2020 was to have been an adventurous travel year for us until something got in the way. The best laid plans of mice and men didn’t bank on Coronavirus and the subsequent COVID19 Lockdown!
We started 2020 with one of our regular jaunts from one end of the country to another with a trip to see our Grandson, Dylan, up in Aberdeen. It’s a long way, but it’s worth the effort to see how quickly he’s growing up. It only seems like the blink of an eye since we rushed up there when he was born, nearly two years ago. Now he’s honing his debating skills, establishing authoritarian hierarchies and mastering the art of concluding a video call. That little red button with a telephone receiver on it is an irresistible draw.
A Premature Grandson
Only two months later we ended up getting a call to say that his little brother was on the way. Before we’d even reached the English border we received the news that little Harris had arrived and, though a little on the small side (he was 9 weeks premature!), he and Mum were doing fine.
No sooner had we arrived and settled in when Mrs 50Plus said she felt a little poorly and started a particularly annoying cough. Now this was in the very early stages of the whole Coronavirus debacle, when stories of some strange virus in China and the sad and ever-increasing casualties in Italy were being brushed under the carpet by our own government. However, mindful of the threat, we made the decision to head straight back home due to the potential risks of exposure to our daughter and the kids. So we never got to see Harris when he was born, and over 10 weeks on, the prospects of seeing him any time soon are still slim. (Lockdown put paid to those extra special newborn cuddles and we’ll never get them back, as Mrs C keeps saying.)
As it happens, her cough subsided the next day and none of us have had any ill effects since. Nonetheless we had to do the whole self-isolation thing for ever and a day. Subsequently we realised that when Mrs C was saying she couldn’t taste anything in the week before the cough appeared, this was when we should have probably worried!
A Trip To Guernsey
We were really looking forward to a trip to Guernsey this spring, supplementing what was a wonderful short break in Jersey this time last year. I remember visiting the Channel Islands as a child and have fond memories of the beaches, the historical landmarks and the easy-going way of life they enjoy. Of course, the dreaded lockdown put a damper on things and we had no choice but to accept that it wasn’t going to happen. We may try to re-book later in the year if, and when, the restrictions are lifted. If that doesn’t work, maybe we’ll go to Durham instead. Apparently there are no restrictions on visiting Durham during a lockdown!
To Borneo With Saga
Further afield, we were also planning to holiday in Borneo in October, with a two-centre stay and Kota Kinabalu and Manukan Island on the cards. Having travelled around the world in 2017, we fell in love with Thailand and Malaysia and thought that this trip would offer us a slightly more off-the-beaten-track experience. We still don’t know if it’s going to happen, as it’s still a few months away, but we’ve kind of accepted the fact that if it isn’t going to happen, then we’ll perhaps look at next year , or indeed when circumstances allow.
Canal Boat Holidays
In the meantime, how about a little trip in July? A narrowboat on the canals sounds like a nice option. Easy social distancing, no large gatherings, peace and quiet and some lovely scenery. I think of all our dreams, this break with Black Prince Holidays, is probably the most viable in today’s environment. There’s a trip on the Llangollen canal, starting at Chirk Marina, taking in the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the way. We’ve done a couple of narrowboat holidays in years gone by and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Maybe this is the one!
In the meantime, we’ll continue our lockdown activities: redecorating, repairing, walking, sitting in the garden on a warm evening with a cold beer for company and a once-weekly trip to the shop for a food top-up. We’re extremely lucky to live right by the sea, with fabulous coastal walks and beautiful beaches less than a 5-minute walk from our front door. Therefore, the consequences of our lockdown have been minimal. We do, however, feel so sorry for those in less pleasant circumstances; living alone, having no outside space of their own and perhaps with young children to educate and entertain. It must have been a herculean challenge. I salute you!
Let’s hope that things start to settle down now and that we can look forward to doing some of the things we used to enjoy doing before. We remain optimistic at every stage. To say that things are getting more complicated as time goes on is an understatement though. Why can’t the United Kingdom be united any more? To get from here to where our grandchildren live means having to scrutinise three different sets of rules. Wales, England and Scotland all have different guidelines and rules, and we’ll have to be able to comply with all three before we can see little Harris for the first time. It’ll be such a relief to be able to finally visit family again after all this time and to be able to see our new grandson before he starts shaving!