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This is my last Lockdown journal. Tomorrow most shops are allowed to reopen and lockdown is officially dead. Of course, a lot of people are still furloughed, working from home or waiting for the hospitality industry to reopen but it’s not the same. This doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging about Covid again, or how life pans out over the next few months, but I’ll be freed to concentrate on other writing on subjects old and new.

To say it’s been a strange few months is an understatement. In some ways we’ve been protected from some of the worst aspects of lockdown. We live in Calderdale which has one of the lowest rates of Covid infections and deaths in the UK. We also have some beautiful scenery on our doorstep so – even when we were at our most restricted, we could still get out into the country. Nor has it all been bad. We’ve enjoyed the clean air and quiet as well as the chance to catch up on jobs we’d struggled to do otherwise.

But there have been downsides. For me, 2020 will pass into memory as the year that nothing happened. 99% of all the trade fairs, exhibitions, awards ceremony and events that are my bread and butter have been cancelled or postponed until next year. Finances are tight, but I’m in a better position than many in that I have reserves, and I have another string to my bow – my writing, which has kept my head above water and also kept me sane! How the rest of the year will unfold is a very good question. Life will slowly return to normal but it’s going to take some time. It’ll be a little while yet before I return to the rails and a lot of that depends on what happens with the rules on social distancing as the current 2 metre rule is crippling industries like public transport. There’s also the obvious concerns about a Covid second-spike. especially after some of the recent demonstrations and flouting of the guidelines at beaches and other tourist spots.

Our final official day of lockdown began like most other Sundays – with a lie-in and a leisurely start before coffee boosted the rest of the morning. The weather had really picked up so the pair of us were looking forward to getting out and about, but first we both had chores and some work to catch up on. I finished scanning another batch of travel pictures in order to give me the momentum to finish another album, whilst Dawn caught up on office work.

By late afternoon we’d both had enough and headed off out to do something we’ve not done before during lockdown. We went up to Savile Park to meet friends from the Big 6 pub and celebrate Alison’s 50th birthday – all at appropriate distancing of course! OK, we bent the rules a little bit as there were more than 6 of us all told, but we were a collective made up of different groups with a few people circling. The weather was superb and it was lovely to see people we’d not seen for months. I ended up chatting to John, the Landlord of the Big 6, about what happens next for pubs. Unsurprisingly, he told me Landlords hadn’t been offered any guidance or advice on reopening from the Government – so no surprise there then!

His view was he’d reopen – eventually, but only as a bottle pub as there were too many risks with selling real ale from barrels as they’d no idea how many people might turn up to use the beer-garden and there were too many financial risks involved with the vagaries of the weather and the chances of a second lockdown. I suspect he’s not the only pub Landlord thinking along these lines…

We stayed in the park for an hour before everyone started drifting off home, but not before Alison was presented with two birthday cakes! Here’s Hannah, one of our Neighbours, presenting the first cake…


Returning home the weather was just too good to waste so the pair of us poured some drinks, used Jet’s cage as a table and settled down to a game of Scrabble in the front garden! It was a lovely end to a great day. I wonder how long it’ll be before we get nostalgic for the balmy days of lockdown?


Or, will it all seem like a strange dream in a few months time when life does finally return to normal?…

Picture of the day.

Today’s picture was taken in Barcelona, Spain on the 20th April 2003. The cities famous tourist street, Ramblas, has always been the haunt of buskers and different street-performers. Whilst wandering along one day during a visit to some Spanish friends, this chap caught my eye as his impression of the left-wing revolutionary icon – Che Guevara – was very good. I’ve always been fascinated by the legend of Che. A few years later I visited Cuba and took a trip out to some of the most famous sites of the revolution, and Che’s mausoleum in Santa Clara – but those are pictures for another day!

T15343. Busker as Che Guevara. Barcelona. Catalonia. Spain. 20.04.2003crop


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