8th November 2020
Life in a Coronavirus Pandemic: A Stormy Week 32 of Lockdown
Week 32 of the lockdown is also half-term in Dorset and I wonder if it is a good idea to stay here. However, terrible weather keeps visitors away and limits my outdoor activities.
This week is a week of catching up. The dreaded tax return is dragged out of my Work in Progress file. I make a start cataloguing the thousands of photos I have taken since the lockdown started. But I still make sure I get out for exercise and fresh air every day. England is still in a 3-tier lockdown but another national lockdown is looming on the horizon.
Monday 26 October 2020
This morning I am re-united with Rosmarie for a walk along the beach. Her ankle is better and her open-heart surgery has been postponed. I meet a lovely little puppy called Storm as I start walking across the sand. The sun is coming up by the time I join Rosmarie at the end of a groyne. It is a glorious morning. The tide is very high and it looks as though we cannot get as far as the Haven Hotel. We decide to give it a try as some of the waves do not get right up to the walls of the houses that back on to the beach. We nearly make it but then get caught out by one wave. Deep in conversation we had not noticed it sweeping towards us. Some of the regulars watch as we splash our way towards them.
When we join them we increase the group number to seven. We are still living with the rule of six. So, five of them move on. We watch a man stripping off to go swimming. He has run along the beach, a huge rucksack on his back. He strips off multiple layers of clothing, lays them carefully along a wall and then runs into the sea. We move on, now a safe distance behind the others.
As I cycle back towards the flat a rainbow arches over the harbour. I abandon my bike and walk along the pavement to get a better photo. As I watch it gets brighter until I can see the whole rainbow from Brownsea Island to a point on the other side of the road. It is probably the best one I have ever seen. The rain arrives as the rainbow starts to fade so I rush to shelter.
Tuesday 27 October 2020
It is still raining when I wake this morning. Miserable weather for the half-term holidaymakers. I switch the radio on, Radio Smooth, a local station with constant pop music. It cheers me up and I jig around the room. It looks as this and my exercise bike will be my only activity today. I spend all day working and watching the puddle on the road below getting bigger and bigger until it nearly meets the one on the other side of the road. The rain eases off as evening approaches and I go out for a quick walk around the harbour. This involves navigating some large pools of water.
Warrington moved into Tier 3 lockdown today rather than waiting until midnight on Thursday as originally planned. A financial plan was agreed that is in line with other areas in Tier 3
Wednesday 28 October 2020
There is a strong wind blowing this morning. I had arranged to meet Rosmarie on the beach so I get up and get dressed. I don’t wait until it gets light enough to ride my bike. Instead I jog around the harbour, cross the road by the public gardens and jog through on to the beach. I have not done any jogging for ages so I am pleasantly surprised to find I can still comfortably manage 1 kilometre. The beach is empty apart from one man and his dog, Casey, a black Labrador. Casey is having some obedience training involving a whistle and treats. But there are too many distractions and I am one of them. Casey bounds across the sand and greets me enthusiastically before reluctantly re-joining her owner. I sit on a rock and watch dawn breaking. Rosmarie joins me later and we enjoy and exhilarating walk along the beach.
Thursday 29 October 2020
I hear the rain pattering on window panes as soon as I wake. I have plenty of work to get on with. My new role as Assistant Editor for Travel Radar involves checking articles submitted by our writers as well as doing my three articles each week. I have a break in the afternoon to meet a friend for tea and cake at Compton Acres Garden Centre in Canford Cliffs. I walk briskly up the hill so I won’t feel too bad about my forthcoming indulgence. Luckily, it has stopped raining by the time I set off. After indulging in the delicious homemade cake, I have the caramel and hazelnut, we have a wander around the shop. The Christmas stock is on display. I can’t help but wonder what Christmas 2020 will have in store for us.
Nottingham moves into Tier 3 plus tomorrow which includes a 9 pm booze curfew. Inevitably, the bars are packed out tonight and revellers are chanting in the streets for one final hurrah.
Friday 30 October 2020
The wind is still rattling the windows when I wake this morning but it has finally stopped raining. I have run out of milk so I have to brave the wind and rain (it started again) to walk the short distance to Tesco when it opens at 7 am. There is something different about this short walk today. Then I remember seeing the gardeners working in the public garden yesterday. The shrubs have been cut back for the first time this year. It looks very different and the houses behind the gardens will be able to see the harbour again. Despite the weather the kite boarders are out in force on Poole Harbour. According to the weather forecast we are about to be battered by Storm Aiden.
Birmingham is on the brink of moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3 and Oxford, Luton and parts of Yorkshire heading for Tier 2. PM Boris is under increased pressure to go for a full lockdown in England. He has not ruled out the possibility.
Saturday 31 October 2020
Heavy rain is forecast for most of the country today. Brownsea Island has decided to close due to the bad weather. I listen to the news on the radio. PM Boris is definitely considering putting the whole of the UK in lockdown next week. An announcement will be made on Monday. The weather gets worse as the day goes on – wind rattles the patio door and rain lashes the windows. Large puddles re-appear on the road below. Storm Aiden has arrived. But it abates in the afternoon, the rain stops and the sun comes out. Just as I am contemplating going out for a walk the alarm goes on my Responder App. It is a request to do a check and chat. I do that and spend the next hour talking to a gentleman in Chelmsford. He has some strong views so it is quite an animated conversation. It ends abruptly when the battery on my iPhone goes flat. There is a blue moon tonight. This happens when there are two full moons in the same month.
PM Boris was due to hold a press conference at five o’clock this evening. It was delayed until 6.30 pm. It is now clear that England will be going back into lockdown from Thursday next week. Finally, it is announced England will go into lockdown from 5 November. Details to be announced later. But it is expected this lockdown will last at least one month in an attempt to ‘save Christmas’. Carlisle moved into Tier 2 overnight.
Sunday 01 November 2020
First day of November today. Where did the rest of 2020 go? Oh yes, I have spent most of it home alone. I had promised myself yesterday that this morning I would get up at 6 am and go for a walk whatever the weather. But when I walk through to the sitting room rubbing my bleary eyes I discover the glass patio door is opaque with rivulets of rain running down it and trembling under the force of the wind. Storm Aiden is still hanging around. I get on with some work inside and hope it might clear up later. It does and I grab my camera and head for Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve. The ground inside the reserve is wet and muddy but this does not stop me enjoying the fresh air. And the peace and quiet – I am the only person in the reserve. It is still very dull but I find some brightness amongst the dripping bushes. A lone honeysuckle bloom.
PM Boris has a message for us – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives – work at home if possible, only go out for exercise or essentials. All but essential shops will close. However, schools and colleges will stay open and football will continue behind closed doors. The schools want closure.
Some Government Statistics
By 5 pm on 26 October, a total of 894,690 (today 20,890) positive COVID-19 tests have been recorded and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 44,998 including a daily total of 102. Deaths with COVID-19 on the certificate 58,164. A week later on 01 November, the total of positive cases had risen to 1,034,914(today 23,254) positive tests, and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 46,717 including a daily total of 162. Deaths with COVID-19 on the certificate 58,925.
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