Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Taking (back) control. Stuck on a cruise liner. Quarantine fatigue.

So Mr Johnson has said he is taking direct control of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, has he? Here is a comment from Angela Raynor, deputy leader of the Labour party:

“PM to take "direct control" of the Govt handling #coronavirus crisis? Well who on earth has been in charge the last three months then? Meanwhile the NZ PM Jacinda Ardern has said she could lift all social distancing measures to return the country to normal life, bar the international border closure, as early as next week? We are way behind! ­čśí”

I don’t need to say anything more.

As we all continue to suffer from quarantine-fatigue, spare a thought for the crew of holiday cruise liners. It seems that dozens of cruise ships have been stranded in Manila Bay because ports all over the world are denying them access. If it were just the boats, it might not be too bad, but most of the crew are still on board, being fed, sleeping in luxury cabins, able to use the facilities (apart from Filipino crew members who are often required to isolate in their cabins for some reason, even though they are close to home!) but not allowed to disembark and try to organise flights home. Even the appeal of luxury swimming pools and fancy gyms palls after a while.

Here in the UK we have the problem of too many people rushing to the beach and to beauty spots, apparently using the excuse that if Dominic Cummings can disregard crisis advice then so can they. Well, Dominic Cummings’s antics surely have no impact on Spanish behaviour. So what about “botell├│n”, the habit of getting together in a huge group outdoors and drinking yourselves silly. (I hesitate to call it a tradition as it only dates back the last 20 years or so. Starting as a youth thing, a way of having a drink and playing music without paying bar and club prices, it spread rapidly.)

The mayor of the town of Tomelloso, in Ciudad Real, has been having difficulty dealing with a “botell├│n” of about 500 people, drinking and listening to music and socialising with precious little social distancing and no facemasks. She said there were just too many people for the local police to deal with and disperse. She blames the 24 hour shops where the “botell├│n”-goers bought their alcohol. She plans to ban “botell├│n” (again?) and to ban the sale of alcohol in the 24-hour shops after 10.00 at night.

It’s the sunshine that does it. And the long, warm evenings. And, of course, quarantine-fatigue! Are other countries having similar problems? Will we see a second wave as a result?

Here in Saddleworth, probably in most of the UK, the sunshine has withdrawn for the time being. We had lots of rain overnight. I just hope there was enough of it to extinguish the wildfires in our local beauty spot, Dovestone reservoir and the surrounding peat moors. We were out and about on our bikes in the late afternoon yesterday and thought we saw smoke on the horizon, although it was hard to say for certain it was smoke as there was cloud on the horizon as well. It was only later that we heard about the wildfires.

Our modest plan was to cycle up the road to the nearby Castleshaw reservoir, ride round the reservoir and return home. Somewhere along the way we missed a left turn and found ourselves heading relentlessly up hill to Heights, the aptly-named hamlet with a beautiful little church and a pub, now closed I believe. That was rather more of a detour than we needed. Oh, boy! My admiration for the Tour de France riders has been renewed - if it really needed renewing! We need rather more training before we tackle even the gentlest of slopes around here! It was a good ride though!

I doubt if there will be much cycling today.

 Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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