Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Always restrictions and maybe never Christmas!

 Today started early, with the arrival of two small grandchildren before their mother went off to work. There was a problem with nursery and the children’s father, normally a good “working from home” alternative, was not available this morning. So we went against some rules and the small people came here before 8.00 am. The smallest, busy teething, an activity which does not stop just because today is his birthday, was decidedly cranky and did not really stop moaning until we went out for a longish walk, taking in two children’s playgrounds on our way. Reassuringly, I saw one of them being sanitised just as we arrived. 

This babysitting won’t happen again for a while as my daughter’s partner’s work pattern keeps most Wednesday mornings free. But quite what will happen the next time this occurs is anyone’s guess as no gatherings of more than six people will be allowed anywhere in England from Monday. Apart, that is, from schools, workplaces, and socially distanced public transport to schools or workplaces, among other possible exemptions. But you can still sit at adjacent, but socially distanced, tables with strangers in pubs and restaurants.

Matt Hancock has said that this measure will be in place for the “foreseeable future”, although he hopes “the situation can be turned around” before Christmas. I wonder if we should just cancel Christmas!

Here’s a poem by Brian Bilston “celebrating” this new development in our fight against the virus:


All gatherings

of six or more

shall henceforth

be against the law

with NO exceptions

to these rules

(apart that is

from work and schools).

If we don’t act NOW,

the future’s bleak.

This takes effect

some time next week.

However, this will not stop organisation for the so-called “Festival of Brexit” from going ahead. This was Theresa May’s silly idea for “lifting public spirits” after Britain left the EU. Really? My spirits are not likely to be lifted by such an event. It now has a working title of “Festival UK 2022”, so presumably they expect everything to back to standard chaos by then, leaving Coronavirus chaos behind us. We shall see. At the rate things are going, it might not happen, not if only six people can gather together. Some people think the money being made available for this would be better channeled into the struggling, nay possibly moribund, arts sector. But in the meantime “daring, new and popular” ideas are called for, with a deadline for submissions on 16 October 2020, after which 30 teams will be awarded £100,000 to develop their ideas before the final 10 are chosen. 

If I sound a little negative, think of Ryanair, which has finally given in to the inevitable and cut its annual passenger target to 50 million, a reduction of 10 million. In May they forecast they would carry 80 million passengers by the end of March 2021. In July this was reduced to 60 million. Now they have made a further reduction. Rising numbers of Coronavirus cases all over the place and consequent quarantine measures being put in place have wreaked havoc with Michael O’Leary’s plans. “I think the winter of 2020 will essentially be a write-off,” he said. You could almost feel sorry for him but my sympathy goes rather to the people who will lose their jobs as a result.

There you go. We are still going nowhere, although a brisk walk might be in order as the sun is still shining.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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