Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Closing time!

First came the announcement that they are closing the local reservoir my son and I used to walk around on stress-reducing walks - indeed still do walk around on a fairly regular basis when he is in this part of the country.

“Reservoirs across the area including Dovestones and Audenshaw are to close to the public to reduce social contact. The move follows scenes from the weekend which were widely criticised on social media of people flouting the governments advice to stay at home.

Dovestone reservoir in particular saw huge numbers of visitors during the weekend’s good weather. United Utilities, which manage the sites, announced they will be closing toilets, car parks and gated entrances from midnight tonight [Monday 23 March].

Paula Steer is United Utilities’ director responsible for health and safety and estate management and she explained the reason for the move: “We’re sorry to be doing this as we know these sites are enjoyed by so many and it’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly.  We really need to think about the well-being of everyone in our communities at the moment, and that means avoiding unnecessary travel or close contact with those outside your household.”

Then came this announcement:-

“Prime minister Boris Johnson has imposed an unprecedented three-week nationwide lockdown across the UK in an attempt to bring a halt to the coronavirus outbreak. All British households have been told to stay at home except for a strictly limited set of purposes - with police having powers to enforce the instructions with fines.

Shops selling non-essential goods have been ordered to close, along with libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.”

So there it is, just what we expected eventually. The country is closing down. Eastenders has stopped filming. So, I think, has Coronation Street. Even The Archers, on Radio 4, an alternative UK where Coronavirus seems not to have made its presence felt yet, is reducing its output. Even Sports Direct have finally had to accept that they do not provide essential goods and services!

It seems that disregard for advice from the powers that be is as old as the hills. This is from the Diaries of Samuel Pepys - London 1664:-

“On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by Her Majesty’s men, I looked upon the streets to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague about. Not a care has the rogues for the health of their elders!”

So, little has changed!

In Texas it is not just the young who have no care for their elders; the elders themselves are apparently declaring the selves ready to die to prevent the economy going bust. I wonder if the governor has asked all the oldies in the state about this! Mind you, the USA, still haggling state by state over the price of ventilators, is not so far down the Coronavirus route as we are. Maybe they still think a wall will keep the virus out. In the light of the latest instructions,

Phil and I will need to plan our daily routine to be sure to get the maximum exercise from one daily outing. Yesterday took us on a nostalgia walk down the valley from our village to the little hamlet of Slackcote, the location of the first house we bought. We stood outside the house and reminisced - “That’s our bedroom window. That’s where our daughter was born.” - all at a good safe distance from the house, even though we saw nobody.

Here are some more photos.

A nice display of croci to set us on our way.

The valley path.

A bit of old industrial ruins

The place where they aways used to refurbish classic cars - one rather fine but dusty example remaining.

 Views of the stream, eventually joining the river Tame.

 What we always called "The Four Row" with the actual "Slackcote Cottages" at the back of the photo.

 And now, news of a completely unrelated death, nothing to do with the pandemic:

“Asterix illustrator Albert Uderzo has died at the age of 92, his family has announced. The French comic book artist, who created the beloved Asterix comics in 1959 with the writer RenĂ© Goscinny, died on Tuesday. He “died in his sleep at his home in Neuilly from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus. He had been very tired for several weeks,” his son-in-law Bernard de Choisy said”. 

That’s another bit of nostalgia, going right back to our university days! So it goes.

1 comment:

  1. The Pepys quote you mention is actually a modern take on his diary. It was written by an account, @PepysDiaries, which is trying to jot down commentary the way Samuel would have done. https://londonist.com/london/books-and-poetry/samuel-pepys-quote.

    But, thanks! You reminded me of his diaries, of which I had completely forgotten!