A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MAd4travel

UK Summer in Lockdown

In and Around Hove

sunny 23 °C

JUNE/JULY/AUGUST 2020

As June progressed and the number of UK cases began to fall, the Coronavirus restrictions began to be eased. The first noticeable change happened mid-month with the opening of non essential shops. This was followed in early July by the re-opening of restaurants, pubs, hotels, guest houses, camp sites, hairdressers, etc, but all with strict social distancing and hygiene rules in force. Social distancing now had been reduced to one meter +. The question was: “what does the government mean by one meter + ?” This was never answered and the public were left to make up their own minds.

The other three nations (Scotland, Wales & Northern Island) took a more cautious approach allowing an extra few weeks to pass before they followed suit. Their governments also provided a much clearer set of rules regarding the loosening of restrictions. In fact, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, was handling the Covid-19 outbreak far better than her counterpart in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In fact, it seemed that what ever Nicola did Boris would follow. A good example of this was when Boris and his team said the wearing of face coverings in shops was voluntary. Then, when Scotland made it mandatory, Boris changed his mind and England did the same.

By mid July we finally got the notification we were expecting: our flight to Canada had been cancelled. This, of course, meant that our three month trip to Canada and USA was off. What followed was the exercise of cancelling all our North American accommodation and transportation bookings and seeking refunds for the money we had paid. This kept us busy for some while.

With no trip to North America to look forward to, we had to decide what to do instead. We debated whether to visit Europe. As with the UK Covid-19 seemed to be under control and flights were now available to many destinations. However, there were still isolated outbreaks and local lockdowns occurring, so we thought it would be better to remain in England for a few more months. Having made that decision we started planning a UK road trip to run from the end of August to the end of October.

In the meantime we kept ourselves busy by going for local walks as frequently as possible. This reminded us just how much natural beauty we have on our doorstep.
But it wasn’t all leisure, we still had our cooking, cleaning and chauffeuring duties to take care of, albeit a small price to pay for Rob’s generosity during this Covid-19 period.

Kneep Castle

Kneep Castle

Knepp Castle Grounds

Knepp Castle Grounds

Knepp Castle Estate

Knepp Castle Estate

Red Deer at Knepp Castle Estate

Red Deer at Knepp Castle Estate

Knepp Castle Estate

Knepp Castle Estate

Willow tree in Sheffield Park

Willow tree in Sheffield Park

Family of ducks at Sheffield Park

Family of ducks at Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park

Sussex Downs

Sussex Downs

Sussex Downs

Sussex Downs

Old telephone Box now a Telepoem box

Old telephone Box now a Telepoem box

Lockdown Poem in an old telephone box

Lockdown Poem in an old telephone box

River Arun

River Arun

Bridge over the river Arun near Greatham

Bridge over the river Arun near Greatham

Footpath going through corn field

Footpath going through corn field

Thatch cottage in Sussex

Thatch cottage in Sussex

One memorable walk was on a day out to Runnymede. The main purpose for going there was to meet friends for a picnic in a delightful place right on the bank of the River Thames. Runnymede is just on the outskirts of London and is a site steeped in history and most famous for the signing of the Magna Carta, see PO & IF below. Our walk was circular and took us from one historic point to another, with a suitable length and elevation to build up a good appetite for the picnic.

Runnymede river Thames

Runnymede river Thames

Picnic by the river Thames

Picnic by the river Thames

River Thames where we had our picnic

River Thames where we had our picnic

Runnymede Air Forces War Memorial dedicated to some 20,456 men and women from air forces of the British Empire who were lost in air and other operations during World War II.

Runnymede Air Forces War Memorial dedicated to some 20,456 men and women from air forces of the British Empire who were lost in air and other operations during World War II.

Monument to the Magna Carta

Monument to the Magna Carta

Reflections in the Magna Carta Pool

Reflections in the Magna Carta Pool

By August we were all in the swing of the “new normal”. With the wearing of face coverings mandatory for all indoor establishments, although that was something we were already doing voluntarily.
Anne was able to have her hair cut and we both visited the dentist for a check up. Both very straight forward activities under normal circumstances but somewhat different in the world of covid-19. At the dentist we were required to wear masks right up until the inspection began, our temperature was taken when we arrived and the seats in the waiting room were all two meters apart.
Pubs were now open, so it was great to be able to have a pub lunch after one of our more lengthy walks. It was a beautiful day so we could dine in the garden, thus avoiding the more restricted arrangement that were in force inside. All the garden tables were numbered and two meters apart. You socially distanced whilst queuing to give your food and drinks order, you then collected your drinks at the bar and the food was subsequently delivered to your table by a waiter wearing a face mask. A little different to normal but a great pleasure to be able to partake again in one of my favourite pastimes.

First pint at a pub since lockdown

First pint at a pub since lockdown

Outdoor dining at country pub

Outdoor dining at country pub

Our first pub lunch since lockdown

Our first pub lunch since lockdown

We were now ready to return to our travelling life style. Plans were in place to leave Hove for the first time in five months and on the 23rd August start a UK road trip. Our route will take us up the western side of England and into Scotland. Stops of 5 to 7 days will be made at places of interest until we reach the Scottish Highland, at this point we will start the North Coast 500. The NC500, as it is known, is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the world and traces a route that hugs the coast right at the very top of Scotland. This time we will make shorter breaks, enough to see the places of interest, before continuing on our way. Once the NC500 is complete we will continue down the eastern side of Scotland and England, but at this point our plans are more fluid and we will make decisions as we go along.
We are both very excited to be travelling again and will cautiously plan further travels as time goes by. All the time we will be keeping our fingers crossed that the situation with Covid-19 continues to improve and that our future travel options expand.

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Statistics

By the time August had arrived, Covid-19 seemed to be under control in Europe, although there were still a few isolated outbreaks which required more stringent local controls to be put in place.
However, this was not the case in other parts of the world. In particular, the USA, Brazil, India, Russia and other central and south American countries were still suffering.
As of the 17 August the statistics were as follows:

World: 22,043,560 cases & 777,073 deaths

USA: 5,612,027 cases & 173,716 deaths
Brazil: 3,363,235 cases & 108,654 deaths
India: 2,701,604 cases & 51,925 deaths
Russia: 927,745 cases & 15,740 deaths
South Africa: 589,886 cases & 11,982 deaths
Peru: 541.493 cases & 26,481 deaths
Mexico: 522,162 cases & 56,757 deaths
Colombia: 476,660 cases & 15,372 deaths
Chile: 387,502 cases & 10,513 deaths
Spain: 382,142 cases & 28,646 deaths

Magna Carta

In the 800 years since it was first sealed, this milestone of individual rights and freedoms has provided inspiration for many important constitutional documents. The 1791 United States Bill of Rights, the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many more owe a huge debt to one summer's day at Runnymede many years ago.

In 1215, England was in political turmoil. King John had become vastly unpopular, thanks to bitter disagreements with the church and a series of high taxes to fund ongoing war with France. An alliance of disgruntled barons and important members of the clergy had been mounting pressure on the king for years. At the start of 1215 the barons seized control of London - giving him no choice but to negotiate.

Events came to a head in June, when King John finally met with the barons to hear their demands. By 15 June he had agreed to seal the proposed 'Great Charter of Liberty (Magna Carta)’ during a ceremony at Runnymede near Windsor England, thus enshrining their rights in law.
 
The Magna Carta was special because it held the king accountable to the rule of law, just like his subjects. In total it was made up of 63 clauses, covering law, liberty and the church.The most famous and important of these clauses enshrined to the rights of "free men" to justice and a fair trial. Although at the time "free men" only referred to a small number of noblemen, this passage has taken on symbolic significance over the years. Today it is one of three original clauses that still survive in British law.
 
At the time Magna Carta had very little legal impact. At King John's request it was repealed almost immediately by the Pope, who emphatically declared the document "null and void of all validity forever".
It was only later that the 'Great Charter' began to have real consequences. King John's successor King Henry III released three revised versions of Magna Carta during his reign, and over the years it began to take on symbolic status.
 
The Magna Carta, original document

The Magna Carta, original document

Magna Carta Translation

Magna Carta Translation

Posted by MAd4travel 06:47 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (4)

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