Other views from England

Lockdown in Leeds

I was interested that you play bridge on line . Our group does this with BBO but we combine it with a Zoom so the four of us can talk, one hand on the iPhone and one on iPad for the bridge . We limit it to twelve hands an evening twice a week , about an hour and a half . I also play on BBO as an individual but find it quite frustrating at times . As you know weak no trumps are generally favoured in the UK but I have had to learn how to cope with strong ones and how to bid with say 12 points and no five card suit . Also some players can’t take being got down and the host can then remove you from the table!! One of our group has learned how to send messages to that host and tells them they are a poor loser who has had too much to drink ! It makes him feel better .

a Bridge friend, a retired lung consultant, in Leeds 2/5/2020

We are ‘coping’ . The garden has been a great bonus ,as has the weather which ,until a couple of days ago, has been just
amazing. Our proximity to a large park has been beneficial and Ive managed to walk quite a bit locally, sometimes with 
husband and soMe times  alone. Last week saw me walking with a friend in North Yorkshire and we repeated the same walk with a
couple from Darlington today. Despite rain this week we are happy because everywhere is desperate for rain.  We FaceTime
 he families, do FaceTime drinks with friends in the evenings, telephone siblings  and try to keep in touch with friends 
on their own. We are eating well,too well probably! 
Goodness knows what is going to happen now things are being relaxed. 
There’s a lot of criticism of the government particularly from the media, about acting toO slowly,being unprepared etc etc. 
No doubt everything will come out in the end but I think it’s more than likely that our strong Public Health Service had 
been depleted of staff, funding and more ,so we didn’t have much option regarding the traditional track and trace methods. 
All will be revealed.  Meantime I should think it’s highly likely that my daughter and family will remain in Australia . 
They were supposed to be deciding in June but how can they possibly move now?  All holidays have been cancelled. Highly
unlikely that we will even be allowed to go to our timeshare accommodation near Inverness in three weeks time to fish. 
I have a trip booked to St Petersburg in mid September. I’m not rushing to get my visa!

& his wife, a retired GP, on 5/6/2020


- - - - - - - - - -

Lockdown in rural Wiltshire


- - - - - - - - - - -

Lockdown in Surrey

"The daily death toll here continues, they announce the figures with other relevant news during daily government press briefings. I think the total so far is about 37,000 but sceptics reckon it could be double that. A blame game is setting in with so called experts denouncing actions and steps that should have been taken, you just don't know who is right or wrong. If you watched yesterday's news you will have seen the beaches in Devon crammed with day trippers, astonishing.
We had a lovely day out at Worthing on Monday, a great run down and celebrated our anniversary with bacon baps from a beach side café, yummy. Took a 4 mile walk along the front, not many folk around so reckon we chose the best day.

On Tuesday we took the car in to have the wheels and tyres swapped over (winter to summer): what a performance with social distancing measures. The showroom had been cordoned off with taped corridors, arrows on the floor and Janet & John instructions. We had to wait in our car to be summoned, hand over the key which was then sanitised and then exit through another door. It felt like a military field hospital but on the whole well organised, same routine again later in the day. This is a sign of the new norm? hope not.

A big dust up is coming about reopening of schools, unions and local authorities vs the government, I reckon they will be lucky to get 50% open. Most other kids won't re-start until September, the poor parents, I really feel for them. Much talk of holidays and air bridges to safer destinations but we won't be taking to the air anytime soon. Seems a crazy idea.

Yesterday's job loss announcement by Rolls Royce is a tragedy for all those folk and the Derby economy. The worry now is that unemployment levels will double this year. The amounts of money being spent to support all this are eye watering, we will be paying this off for decades. One sensible economist said recently that all sovereign debt should be cancelled to enable the world to rebalance and recover, bet that will not happen though!

I had a nice long video chat with a cousin in Jo'burg, South Africa : he is continuing to work from home and they are managing alright. He reports that the Covid case numbers there are remarkably low because of stringent lockdown measures. I find this very surprising given the density of the people in the townships, but well done nevertheless. He said that his daughter was now at Pretoria university and he recently went to pick her up. During the journey he was stopped a couple of times by the police in road blocks."

then 4 weeks later

Last Thursday was the final clapping for NHS heroes night so we wait to see what will replace it, somebody is bound to think up a new routine. The month of May was declared to be one of the driest on record after the wettest February, weird times.

- reports from a relative in Surrey 1/5/2020 & 1/6/2020

nhs2 .nhs3 .

- - - - - - - - -

Lockdown in Somerset, in the west of England.

We are lucky to live in a lovely village on the edge of the Somerset levels, below Ham Hill, part of a range of hills in our area.
We live in a square, in a house part of three in a row, with amazing neighbours. We know all of them, some better than others and we have been blessed by offers of help re shopping etc. Our community shop delivers each week and stocks all the basic groceres plus newspapers and a few magazines. We have a fruit and veg shop and a butcher in a neighbouring village three miles away, who deliver each week. And if you're lucky you can get a slot in Tesco, one of the supermarkets in the town near us. I have been lucky to get three so far. So, extremely well looked after. It was difficult at first having to work out what food we needed from each shop, as one is used to just going into one large shop to buy everything!

tesco1 .tesco2 .teco3

Online Delivery slots were like gold dust for at least a month into Lockdown

Because our village is very quiet we feel perfectly safe going for walks about three times a week. Everyone says hallo, I even had a greeting from a passing cyclist, many young people cycle through each day for their daily exercise.

Spring has been wonderful here, flowering trees galore, and with dilegent watering the very small garden we have has managed to cope with the drought we have had for about the last six weeks. Odd to pray for rain here but it does happen.

Our churches are all closed but our church in Yeovil does a service online and our son who runs a church in north London does the same. We can actually get any church in the country virtually, as they are all either on You Tube or Facebook. I am on Facebook at the moment so that I can see my son and keep in touch with the grandchildren.

Our daughter lives in Surrey, her husband who is an independent builder has had to stop work temporarily and our son who lives in Sweden, in Stockholm seems to be carrying on as normal, except for some social distancing. They did very well to start with we gather but cases of the virus are building now. Our 25 year grandson there has probably had a mild version of the virus for a day or two, and our daughter-in-law in London the same. Our son and his family have a lovely boat so can go out in the archipelago when they like and cruise round the islands. It is a really beautiful place and we had thirty years of holidays with them staying on an island and going everywhere in a small boat for shopping etc. Sadly as my husband is now 89 this year he can no longer cope with flying and airports so that has stopped.  We normally live a very quiet life due to his age: no long distance driving so the children and grandchildren have to come to us when they can; no weekends away, so things are much the same as usual.

We keep in touch with friends by phone or emails and are really looking forward to being able to go back to our church and seeing all our friends there as it is a big part of our life. We are praying for this situation to be overcome very soon.

a friend with whom I used to play social bridge around 1990 - now living near Yeovil 1/6/2020


- - - - - - - - - -

Lockdown beside the sea in Sussex


Boris has confused everyone with our way forward. People should go back to work, but most children aren’t at school, so the
parents don’t have childcare and so on. I would rather stay as we are at the moment while the number of cases is slowly 
going down. I do want to go home, but we have settled into a peaceful life here, with the occasional excitement like last
week’s VE Day street party.    David was right not to be impressed by Prof. Ferguson. Look what a mess he got himself into!
wen3 wen1 wen5 wen2 wen4
Street party for V E Day in a Sussex Village . . . . . . Our Silverseas friends 'locked' outside their house there
We have started to have socially distanced visits from our family - one visit from each of the ones who live in Britain. One was coffee in the garden with their own coffee, cups etc. They are quite local to here in Ditchling. The next was a family of 4 from London, which was for a barbecue, well-orchestrated to keep away from each other - some of their own food, plates and so on - and Tim at one barbecue, our son at the other. No hugs or kisses either! Finally, our daughter came with her husband, 2 daughters and very lively Labrador. They were not so good at keeping away, although we still had the side entrance into a disinfected part of the house for use of a bathroom, but they kept wandering inside. I had been stroking the dog for a while, then remembered you aren’t meant to pet other people’s animals!

A Silverseas friend, near Worthing 12/5/2020 & 4/6/2020
 - - - - - - - - 

Lockdown in Central London & Bristol

One  of the two retired Aussie Doctors on our last trip is confined on the Silver Explorer.  Not sure where she is today.  I have a feeling Silversea have been attempting to arrange her flights home.  Another Silversea friend Lynne,  also from the last trip,  has been stuck on the Cloud .  She travelled from Ushuaia to Cape Town,  and was basically at sea for 20 days.  So despite being probably the least likely people on the planet to have coronavirus,  they have been held at anchor for days,  not allowed to leave the ship!

Mother and Father are fine.  I was down in Devon for four days this week,  helping them stock up with provisions for isolation.  They are both in the vulnerable category,  so pretty much stuck indoors now for who knows how long.   I also did a big Waitrose online order for them.  The first delivery slot was the 21st April!

Adrian and I are staying put in London for the time being.  If the lockdown progresses to a no walking situation in London,  we may decamp to Bristol where at least we have the Downs,  Leigh Woods, and Ashton Court outside the door. 
Then 7 weeks later 
We are both doing okay.  During our travels in the middle east in February we managed to avoid being trapped and getting infected (we think!).
Life has been very much disrupted for us.  Our friends from California couldn't come over.  We can't go to Australia as planned.  Our Silversea Cruise in May was cancelled,  and we feel trapped in our home country. 
We've been together in the London flat for 6 weeks,  but yesterday I drove to Clifton,  where I have been able to walk in the countryside today -my soul feels a bit better for that.

Australia currently has a 14 day compulsory quarantine in place,  where you're locked up in a hotel room with no outside space and delivery of all foods/provisions.  So it's off the cards for the foreseeable future!  We had a friend staying with us in London for the last three weeks who came over to the UK to renew his US work visa. The US  embassy closed the day after he arrived,  and he has been trapped in the UK since then.  We dropped him off at Heathrow yesterday,  and he's now in Sydney in quarantine,  waiting until he can apply for his visa from Sydney,  where the embassy is still issuing them.  What a pullaver for the poor boy: He will have flown NYC LHR DOH SYD LAX NYC just to get a stamp in his passport!

I'll stay here in Bristol for a week before heading back to London.  Fingers crossed that all works out. 
We're expecting to hear on the 7th May about any relaxation of the lockdown rules,  so I'm hoping my return is trouble free. 
No Bridge played here by either of us.  We're binge watching some excellent telly;  Rita on Netflix,  Big Little Lies on Sky Atlantic/Now TV,  and Normal People on BBC i player.

Then 4 weeks later:

We've actually had a fairly pleasant lockdown since I last wrote,  due to the incredible weather,  Regent's Park blooming better than ever,  zoom quiz meetings with friends and enjoying the newly refurbished London flat.  I even managed to meet my parents on Thursday in the middle of Dartmoor for a socially distanced picnic.  Mother and I climbed Hay Tor, leaving Father under said parasol in the midst of the moors on his own for over an hour.  Looking down at him from the top of the tor,  I thought it encapsulated a lot of what lockdown has been about. I miss not hugging people,  even though I have an eminently hugable Buzzard for that purpose!

Buzzard and I are doing 10km walks every day we can,  but my knees,  Buzzards hips and blisters,  sometimes put a restriction on that.  Today is one of those days.  We'll probably manage 5km in Leigh Woods or Ashton Court,  both of which are a 10 minute stroll over Brunel's suspension bridge. 

Thankfully we are both well,  and hopefully the Summer weather will keep coronavirus in abeyance through until October.  What happens then is anyone's guess. 

Feel free to post any of this on your website if you feel it's appropriate or of interest,  including photos

kevin1 . kevin2

A Silverseas friend and social bridge player, 15/3/2020, 3/5/2020 and 2/6/2020


Lockdown in Bedfordsbire

Mike & Val Lawson locked down in Maulden, Bedfordshire


We are both well, thanks, and playing some online bridge. I’ve never played online before, but its good to be able to do it 
while we are spending so much more time at home.    Interested to see your blog and where everyone is locked down. I wouldn’t 
mind being locked down in Peru as I’d like to do some more travelling in South America. But on second thoughts it is better to
 be locked down where you mainly live and where your family and relatives live.    My youngest son regularly comes round with
 his children and we walk down to the park (keeping social distancing of course). And we have had excellent summer weather 
since mid-April which makes lockdown a lot more bearable.    A common sight these days is to see a group of people standing in
 front of a house talking to their family or friends through the window or front door as they can’t go inside. And because so
 many people are working from home they have more time to do odd jobs like car-washing and gardening. So lots of clean cars 
and tidy gardens around!

M L 21/5/2020
mike1 mike2 mike3 mike4
His grandchildren with Val - before lockdown! Mike winning the Triples at Maulden Bowls Club . His local church, St Mary's

. . .


News from Essex, my natal county

I was made aware of the work done into the effects of Covid 19 on society by a genealogical contact

Institute for Social and Economic Research

University of Essex



Lockdown in Sheffield


A friendship lasting 60 years

It seems that Spain, Italy, Belgium & the UK all have very high death rates BUT have the figures all been recorded in the same way, is the age and ethnic demographic similar as these are important factors, as is obesity and being male. I rather think we are comparing different things and are all deaths from Covid-19  included- I wonder, and how about underlying health problems? It all gets rather complex.

We are mostly at home but we have lots of super walks from the door and the garden is big and lovely ( and looking very smart!) Andrew and co come round and sit miles away on the patio for the odd 15m chat about once  a week, I Face time Laura every week and this Zoom thing is starting to take off and our book group are trying it next week.
I have "been" to a few NHS  meetings on Microsoft Teams. They are all fairly rubbish  in my view with far more interest generated by the background the person/ people is in ( eg the artfully arranged pictures, the box room look, the library look, the total mess look) and you have to concentrate FAR more than normal and try to look half decent, not to mention people's faces suddenly freezing so they look like Frankenstein. If this is the way the world is going to operate then heaven help us all!
Laura and Dave are coping well in London with big bike rides, a lot of work they can do from home and runs/walks round the local park.

a report from a schoolfriend - 2/5/2020

Lockdown from Stratford on Avon

Absolutely fine so far, now unlimited golf! I’ve managed to lose 15 lbs weight doing the 5:2 diet which really is no problem at all, also trying to not have alcohol Mon-Thursday, it’s not so much the alcohol that puts the weight on but the crisps etc I insist on having at the same time, having been told never to drink on an empty stomach. Cursing the Govt for this 2 week lock down, would have happily done it 9/10 weeks ago when we got back from Italy but they cancelled it! I think they’ll rethink by July as so much pressure at this end.

Still relying on the odd takeaway meal to make a change - saving a fortune! 

Has it been tough, not really. We have a great garden which is looking better than it ever has, many clearance jobs that
have been put off for years have been completed. The river Avon is at the bottom of the garden - the most noticeable change
has been the proliferation of paddle boards and inflatable canoes, where have they all come from? No motor boats for hire 
in town, so peace reigns. A family of swans and four cygnets turn up every day for some food and so far have escaped the 
attention of foxes and the Pikes in the river.  We both play golf and that is now fully available, but we have been 
disciplined about daily walks during its unavailability. Have been meeting friends in respective gardens for drinks (sorry
Boris) with no hugging etc. Main concern is lack of seeing grandchildren, will they forget us? FaceTime ok but they, 4 & 6, say 
hello, pull a few funny faces and get on with whatever they were doing!!  Just waiting now for the UK inbound quarantine
period to be abolished, hopefully by July as there is so much pressure on the Govt

tony1 .tony2 .tony3

from friends dating back to 1967 - 6/6/2020

Lockdown with the government

Dominic Cummings, chief advisor to Boris, drives 260 miles to Durham at the end of March, when he and his wife are sickening with the virus- to provide childcare if needed for their 4 yr old son. Before returning drives 30 miles to Barnard Castle- to test his eyesight for the drive back to London

mps1 .mps2 ,mps3

No online voting for MPS- thay all queue up for > 30 minutes to vote, socially distanced, and then....//?

And once Spain, Italy and France have virtually no new cases, whereas the UK still has many, government introduce a 14 day Quarantine period for incoming passengers to last until July 1st at least? - CRAZY, goodbye tourist industry

Meanwhile the EU designate 'clean' airports in the UK

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/f87311aa-a744-11ea-a585-dcb14d2bcd47 - Matthew Parris on Boris 6/6/2020



British Airways is grounding its entire fleet of Boeing 747s as the iconic double-decker aircraft rapidly disappears from skies around the world.

The airline confirmed that the jumbo jet, which first entered service 50 years ago, would be retired immediately to save money after an unprecedented collapse in passenger demand - 18/7/2020: a sad day for me, having programmed the 'Blind Landing' of the aircraft in 1970


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 3/3/2021 - The Times


If we have learnt anything from last year, it’s that accurately predicting the future in a pandemic is impossible. As we start the new year with yet more lockdown restrictions, a new highly transmissible “mutant” strain and the closure of many schools (again), we look back on the government’s reliably inaccurate “crystal ball” predictions of the UK’s future.

March 19, 2020
Johnson uses a press conference to raise the prospect of mass testing for the coronavirus, allowing the UK to return to some form of normality by the summer. He says the next 12 weeks could “turn the tide of this disease”, and adds that it was possible to “send the coronavirus packing in this country”.

May 15
Johnson tells more than 100 backbench MPs from the 1922 committee that he wants the UK to return to “near normality” by the end of July as he seeks to relax lockdown restrictions.

July 17
The coronavirus restrictions will ease further in England under plans for a “significant return to normality” by Christmas, the prime minister announces.

September 9
A “Moonshot” testing programme, aimed at allowing everyone to test themselves for Covid-19 every morning, is going to transform our lives, the prime minister promises. He is hopeful that “we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas”.

October 31
We must “come together now to fight this second wave”, says the PM who is feeling “optimistic that this will feel very different and better by the spring”. He added that better medicines and therapies were available along with “rapid turnaround tests” that could be used to tell whether you are infectious. Concerns have since been raised that many such tests are recording a low level of reliability.

November 2
Britain is going to “defeat” the coronavirus and it will be all over “by the spring”, promises Johnson.

He says Covid-19 will be vanquished as a result of developments including drugs, testing and a vaccine. Shortly afterwards, the capital is overrun by a new, more easily transmitted strain of the virus.

December 8
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, tells MPs in the House of Commons he has “high confidence that the summer of 2021 will be a bright one” without the restrictions of last summer.

He also reveals that he has already booked a holiday for this summer for his family, in Cornwall.

December 30
Hancock declares the UK is “going to be out of this by the spring” after the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“We now know with a very high degree of confidence that we are going to be out of this by the spring,” he boldly tells LBC.



More Tales of lockdown