The first day of February, 2021.
I still have a travel blog. I still have no travel. Welcome to the travel-free travel blog.
Scotland has been in “English variant” restrictions for a month. I am not allowed to leave the house unless it is essential. I am not allowed to go outside a 5 mile radius of home, unless essential. Because I live alone, my only permitted social contact is my adult son. He lives in Edinburgh, 35 miles away.
We did not see each other between 31 December and 30 January because the virus was so prevalent. Infection rates have dropped dramatically in the last week – restrictions kicking in, or the vaccination programme, or both? Anyway, we took a chance and he came to my house for dinner last night.
My age group should be vaccinated within the next 6-8 weeks. Fingers crossed. We have more daylight now, which makes life feel slightly less claustrophobic. The reduction in infection rates gives reason for optimism, but we had that false dawn in June and July and look where it got us.
Scotland had virtually eliminated the virus back then. The autumn surge in infections has been proven to result from imported strains of the virus – Scots coming back from abroad and folk from other parts of the UK (I’m too polite to be more precise) coming here on holiday.
The government (ours, not the other one) faces a massive challenge in reducing restrictions while keeping control of infections. It requires compliance by the public. The signs are not good as far as that is concerned. Lack of enforcement has been a significant Achilles heel here right from the beginning.
Yesterday I emailed my manager about when I could use up my remaining holiday time. Our holiday year runs April to March. I get 28.4 days (including public holidays). So far I have used only 12 this holiday year. I can carry forward 8 days into April. As of today, I can see no possibility of going away for a break – even in Scotland – before the end of April.
Meantime… part of my current survival mechanism is reading books which are set in places I know, or might like to visit. The one I finished last night is set in the Gaspé area of Québec. A visit to Québec and Nova Scotia would be wonderful!
My experience of Canada is limited to half a day in Niagara Falls in 1974. I think I have missed out.
My next book is set in Finland. I have been to Helsinki twice, and love it. Exploring more of the country would be fun.
I suspect my travel blogging in the coming weeks will be book reviews. Oh well… Welcome to the fantasy travel blog.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021
A travel blog without travel? I guess it’s a sign of the times. But we can sit at home and read. I like the idea of reading novels based on places we know. There’s always a frisson of excitement when a place is mentioned and we can mentally shout “Been there!”