The Distance Project

Getting on With It.

 

The Distance Project 24

Here are a few shots from late last year, before we went into the Tier 3 and Tier 4 lockdowns. The lighter restrictions of that time are now just a memory.

Social Distancing Project 191This is my cat, and I can tell by his body language that he’s had just about enough of this; it’s just as well this was the end of the examination. You should be able to see the thick plastic sheets hung between me and the vet, but we are both wearing masks too.
Marmaduke is fine; I had just brought him in for a routine examination and his once a year injections. Thanks to Laura at Vets4Pets for letting me take photos of her examining him.

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Keeping in Touch

Social Distancing Project 186Not far from Goosey Bridge at Olney (all the shots this week have something to do with bridges), my sister in law leads the way across a field by the river. The sheep are used to walkers and almost completely ignored us.

 

The Distance Project 23

Even for people like me who are a bit insular, there’s a need for human contact with friends or family.

Talking on the phone or on some sort of video link is all very well, but it just isn’t the same as meeting face to face, even if we have to keep our distance. Recently under lockdown, this means I’ve been out walking…

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Distance Project 22

Social Distancing Project 180On the last day before the second lockdown, I found some of Bucks County Council’s signs in Buckingham. It’s difficult to keep your distance in some parts of this town, where the pavements are extremely narrow and the roads are often too busy to step into. This is West Street.

 

No Armistice in Sight For Covid.

After a hopeful Summer, we headed back towards a stricter regime. Bucks County Council were concerned enough to take action in October, sending out letters to householders and erecting signs warning about the increasing number of infections.

They were right to be concerned, as the number of cases in the UK had taken off in mid September, followed not long after by the number of deaths. The Government had to do something, and the second lockdown began on the 5th of November, to run for four weeks.

This meant that the Armistice Day ceremonies, planned to be held in a limited fashion, could not go ahead as usual on the 11th November. But I took a walk via the local war memorial on the day.

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The Distance Project 21

Social Distancing Project 173The three boys inspect the first display. No sweets at this one, but they liked this creepy figure of a builder.

Trick or Treat

This American tradition has taken off in the UK in a big way, and no wonder when there’s free sweets. But how could it go on this year under social distancing rules? This is how Little Horwood did it.

The village arranged things in advance. Householders put out pumpkins and other spooky decorations, and where they were, there was a good chance of sweets too. Children could tour the village looking for booty, but there would be no knocking on doors. Householders would stay inside and not meet the children.

I turned up just as dusk approached, and found three young brothers and their parents who were just about to tour the village. They let me follow them round.

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The Distance Project 20

Social Distancing Project 168In the warmer months when we were allowed to meet in each other’s back gardens, my brother and his family would visit me once a week. You can see the project photo here. But now the evenings are darker and colder that’s not so practical or pleasant.

The Autumn weather is probably one reason the rules were changed, so that we could meet up in each other’s homes. Here, the two boys are back at university so there’s just the three of us, but now I go to my brother’s house; my place isn’t quite right for remaining socially distanced. Before Covid-19, we would sit close together on these two settees.

 

Interactions

There’s no sign of the lockdown going away; in fact it’s been tightened in some areas, though here in Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire we are still at the lowest level of restrictions. Let’s hope it stays that way.

For a long time, for months and months, I did not go into anybody else’s home. I was slow to change, and it was some time after we were officially permitted to visit other people inside their homes that I started doing so.

So far I’ve been into three other people’s houses. I’m due to visit a couple more this week, but that will probably be it, for now.

I’ve been to the pub a couple of times, The Barley Mow at Cosgrove. Though I got some good shots for the project, the pub is in Northamptonshire so I can’t show you them here.

But how do I feel about the lockdown?

 

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The Distance Project 19

Social Distancing Project 160Three girls out for a walk. Permissable now if you live in different households.

 

Social Distancing Project 161Two cyclists. Also permissible if you don’t share a home.

Now What?

Right at the beginning of this project, the lockdown was very strict. It seems a world away now, but we were allowed to go out once a day for exercise, but only with people we lived with. Everyone else? Two metres away, please; at least.

I photographed one pair out on their permitted daily walk then who from what they said did not share the same house, and they made sure to be a good two metres apart when I took their photo.

When they approached me they were chatting together and were maybe not quite as far apart as they should have been. It was really a slight bending of the rules. It’s been common all along, I’m afraid.

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