Yesterday was the first day the pair of us ventured away from home since the end of lockdown and the rule change that allowed many shops to reopen. Thursday is our weekly outing to Huddersfield to collect shopping for Dawn’s parents, so I was curious to see how the town centre would have changed since last week. The roads were certainly busier. The amount of traffic seemed not far from pre-lockdown levels.
The weather was appalling, with grey skies and constant rain, which played to our advantage as our first port of call was Sainsbury’s – which was sans queues despite the car park being busy. We managed to get around in pretty quick time despite the fact not as many checkouts were open as normal.
Our next stop was Dawn’s offices at the railway station. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of extra footfall and St George’s Square was still empty, so whilst Dee sorted out paperwork and checked on the building I went for a walk into town. The first difference I noticed was on John William St where trees in pots had been moved into the road and barriers run between them to create wider pavements to allow for social distancing. Pedestrianised Market Place was marked out with a new one way-system with bright yellow markings. Sadly, many people were ignoring them. Despite 3 months of lockdown and massive media coverage of the virus and its dangers, some people still can’t follow simple rules set up for everyone’s safety.
I sometimes despair at people’s exceptionalism and what it says about the lack of a cohesive society in the UK.
As you can see from the picture, the streets weren’t exactly teeming with people, but they were noticeably busier than they’ve been at any time since lockdown began. I noticed a variety of shops had reopened. There were jewellers, clothes shops, more food outlets like Greggs and even a good old-fashioned hardware store!
Wandering back through town I saw that the large Kingsgate shopping centre was holding people at the doors to limit the number of people inside at any one time. It was the only place I really noticed a queue, but that could have been down to the weather as normally the banks always have folks waiting.
Another place that had reopened was the old Huddersfield Open Market. A variety of stalls were back in business selling cloth and household goods as well as fruit and veg, pies and pastries. Like many places. a one-way system was in place and the floor was clearly marked out into 2 metre sections.
On a less serious note, I also came across two new units of measurement for social distancing…
…and Huddersfield station cats!
Full credit to Kirklees council for finding a fun (and local) way of getting the message across to people. At least you’ve tried!
As the weather was so lousy we didn’t hang around any longer than necessary. After leaving the shopping we Dawn’s folks we high-tailed it back to Halifax and home to catch up on some work and stay dry. Nevertheless, it was an interesting day out (for me at least). I’ll be curious to see how many more shops have re-opened by next week.
Right, time to move on to the…
Picture of the day.
This shot was taken in the Loggerheads pub in Shrewsbury, Shropshire on the 4th May 2003 when we’d been away for the weekend with friends, walking on the Long Mynd. You can tell it’s an old picture by a feature on the tables that are long-gone. Ashtrays!
It’s a classic old boozer that hosted music nights, where local people would turn up and play together. Whilst we were there I asked if the musicians would mind if I took a few pictures and they were happy to let me. Notice the old boy with the bushy beard, glasses and flat cap in the left corner? At first I thought he was a chap who’d just got trapped in the corner after the minstrels arrived, but later on, he doffed his cap and started singing (in quite a powerful voice) some old folk songs. It was a lovely evening and very different to my London life at the time. I must admit, I’ve a soft spot for Shrewsbury. It possesses some cracking pubs and it’s home to an enormous variety of old buildings. It’s one of the best preserved of our old cities and the place is well worth a visit as it contains 660 listed buildings. Here’s more details from the towns official website.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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