Admittedly the latter takes a lot more planning and organisation, but such a trip was in the offing for this coming May. That’s obviously gone out the window now, but the trip in question was a short, three-day stopover in the Czech city of Pilsen (Plzeň). Pilsen is famous the world over for being the home of Pilsner-style beers, as it is the city where this golden style of lager was first developed.
Son Matthew and I were flying out to join a group of fellow beer enthusiasts, most of whom have present, or past connections with Maidstone CAMRA. Three years we accompanied the group to the Rhineland city of Düsseldorf, whilst two years ago Bamberg was our destination. I had also joined the group, on my own in 2015, for a visit to the Czech town of Jihlava on the border between Bohemia and Moravia.
These trips have always been good fun, well-organised and have normally included a few brewery tours. You can imagine then the sense of disappointment that has pervaded the Bailey household, as we watched with horror, as the insidious Corona virus spread itself around the globe.
Then in mid-March, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, advised against all travel to the Czech Republic, as the Czech authorities had closed the country’s borders, in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. The closure extended through into April, but whilst the tour organiser suggested waiting, realistically I can’t see the UK’s own lockdown being lifted for at least another six weeks, and it is likely to take much longer before restrictions on international travel are lifted.
None of this matters in the general scheme of things, especially when we are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never encountered before. My grandparents, who would have just about remembered the Spanish Flu pandemic which followed the end of the Great War, are long departed, and with them and their generation, the experiences of that particular scourge has vanished from living memory.
It’s a case now of bunkering down and isolating ourselves from contact with our fellow citizens by staying indoors as much as possible. I am switching to working from home as much as possible, although most of the workforce at my company has been instructed not to come in next week. This will make things easier and safer for those occasions where I do have to go into the office to deal with things that can't be managed remotely, or electronically.
The voyage hasn’t officially been cancelled, but it will be, and given the experience of passengers quarantined on cruise ships, for weeks on end, because of Corona virus, being confined to quarters is something neither of us wish to experience.
As with the Czech trip, cancelling or postponing the cruise is not a problem, particularly if all these small actions help speed up the end of the crisis, and anyway, even if it was to end tomorrow, there would still be a mountain of work waiting in order to put things right and restore a semblance of normality.
These then are my thoughts on a very cold and blustery Sunday evening, as we enter week two of the lock-down. I’ll sign off for now, but not before saying, keep well and stay safe.