So, we’re a couple of days into Lockdown 2. And what’s different? Not much as far as I can see.
It doesn’t seem like a lockdown. Nearly everything is still open and there is traffic and people everywhere. It’s business as usual without pubs and restaurants and a few ‘non-essential’ shops. All that’s happened is that the Government has taken away our luxuries and stopped us having fun.
When escaping your home, the most fun you can have inside with yourself or member of your household, is to browse the clothes, books and homeware etc. in your local supermarket, or you can visit the garden centre to look at stuff that has nothing to do with gardens. I wouldn’t normally regard supermarkets as a fun day out (its a get in and straight out operation for me) but when boredom sets in on this scale you can understand the appeal. The trouble is, the big supermarkets are so busy in Lockdown and, from what I see, so full of brainless co-vid fodder, my wife and I often walk out with un-bought essentials still on the list. At one supermarket in Oldham, I saw several Asian men greeting each other and shaking hands, a woman having a loud conversation on her phone with her mask around her chin, and three construction workers with chin masks shouting sandwich orders to each other (watch out virus – we have yellow high vis jackets).
I could visit a DIY or garden centre store if I wanted to start any more DIY or garden projects in lockdown but alas I am DIY’d and gardened out. We would love to try more take-aways to cheer us up at the weekend but my wife will not countenance such an indulgence without personally inspecting the hygiene and coronavirus-safe practices employed in those premises.
I am really missing the gym but I decided months ago these were risky places to be. I’ve already terminated gym memberships because of mold in the showers and poor cleanliness and whilst my local Council run gym is as clean as you can probably get, I don’t trust staff to enforce the co-vid gym etiquette.
We are allowed to exercise outdoors or visit a public park with one other person or small support bubble provided this is ‘local’. What constitutes ‘local’ is anyone’s guess but I suppose one would have to spend longer exercising there than actually travelling there and back to not take the Michael.
We have tried my local park – ‘Tandle Hill Country Park’ but this wonderful place is becoming corrupted by an increasing number of dogs and their often stupid owners (the increase in dogs will be quite a legacy of the loneliness of lockdown I think) or one is likely to be wiped out by the increasing number of arrogant cyclists who think they own the footpaths and bridleways. At another local park, families and friends were meeting each other after school and although this is against the rules, its what’s going to happen when schools are open and kids have to be collected or walk home together.
We could try exercising further afield but last time we attempted a countryside canal towpath walk at Uppermill during Tier 3 restrictions, the car park was full (partly taken over by Co-vid testing) and the towpath was so congested with extended families and dogs, we moved on. (It must be wonderful to be so spatially unaware and unconcerned about the ridiculously high local infection rates).
Anyway, we will muddle on and continue to worry that no-one (including the Government) is taking the lockdown or even basic safety precautions seriously enough. Boris thinks 4 weeks should be enough to give the virus a jolly good thrashing and get a semblance of normality back. But many scientists don’t believe that four weeks of these spotty restrictions will be enough to stamp it out or to even revamp its contact tracing system to track of the virus’s spread for the rest of the winter.
Christmas will not be the same but I am determined to enjoy a few days with my immediate family. Many people will go completely rogue of course and what this will mean in terms of the January Co-vid statistics is too depressing to think about. So I won’t!
Instead lets celebrate the breaking news that vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech have developed an effective coronavirus vaccine that has proven 90% effective in trials! Also, I will take some comfort from the reports that whilst Donald Trump sulks on the golf course, President elect Biden is making all the right noises in setting his policy priorities: at the top of the list – getting the pandemic under control.
If you haven’t already seen this, please check out this hilarious video I saw on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. It’s a joke clip of a man who looks like President Trump throwing a tantrum in a children’s playgroup. Here is the YouTube link…..