Cold Ashby Rambler's Covid Chronicles
Personal Observations during the Covid Pandemic
Observations (from 29th March 2020 to the present) begin at the bottom of this page
Latest entries are added at the top.
Update 13th March
Now just over one year since WHO declared the Covid outbreak a pandemic and we are still officially in lockdown.
Fortunately the Vaccine rollout in the UK has been remarkably successful and governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island have learnt to be cautious and resist further sudden relaxation of the rules.
Meanwhile, the situation in the EU and the wider world is beginning to look very dodgy again and the UK is still therefore far from safe.
I confess I originally thought we would be in a better place by now.
Update 8th February
Stay at home message reinforced by another 'Beast from the East' - heavy snow.
Some doubts expressed about efficacy of Oxford vaccine against new South African variants.
Government roll-out becoming impressively fast -personal experience of the extremely efficient yet friendly vaccination centre in Moulton Park, Northampton.
Update 11th January
Nationally a huge surge in those carrying the virus. 'Stay at home' message reinforced by Prof. Whitty, though the government's acceptable reasons for going out remain. Details of these HERE.
Traffic Levels in Cold Ashby are much higher than they were in the first lockdown which suggests that, either by choice or financial necessity, people are still travelling outside their local area.
Cold Ashby Church closed to the public.
Update 6th January 2021
National Lockdown again; vaccines being 'rolled out' ... difficult to be cheerful.
Update 28th December
We were put into Tier 3 on Boxing Day which brought Northamptonshire into line with our neighbouring counties.
Some of our more elderly residents have received the vaccine.
Update 3rd December
Cold Ashby is now in the 'new' Tier 2 along with the rest of our county.
Unfortunately this is more complicated than it sounds as our neighbours in Warwickshire and Leicestershire are in Tier 3.
Update 3rd November
Remember, remember the fifth of November …
Here we go again!
The new, second national lockdown comes into force on 5th November and is projected to last until December.
Barring any last minute changes, the restrictions are broadly similar to those imposed in March with a few tweaks and important differences, such as schools remaining open.
See link on Home Page for the details.
What remains to be seen, is the level of compliance this time round. The Rambler suspects that the ‘We are all in this together’ mantra, which most of us embraced last time, may not be so readily accepted since the divisions created by the 3 Tier System which has proved, as many predicted, simply not effective enough ... though, heart-warmingly, it did allow Cold Ashby's children to dress up and collect their well-deserved Hallowe'en treats!
The fact remains, however, that we must comply if we are to get through this real horror.
Update 18th October
We are now at Local Covid Alert Level Medium.
The Rambler would prefer to be on 'Low' but apparently there isn't one.
Update 27th September
Cold Ashby is not locked down again yet!
However, it may be only a matter of time before I stop updating this and simply redirect you, dear reader, to the bottom of the page (equivalent to ‘back to square one’) and invite you to start all over again.
As I write the village pub is, according to my personal observations, rumour and Google Maps, ‘permanently closed’ - but even if it had remained open, drinking-up time would now probably coincide with the few remaining regulars coming through the door to sit at a table and order their first (and last!) drink.
After encouraging people back to work and to return to pubs and restaurants whilst also opening schools, the government and also the public must surely have anticipated the recent surge in infections … and should we really expect first year students, after all the trauma and confusion surrounding their qualifications, not to ‘socialise’ at their new colleges?
In Cold Ashby we have already cancelled Open Gardens.
Family Bonfire Night is presumably off … and now Christmas itself is under threat (particularly for students and their families).
Lest we forget, from 1644 to 1660 in Cold Ashby and the rest of England, traditional celebrations at Christmas, Whitsun and Easter were officially illegal.
I don't think we, or the government, would want to go that far.
Update 15th September
Second day of the already contentious ‘Rule of Six’ in Cold Ashby – yet another ‘simplification’ from central government which, in practice, is anything but simple.
The police are apparently awaiting guidelines on the implementation of this whilst the public are deciding whether it is morally acceptable to inform on each other!
Still some weeks to go before our traditional village bonfire and fireworks would normally take place but as this event involves a great deal of advance preparation and hard work by the Playing Field Committee and obviously hosts a lot more than half a dozen visitors, it looks unlikely.
Meanwhile, the number of infections, worldwide and nationwide, increases rapidly while the chances of getting a ‘world beating’ test near home diminish.
Are we heading for another lockdown?
Update 9th August
Church bell ringing this morning heralding the first service in our church for months!
Since the last update the traffic through the village has increased yet again in volume and speed on weekdays - not so bad at weekends but the less the volume the greater the speeds through West Haddon Road and Main Street.
Update 25th July
If we still had a shop in Cold Ashby, we would now be legally required to wear a face covering in it!
This would have been the 30th Open Gardens Weekend so it seems strangely quiet in the village without all the usual preparations and visitors.
Update 17th May
Noticeable increase in through traffic since the PM 'encouraged' a return to work for those who could not work from home. Presumably the previously good air quality I was celebrating below (27th April) is now not so good - though the winds recently have certainly been cool and strong enough to freshen it up.
Interest in local walks continues - there has been a small increase in visitors to the Rambler's walking pages.
Nationally, the cracks are beginning to show in the unity of the UK since the changes to the lockdown rules ... and not just between the constituent countries but also between administrative areas within England. This is a worrying development.
Nevertheless, we still turn out to clap ( and sound horns!) for the NHS and key workers and are now getting down to some serious gardening!
Update 13th May
As a consequence of the new regulations on travel, the Rambler has modified his advice to visitors to this site. Walkers are respectfully asked to read the Home Page.
Good to know that Garden Centres are now open (see comment below) and that we can now take longer walks or as many short ones as we wish each day.
Update 4th May
The Rambler had decided his next update would be after the review of lockdown arrangements promised on 7th May but, curiously, this is now to be aired on Sunday 10th.
Could this be because we have the one-off Bank Holiday on 8th May for the VE Day Anniversary and any easing of the rules might entice the public to misbehave over the weekend ?
News in brief:
Cold Ashby has devised its own response to VE Day restrictions.
The Parish Council meets on the 6th May via Zoom.
The cemetery has been re-opened to visitors.
Update 27th April
The Rambler has just listened to this morning's message from Downing Street and we clearly must continue in lockdown and follow social distancing rules if we are to successfully complete phase one of the government's plan to control the spread of Covid-19.
Locally, we do appear to have played our part in progress so far and will, I'm sure, support these vital protective measures for as long as it takes.
Many of us , including me, would welcome a clearer indication of how, when and where an end to this might be achieved but are denied this by the nature of the virus itself. My own belief is that social distancing may well become the 'norm' for many weeks if not months.
Hopefully, those of us who signed the petition asking for similar procedures now successfully operating in supermakets to be extended to garden centres will be listened to - gardening and vegetable growing can feed both the soul and body respectively!
Here, in Cold Ashby, we have a great deal for which to give thanks in this otherwise uncertain and worrying situation.
The air quality, with the decrease in through traffic, has almost certainly improved for our daily exercise and our local walks remain at our disposal.
The Rambler is engaged, at present, in a thorough re-reading of Wordsworth's Prelude and is now even more convinced of the benefits of immersing ourselves in the natural world ... particularly in times like these.
Once again, many thanks to everyone, in the village and nationally, who is helping us get through this.
Happy Rambling and do take care!
Update 19th April
Last Thursday (16th) Matt Hancock announced ‘at least’ another three weeks of this lockdown … so those few of us who may not yet quite have got the hang of it all should be fully conversant with the rules by 7th May and we probably all need to be ready for an extension beyond that.
The clapping, this week, was just as impressive as last (see below) and more so visually as both rooflights at Ryberth were occupied when, not only our Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council but also his wife popped up. Regrettably, the Rambler has not yet mastered the art of simultaneous applause and photography so, dear reader, your imagination must supply the picture.
The email support group now has over 50 participants and is still offering much help with essential deliveries and, I must add, entertainment and humour (good quiz, Liz!).
Those of us fortunate enough to have gardens and vegetable plots have been busy and our prayers and/or dances for rain were answered this week!
The post, milk ,supermarket deliveries and waste collections have continued to arrive for which we are most grateful.
Community Spirit appears to strengthen daily despite the grim news nationally.
Update 12th April
This Easter Weekend is the strangest, quietest The Rambler can remember… and I am officially elderly and therefore vulnerable (a label I have found somewhat difficult to accept although I have no doubt the science behind it is correct).
The response to the lockdown in Ashby continues to be magnificent and so does the weather.
Consequently many of us have taken full advantage of local walks whilst observing the distancing rules.
The following message was sent to residents last Thursday:
COLD ASHBY COMMUNITY CARE DURING CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
This is our first email following on from the two letters distributed to every home in the village.
Thank you to all villagers who have become 'buddies' with our older and more vulnerable residents.
The addresses in this group email include many of our villagers who wish to help and some who may need help through this difficult period. This list will be used only for communication during this crisis.
So please use it like a notice board, for example if you are going to the post office, pharmacy or shopping - keeping trips out to the minimum, of course.
More importantly use it to ask for help, it's early days so we don't know who that might be: BUT just get in touch. No one needs to struggle...
It is of course Easter this weekend and there are a number of services that you can participate in via the Uplands Group of Churches facebook page. Although these services go out live at the times stated they can also be accessed later.
Also if anyone would at any time like to say prayers or speak to the vicar feel free to contact the churchwarden on 01604 740773 or speak directly to Rev Allison on 01604 846099.
And don't forget to clap for the NHS every Thursday at 8pm and light a candle in your window every Sunday evening.
SO STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE
Rod Bailey and Deborah Sampson
Thankyou Rod and Debbie for your continued efforts!
Update 5th April
First, The Rambler thanks all who have kindly visited this page and explored other pages on the site during the past week. Many thanks also for two much appreciated local messages of encouragement and support.
Secondly, although nationally we seem to have suffered a plethora of mixed and sometimes conflicting, confusing messages in the past week of lockdown, what remains crystal clear is that we must stay at home – indeed, that former ‘advice’ is now an instruction.
Several of our community have already agreed with me that, if we have to stay in one place like this for an indefinite period, then Cold Ashby, in our fine Northamptonshire Uplands, really ain’t too bad a place to be!
These conversations, I hasten to add, were shouted exchanges from a distance of more than 2 Metres (or 6 ft. 6 ¾ ins to The Rambler!).
The second Clapping Event was even louder than the first. I think someone in Main Street was giving a saucepan a beating but even more impressive was the sudden appearance of the Vice-Chairman of our Parish Council clapping vigorously from the window in his roof.
The email group (see 29th March below) has increased its offers of help and support … everything from scrabble and DVDs to pet food and much more.
It’s early days in this struggle, but many of us are striving so hard to pull together whilst physically isolated I, for one, am thankful to be part of this community.
Thought for the week : ‘There is such a thing as Society’!
News just in of a first for Cold Ashby Parish Council – please click or tap HERE.
Since 23rd March we must not make non-essential journeys which clearly means we cannot travel from our homes for the purpose of walking in neighbouring areas.
As I write, we may, however, still walk from home as part of our once a day exercise as long as we are alone or with members of our own household and observing the social distancing 2 metre rule.
The Rambler urges you to follow these rules and only use the walks on this site if you can genuinely access them from your own home.
Here in Cold Ashby, along with other local communities, we have established an improptu, friendly, yet very efficient email group which enables us to help each other get through this and the Rambler takes this opportunity to warmly thank everybody who is involved for their kindness, generosity and caring phone calls.
Our Parish Council and Church Warden are working hard to ensure that everyone is looked after, whatever their circumstances and to communicate with every household by letters and email.
If you live in our parish, are reading this and feeling you need contact or help please contact them.
Details are available on Cold Ashby Parish Council’s Home Page.
The Rambler will be updating this page regularly.
Thankyou for visiting and take care.