I wake way up way too early to the news that train services will be reduced from Monday. Some services will keep running to enable keyworkers to get to work and other essential travel and deliveries to be maintained.
It may seem like these blogs started on Monday, they actually started on yesterday. I type up Day’s 1 to 4 and post them on my blog. There is clamour for the BI* to do more for people who are finding themselves out of a job due to Social Distancing measures. Pub chain Wetherspoons announce that they will not be closing their bars for the duration and it is a ridiculous idea. They also supported Brexit. Just saying.
Lists have been published about exactly who these “keyworkers” are. It’s a long list. I try to work out whose children will actually be staying off school!
I have planned to take a walk to visit my mother, and test out my new camera purchased for a holiday that may or may not actually happen. I head out for the canal, it’s a lovely sunny day, the roads do seem a bit quieter today, the local shops and my gym remain open.
I do see some evidence of social distancing. People keeping some distance when stopping to chat in the street. The canal is lively though, walkers, runners, cyclists, families. I wonder if this is a normal Friday morning for them or if they have been laid off or are supposed to be home working or self-isolating. I snap lots of pictures and nip behind a couple of leafless trees for a pee and pretend they are actually given me any kind of cover.
I reach Saltaire, if possible, it appears busier than normal. A couple of dog walkers take social distancing to the extreme as they chat from opposite sides of the road. A group of girls chat on the street, as an older woman passes them by, one of the girls calls out to her in recognition and touches her on the arm. The woman spins round and recoils as if a snake just hissed at her, whilst she lights up a cigarette. The young girl gasps and apologies, asking if she wants to tap elbows.
I reach my mother’s house almost an hour late as I have taken too much time playing with my new camera. We have coffee and biscuits and chat. If it wasn’t for the fact that we talk almost exclusively about the impending apocalypse, it would be like any other visit. As I leave, I’m overcome by an inexplicable wave of sadness and an awful dread that I will never see her again. It’s like she feels it too as we spend just a little too long waving to each other on the doorstep. This apocalypse is definitely getting to me now.
People are either starting to take this seriously, or have already rushed home to watch the BI* at five because our rush hour drive home feels like it is 2am. We make it back just in time for the BI to appear on the news screens.
He is finally taking charge. He is finally realising that not enough people are following his guidelines. The reporters have been telling him this for two days straight. Despite insistence that he would not do it (free country blah blah blah), pubs, cafes, restaurants, gyms and leisure facilities are all to be closed down tonight.
It’s the newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer that really makes my jaw drop though. An extensive financial package for those in need is revealed. In a historical mood an unlimited sum of money is to be made available to pay up to 80% of the wages of those who would otherwise lose their jobs, in order that companies can retain staff. This is a grant not a loan. Universal Credit is to get a temporary boost of £1,000 a year. Some of the other measures already announced have also be expanded. Loans can be granted to businesses to keep them going interest free for a year, self assessments are cancelled for the year, business rates have been cancelled for a year. The Tories have found Jeremy Corbyn’s money forest, given it a good shake and implemented some socialist policies. I am genuinely shocked.
I heat up dinner, wind down with some TV (as all shows have been shut down, for once I feel happy that I am so behind, plenty of time to catch up now!), write this blog and hit the sack. Back to work tomorrow. It’s going to be a strange day.
In other news: The Killers release a video for their new single Caution, which will resume repeat status tomorrow.