The lockdown restrictions were relaxed for the whole of England yesterday. The new rules refer to England only as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have had their own rules for the pandemic – a sign of things to come? Since the beginning of the year all non-essential shops have been closed as well as pubs, restaurants and cafes. We could only go out for essentials but fortunately that included exercise, so we took full advantage of that. We do try and walk first thing in the morning, before there is any build up of people in the park and the woods. It wasn’t quite the total cessation of all activity that we had this time last year. For that the roads were amazingly quiet and that brought a strange knock on effect of fewer Red Kites to be seen close by. Red Kites were introduced into the grounds of Harewood House just north of us, in 1999 and have been a great success. We frequently see them when we are out or even from our window. We assumed that the lack of traffic in the first lock down, resulted in fewer road kills for them to feast on. We’re not sure if this is true but it does seem likely and we’ve seen lots since last summer.
So from yesterday pubs and restaurants could serve drinks and food outside only. I don’t think the temperature of -2 C first thing in the morning deterred the very determined drinkers though. We did reach a balmy 8 C, (ahem) which isn’t warm by anyone’s standards. We won’t be looking to join them anytime soon. We did however, venture into the City Centre this morning though. As always, we get there early and managed to get what we wanted pretty quickly. There was a queue outside John Lewis as they didn’t open till 10. Despite our natural reluctance to queue for anything, we joined it – so we could get things for one of our grandsons. They do have some lovely children’s clothes. Retail fix done, we scrambled home pretty quickly.
We have been told that the reopening of different aspects of society will follow the data and not the dates, but we are certainly not out of the woods in our part of the country. There is an interactive map that is published at around 4 pm every afternoon that shows the number of local cases per 100,000 people. It’s colour coded and you can see a deep green band across the Manchester/West Yorkshire metropolitan areas. This means that the rate there is between 50-99 cases per 100,000. This is way down on the numbers at the start of the year, but it’s not low. There isn’t anything we can do anything about it, but it would be so frustrating to have to go back to yet more restrictions because these were lifted too soon.
In the meantime, our camellia is just spectacular and she doesn’t mind the cold weather one little bit. She is on my painting list, which is actually quite long. I’ll wait till I’m feeling sufficiently confident. Watch this space 🙂.