Thursday, 5 November 2020

Here we go again...


Today England starts its second period of full lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Numbers of cases have been rising across the country and with people starting to look towards wanting to be able to spend time with families over Christmas, it was felt by Government that the sacrifice of a months lockdown now might enable an easing of restrictions over the festive season. We will see if this proves to be the case - currently we are being told that once the lockdown finishes on December 2nd we will all be returning to our previous "tiers" which for a good many across the country means no mixing of households indoors, and for a good many more means no mixing even in private gardens or other outdoor spaces. For us here, in Tier 2, this will write off any chance of seeing family over the Christmas period - much as I would love to be able to spend time with my parents, and MrEH with his, our respective parents are all in either their later 70's or 80's, with varying levels of health issues, and a Christmas spent outdoors in very probably low temperatures and possible inclement weather is not something that would be practical for them.

Elsewhere in the world the Americans have been given a chance to redeem themselves for their ludicrous choice of president 4 years ago, and from reports it would appear that record numbers of them turned out to try to do just that. Currently votes are still being counted (I believe because of the higher than usual numbers of postal and ahead-of-time voting where people wanted to avoid the risk of attending polling stations on election day itself, this process is taking longer than usual). Meanwhile Trump is - as was inevitable - bouncing wildly from overconfidence (he made a formal address on election night claiming victory!) to toddler-tantrums, threatening legal action to any state where it looks like a majority might have voted against him. Terrifyingly in some states which are looking like going in Joe Biden's favour but counting is not yet complete, he is trying to get the counting stopped (it's reckoned that a higher proportion of the ahead/postal votes are likely to be for Biden). Even more terrifyingly, rather than stopping to think, and asking how the hell THAT would fit with democracy, some of his supporters are taking to the streets in support of his viewpoint. I'd like to say that you can't imagine a situation where that sort of anti-democratic behaviour would happen here in the UK, but to my shame after those who tried to overturn the will of the majority (and regardless of which side you sit on, that is what it was) on the question of leaving the EU, it would appear that the gradual Americanisation of many in the UK continues apace, as depressing as that thought is to many of us.

Anyway - Lockdown 2.0 as it is being called by many has a few key differences from the previous one. Schools and colleges remain open this time - it's been decided that the continuation of education must take precedence, and I have to confess that I can very much see that point. Losing substantial amounts of school time - particularly as a teenager beginning to work towards exams, is incredibly difficult to come back from, as anyone who was at school during the teachers strikes in the 1980's will acknowledge. The big issue with the schools and universities is the sheer number of children who having been brought up by the media and in a few cases, their parents, to believe that their rights are surpreme, are now deciding that even when outside their places of learning the regulations around social distancing etc are something that they are unwilling to adhere to. It's not all of them by any means, but it is in enough numbers to ensure problems when out and about generally at the times that schools are arriving and leaving for the day. Also different this time are the rules around exercise - the "one form of exercise per day" ruling of the first lockdown has now, thank goodness, made a reappearance. This time the benefits of being outside in the open air for movement are being recognised - something which is key at this point in the year too.

For me, I plan to continue working through old photos - any aviation fans reading may recognise the shot at the top of this post as one from 2014 - and the "stripes" Typhoon that the RAF Typhoon Display Team used for some of that season. I'm finding a surprising amount of shots to play with - mostly those that didn't get processed at all at the time, probably due to lack of hours in the day, but also some that I had processed previously and now feel I could make a better job of. Just looking back at some of the old memories is great in itself too - and more particularly allowing that it may well, from the look of things, be a fair few months before I get to socialise with  my aviation pals again. I suspect there will also be more baking, by some fluke of fate we purchased a jigsaw, some DVD's and some books from a charity shop on Saturday, and some more longer walks might be happening as well. As the days shorten, the temptation is more to curl up indoors anyway, so rightly or wrongly this month of restrictions don't feel quite so stressful as the first time round. 


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