We’re back from our holiday. Admittedly, this year’s holiday was a one-nighter in Hay-on-Wye but it was better than nothing. Sort of. I’d been aching to get away ever since lockdown started but once Dominic Cummings told Boris Johnson to tell us that we must stay at home, that’s where we have stayed, every single night. Until last Thursday.
We made the most of our time away. In Chepstow we visited a castle. In Abergavenny, we visited the indoor market. In Aberfan, we visited the Memorial Garden and in Hay we stayed in a guest house, went to book shops, went to a pub and then went to another pub where we had a meal. To be completely honest with you, my loyal reader, I was never completely relaxed. Wherever you go, you are always reminded that we are in the midst of a murderous virus.
At Chepstow castle, you can only visit by pre-booking and everywhere within the castle is the most disgusting hand gel that is more like glue. All the paths and stairs are arrowed for a one way system. I felt quite safe because the castle has no roof but it doesn’t feel normal.
Abergavenny was quiet, which is odd on a Friday afternoon. The shops are mostly quiet or empty. The town will not be sustained with footfall as low as we saw. Also, hardly anyone bothered with social distancing. People blame young people for the spread of the virus but here by far the worst culprits were far from young. And in the indoor market, hardly anyone was bothering with face coverings. I got out as quickly as I could, though mainly because there were so few stalls and so much crap on sale.
Hay, the pinnacle of the break, was, as Roy Walker might put it, good, but it’s not right. The bookshops are open, especially the wonderful Richard Booth’s shop, but you are wearing face coverings all the time. We went in a pub and had to sit outside where we were surrounded by waves of tobacco smoke. We went for a meal and of course the staff were in masks, there were perspex screens all over the place and it was very expensive. I enjoyed being there, but it obviously wasn’t the same as pre-COVID-19. How could it be?
We enjoyed the sights, we enjoyed the café stops but always, at the front of my mind, was the thought I was taking a risk. After all, we were near some places which were now under lockdown again. If we bumped into one person who had been infected – well, it didn’t bear thinking about. I’d say I felt uncomfortable wherever I was. And it’s changed my mind about going away.
We have a late autumn break booked for the Canary islands, but it’s not going to happen. The number of new infections is doubling ever 7.7 days. if things carry on like this, we will soon be back in lockdown again. There is only one place I want to be when that happens: at home.
As I have blogged before, I’ll be amazed if we go abroad next year. It’s possible we may by then have a vaccine, but maybe not. I’m not going to go through month after month watching our planned holidays turn into dust. We’ve done staycations this year (this means literally staying at home) and next year it will be holidays in the UK. No holidays in the sun. I know I’ll feel far more relaxed.