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Apologies for this features absence over the past few days – although I hope the trip down railway memory lane helped plug a gap for some!

Today’s been our first day release from our self-imposed, 14 day isolation due to contact with someone who tested positive with Covid. On balance, we both suspected the chances of us actually contacting Covid were slight, but that wasn’t really the point. The point was that – if we did – we wanted to make damned sure we weren’t going to be part of the chain that passed it on to others. Far too many people have been taking a cavalier attitude to transmission but we weren’t going to be part of that group.

That meant today was the first day we’d ventured out for 14 days – which is unheard of for either of us. Confinement really isn’t my thing, nor is it Dawn’s. Thankfully, the weather played ball, which made getting out feel even more exciting. Well, when I say ‘exciting’ it’s not like we had a flight to catch or a concert (or even a pub) to go to – it was the simple pleasures of a change of scenery and being able to appreciate those mundane interactions we normally take for granted. I never thought food shopping would seem exciting, but that’s 2020 for you!

When we finally escaped the cottage after a busy morning Dawn drove us over to the Bolster Moor farm shop near Huddersfield to pick up some supplies. To be honest just leaving the house seemed exciting, to get out of the Calder Valley and see a different view than that from the bedroom window felt positively exotic. Yep, Huddersfield and exotic in the same sentence – you can tell we’ve been cooped-up, can’t you?

Good food has become one of the few pleasures we’ve been able to enjoy and the farm shop’s always been a great place to source some of the tasty raw materials and enjoy another guilty pleasure – their pork pies, which are gorgeous.

Driving back we were both struck by the amount of traffic on the roads in the sequel to ‘lockdown’ compared to the original. We crossed over the M62 twice yet the volume of traffic on it appeared normal. Lockdown, what lockdown?

The impression was reinforced when we got back home as traffic through Sowerby Bridge was chokka. The quietest part of our day was a visit to our local Indian supermarket. The right side meant the helpful staff tipped us off about a few bargains, so we came away with enough herbs, spices and slabs of tinned staples like chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and kidney beans that we can probably survive Brexit running on into the Zombie Apocalypse! Admittedly, I may need to place a separate order with my Vintner beforehand…

The pair of us are now back at home for a relaxed evening, enjoying the fact our incarceration’s come to an end and we can get out over the weekend – which brings me on (in a roundabout way) to the picture of the day.

Those people who whinge and whine about having their liberty curtailed by Covid don’t know they’re born. I took todays picture in Stonetown, Zanzibar on the 19th May 2001. This airless chamber where there’s barely enough room to sit upright is a slave chamber. From here, people were shipped around to the globe as commodities, nothing more. The slave trade in Zanzibar was only abolished in 1876 although slavery itself remained legal until 1897. So, next time you want to have a moan about lockdown, or how wearing a mask is infringing on your liberties…

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