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The pair of us are ‘enjoying’ our first weekend in a new Coronavirus world where the country is gradually shutting down, bit by bit. Now the pubs clubs and cafe’s have closed. Sadly, it seems a lot of people still haven’t got the memo – or think it doesn’t actually apply to them.

Saturday actually started with a rare luxury – a lie in. Well, what was the rush when much of the country’s in shutdown? Where are we gonna go, join a supermarket queue? Instead Dawn prepared breakfast whilst I finished editing some more old slides from 1991 and the new pictures of a deserted rail network that I’d taken on Friday. Here’s a sample of each.

It sure as hell doesn’t look like this anymore! On the 25th April 1991 73209 is seen at Stratford Low Level alongside 313010 which was working a North Woolwich – Richmond service. The Class 73, which was normally to be found working Gatwick Express airport services was in the area with an inspection saloon.
Despite the Coronavirus and plummeting passenger numbers, the future’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s the new platform at Leeds station taking shape.

Despite the surreality of the situation we find ourselves in we decided to make the most of the improving weather by driving up to Norland Moor to enjoy a long walk in solitary conditions. Whilst the Moor’s popular with dog walkers and mountain bikers, Hyde Park it ain’t!

The view from Norland Moor looking back across the Calder Valley to the Wainhouse Tower as it was last August.

We encountered a few people but it was mostly couples like ourselves, all who understood the need for distance right now. The only problem we encountered was the fact the moor’s so exposed there was an eye-watering biting wind blowing across it – which made us less keen to tarry! Having enjoyed a constitutional and a break from being cooped up we dropped into Sowerby Bridge and the local Lidl to pick up some supplies. Sadly, many of the shelves had been stripped bare of the stuff we needed. We’ll be damned if we’re going to join ridiculous queues early in the morning, so if it’s not on the shelves we’ll do without. I still find it bizarre the way people are panic buying and some of the shit they’re picking up. OK, alcohol and certain foods I can understand, but shampoo and washing powder? You’re meant to be at home self-isolating – just how many changes of bloody clothes do you need? You could sit at home in only your undies for all most people care – just as long as you remember to turn off your webcam when you’re in those conference calls!

Back at home we hunkered down for the evening and enjoyed cooking as therapy. Dawn prepped some veg for me, after which I cooked up a big batch of Cucumber curry to eat that evening and to add to the freezer. I can just imagine some of you saying to yourselves “Cucumber curry, seriously?” but it’s actually a gorgeous South Indian dish made with cucumber, red peppers and peanuts in a cream coconut sauce, finished off with a variety of fried spices.

Suitably sated, we binge-watched a few episodes of an Aussie series on Netflix called ‘The Glitch” which is about a group of people returning from the dead. We weren’t sure what to make of it at first, but it’s curiously addictive as it has several plot twists. It certainly takes your mind off other things…

Today (Sunday) initially began as a re-run of Saturday with me scanning pictures and Dawn preparing breakfast but the weather was so gorgeous we decided to shelve some of the chores we’d planned to get out again whilst we still can as it looks like further restrictions on movement are inevitable due to the sheer number of clowns still congregating.

The fact today’s Mother’s Day made it even more daft. I wonder how many people who’ve ignored the advice have now seen their mother for the last time? Whilst my parents passed away years ago Dawn is fortunate enough that both hers are still alive – but there’s no way on God’s green earth we were going to go anywhere near them today. Her Father’s 85 and Mother 79. Both of them are active yet both of them are heeding the advice to self-quarantine as they understand the risks.

Instead, the pair of us decided to go for a stroll locally along the Calder and Hebble navigation, which is the canal below us in the valley bottom. We walked as far as the locks at Salterhebble, where there’s boat moorings with park benches, the perfect place to sit and enjoy the beer we’d brought with us and watch the world go by for half an hour before walking home. The canal towpath wasn’t very busy and the people we met were all conscious of giving each other a wide berth so it was a stress free time.

Quiet, isn’t it? This is the Copley viaduct where the railway from Halifax (off to the right) crosses the road, the canal – and later the river Calder off to the left before meeting the line from Brighouse at Milner Royd Junction.

In fact, the weather was so pleasant we actually sat outside the cottage on our front garden wooden bench for the first time this year, soaking up the sun whilst listening to the birds in the trees across the road, who seemed to be enjoying the good weather as much as we were. If you closed your eyes, it was possible for a few brief moments to forget all the trouble in the world and indulge your senses, enjoying the simple pleasures of the heat of the sun on your skin and the melodic birdsong gracing your ears.

Next week will be a curious one as it’ll be the first full week where the pair of us will be self-isolating by working from home. The picture in the outside world’s still fluid so who knows how things will look by Friday, or what will happen in the intervening days, but right now all we can do is take one day at a time. The forthcoming weeks and months are in the lap of the Gods…