Wednesday dawned bright, still, and warm here in St. Mary in the Wold and the Norman household rose early to take advantage of the best part of the day. Not difficult of course. Even at the start of summer there is still a chill in the air and sleeping with the windows wide open, as the guidelines suggest, can leave the bedroom feeling a little cold, but on Wednesday morning there was little need for an alarm as the increased activity of the bird life in the area since the great lockdown began was just as effective.
Pre-covid the birds would have gone mainly unheard as neighbours started leaving home for something called ‘work’ but traffic has reduced to a minimum as people rise later, having been deployed ‘remotely’ or have joined the army of the furloughed 72,000 in Warwickshire alone, according to reports in the regional press. At least, said one middle-aged resident of Audi Avenue, thanks to ‘dishy Rishi’, Fiona and Joshua will be alright until October. Good for them I thought, dishy Rishi may have looked after government workers but what about the many self-employed ‘little’ businesspeople who have in many cases received little or nothing?
Anyway, I digress. Not wanting to start the day without the health checks that any responsible and caring adult would do in this national crisis, we took our turn checking our temperature and blood pressure – still slightly above the published guidelines but near enough. After an invigorating shower, water temperature set to give the most effective shower at the guideline suggested temperature, we dressed and went down to breakfast. (Naturally, as you would expect, all our garments are those complying with the latest guidelines on fair trade and produced using only those products meeting the ‘green’ guidelines suggested by local and central government.)
Wanting to be sure our breakfast menu met current healthy eating guidelines, we settled on fair trade coffee, wholemeal toast with a low fat butter substitute and, following the ‘five a day’ healthy eating guidelines, some fresh grapes, this time organic and from Mexico.
We were a little concerned that eating grapes imported from Mexico may not be totally in line with current guidelines on eating non-local produce, but came to the conclusion that as there had been no guidelines produced by our local council, we decided that, as the grapes had been purchased from a large supermarket chain, eating them would in this instance be fine.
Obviously, like most people, the last three months have been difficult and we have as far as possible been following the guidelines to protect our mental and physical health and taken as much physical exercise as possible in the form of gardening and walking. As the weather has been warm and sunny – sometimes too sunny here – that was not difficult. We would assure readers that we did, at all times, follow ‘official health and safety’ guidelines on the use of domestic implements while gardening and mindful of the official guidance on the dangers of the effects that sunlight may have on the unwary, we used a well-known sun block factor 21 for maximum safety at all times. The guidance we were given on one of the many TV gardening programmes was useful and we followed to the letter the advice to use the appropriate safety gloves, goggles and face masks when working with freshly opened compost and granular fertiliser.
An air of depression has pervaded the household from time to time during the lockdown, something that friends have also experienced. Our moods were not helped by the incessant left wing anti-government propaganda, along with doom and gloom gleeful ‘reporting’ of the latest Covid-related deaths now being at least deflected by the latest cultural wars and what passes for a response by police and politicians to obvious law breaking.
We have now drawn up a list of media to avoid. The broadcast news media was long ago abandoned by our family along with subscriptions to so-called quality press, the National Trust, Red Cross and various other ‘charities’ that seem only to want my money and use it to subvert opinion or push the latest left wing and woke mantra.
Anyway, after breakfast we decided that as Covid regulations and safety guidelines have been eased we could ‘safely’ make our way, in our newly-acquired electric town car – following the latest town council guidelines produced to fight the effects of climate change global warming emergency, we decided to sell our tried and trusted diesel SUV, which was a little disappointing really as we only purchased it following the guidelines published by a previous government. We had discussed how we should prepare for this first post-easing adventure whether by independent transport rather than cycle the round trip of 30 miles, or travel by bus, but not wanting to disturb the bus driver in their lonely masked isolated splendour we set off in the car with water container, liquid soap, antiseptic wipes and the latest guideline-approved gloves, goggles and face masks, ready for any eventuality.
Driving to town was uneventful and we were particularly impressed to see newly-erected road signs which read ‘Covid 19 response keep your distance’ although some drivers failed to comply with this guidance and drove very close to the vehicle in front.
Government, apparently wanting to attract people back to spend money in the retail sector, have issued Covid response traffic and safety guidelines. Our local authorities have taken to these with gusto, and to attract visitors have overnight introduced widened pavements, one way traffic systems and additional cycle lanes, all signified by hundreds of pretty red and white traffic cones, red and white barriers together with hundreds of bright yellow barriers, apparently set at the requisite heights and distances as laid down by guidelines.
Pedestrians could be forgiven for feeling a little left out by all this but are soon reassured that should they feel confused or unsure about how they should react, ‘new normal’ guidelines have taken care of this and white painted pedestrian and cycle signs have appeared like modern graffiti on pavements, often with a helpful centre line and direction arrows, followed at intervals by large red road signage proclaiming ‘COVID-19 Keep Two Meters Apart’.
I wondered if this signage and its usage had to meet any approved standard and was relieved to be told by a very pleasant ‘Town Guide’ that it indeed it did and was compliant with the latest best practice and guidelines for public signage.
Part 2 of Guide me great redeemer will be published here tomorrow.