2nd October 2021
Life During a Coronavirus Pandemic: Week 79 Lovely Walks in Dorset
This week I can indulge my passion for walking and I find some new paths to follow on the Isle of Purbeck.
At the beginning of week 79 of the coronavirus pandemic I work as a tour manager for a walking holiday based in Bournemouth. We have a full day walk followed by a half day walk. The weather is kind to us and the sun shines on us for both our walks. Mid-week I do a shift on the pier at Brownsea Island and take an early morning walk through thick mist so the island looks very mysterious, in particular the lagoon. But the sun soon comes through and it is very pleasant on the pier welcoming visitors to the island and watch the marine traffic sailing in and out of Poole Harbour. The rest of the week becomes a frantic search for local cafes with free WiFi as the connection in my flat has failed completely. But I find this makes me work harder – away from distractions like daytime television. Practically weaned off it by the end of this week.
Monday 20 September 2021
Our walk this morning starts at Greenlands Farm on Studland so a private bus takes across on the chain ferry to our starting point. We follow a path the takes us through Studland Village, past Banks Arms public house and the Second World War bunker before we emerge on the cliff top a short distance from the Obelisk. Once we are out in the open we are battered by the wind but the views are amazing. We stop by the obelisk for a very brief lunch break.
After eating we turn inland again and follow a path down to the main road through the
Purbeck Hills. We walk along the road for a while and then take a path across country to Corfe Castle Village. We have over an hour in the village so there is plenty of time to enjoy an excellent Dorset cream tea at the Model Village Café. Most of us dozed on the bus during he journey back to our hotel in Bournemouth.
US relaxes travel rules for UK visitors Fully vaccinated UK travellers will be able to visit the US from November, it has been announced. The White House will lift the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers from entering the country. It will be a major boon for airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and Heathrow Airport.
Tuesday 21 September 2021
Greeted by a glorious sunrise over the sea when I wake early this morning. A perfect day for our journey to Swanage on the public bus which has an open top deck. We meet our walking guide at the Swanage bus station and set off through the town and then take a lovely path across country that brings us out at the Discovery Centre in Durleston Country Park. We walk up the steps to a folly, Durleston Castle, at the heart of the park and then have a break to explore the castle before walking back into Swanage along an easy tree-lined path overlooking the sea and the town.
England’s Covid travel rules spark outrage around the world as it refuses to recognise vaccines administered across huge swathes of the world. Critics across Latin America, Africa and south Asia, denounce what they call an illogical and discriminatory policy
Wednesday 22 September 2021
I am on duty on the pier at Brownsea Island today but, as usual, I get an early staff boat and go for a walk. The island is clothed in a thick mist and it is very atmospheric. After walking along the boardwalk I go into the nature reserve and follow another boardwalk to a hide I have never visited before. There is not much to see due because of the floating mass of white cloud and it is very ethereal. On the way back I follow a narrow path through a wooded area and pause to enjoy the brilliant green of the lichen wrapped around the trunks and branches of the trees.
As always there is a steady stream of traffic coming and going from Poole Harbour. Most interesting is the new marine dredger Cemex Go Innovation built in Romania. This state-of-the-art in sea-going suction hopper dredger is designed to draw sand and gravel from the sea bed.
Nowhere left for Covid to go to mutate into a deadly variant, says vaccine creator because there “aren’t many places for the virus to go”, the lead scientist behind the Oxford vaccine has said. Dame Sarah Gilbert said that viruses tended to become less virulent over time as they spread through a population which was becoming more immune.
Thursday 23 September 2021
Another lovely, sunny day today and although I have to work I sit by the open patio door enjoying the view across the harbour and a refreshing, gently breeze. Occasionally I get up and walk around the spacious living room. On one such occasion I spot a crow hanging upside down on a wire that stretches across the road. At first I thought it was a black plastic bag but then I realise it is a bird, possibly a dead bird. Closer inspection reveals a bird that is very much alive and having some fun. I manage to get one photograph before he drops off the wire and flies away.
Brits may have to film themselves taking lateral flow tests for travel in order to prevent people cheating the system. This follows the announcement that double vaccinated travellers will be able to take cheaper lateral flow tests instead of the current PCR as a “day two” test from late October.
Friday 24 September 2021
I am woken at 05:45 by the road sweeper’s flashing orange lights so I get up and have some breakfast and then start working. As I have been without an internet connection in the flat for nearly two weeks now I have to plan my work around finding a local café with WiFi. Today I got to the Jazz Café just a few minutes’ walk down the road. I have to prepare for my trip to Albania next week. I am really excited about this trip as I have been to Albania before and it is a very interesting country with a beautiful coastline. This time my trip will be an extended tour of the country visiting some places I have not seen before.
UK on brink of joining EU Covid vaccine passport scheme sources in Brussels and Westminster have confirmed. The EU Digital Covid Certificate should make travelling in Europe easier and cheaper for British tourists. Joining it would also enable the Government to quickly launch a domestic vaccine passport system.
Brexit ‘part of the solution’ to lorry driver shortage, claims Transport Secretary who has denied that Brexit is part of the problem behind the shortage of lorry drivers – arguing that Britain’s divorce from the EU had presented solutions to the crisis by, for example, giving more slots available for HGV tests.
In the News Today
Queues form at petrol stations as drivers urged not to panic buy amid fuel shortages due to a lack of lorry drivers, as customers have been urged not to panic buy. A handful of BP and Tesco petrol stations have been closed as a result of not being able to get petrol or diesel supplies.
Saturday 25 September 2021
After several sunny days in a row the weather breaks today and I rush down the road to the Jazz Café between showers and have a coffee there and do some work using their WiFi. When I get back to the flat I carry on working but I am constantly distracted by the scenery beyond my patio door. Kite boarders skimming across the grey surface of the sea and the occasional brave passengers huddled on the top of the sightseeing buses.
This evening the sunset over Poole Harbour is an amazing display of reds, oranges and yellows and a promise of good weather tomorrow.
In the News Today
New York Declares State of Emergency as Vaccine Mandate Chaos Looms as tens of thousands of unvaccinated New York health-care workers are set to be fired on Monday once the state’s COVID-19 vaccination deadline kicks in, Gov. Kathy Hochul plans a state wide state of emergency.
Amateur divers find an 'incredible' treasure trove of gold coins from the Roman Empire while cleaning up trash on the seabed. The collection of 53 coins date back to the 4th and 5th centuries and are nearly perfectly preserved. Researchers suggested the coins could have been hidden from barbarian looters.
Sunday 26 September 2021
This morning, for a change, I go to Compton Acres to use the WiFi there. It was too cool to sit outside but I found a table in a corner by an open door and it was very pleasant working and sipping a cappuccino. After working for a while I had a stroll through the gardens and spent some time sitting in the Japanese garden. The sound of the water cascading down the little waterfall was very soothing. When I got back to the flat I started to sort out the clothes I will need for my trip to Albania. This time of year the weather can go through all four seasons in a week. Having decided to take a selection of shirts with me it took the rest of the day to iron them all. It is so good to be going away again although my packing skills have become a bit rusty due to a long lay-off during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hotel quarantine could face axe after Ireland ditches this policy resulting in growing pressure on the British Government to follow suit claiming Hotel quarantine was very much a policy of its time but things have moved on.”
Pfizer CEO predicts 'we will able to come back to normal life' within a year even with new variants of the coronavirus claiming the COVID-19 pandemic would likely subside by next year, allowing for a return to normal life.
Some Government Statistics
By 5 pm on Monday 20 September, a total of 7,465,448 (total that day 36,100) positive COVID-19 tests have been recorded and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 135,252 including a daily total of 49. By the end of the week on Sunday 19 September, the total of positive cases had risen to 7,664,230 (total that day 32,417) positive tests, and the cumulative total of deaths within 28 days of a positive test is 136,168 including a daily total of 58. Total deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate is now 158,664, an increase this week of 994. (this statistic lags behind the daily statistics as it is updated on a weekly basis).
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 four books she turned to online travel writing.
Hi Valery, sorry to hear you are having such prolonged trouble with the internet. Have you been given any explanation? I don’t know what I would do if the same thing happened here, especially as we are in lockdown and unable to find another spot. They do mess with the NBN here and we go off the air, but usually between midnight and 5am on a Sunday which doesn’t worry me. The ACT is due to come out of lockdown at the end of the week when, hopefully, we get to 80 per cent double-vaxed, but there are still concerns in NSW and Victoria which are still recording more than 2000 daily cases and 20 deaths between them.
I am looking forward to your story on Albania. We visited it on a cruise three years ago, but had only a day there and would have loved to see more.
Hi Graham – yes, it was a very trying time and not over yet as I left for Albania before it was sorted out. I changed providers but too late to get it up and running before I left. Shocking to realise just how dependent we have become on technology. I hope you are now out of lockdown and enjoying life as normal as it can be in the current situation. All the best, Valery