Coronavirus week 14 - 21st to 27th June

Once again what coronavirus lockdown looks like in the UK depends on where you are.  Many more relaxations in England, to be honest so many (and none of them applicable to us in Wales) that I have lost track of them.  This has been accompanied this last week by some major disruptions. In Bournemouth in Dorset, in Manchester in the North West and at Ogmore in South Wales there have been large gatherings, parties and public disorder.  It seems like another world from our quiet rural life and it does not make me want to rejoin it.  Pubs and other hospitality venues will be opening on 4th July in England.  Death rates have fallen but are still in three figures.  In Wales we wait for the dropping of the "stay local" requirement on 6th July.  What will we do?  Where will we go?  I have tried to shut off from thinking about it.  I am sure we will make plans to try to see our children and grandchildren but for me the secret of a reasonably happy lockdown has been taking it a day at …

Coronavirus week 13 - 14th to 21st June

Is it easing a little now?  Watching the news on television it certainly looks like it.  Living up here under Welsh rules in a rural part of the country it doesn't seem very different.  Hospital admissions are slowly decreasing as is the daily death total.  There is more traffic on the roads.  
I have given up watching the daily press conference from Westminster.  This is partly news overload, and partly an irritation with politician speak.  There seems to be a refusal to admit mistakes, and a weird tendency not to make changes in a clear way but to trail changes that will be made as though testing to see if they will be palatable.  I read an article in the Times about the money being spent on polling at present by government and it seemed to fit that sense of a government which is almost too reactive, being led by rather than leading public opinion.  I am not making a party political point here.  I remember having a similar sense when Tony Blair was in power of government by focus…

Coronavirus week 12 - 8th to 14th June

What's new here up our hill in North Wales? Not a lot.  Last week we had a socially distanced cup of tea outside in the garden with some friends.  On Friday we bought take away fish and chips from our local cafe, brought it home and had a post fish and chips zoom call.  This was the first food we had eaten since lockdown which had not come out of our kitchen.  It is a good job that I generally like cooking.  On Friday lunchtime we sat down to listen to the First Minister's press conference, hoping to hear of some further relaxations to lockdown rules, only to realise that it is another week until the review date.  If we lived in England we would now be able to see our children and grandchildren, in a socially distanced way and outside, but here very local restrictions remain in place.  I don't generally have a problem with the slow and cautious way in which Wales is approaching its lockdown rules, indeed whether you agree or not, there does seem to be a more coherent and p…

Coronavirus week 11 - 31st May to 7th June

Big differences at the moment between Wales and England:  Welsh lockdown continues with the minor tweaks which allow you to meet one household outside within five miles of home.  England has greater freedoms with fewer restrictions on travel although many businesses in both countries remain closed.  Schools are reopening partially in England with wide variations throughout the country.  It is planned that schools in Wales will reopen from 29th June for all ages but with much reduced numbers allowing only part time attendance.  Our own children are considering the position for their children.  Each family is differently affected and the parts of the country they are live in might also lead them to make different choices.
Face masks will become compulsory on public transport in England.  Wales is still considering its own position but we have made facemasks for ourselves having done some reading and research of our own.  There does seem to be some protection provided by facemasks, both f…

Coronavirus week 10 - 24th to 31st May

If this blog is to be any kind of record of these times for me and my family, this week we have to record the furore around Dominic Cummings.  Cummings has been a trusted advisor to the Prime Minister through the referendum campaign and the General Election of 2019.  He is not an elected representative but chosen by the Prime Minister and only capable of dismissal by him.  It emerged some ten days ago that Cummings and his wife had driven to Durham where his parents live while they both had symptons of coronavirus.  They self isolated in a separate property on his parents' farm.  Prior to returning to London Cummings and his wife and son drove some thirty miles to Barnard Castle in order, he claimed, to test his eyesight before making the return journey to London.  The trip to Barnard Castle incontrovertibly broke the rules of lockdown.  He justified the journey to Durham on the grounds of concern about childcare for his son providing "exceptional circumstances".  In the…

Coronavirus week 9, 17th to 23rd May

Week 9?  Well it could be week 29.  This is just what life is like now, especially here in Wales where the lockdown restrictions remain in place.  It seems that new infections and deaths from the virus are slowing but at different speeds in different places around the country.  London, which was the first place to have a surge in infections, has now seen a marked fall.  Here in North Wales the friend who is a front line NHS worker in our local hospital thinks that we might not yet have reached the peak.  In England the relaxation of lockdown has seen people travelling to exercise and meeting up in small numbers in outside spaces.  When I talk to my friend from Valencia she too reports the relaxation of lockdown in Spain.  In some ways it is almost easier when the rules remain tight.  There are no decisions to be made or risks to weigh up.  We are still here, still staying home.
Perhaps it is this sense of almost being left behind that has got to me a bit this week.  I don't mean by…

Coronavirus diary Week 8 - 19th to 17th May

Well I was wrong about there being not a lot of difference between the arrangements in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Restrictions have been eased significantly in England with driving for exercise now allowed and schools to reopen partially in June.  The picture in England seems quite confused to me but that may be because I have not spent any time on the detail of the new arrangements.  Rules in Wales continue very much the same although we can now go out from home for exercise as often as we like.  There has been some concern here in Wales about people travelling into the country from England to exercise.  We were surprised to hear from our neighbours that in walking up the hill for their exercise the other day they had been stopped by the police who were clearly checking to make sure that they hadn't driven in from outside the area.  While where we live is very beautiful it is not very well known so I was curious to find resources being given to police it.  I …