Roll forward a week and the rules were changed. Thanks to the National Health Service, not our bumbling political leaders, Britain's vaccination programme has squashed the key coronavirus statistics right down - infections, hospitalisations, deaths. What a brilliant national response and something to be proud of at last.
Anyway this meant that yesterday we did not have to sit outside at "The Hammer and Pincers". We could go inside to a pre-booked table. Social distancing guidance is still in place so I was slightly annoyed to see that our table in a snug corner of the pub meant that we had to sit closer together than I would have wished.
The conversation flowed naturally as usual - a tapestry of happenings, memories, family news. jokes, ideas with no judgement or point scoring. Danny was a senior police officer, Mike was a Head of English in a secondary school just like me and Mick was a warehouseman.
Four pints and two and a half hours later it was time to go. Shirley had kindly offered to drive up there to taxi me home because I have had a bad foot the last two or three days and I have been limping around like Hopalong Cassidy. By the way, this morning it feels significantly better.
Cinemas were also opened up yesterday and I have booked to see "Nomadland" at The Showroom on Friday. No doubt I will be reviewing it in this blog. I bet you can't wait!
Somehow I can't help feeling nervous about the slackening of restrictions. With the new more deadly Indian variant now creeping around in towns like Bolton and Blackburn, it makes me think that the government were unwise to prematurely earmark a date - namely May 17th - for loosening the national tourniquet. They should have waited and thoroughly assessed the evidence. Another week or two would not have made much difference. Equally, they should have acted more swiftly to block travel from India. They let the thing in because of their political optimism and dilly-dallying.
I think I should keep my mouth shut on politicians! Decisive action is somewhat lacking in that direction whereas the response for vaccination has been very well orchestrated by the NHS and the volunteers. Bolton is another blip on the screen, and I feel that people being expected to shut themselves in quarantine when they come back from holiday is a big ask.ReplyDelete
The pub next door only has small rooms, three tables in the bar, goodness knows what Harriet is going to do about social distancing.
Yes, you should "fermez la bouche Madame Thelma". Have you no respect for Our Great Leader - The King of the World? How wonderful that Normanby even has a pub! Not far for you to stagger home - at least until you move.Delete
I hope everything goes well in England. We're still all closed down here thanks to our fearless leader. Apparently it's not uncommon for jackasses to go into politics.ReplyDelete
Glad you were able to visit your friends.
President Jackass would be a good name for Britain's current political leader.Delete
Four pints? No wonder you were limping/staggering around.ReplyDelete
For a Yorkshire lad, four pints is just a taster before the main course.Delete
What a sweet wife you have!ReplyDelete
I guess we'll see what happens with the new guidelines from our various countries on masking and social distancing. It's so weird, not knowing exactly what's safe and what isn't. Well, not that we really did before.
We are in unknown territory.Delete
We have been pretty much back to normal now for a month and like you, I've still been a bit nervous about it. But nothing has really become of it. Our cases aren't increasing and is mostly just a trickle among those unvaccinated folks who managed to avoid it this long. But I still wear a mask indoors most places I go even if I'm in a minority now. I do it not because I'm worry about Covid which I have had and also been vaccinated against, but because other than getting Covid, the last year and a half I haven't had a single sniffle, cold, off day, or flu. It was so nice not being sick for over a year that I will probably keep wearing the masks whenever indoors, especially in crowds, which happens fairly rarely anyway in my life anymore.ReplyDelete
I will keep wearing my mask because I am an ugly devil.Delete
The areas in Blackburn with the highest rates are the back to back terraced housing that is occupied by many generations of the same family. It's the close proximity coupled with a reluctance to be vaccinated that's causing the problem.ReplyDelete
Have you noticed that one obvious and pertinent fact about the outbreaks in Bolton and Blackburn is left out of national news coverage? I think you know what I mean Christina.Delete
Now, now YP - it wasn't so long ago that you were bemoaning the fact that you couldn't meet your pals for a pint or three. Now you're moaning about going out to the pub and feeling nervous with the Indian variant around. Don't go blaming the government (although I know you will), after all, you didn't have to go out to meet your mates. You could have exercised caution, and waited a little longer.ReplyDelete
At times like this you should be thinking about that lovely little granddaughter of yours, and be extremely cautious until the Indian variant, and whatever comes next, is wiped out. How would you feel if you passed the virus on to Phoebe, just for the sake of a pint?
Since when has Trump been your Great Leader?
My "Great Leader" is in fact a retired expatriate woman of senior years who resides in southern Spain with a vicious hound called Tyson. My three chums have all had their two vaccinations - just like me.Delete
Oh, I wonder if she's anyone I know? Doubtful though, as I don't live in southern Spain, and we northerners don't like to travel far!Delete
You are a mystery CG!Delete
As for the vaccination situation in my country, I shall only say one word: Disgrace. Or: Embarrassment.ReplyDelete
But I am really glad that things have been going so well in your country, Neil. You are right, it is something to be proud of.
Like you, I guess I will be rather nervous about the losening of restrictions when and if they happen here. Right now I can not imagine me feeling really relaxed when sitting at a restaurant tables with others and close to other tables. Eventually, that will probably feel normal again, but at the moment, everybody is engaging in complicated choreographies when it comes to several people sharing a limited space, such as in a shop or at the train station.
For over a year there has been a tension in the air - like a tight violin string reverberating.Delete
It is good to be back I say... and even though I don't drink, I'm glad you had your meet up with your pals..ReplyDelete
But a couple of points (not pints!) if I may - the vaccination programme is indeed a triumph of the NHS, but we should pay equal thanks to the scientists and private enterprises who developed the vaccines - and these are not NHS at all. I say this not to be picky, but because in the UK we often regard private pharma as something akin to the devil - 'don't sell off our NHS we say; it's for people not profit..' And I totally agree, but I think we need also to recognise that private enterprise has role to play - and be big enough to pay tribute when it is so clearly due.
The Indian variant is a worry - I read a good article in the Times yesterday explaining that it's increased transmissibility could raise the herd immunity threshold from circa two thirds of all people to five sixths - quite a jump in the vaccination threshold. At that level, those refusing jabs are raising some pressing moral issues if we are all locked down for longer (or even indefinitely) as a result of their free riding and refusal to play their part .
Strange times isn't it - when even going for a few pints raises such questions and debate.
I like your blog very much by the way.
Thanks Mark. Obviously, Astra-Zeneca deserve a lot of credit for working with Oxford University to produce a fantastic vaccine so rapidly but the delivery programme is not down to them, it is down to the NHS.Delete
Did Shirley come to fetch you on Topper?ReplyDelete
What the hell is Topper? A bloody horse?Delete
There's too much about variants that isn't known. There's whole lot that isn't known about long term effects of the virus.ReplyDelete
You are right Red. This tragic tale still has long way to run.Delete
I'll be interested in your film review.ReplyDelete
Your vaccination rates are extraordinary, unlike the bumbling effort here by our Federal government.
With Australia's very low death rates, I guess some people in power have not felt the same urgency to get an effective vaccination programme together.Delete
I must say, without the UK government's procurement programme, the NHS would have had nothing to stick in your arm! I, personally, am only half way there (2nd half next month), no thanks to bloody Macron.ReplyDelete
The procurement programme was driven by the knowledge and advice of NHS leaders whose long history of ordering annual flu vaccines underpinned that process. Fortunately, the government listened and provided the funds necessary.Delete
I'm nervous about the quick switcharound too and will continue my cautious ways and mask wearing, although allow myself some social latitude. I loved "Nomadland" which seemed more like a documentary than a feature film. I will be interested in your take on it.ReplyDelete