New house, new month, new rules?
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 concern among medics and scientists that time should be taken to assess the impact of this on case numbers before other changes to the rules are made.
Wales has its own rules on handling the pandemic and is probably generally a bit more cautious than England. The changes that were announced yesterday are very much in keeping with that slow and cautious approach. Since Christmas we have been supposed to stay home except in very limited circumstances such as essential shopping or medical appointments or work if work cannot be done from home. We have also been supposed to exercise from home and not to meet others even outside although that has been relaxed a little very recently to allow two people to meet outside, first for exercise and then without the need to be engaged in exercise. Well now the stay home rule has been replaced with a stay local requirement which will still not help us to see our wider family. We shall have to wait to the end of March to see if the rules are relaxed again to allow us to travel within Wales although that still would keep half of our children and grandchildren out of reach. We can however now meet in gardens within the stay local restrictions so if it warms up a little we might return to our weekly meet up with local friends which has been taking place on Zoom over the winter. It will be good to be able to have a face to face conversation in our garden or theirs and to chat over coffee or cake.
These changes were fairly widely trailed so we were not expecting things to shift very much, although hairdressers can reopen which will be great. I am not sure when I will be able to get an appointment. If my hairdresser's facebook page is anything to go by I am not the only person longing for one! So I have been distracting myself from being unable to plan to see our people. Some of this distraction is directed towards buying things (not that usual for me. I am not a keen shopper.)
Here is a beautiful new lampshade, hand printed and hand made by Hannah Madden I have liked what she does for a couple of years now but as we were getting ready for moving I had quite a thing about not buying more stuff. Now that we are here and settled I decided to go for it. There is something really special about having something designed and made from start to finish by one creative person. I love the design and the sense of having something unique and most of all I love the sense of supporting one person's creative venture rather than pouring my money into big business.
And here is my second bit of retail therapy: a new dress from White Stuff. I feel as though I have worn the same clothes for weeks and weeks as we got ready to move: stretchy leggings, top, fleece. Even though I don't like shopping I do like clothes so I decided I wanted something to take me out of my covid uniform. This is great. It is warm and comfortable to wear and it has pockets!
And as a further distraction from not being able to see our family I am continuing with more exercise. For the third week in a row I have run three times, slowly as always, but I think that this coming week I will get back to being able to run 5k. From there I need to gently increase if I am to have any chance of running 10k in the summer. I have registered for the Chester 10k again but at the moment there is no way in the world I could run that far so that is my aim.
We are about to see our local grandchildren outside for a short play so there is that to look forward to. Maybe we are inching towards being let out. How is it for you?