The Last Sunday Musings For January

The first month of 2022 is almost behind us, and February beckons. It is not a leap year, so just the 28 days to come.

We bought a new vacuum cleaner this week. I think all the cleaning after decluttering finished off the cordless one, even though it wasn’t that old. The replacement has a bigger dust collection bin, so won’t need as many trips to empty it during cleaning.


Ollie has a few more days of tablets to complete his course. His fur is visibly growing back now, and has less patches. But it has some way to go yet before he looks ‘normal’.


With daytime temperatures varying between 1C and 15C in the same week, the strange winter weather continues. Some parts of Britain have experienced 80 mph winds, but they haven’t got as far south as Beetley just yet.


It took until Thursday the 27th for everyday life to return after Christmas and new year. By everyday life I of course mean bin collections, which are now back to their normal days. I no longer have to look at an online waste collection calendar to work out which day the dustmen are coming.


That same day, Thursday, all Covid-19 restrictions finished officially in England. No more compulsory masks, except for medical premises and on London Transport. It is too early to say yet if millions are abandoning mask-wearing, and flocking to crowded events. And quiet Beetley is no benchmark for that research of course. As for us, we will be continuing to wear masks in closed public spaces like shops, and on any public transport. After all, people are still dying every day from the virus.

Just on Friday alone, 277 people in England died from it.


Have a wonderful Sunday everyone, and stay safe.


Some Short Sunday Musings From Beetley

Got to go and visit relatives today, so this will be a shorter than usual post.


The Christmas tree was put up and decorated by my wife yesterday, then all the extra small decorations and candles were arranged. She did a good job, and it looks very festive.


We face the reimposition of some Covid restrictions next week, but after the revelations about Downing Street Christmas parties that took place during lockdowns last year, and politicians attending other social events at the time, most people are just going to refuse to comply.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander was never more appropriate.


Ollie’s fur is still falling out, and as far as I can tell, the pigeon in the garden is still alive.


The front driveway job was done on Thursday, and we are very happy with it. Photos are available on this post, if you missed it.

A Refurbished Frontage


More musings next week, hopefully.

Freedom Day

Yesterday was the so-called ‘Freedom day’ here. The ending of all formal and legal restrictions in England relating to the pandemic. The country has now ‘Opened Up’.

No more legal requirement to wear face coverings or masks.
No more compulsory soocial distancing.
Theatres, Cinemas, Bars, Nightclubs, Restaurants, all fully open with no more restrictions on numbers.
Outside and inside events allowed without any limit on numbers attending.
Families allowed to visit loved ones in hospitals and care homes after such a long time.

Not everyone was happy about that.

Those with health conditions that give them reduced immunity. Staff at care homes being told masks were still compulsory for them, as well as vaccinations being mandatory. People attending hospitals, health clinics, and doctor’s appointments becoming angry that masks are still compulsory in those places. Despite the high statistics surrounding the vaccination programme, infections are still increasing, especially among those who have refused vaccination, or are in the younger age groups.

To confuse the issue even more, our buffoon of a Prime Minister then announced that from September, anyone attending an enclosed nightclub will have to show proof of vaccination, or will not be allowed in. I can understand their anger. Yesterday, they could go to a nightclub with no vaccination, and no mask. In September, that will not be allowed if they are not vaccinated. It is crazy. Why not wait until September to open them?

Because of money. It’s always about money. Pressure from the entertainment industry, and drinks manufacturers, the need to open during the peak holiday season, and get in as much money as possible before new restrictions apply at the end of that season, in September. The holiday market is equally confused. You can travel to some countries with no need to self-isolate on return, as long as you have had both vaccinations. If not, you will have to self-isolate for 10-14 days on return from your holiday. That means a 2-week holiday requires up to 4 weeks off work, so is not possible for the majority of the population.

Travel on public transport was left to the discretion of the carrier. So in London, the Mayor has made mask-wearing compulsory on all London Transport for the foreseeable future. But in other cities, it is to be left up to the traveller to decide whether ot not to wear a mask.

It’s a complete mess, and full of contradictions. The government has shown itself to be both decisive and indecisive in the same sentence. Many are confused, and that’s understandable.

No other European country facing a steady increase in infections attached to a new variant has taken the chance to open up fully. England has become an ‘experiment’.

An experiment with the lives of its people at stake.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Opening up England.

Last Sunday evening, we ate out in a local pub. Our first restaurant meal since Christmas Day, 2020. There were disposable paper menus, table service, and the staff were wearing masks. Diners had to also wear masks until seated, and if they left their table for any reason.

In the nearby town, every shop is now open, although customers are still asked to wear masks inside when shopping. Despite the recent rise in cases of the Covid-19 ‘Indian Variant’ in some parts of England, it appears that the government is going ahead with its plan to fully ‘Open up’ the country on the 21st of June.

This will be good news for some companies involved in the tourist industry, also for service industries like wedding venues, and organisers of similar social gatherings. Nightclubs and other entertainment venues will be allowed to open with no restrictions on numbers, though wearing a mask will technically still be compulsory in many public places.

This new policy has made a lot of people very happy of course. Coming alongside a welcome change in the weather, England looks set to go a little ‘crazy’ as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

The lockdown rules have seemed to last for so long now, any break from the restrictive routines is bound to be welcomed.

But. There is always a but.

Having fun and adding alcohol to that doesn’t usually make for sensible behaviour, and keeping to rules like wearing masks. Being allowed to visit anyone, cuddle anyone, and to mix in large crowds of strangers may sound wonderful after so long, and the fact that so many have now been fully vaccinated will hopefully reduce any serious symptoms and cut hospital admissions.

But. Yes, another but.

There are still 8-12 people dying of Coronavirus every day here. That’s around 60-80 people a week, every week. And that is after all the vaccinations, and during the time when restrictions are still in force. In three week’s time, we could possibly see an explosion of infections once again, and a significant increase in the numbers of people dying.

Yes, I know we cannot remain locked down forever. Life has to go on. People have to go back to work, the economy has to start to rise from the pandemic slump.

But. The last but, I promise.

I for one cannot help thinking it is still too soon.

A Lockdown Saturday In Beetley

Next Monday, the lockdown restrictions in England will begin to be eased.

All school pupils will return, depite some opposition from the teaching unions. One relative will now be allowed to visit the elderly who live in Care Homes, though they must wear full PPE, and be the only ‘nominated’ visitor.

On the 29th, outdoor gathering will be allowed, with the previous limit on numbers (six) applying, and outdoor sports such as Golf and Tennis will once again be permitted.

In late April, hospitality venues such as pubs will be allowed limited opening, restricted to outside service only. Not good news for businesses that have no outside space of course.

A full return to ‘new normal’ is estimated to happen by midsummer, but that might change if infection rates go up again.

Here in Beetley, Julie had her second Pfizer vaccination last night, and my second dose of Astra-Zeneca is due in May. We will continue to wear masks where appropriate or complusory, and keep any social mixing to the minimum.

Some people are rushing to book foreign holidays, in the hope that full international travel will be allowed again. I still think this is very risky, but it is up to those people of course. Let’s just hope that they don’t bring back new strains of the virus, and start it all up again. Just for the sake of two weeks on a beach in Spain or Greece.

For us, including Ollie, it will be a week on the Lincolnshire coast, 90 miles north. It is not until September, by which time travel in England should be permitted.

If all goes to plan, this will hopefully be my last lockdown report from Beetley.

Fingers crossed.

The Covid Passport

When someone receives the vaccination for Coronavirus, they are issued with a small card. Their details are also registered on the system, so it is recorded that they have been vaccinated.

Reading online about people who are going to refuse the vaccine, and knowing at least one member of my own close family who will not have it, I started to think about the potential repercussions of exercising your right not to be vaccinated.

That small card, and the computerised record that back it up, could well turn out to be your passport to a return to something like normal life in the not too distant future.

Imagine the restrictions that could be introduced on people who cannot prove they have been vaccinated.

Want to go and see a film, or a show at the theatre?
Show me your card.

Want to book a table at a restaurant?
Show me your card.

Want to use public transport?
Show me your card.

Want to book a foreign holiday, travelling by train, sea or air?
Show me your card.

Want to stay overnight in a hotel, motel, or B&B?
Show me your card.

Want to rent a car or van?
Show me your card.

Want to adopt a child?
Show me your card.

Want to register at a dentist?
Show me your card.

Want to have your hair cut, or a beauty treatment?
Show me you card.

Want to drink in a pub, or go into a nightclub?
Show me your card.

Want to take driving lessons or take the driving test?
Show me your card.

Want to apply for a job where you will be working with others?
Show me your card.

Want to study at a university, or college?
Show me your card.

I could go on. There are many more potential pitfalls of not being vaccinated.

Of course, none of this may happen. I have certainly not heard that is going to. There would need to be extra administration put into place, employment of more security guards and doormen, and then there will always be fake cards.

Nonetheless, if you are considering refusing the vaccine, I have some advice.

Think twice.

Second Wave? No, This Is Much Worse

From midnight on the 31st, 75% of the population of Great Britain will be under the high-level Tier 4 Lockdown.

This follows a huge increase in cases of Covid-19, and the fast spread of the new variant that began in the south-east counties of Kent and Essex recently.
In the last twenty four hours, 961 people have died after contracting Coronavirus, and more than 50,000 new infections were notified.

Not much of a start to 2021, but let’s hope the lockdown does some good.

Here is a full report from the BBC News website, in case those of you with friends or relatives in the UK would like to know more.

Lockdown Number Two

On the 5th of November, we begin a second national lockdown in England. Once again, bars, pubs, hotels, and restaurants will close. Only essential shops will remain open, and travel will be restricted to work, food shopping, child care, and some emergencies.

So far, it is planned for a period of at least 28 days, but there is no actual time cap if the current high infection rate continues.

To many, this is frustrating. Small business like hairdressers and beauticians have just got going again after the last time. Some entertainment venues were hoping to open in time for Christmas, but now that probably will not happen. Gift shops, toy shops, card shops, and many others reliant on the huge spending boom before Christmas are likely to go bust, with their biggest trading period of the year cancelled.

Some believe it is necessary, to slow the alarming increase in ITU admissions, and subsequent deaths.

But if so, why are schools and colleges remaining open? You tell people that they cannot visit an 80 year old grandmother, or go and have their hair cut on a one to one basis, but it is okay for your child to attend a school with perhaps a thousand other children every day, possibly bringing home the virus to the rest of the family.

To say that Boris Johnson has handled the pandemic badly is an understatement.

A Saturday Pandemic Report From Beetley

This is the first Saturday under the newly-relaxed rules. ‘Stay at home’ has been replaced by the confusing ‘Stay alert’.

We can now drive any distance for exercise.
Sit in a park, or on a beach, without moving.
Socialise with one person not from the same household.
Visit one family member we do not live with.
Go back to work if conditions are safe.
Golf clubs and tennis clubs are open again.
Some more shops, like garden centres, are open again.

This started in earnest last Tuesday, and I had already noticed a 100% increase in traffic from the previous week. It still wasn’t ‘normal’ traffic, but noticeably heavier. Yesterday, far more people were exercising on Hoe Rough, having driven there to do so. One person who stopped and spoke to me had driven four miles to get there, and had never been there previously. The regional news reported a huge number of people had driven to the beaches and beauty spots on the north Norfolk coast. By ‘huge number’, they meant a lot more than last week, but nowhere near a ‘normal’ amount of visitors.

Wales and Scotland have their own separate governments, and have been quick to disassociate themselves with the relaxed rules handed out by Boris Johnson. They don’t want anyone crossing borders for tourism, and intend to keep the previous lockdown rules in place for now. As both of those countries are a six-hour drive from Beetley, there was no danger of me flouting their regulations.

As I sit here, there is not much difference to notice. A few cars are driving past, probably off to the supermarkets. Otherwise, it is ‘Beetley-peaceful’, with not even a dog barking.

But the weather is warming up. By next week, we should be seeing summer-value temperatures.

I’m guessing that wil provoke more radical changes around here.


We have all seen them. The people who go all the way down the empty lane in a road restriction, then try to pull over into the traffic stream by bullying some unlucky driver at the head of the queue. Or the lurker who waits nowhere near the bus stop, then tries to jump on first as soon as the bus doors open.

They feel ‘entitled’ somehow. They think they are better than the patient drivers, or the bus passengers who obey the rules of decency and good social beaviour. There are countless other examples of course, but you get the idea.

The current Covid-19 crisis is showing up many of those ‘entitled’ people who might not normally surface. Those who bought every single roll of toilet paper in the shop, even though they knew it would leave others short. Then the hand-sanitizer and liquid soap hoarders who didn’t give a fig about those others who would have nothing to clean their hands with. The same people who then decided to start getting their groceries delivered online, even though they were capable of driving to the shops. They didn’t care about all the elderly or disabled people, the wheelchair users, or housebound shoppers who relied 100% on deliveries from supermarkets.

They were entitled to order online, so they did.

I have been lucky to have escaped many of the excesses of entitlement behaviour, living in a small village four miles from a relatively small town. But even here, it exists. In a half-empty supermarket car park, some will still park in the Disabled Bays close to the front of the shop. The system of having to wait to be allowed in means they don’t get in any faster, but they still snaffle the disabled spaces anyway. Because they can. Because they feel entitled to do so.

Once in the huge supermarket, with a fraction of the normal number of shoppers in store, they continue to be entitled. To be entitled to completely ignore the one-way system instigated by the supermarket. Ignore the signs and the huge arrows on the floor, and just walk up and down the aisles as it suits them. Ignore the lines that tell you to keep six feet apart, and just reach across you to grab what they need. They feel entitled to do that of course.

Then there is the new checkout system. You have to queue patiently along the back wall, until you get to the supervisor at the front. She tells you what number checkout to go to, and you head up to what will be an empty checkout conveyor, with the operator ready to serve you. It’s a fair system, and works very well. I even told the supervisor that the manager should keep it in after the current crisis. Like that will ever happen.

But that system doesn’t work, if you are one of the entitled. It doesn’t even compute in the brains of those despicable people.

No, they have to sneak up the aisle that leads to the head of the queue. Then wait until the supervisor is distracted, move the plastic barrier, then shove their trolley in front of yours. If they choose their target carefully, then perhaps a frightened old lady or distracted family shopper might just think that they don’t want the hassle of arguing, and let them push in. They won’t say ‘thank you’ of course, because they are entitled to push in.

They know that, so you should too.

Thankfully, it doesn’t always work. Yesterday, a 60-something female shopper with an overloaded trolley made an attempt to move the barrier, and push in front of the man ahead of me. He seemed not to notice, but the supervisor did. The entitled woman was not geting away with anything once this determined employee tackled her. At first she feigned ignorance, claiming not to be aware of the queue. When she was told to turn around and join the back of it, she then complained of having a painful hip, and that she would be unable to stand for long enough to get back to where she already was. None of that washed with the supervisor. She told Mrs Entitlement to either join the queue, or leave the shop without her shopping trolley full of stuff.

Then the woman became verbally abusive to the supervisor, claiming to have been abused and persecuted. Moments later, a security guard arrived. He pulled the trolley away from the woman, and said she could either leave the shop of her own accord, or he would call the police.

Sometimes, ‘The Entitled’ don’t win. Those days are the best days.