Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Within 24 hours everyone else tested positive, so the question now was not, “How do you travel during Covid?” but, “How do you travel with Covid?”
Well, you can. And can’t.
We self-isolated, ordered in, coughed a bit and -- despite headaches and sore throats -- enjoyed drinks, laughter and family stories. It was actually why we were here.
We did go out however: one day we drove to the cute village of Rye then Winchelsea to see where Spike Milligan is buried and the church with remarkable stained glass; another day to pretty Worthing where the understated pier is being done up for summer and Bognor Regis which looked like it had given up and was waiting for the Butlins’ crowd to return.
Social distancing was easy, there was hardly anyone anywhere despite the early spring weather.
My son Julian and I also went to the South Downs to see Devil’s Dyke, a massively deep groove in the rolling earth. Legend says the devil created it although scientists have a more logical explanation. These days I suspect as many would believe the devil story as those know-alls with degrees.
The nearest person was a dot in the distance across undulating green space.
So travel is still possible.
However, we were going to Bristol to see my wife’s niece and family, which would be more problematic. Their wee girl is only 17 months old.
We’d booked a night on the way at the Woolpack Inn at the village of Beckington – the hotel sent a standard email about ensuring guest safety (deep-cleaning rooms etc) and asked guests to advise if they have any Covid symptoms on arrival.
We arrived masked up and did, saying we were happy to isolate in a corner of their large (but empty) dining area or eat in our room. We were given a room key , dumped our bagsand – masked - went downstairs to look around.
But the apologetic guy at the desk had spoken to the manager who said they couldn’t accommodate us because they weren’t “a Covid hotel”. (There are “Covid hotels”?)
No room at the Inn.
He suggested the nearby Travelodge next to a Starbucks beside the motorway roundabout.
We went there masked, the receptionist was behind glass so we booked without declaring our vile condition and self-isolated again. We asked where we might eat. Sherecommended the Woolpack Inn.
We had cold salad and sandwiches from the service station.
We’re now in Bristol – at a prohibitively expensive hotel, without free parking – and so, although we’ve been on the streets, we’re kind of isolating before testing clear to see family.
But despite the sign in the lobby insisting on masks in public areas we are the only ones who do. The staff don’t and there is no disinfectant in the hand-cleanser stations. Among the swarms going to work and college I saw only four wearing masks.
Again, we’ve mostly given up wearing them too.
As I write, the British government has lifted all restrictions on unvaccinated people coming into the country and -- although peak-Covid was reached some weeks ago -- the rates of infection are rising again since local constraints were liftedand life started to look something like the former normal.
Professor Tim Colbourne of University College London says the number of cases could be between 30,000 and 100,000 a day for the foreseeable future.
For the life of me I can’t think why.
For other articles in this series go here.