Right folks, I’ve moved ahead a few days due to the pressure of juggling life and writing a daily blog. Yes, I know we’re all meant to have more time on our hands due to the Covid-19 lockdown but sometimes the reality is anything but, because simple mundane activities take up so much more time! So, today I’m leaping right up to the present to describe the day and give myself time to live in the moment rather than play catch-up. Not that I won’t catch-up, but I’ve got tomorrow to do that as we’re going nowhere!
In contrast, today was a busy day as it’s Thursday – so it’s ‘escape from the valley’ day to head over to Huddersfield and the delights of the Colne rather than the Calder Valley. There couldn’t have been a better day to do it either as today’s been the hottest day of the year so far. The drive into Huddersfield was on roads that are the busiest we’ve seen since lockdown, which is slowly unravelling. That’s partially planned but I get the distinct impression there’s a Dominic Cummings “what’s sauce for the goose” element to it too. People are getting restive after two months and the antics of the Government are providing the perfect excuse.
To Tykes credit there weren’t that many overt signs of it in Huddersfield itself. Our weekly shop at Sainsbury’s (where we pick up a lot of Dawn’s parents shopping) was little changed. The queues weren’t bad and the trolley ballet inside was well choreographed but more shelves were empty, especially the booze section which suggests there’s going to be people making more of the outdoors and the glorious weather – as long as it’s not in crowds…
As usual after shopping we pitched up at the railway station to pop into Dawn’s work. The area was marginally more busy and I noticed a handful more folk on the trains that passed, but the station was obviously gearing up for more people as new signs had appeared to regulate flows in and out in order to respect social distancing.
Whilst Dawn was busy in the office I went for a wander around Huddersfield town centre to get a feel for how things are and also grab a few pictures. The main shopping areas are still pretty much deserted which is hardly surprising as nothing’s open. What was sad to see was how many shops look likely never to reopen. Very few showed signs of stirring even though it’s been announced small businesses will be allowed to reopen soon (ish). The only places that had any life were the banks. Several had large queues outside them. I’ve mentioned this before but in this age of internet banking I’m still amazed by how many people have the need to still visit a bank branch. I’m sure there’s some interesting statistics and research that will explain why. The only other folks who were out in any numbers were the town’s derelicts and drunks although maybe I’m only noticing them more because their normal refuge (Wetherspoons) is closed! One thing that I did observe was that more and more people are wearing facemasks, which is no bad thing. Here’s how quiet Huddersfield appeared today.
Once Dawn had finished we drove up to her parents to drop off their shopping and chat over the garden gate. We’re lucky as we get to stand in the gorgeous sunshine. They draw the short straw as they stand in the shadow of the house although I doubt John minds as he saw more than enough sun when he did his National Service in the RAF in Cyprus. Suntan lotion was unheard of then and he’s had to be careful ever since…
We didn’t stay long as we had to get home. The drive across country was glorious in this weather but once again we noticed the volumes of traffic had picked up. Back home the pair of us had a couple of hours to try and get some work done before our next chore. Dawn was busy at her computer whilst I managed to swap my time between working upstairs in my backroom office and also out in the garden. I’m a sun lover still and I wasn’t going to waste such glorious weather, so I continued to edit down slide albums full of travel pictures whilst sitting outside. The album I filleted dated from 2000 and contained a mixture of personal, travel and social issues pictures I’d taken, mostly with the Lonely Planet and Photofusion picture libraries in mind which is where many of them ended up. Now I’ve got them back. Of course, nearly 20 years later there’s a huge amount of duplicates whilst others are now either irrelevant or superseded, so I managed to whittle the album down by half – which will make life a lot easier when it comes to the scanning process.
Time flew and in no time our appointment with the vet loomed. Jet (our cat) was due a check-up, which was just as well as he’s started sneezing and getting a build-up of matter in one eye. We suspected it was to do with him being ‘in the wars’ recently, but we wanted to make sure. The vets was extremely busy with people sitting in their cars whilst the vest too’d and fro’d with their pets. We were there for nearly an hour before we could take the boy back home with no major health worries. I’ve not complaints about the service (anything but), it’s just the fact so much of our time is eaten up by what were ordinary activities before Covid, now they take so long you just wonder where the hell the day goes. I do find it frustrating sometimes as it’s hard to feel you’ve achieved much. It’s one of the reasons blogging’s had to take a bit of a backseat.
By the time we got home via another supermarket call we were already late for Dawn joining in on a Platt family ‘Zoom’ call. I dipped in and out as I had to water a garden that had spent all day baking in the sun. It’s looking lovely right now (even passing joggers compliment me on it) so the last thing I want is for the plants to get stressed. Mind you, it’s also good exercise – and therapeutic!
Tomorrow I’m looking forward to having a day at home and cracking on. Hopefully, with a sense of moving forward at the end of it rather than just shuffling along in queues as a substitute. Watch this space…
Julian Halstead said:
Hi Paul – Thanks for the very interesting blogs.
I notice you’re scanning lots of slides. Are you using a scanner, or are you using the Nikon 60mm Micro lens with Nikon slide holder on the end. It’s a fantastic set up and has allowed me to digitise 10,000 slides over the last 10 weeks to a very high quality.
Paul Bigland said:
Hi Julian, I’m using a Nikon Coolscan and scanning them to library quality in flat glass mounts, so it’s a slow process.