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This week's diversions

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Well I am running out of things to say about coronavirus  It persists.  The new variant first identified in India seems to be more transmissible and is now dominant here in the UK.  Case numbers remain relatively low but are rising.  Will the big opening up which we are expecting in England on 21 June happen?  I don't know.  Will we get to France towards the end of the summer?  I don't know.  Will we be allowed to mix inside here in Wales soon?  I don't know.  So here is a taste of the variety of ways in which I have been distracting myself. Running.  I am trying to get back to being able to run 10k in readiness for the Chester 10k which with luck will take place in July.  I have only run 10k once before and that was last year just before the lockdown struck when Ian and I ran the Chester 10k together on the 8th March 2020.  I was totally delighted to do it, even if I am slow as a slow thing.  I don't really care if I am slow.  That is just the way it is.  I finished la

And this time we go North!

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There is no holding us now!  Last week the campervan took us to Scotland.   We have always loved Scotland and Ian in particular has an attachment to walking Scottish hills which for him is not quite replicated anywhere else.  We stayed with friends who have some really great self catering accommodation at  Bonawe House  in Taynuilt near Oban.  A self catering apartment and evenings round the fire pit sorted out the Covid regulations.  It is a very beautiful place.  Thank you so much to Damon and Renate for your wonderful hospitality and kindness. We took the foot passenger ferry from near Oban to the island of Kerrera and walked out to Gylen Castle.  The castle was built by the Macdougall clan in 1582 but was occupied only until 1647 when it was besieged and burned out by the Covenanters.  It seems a very short time for such a beautifully built and designed place to be lived in.  There has been considerable renovation work in recent years and it is easy to see how people lived.  We fou

Life opens up

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Sometimes having a campervan is a wonderful thing.  So here is why: we are allowed over the border into England now, we are allowed to travel within England and to spend time in gardens with another household.  We are not yet allowed to stay overnight in other people's houses but the great thing about a campervan is that you bring your own bedroom with you.  So a week last Friday we set off for Devon to spend time with younger son and his family and then with my sister and her husband.  Devon!  That is the furthest we have been in months!  It is a familiar drive down the M6 and M5, round about a six hour journey including a stop.  A few years ago when my father was alive we did this journey every week.  Doing it again now, especially after a long period of staying home, it seems astonishing that we managed it.  It felt like a long way.  But it also felt like a glorious way.  The sky was a brilliant blue as we drove and the trees and fields were the brilliant, vivid green of early M

A week's diary

Monday 12th April was the day for the opening up of some restrictions in England, not here in Wales where some things (hairdressers!) had already opened and others (outside hospitality) remain closed until the 26th of this month.  So here, in case I forget as I surely will, is a day by day account of this last week. Monday We drove to Manchester for the first time in months to see our older son and his family.  You know that little children grow very fast but even so it was a shock to see how tall the six year old has become and that the two year old has gone from a toddler to a chatty little girl in the months since we had seen them.  The oldest, at fifteen, is very clearly a young man now.  How fast it goes.  We shared lunch and walked and played in the park.  At one point the six year old said with some satisfaction "You really like me don't you Grandma?"  How lovely.  That is one of the great gifts grandparents can give their grandchildren, that sense of other people

Journeying at last

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On the 28th March we were at last allowed to stop "staying local" and travel within Wales.  Two of our children and their families live in Wales and two in England.  We had managed to see our North Wales daughter and her family through the lockdown from time to time, for childcare or, as things relaxed a bit further, outside for a walk or a play in the park.  The South Wales family we had not seen for months although we facetime and talk pretty often.  We would have to stay outside if we made the four hour journey down the border.  So Emma and I plotted together.  We could bring the campervan which would be our place to sleep and retire to.  She would buy a firepit so we could spend the evenings together outside on their terrace.  The weather forecast was consulted and two or three days of unseasonal warmth were predicted with winds from the south bringing some sunshine and higher temperatures so that was when we would travel.  Plan made. On Tuesday morning as we drove south

Has it really been a year?

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Has it really been a year since the first lockdown struck and we all retreated to our homes?  I went back and read my first blog about coronavirus  and see that I wrote it on 28th March 2020, so yes, a year ago almost exactly.  How long ago it seems.  This long slow year has chugged away and here we are now, with the vaccination roll out offering hope and the emergence of new variants reminding us that maybe, in some ways, coronavirus is here to stay and the world must adapt to it with annual vaccinations perhaps, as for flu.  We shall see.  I hear people talking about getting back to normal and I wonder what that will look like.  Somehow I find it hard to believe that it will be exactly as life was before the pandemic hit. A walk through the churchyard But there are lots of things to lift the spirits, chiefly from today that here in Wales we are allowed to travel anywhere in the country.  By "country" I do mean Wales as the rest of the UK is still off limits for the moment. 

New house, new month, new rules?

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 So here we are in the middle of March and on Friday the Welsh Government announced some small changes to the rules in Wales.  The vaccination programme is going well with more than 23 million people now having received their first dose of the vaccine across the UK and nearly 1.5 million having had both doses.  Across the UK we have also been in  lockdown which itself has an impact in reducing the spread of the virus.  Deaths have fallen sharply as have new cases and hospitalisations.  The death figures for today in the UK are 175 and there are 6,609 new cases.  There has been some pressure mainly from business and some politicians for coronavirus lockdown rules to be eased and in England the Westminster government has published a "road map"  giving various dates when changes will be made, assuming that cases continue to fall or at least to remain low.  Schools have gone back in England this last week and in Wales many more years of school will reopen next week so there is a