Wednesday, 24 June 2020

No more briefings! Opinions on relaxing! Pubs! And heatwaves!

Well, it seems the Prime Minister has put a stop to daily Coronavirus briefings. Does this mean that they think it’s all over? That we can all get back to normal but remember to be vigilant? The scientists appear to disagree somewhat and there are calls for checks to be made to ensure that the country is ready in the event of a second wave, which they seem to think is quite likely.

I suppose we couldn’t realistically wait until we are ABSOLUTELY sure that it is safe to relax things and get the economy going again. We might be waiting a long long time. It’s a little like waiting to cross a busy road. If you wait until there is ABSOLUTELY no traffic whatsoever you might never cross the road and so you set off while there is still some traffic rumbling along but no huge lorry about to take your legs from under you. The trouble is that we are still not really sure whether or not there is a huge lorry just round the bend that we can’t yet see.

I mentioned that the pub next door to us appears to be quite well prepared for the grand reopening. Well, yesterday afternoon I was almost convinced that they had preempted the government decision and gone ahead with the reopening anyway. There were definite sounds of ribaldry and carousing from one corner of the newly-converted carpark-now-beer garden. And I swear I heard people singing “Happy Birthday to You” at one point. Maybe the staff were practising and maybe it really was someone’s birthday. Since the trees are in full leaf and since they constructed so many pergola-style shelters in the pub’s grounds it was impossible to actually see what was going on. I could have walked down the road a bit and looked over the wall, I suppose, but that was a little too nosy-neighbour-interfering-busybody even for me. Besides, it was hardly an illegal rave, whatever was going on!

I wonder what will happen when pubs do reopen. The headlines in the papers about regaining freedom to go to the pub, celebrating the 4th of July, labelling it Super Saturday all seem like marketing, calculated to send people rushing en masse to pub. Goodness knows how it can all be controlled in an orderly fashion.

But that’s really not my problem. We are fortunate to live in a reasonably rural setting. I would not like to live close to town centre pub when they reopen.

Since the lockdown eased just enough to increase the traffic flow around here we have noticed a reduction in birdsong. Even on the bridle paths, far enough from the main road to give some sense of isolation but close enough for some traffic still to be heard, there is less variety than there was only a few weeks ago.

The promised heatwave has arrived. Yesterday I went out into the garden and was quite dismayed to see what looked like a dead blackbird lying spreadeagled on the grass. As I went to take a look he moved his head. Oh, I thought, the poor thing must be injured. So I took another couple of steps, unsure what I could do to help as I am very squeamish around possibly injured wildlife. And then he righted himself and flew off. Later in the day he came back to the same spot and settled down to what looked for all the world like a bit of sunbathing. Basking blackbirds! Whatever next!

Today it was already hot at 9.00 when I set off to walk to Uppermill market. I was glad of the shade along the Donkey Line bridle path on my way home.

Uppermill and the market were moderately busy, not quite pre-lockdown busy but closer to normality than I have seen so far. There are still not many face masks in evidence but people are careful to observe the distances? Shops and market stall have long straggly queues trailing off along the street. The fine weather helps. I see the buses running empty exceptvfor a few passengers, all sporting their masks. At least we don’t have a rebellion against them. I read about states in the USA where people have protested against wearing masks because being made to wear them is the first step towards “tyranny and communism”. Oh, boy!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone?

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