Wednesday, 23 December 2020

A free man in Tonbridge (with apologies to Joni Mitchell)

I’m a free man for the next 12 days – as free as anyone trapped in a Tier 4 lockdown can be. I finished work yesterday, as I had a few days leave left (use it or lose it, is the policy), so with almost a fortnight at my disposal, I shall use the time wisely, and try not to waste it.

Mrs PBT’s has all sorts of “jobs” lined up for me; no surprises there, but weather permitting I intend to get out and about as much as possible – or as much as Hancock’s latest misery restrictions will allow. Put it down to “cabin fever,” but I really don’t like being cooped up indoors for more than a couple of days at a time.

So, what can a poor boy do? As Mick Jagger famously sang, when pubs, restaurants and even cafés are limited to takeout’s, and attractions such as nearby Penshurst Place, Hever Castle and other historic, but interesting “stately piles” are also out of bounds? For the record, despite living in close proximity to these, and other attractions (think Chartwell, Knowle, Ightham Mote etc), I’ve never set foot inside any of them!

I’ve a seven-mile section of the North Downs Way, between the villages of Wye and Charing, to walk, which will mean I shall have virtually completed the whole of the Kentish section of this long-distance footpath. I will leave this until after Christmas, even though the 10-day forecast isn’t looking especially good. Perhaps I ought to wait until I’ve not only purchased my new set of boots but worn them in as well.

If the forecast is correct, then I can utilise the time by catching up on the blog and adding to the other online project I am working on, which is my own website.  I haven’t mentioned it before, as it’s still a work in progress, but if you want to check it out, even in its unfinished state, leave the odd comment and receive sign up to receive email updates, please click on the link above.

Eileen and I called in at Waitrose earlier. The crowds seem to have died down now, and the panic buying as a well. We've got sufficient food and drink in the house to last a siege, although if the current disruption at Dover doesn't end soon, we might be needing it all. Unfortunately, the chaos and delays we're experiencing on Kent's roads is likely to be just a small taste of what's in store, come the start of next month. 

Whoever thought it a good idea to leave the European Customs Union and Single Market, obviously has no understanding of supply chains, "just in time" purchasing and all the other intricacies that go with the trading of goods in the modern world. We could have maintained these arrangements, and still left the European Union, had it not been for the undue influence of  the dogmatic, and rabidly anti-European, ERG - a party within a party, and a misnomer if ever there was one!

As if chaos at the ports and our fair county being turned into a giant lorry park wasn't enough,  I saw the news report earlier, that much of the rest of Southern England will be move into Tier 4 from Boxing Day. This will affect our friends, a short distance away away, over the border in what was Tier 2 Sussex. At least pubs there will be able to trade on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself, but these are certainly very strange times we are living through.

As for me, I’m staying put, keeping my head down, remaining patient and fully prepared to see this one out. So, unless I post something tomorrow, have a good Christmas, whatever you're up to, and even if it wasn’t quite the one you were anticipating, I trust it still goes well for you.


retiredmartin said...

Happy Christmas Paul and Eileen and Matthew.

Look forward to meeting up for a pint in Tonbridge when we've both been vaccinated.

Agree with all your points, especially about being stuck in the house. It always seems a shame to plan a walk without a pub stop though, doesn't it?

Paul Bailey said...

Thanks Martin, and a Happy Christmas to you, Christine and the boys too.

According to the online calculator, I'm scheduled to receive the vaccine at the end of February - beginning of March. Possibly sooner if the Oxford- Astra Zenaca version gets its expected approval at the end of the year.

A walk without a pub stop, isn't quite the same, but it's better than no walk at all.

Best wishes, Paul.