Shopping to the
big city whoops, I meant the biggest town for 30 miles.
In via the back lanes as they are still trying to repair years of bad main roads and a 12-mile detour is in place for those who aren’t familiar with the area.
Only problem is, everyone local is using the same back lanes.
From HGV’s to pushbikes, on tiny roads, almost single (goat) tracks the whole way, no lines, no signage, zip until you are almost into the town. As for speed? Yeah, right. As for your shock absorbers? One word, “OUCH”!
Sort of sets the scene for what follows.
Once into the suburbs, it is a melee of everyone trying to go somewhere too fast, aggressively, and in some cases STUPID beyond belief.
Our goal was a field trip for some minor shopping for no more reason than we needed a break.
Supermarkets, town precincts, sidewalks, and a few shops we ‘had liked’ to go in but now don’t. A huge clue there being the town looked dirty and rundown.
Sidewalks were a mess, too many people at choke points standing around aimlessly, mobility scooters trying their best to ram their way though, and the holidaymakers last gasp search for a summer that never happened, or maybe some of them were Midland cities lock down avoiders.
It’s also half-term (Halloween) school holidays.
Two weeks instead of the usual one as the UK Gov think it was advisable to shut the schools for longer as part of their ‘we’ve got to stop the COVID-19 numbers soaring’. WE feel it is a last gasp attempt before Armageddon is unleashed in what one scientist predicts as 200,000 deaths this winter.
So, back to the town.
Social distancing was friends running towards each other, hugs, kisses, and not a mask in sight. 4-6 adults huddled together trying to work out what the heck to do as most places have closed up early or never opened. Plus I did smile at a restaurant serving meals outside to a table and a half of eight as it just started to rain.
In shops there was more space on the shelves than items and what was there looked “old”, if you get my drift. Stock resupply is obviously an issue in many places and I haven’t even got to the supermarkets.
Then there was an air of . . . tiredness, resignation and, dare I say, depression? People have had enough, tempers are short, eyes also downcast, and kids acting like a short fuse for a blow out full on rave from their parents.
Shop staff, friendly (or not) have also had enough it seems.
The stress clearly visible in some shops as customers are all too ready to have a go at the staff because they can’t get stock. Masks are mandatory in shops, sort of, but wearing a face mask designed to cover your nose and mouth doesn’t quite gel with some folk. It’s a huge joke for some, but others, mainly elderly locals, are visibly shaken by the bravado and stupidity of others.
As for traffic? As said, foot traffic is one notch down from madness.
Getting a parking place favors the brave, and the traffic wardens (meter maids) are skulking in the background like vultures who are thinking “sod waiting for something to die, let’s go and kill something.”
Delivery trucks at one point were double-parked yet what was coming off was hand balling quantities. Dribs and drabs sort of thing. White van (delivery) man was present in numbers all dropping off one or two things but seldom a load worthy of a sack trolley. Busy, chaos, but hardly effective as a restocking attempt.
Ever seen what locusts can do to a crop?
Now imagine them on speed and steroids, wrecking the place in their urgent rush to buy everything not screwed down. So the stock was empty on some shelves, and spread out thinly on the rest. Shopping staples and the essentials were all missing. Last minute supply has failed and on one item there was a note in pencil. “Order today, collect in 8 to 10 days”.
Fuel, and I managed to go to last week’s gas station where the lassie was sooo harassed the last time I was there. Her face lit up as I walked in. Not bad as I was wearing a mask, but she knew me. We chatted for a minute or so about life and everything in general, and I was told, with a HUGE SMILE, that she was only working for another couple of hours and the weekend was all hers!
See folks, treat a person like a human being and nice things happen.
The trip out ended thereafter and we headed home.
The same roads and the same fight for space, but we got home in one piece even finding the time to stop off at our favorite cake shop for a treat.
I was driving again, trying to build up my stamina for a SEVEN-HOUR road trip coming up soon. East Coast to the West Midlands, returning on the same day, for my lovely keepers annual check up. Today’s trip? Driving time, less than 2 hours, but I was well knackered. Still a work in progress I’m thinking.
Overall the impression we got today was not good and has been repeated to us from many others as they travelled around. It might be a little premature to say this but I think England is on its way out.
No stock equals no imports, manufacturing, and a breaking supply chain. To that I add the little people, which is also how I see us, have been worn down with the erratic ineffective governance and government management of this crisis.
We already know about the health service.
I may have mentioned it before now (chuckle).
Simply put, for some, it isn’t anymore.
Same goes for dental care, cancer treatments and what the hospitals call ‘elective treatments and diagnostics’ just isn’t going to happen this winter.
As said before, if we could run, we would.
Only there is nowhere safer than where we are at this time.
In ‘God’s waiting room’, as the locals call our little East Coast town.
Keep safe folks and it would be nice to get an appreciation of what things are like where you live. No holds barred reporting is VERY permissible.
Bye Bye for now.