In 2020 there was an outbreak of 'flu. It started in China, and by March 2020 the WHO labelled it a pandemic.

The UK government's response was to restrict people's activities in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. These policies meant many people, myself included, were unable to go to work.

I decided I should spend some of my spare time writing this journal. There will be no theme to individual entries; just whatever I feel like writing. The images are (with a few obvious exceptions) taken within a half mile radius of our house.

It's a year to the day since we entered our first lockdown (closing time).

What has changed?

I have stopped writing in this blog. I think I have found other things to do. The novelty (and strangeness) of this situation wore off a long time ago. It's now a normal way to live. I give everyone I pass a wide berth; though it has to be said, some others do not. We still wear masks indoors (e.g. shops). Some ignore this rule and I decided I will no longer use the village shop in Portslade for that reason. 

I am still "teaching" through a lap-top screen. There is a promise of return to work soon (12 April). We will restart gradually, building up back to the stage we left off in December. We are trying to work out how to prepare the gymnasts to compete again, even though we are still not sure when we will be allowed to hold such an event.

I received my first dose of vaccine yesterday. It is a stunning example of NHS efficiency. I got a text message on Thursday evening and made an appointment that evening for Friday morning. I was guided in to the front door of the surgery, briefly sat (for the jab), then walked out of the back door. I was in and out of the surgery in well under 5 minutes. 

We approach the equinox, and plants are showing signs of life. I have begun to spend a little more time on the allotment again, preparing for the year ahead.

We are back in the gym! It's such a relief. We are, of course, back to "square one". We now have to work out how to get these boys back to the competitive level they were a year ago. There is hard work ahead of us. However, it's so good to be able to speak directly to the boys again, and of course, they get to do what they have wanted to do all this time... gymnastics. There was never any enthusiasm for Zoom "carpet dancing".

The red shading on the graph shows when we were shut; the blue line is the Covid infection rate.

The statistics are scary. We initially shut down 388 days ago. Since then, the club has been completely closed for 263 days (68%). Of the 125 days we were open, we operated at between 50% and 80% of our capacity.

You can clearly see the effect lock-downs had on the death rate. The up-tick in the death rate shown in late summer highlights the sheer stupidity of the "eat out to help out" scheme. I can only hope there's a politician somewhere who doesn't sleep well at night after that decision.

This time, the pubs are not fully open. You have to stay in the garden with your drink. The weather now is quite cold, especially compared to last year when we experienced a heat-wave during the early part of Summer.

Vaccine rollout continues to accelerate, and the number of deaths continues to fall. Interestingly, we are one of the better countries at convincing the population to get vaccinated. France and Germany have not done so well, and now their cases are rising again.