Cancelled holidays, daily exercise and days out in lockdown

Back in August 2019, I booked a holiday to America. I booked 3 weeks off work, and came up with a plan to go to New York (again), Chicago for the first time, Oxford Mississippi for the highlight of the trip – my sister’s wedding, and then onto Memphis to meet a friend from Canada, finishing in Washington DC. It was going to be great, a real break from work, and a chance to see friends and family, and of course travel.

I booked my first flight for March 29th.

And then covid 19 hit, and at 2 weeks notice my long anticipated trip fell apart. First Donald Trump banned anyone from the U.K. from entering the USA, then we were advised not to travel unless it was essential, and then we went into lockdown on March 23rd. I couldn’t even have the day out in London I had planned for the day before my flight.

And this is to say nothing of the threat of a very infectious disease that was killing thousands globally.

Over course of the next few weeks I managed to get almost all my money back from my various flights, hotels, Airbnb, trains. My advice to anyone in this situation is wait for them to cancel your flight etc, and then they have to refund you. You cancelling will often get you nothing.

I spent the first few weeks of lockdown at home, alone. Work was quiet, so I didn’t cancel my annual leave, so I had 32 days at home – I had to self isolate with a cough for a week which added to my time off work. I read books, relaxed, went internet shopping.

And I went for walks a few times a week. Here in England, our lockdown wasn’t as strict as some other countries, so we were allowed to go out to the supermarket, for medical needs, to go to work if you couldn’t work from home, and for daily exercise, but not to drive for this exercise. Also, we have had a glorious spring – the warmest and sunniest EVER. This has definitely helped when queuing at the supermarket. It has also helped with our daily exercise.

I have never gone far, only down to Creswell Crags, a walk which takes about 1.5 hours. It has been so nice to get out and about, get some fresh air, and just leave the house. We are supposed to social distance, so it’s not uncommon to see people suddenly walk onto the road as you approach them. Fortunately as we were advised against all but essential travel, the roads have been quiet – they’re definitely busier now.

It’s been interesting to see the crags change over the last few weeks, from the end of winter, when there wasn’t much plant life around the paths, and the trees still without leaves, onto spring and early summer, with the blossoms on the trees, and the increasing greenery. Not so positive has been the falling water levels in the small lake/pond there – the consequence of our very dry spring – I couldn’t even begin to guess then we last had rain.

Creswell Crags in the rain. This might be our last rain – April 26th.

I went back to work ( as a nurse I’m classed as a key worker, and definitely can’t work from home) a few weeks ago, towards the end of April, which limits my time for daily walks – sometimes I’m just too tired to do much on my days off. But the rules have changed slightly now, and we are allowed to travel further for our daily exercise, and more places are opening up. One of these places in Chatsworth, a big country mansion near to where I live. The house isn’t open yet, but the car parks and the extensive parkland are open, and as I had 3 days off this weekend I decided to go.

It was lovely!! So nice to get out properly, to stretch my legs, and see somewhere different, especially a favourite place of mine such as Chatsworth. The sun was shining, the views outstanding as always, and with the sun glittering on the water of the river, it all looked so beautiful. It was also quite busy, especially by the time I left. People were strolling along the river, picnicking by the river, paddling and clambering on the rocks in the river. I even saw a few people swimming in the river. Not sure what the sheep had to say about it all though, after so long of having it to themselves.

I’m not sure what the future holds for us in this strange lockdown world we are living in. I have another holiday booked for September to Greece, which hasn’t been cancelled yet, but I expect it will be eventually. I’m not sure when I’ll leave the house and go out anywhere else (except work and the supermarket). Lockdown has been eased, but I’m worried it’s too soon, and that we are heading for another peak of covid 19, which will see restrictions returning. We are still not allowed to leave the country, and some countries don’t want British tourists travelling to them anyway due to our high number of infections. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

And stay safe.

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