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After the stunning weather of the past few days, today was a real disappointment. It began with mist and haze blanketing the valley and temperatures that were distinctly chilly.

After breakfast we packed the car and drove over to Elland to pick up some of the shopping on Dawn’s folks shopping list. John’s a ceoliac so buying what they need’s a little more complex and convoluted than for most people. It means we can’t just breeze into one supermarket and pick up everything in one go. We were surprised to see just how big the queue of diligently socially-distancing people were when we arrived. Dawn shopped solo so I was free to wander and got this shot as an illustration.

People were queued from the door (at the far right of the building in the background, under the Morrisons name) all the way down the street. We couldn’t work out why at first as this was the first time we’d seen it like this, then the penny dropped. It’s the Easter weekend coming up!

Driving in into Huddersfield on quiet roads we went to Sainsbury’s to pick up the bulk of Dee’s folks shopping and the queues were just as lengthy. It was all well organised and everyone played the game but it did add another 15 minutes to the time it took us. Whilst Dee shopped for her folks I collected some stuff the pair of us needed. We’re both partial to anchovies and the ones Sainsbury’s sell are gorgeous. They’ve a different range of bottled real ales too. Queueing for the checkouts is time consuming as Sainsbury’s have individual queues, unlike Tesco’s who manage it differently so you need to check which line has the least trolleys in it before joining.

We still had one last place to visit – M&S. The town centre store closed last year, leaving the Waterloo branch food hall as sole survivor. It’s a bit of a schlep, but there’s no alternative as no-one else sells what John & Norah need.

The British rediscover the fact that queuing is in their blood…

On the way back we called in at the station so Dawn could check the ACoRP (or as they’re now called, Community Rail Network) office and do some work she couldn’t do at home. I had an hour to kill so took some pictures of the station that RAIL magazine had requested. We might only get out once a week, but we make sure the time’s well spent! The station was deserted. Several TPE services came and went with a bare handful of people using them as people are taking the advice about non-essential travel to heart. To see the Square outside the station so empty on a Thursday afternoon is really quite eerie.

The only person to be found outside Huddersfield station was Harold Wilson’s statue!
The scenes of emptiness were repeated inside the station as the only people to be seen when a TPE service called was station staff. There wasn’t a passenger in sight.

Heading on up to John and Norah’s we left the shopping outside their back door, swapping it for last weeks empty bags then had a short chat at a safe distance before driving back home on equally quiet cross-country backroads before parking the car up at home where it’ll sit unused for another week. I wonder what the NOx levels are like around here at the moment with so few cars being driven? The birdsong around here seems so much more intense right now but I’m beginning to think that’s because in the past it’s been muffled by traffic noise.

Our final outing of the day was for our daily exercise. Oh, we’d got a few steps in, but standing around in Supermarket queues doesn’t really get you many. To get to our total we walked into a deserted Sowerby Bridge where we picked up some non-alcoholic prosecco at the only Tesco we’ve found that sells it, which is rather bizarre. You’re only allowed to buy three bottles at a time which is frustrating as you have to visit more often than you wish.

Hopefully, West Yorkshire police are going to resist displaying the zealotry of some other police forces who’re now suggesting they may decide what constitutes essential and non-essentual shopping. It’s illogical madness and totally impractical. Say I have a shopping bag full of essentials (fresh fruit and veg perhaps) but also a solitary bar of chocolate, or an Easter Egg which I bought on impulse. Does that render everything else void – and where is this enforcable in law? I can see some embrassing climbdown being made here if such actions are challenged in the courts and I feel sorry for front-line coppers who’ve got hard enough jobs to do right now without getting ordered by Senior Officers to enforce this unworkable nonsense. I’m sure that common-sense will eventually prevail so that the police can concentrate on the minority of people who are ignoring all the guidelines and gathering in mixed groups, putting others at risk. From what I’ve seen this mostly (although not exclusively) tends to be the younger generation who think they’re immortal anyway and don’t even think about who they could infect.

Back at home we settled in for the Easter break. We’re going to be going nowhere. We have enough supplies to last us over the holiday so plan to make the most of our time pottering around at home.

Happy (lockdown) Easter folks!