lovely, traditional Christmas lunch – roast turkey followed by Christmas pudding. It is great to get out and socialise for a while.
Some Government Statistics
By 5 pm on October 19, a total of 741,212 (today 18,803) positive COVID-19 tests have been recorded and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 43,726 including a daily total of 80. Deaths with COVID-19 on the certificate 57,690. A week later on 25 October, the total of positive cases had risen to 873,800 (today 16,982) positive tests, and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 44,896 including a daily total of 151. Deaths with COVID-19 on the certificate 58,164.
More next week
Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing 4 books she turned to online travel writing and photography. Today she is editor, features’ writer and reviewer for ExperiencedTraveller.com and regularly contributes guided city walks to GPSmyCity.com