Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day ninety six

June 27, 2020

The last few days very hot.

Today heavy rain showers, very warm.

Three passengers on the bus.

Too many people in town, worse so far.

Queuing outside Primark, no social distancing.

Why is Primark allowed to obstruct the High Street whereas Stokes on High Bridge and Coffee Aroma around the corner are not allowed to place tables in the street?

Half way up Steep Hill it starts to rain.

Appalling behaviour members of Bailgate Guild bad-mouthing owner of Bailgate Deli for having the audacity to highlight on BBC Look North, dysfunctional Lincoln City Council, encourage visitors to the city but fail to open public toilets and refuse to open until 6 July. Maybe they think visitors will not notice the lack of toilets, for example Canadian visitors who vowed to never visit Lincoln again or the five different people who asked a pub could they use the toilets, or the people complaining, or the previous weekend a pregnant young lady pleading with a tea shop to use their toilets.

Maybe they are the same members of Bailgate Guild who oppose the pedestrianisation of Bailgate long overdue, which would enable indie coffee shops and tea shops and restaurants to spread their tables in the street.

Misto new coffee shop not open. Second visit this week to find not open. People will visit once, twice, maybe three times, then not bother again. I later spoke with a lady living nearby. She said rarely open, maybe a couple of times a week. How not to run a businesses.

Pizza from Prince of Wales. Good, but not suitable for eating in the street. Too messy. Neither their burger, good but even less suitable for eating in the street.

Tried Stokes at the Lawn. Closed at three.

Cannot walk back through the Lincoln Castle due to the crass stupidity of their one way system. Could drive a coach and horses through the gates.

Little choice, queue at Coffee by the Arch. And sadly their coffee no better than when I tried early spring.

On the way up Steep Hill I noticed Imperial Teas had a new bean-to-bar chocolate. I inquired on the way down. I learnt two new chocolates

Good deed of the day, arrange for green beans to be shipped from a family farm in Cameroon to Imperial Tea.

Three passengers on the return bus.

Stokes on High Bridge re-opens takeaway only

June 17, 2020

Day eighty five of lockdown, first day Stokes on High Bridge open.

Being their first day after closed for several weeks I expected a very long queue. No queue.

Hand sanitiser outside the store for customers to use.

Serving coffee and toasties. Only one lady serving, brewing coffee, making toasties.

I thought have a coffee, maybe a cheese and ham toasty. Not possible, card only.

Stokes need to think again card only. Everywhere else preference for contactless card, but accepting cash. They are going to lose many of their elderly customers. Maybe that explains no queue.

A large empty sterile space in front of Stokes on High Bridge, more than sufficient space for Stokes to spread their tables in the street. This is being blocked by intransigence of local councils.

The local councils have had weeks during lockdown to have in place plans for indie coffee shops, tea shops and restaurants to park their tables in the street, to enable them to open whilst maintaining two metres social distancing. Win win for everyone. It could have happened in May. Revitalises the High Street, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves the city centre ambience.

Without tables in the street many local businesses will die. They are too small to meet socials distancing rules. Takeaway coffee is not a viable option. OK for a kiosk, but not for a coffee shop or restaurant with higher overheads. They  are surviving currently with staff on furlough, rent deferred. But what then when these schemes end?

Stokes at the Lawn currently not open.

Coffee Aroma will open on the first of July, takeaway only. They asked to put tables in the street. An emphatic no from County Hall, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Madame Waffle not open any time soon.

Bookstop Cafe open, had tables outside, ordered by City Council to remove.

 

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day eighty five

June 16, 2020

A very murky misty start to the day, high humidity, once the sun came out, hot.

Three passengers on the bus. Masks are now mandatory, have been since Monday, £100 fine. What has changed, nothing. Very unpleasant wearing a cloth mask. It should be as in Scotland advisory.

No hand sanitiser at entrance to bus station. Nor free masks being handed out.

Popped over to the train station, asked were the trains now running normally? No, more frequent trains, but not back to normal. Wearing of mask mandatory and cannot even enter the station without. Free masks are available. To travel on a train for an hour or more, forced to wear a mask, is going to be very very unpleasant.

Monday was the first day shops could open, today the second day, many people about, too many.

The tat now open in Lincoln Central Market. It was better when they were all closed.

Long chat with the zero waste stall due to open in Lincoln Central Market, the sooner the better.

Decided to have a coffee at Stokes on High Bridge, maybe something to eat, expected a queue. No queue. Only one person serving and making toasties and serving coffee. Only accept contactless cards, no cash.

A large empty space in front of Stokes on High Bridge, more than sufficient space for Stokes to spread their tables in the streets. This is being blocked by intransigence of local councils.

Stokes at the Lawn not open for the foreseeable future.

Chocolate and ice cream from Hotel Chocolat. Ice cream disgusting. No idea what it was supposed to be, I expected a choice. The choice, salted caramel or pistachio, goo poured out of a bottle. This causes the ice cream to melt, runs down the ice cream, down ones hands and drips onto ones clothes. Quality ice cream it is not.

Many businesses had hand sanitiser at entrance and in store.

Coffee Aroma opens takeaway only on 1 July 2020. Several days yet fir coffee, real coffee.

200 Degrees opened a few weeks ago.

Looked in Waterstone’s. Empty.

Three passenger on return bus.

When I left lovely and sunny. An hour later, skies turned black, massive thunderstorm very heavy rain for an hour.

 

 

Reclaim the Streets Lincoln

June 13, 2020

Saturday 13 June 2020 day eighty two of coronavirus lockdown in Lincoln. How many weeks has the city had to pedestrianise the city centre leading up to and including Bailgate, to enable independent coffee shops and restaurants to put their tables in the streets?

It is a tragedy the number of coffee shops and tea rooms either closed or eking out a meagre living on takeaways.

Sincil Street two coffee shops, Central Coffee House and 200 Degrees.

Central Coffee House closed, overlooks sterile open space. No indication of when or if it will open.

200 Degrees opened a few weeks ago for takeaway, overlooks a sterile open space.

Stokes on High Bridge, High Street, will open in a few days time for takeaway only.

Coffee Aroma closed. Will open sometime in the near future for takeaway only. They wished to open with tables in the street. They asked and received an emphatic no from County Hall.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Angel Coffee House, closed, no indication if or when may open.

Madame Waffle closed. Not open in the foreseeable future. Will announce when open.

Margaret’s Tea Room. Open for tea and coffee takeaway. Overlooks a square where would love to place tables.

The Cheese Society currently closed, adjacent to the same square overlooked by Margaret’s Tea Room, where they too could place tables and chairs.

Many tea shops on Steep Hill, but not open, no indication if or when will open.

I talked to the owner of one tea shop. She thinks she may be able to open with restrictions on numbers but no idea when.

The one exception, Bookstop Cafe, located in a Norman croft below a Norman building which houses Imperials Teas, purveyors of fine tea, coffee and chocolate. They opened a few weeks ago for takeaway tea and coffee, tables outside. The tables removed by edict of  a Town Hall jobsworth acting like the Stasi on a tip off.

In Bailgate only Sanctuary in the Bail open for takeaway tea and coffee. Would love to see Bailgate pedestrianised and tables in the street.

There are several restaurants in Bailgate. Only Elite on the Bail open, serving takeaway fish n chips out the back. Elite on the Bail overlooks a square where tables could be placed.

We must reclaim the streets.

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free. There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

In Athens in the evening the streets turn into restaurants. Athens is expanding its network of pedestrianised streets.

Northern Ireland is looking at expanding the number of tables in the streets.

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

Paragon Chambers in Hull, coffee shop encouraged to place tables outside.

North Laine in Brighton the restaurants, coffee shops and other shops are in the street. There are plans to expand the pedestrianised streets.

Soho has plans to pedestrianise the area, turn into one large open air coffee shop and restaurant. Currently awaiting approval from Westminster Council.

Unless indie coffee shops and restaurants are allowed to spread their tables into pedestrianised streets few will survive covid-19 pandemic.

Many coffee shops have no future. Too small to manage social distancing. A kiosk can survive on takeaway only, a coffee shop with higher overheads cannot.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants were not able to spread their tables into the street.

Win win for everyone. Kick starts the local economy, maintains social distancing, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves city centre ambience.

It is not only coffee shops at risk it is the entire supply chain. There are the coffee roasteries that supply the coffee shops, the growers who supply the coffee beans.

We all have to act. If not, we lose our coffee shops.

Talk to local councils and councillors, change the mindset that allows traffic into city centres, pedestrianise the city centre, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking.

Government has to extend furlough for local businesses if they are unable to open. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one metre does not help as it greatly increases the risk for staff and customers.

Lincoln should follow the example of Soho, Soho Summer Street Festival, introduce with immediate effect temporary measures for the summer, Sincil Street, High Street, Cornhill, The Strait, Steep Hill, Castle Hill and Bailgate, pedestrianised, tables in the street, indie coffee shops and restaurants, no chains no pubs No Smoking. Then carry out consultation with the aim to make permanent.

Update: Excellent news from Soho. The area to be pedestrianised, roads closed to traffic, indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the streets. And not only Soho, Covent Garden and other areas too. The excellent news from Soho only serves to Illustrate how backward Lincoln and lacking in vision. County Hall and City Hall have had weeks to implement a similar scheme in Lincoln, enable indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, to help them get back into businesses. It revitalises the local economy, improves the ambience of the city centre.

Covid-19 indie coffee shops

June 12, 2020

Will indie coffee shops survive covid-19 pandemic?

I will roughly divide thoughts, observations and conversations before lockdown, during lockdown and what will happen next.

Maybe ten days before lockdown, a visit to Nottingham a large city, not deserted but few people about. One coffee shop closing early few customers. Next coffee shop, few customers, less than half their usual number of customers,  numbers dropping daily.

A couple of days before lockdown, visiting Sheffield a large city, station deserted, a kiosk on my way into the city centre told me I would find the city centre deserted, few people about, little open, restaurants I passed by, the few that were open, the few that had customers maybe a couple of diners. I ate and had coffee at Marmadukes, a coffee shop usually very busy, I was the only person there. Business down by at least 80%. Coffee shops were closing at three. In part no customers, in part to let staff home before rush hour, not that there was a rush hour. Talking to the owner of another coffee shop, the question on his mind, how was he to survive?

Before lockdown, measures were already in place, hand sanitiser by the entrance, compostable coffee cups, contactless cards, no reusable cups.

The kiosk in Sheffield I passed by earlier, after I talked to them, a sign no reusable cups.

Lockdown a mixed blessing, at least cost of staff covered by furlough, rents deferred.

Lincoln a city during lockdown. The chains stayed open for a few days then closed. Indie coffee shops closed immediately. A few weeks ago, one large coffee shop a small chain opened for takeaway. A slow trickle of customers but I doubt it will cover the cost of two staff. The only advantage, they are open before the corporate chains, maybe they will attract and retain some of their clientele.

Many coffee shops have no future. Too small to manage social distancing. A kiosk can survive on takeaway only, a coffee shop with higher overheads cannot. The large coffee shop, once rents and business rates kick back in, would not survive.

We had sunniest May on record, Mediterranean climate. The tragedy indie coffee shops and restaurants not able to spread their tables into the street. Win win for everyone. Kick starts the local economy, maintains social distancing, helps local businesses back on their feet, improves city centre ambience.

One coffee shop asked. They received an emphatic no. They currently employ eight staff on furlough. When furlough ends six will lose their jobs leaving two for takeaway coffee, but not a viable businesses.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Looking at Guildford, the corporate coffee chains that litter our town centres, cafes pretending to be coffee shops, three coffee shops. Of the three I cannot see Canopy Coffee or Surrey Hills surviving as they do not have the option to expand into the street. Krema yes, if allowed to expand into Tunsgate, if not no. When first open, Krema did have its tables in the street and was ordered to remove them.

It is not only coffee shops at risk it is the entire supply chain. There are the coffee roasteries that supply the coffee shops, the growers who supply the coffee beans.

We can hear bird song, streets are traffic free, cities pollution free. We have been jolted into another now. There can be no going back to normal as normal was not normal.

We have to reclaim the streets.

In Athens in the evening the streets turn into restaurants. Athens is expanding its network of pedestrianised streets.

Sheffield has plans to expand pedestrianised streets.

North Laine in Brighton the restaurants, coffee shops and other shops are in the street. There are plans to expand the pedestrianised streets.

Soho has plans to pedestrianise the area, turn into one large open air coffee shop and restaurant. Currently awaiting approval from Westminster Council.

We all have to act. If not, we lose our coffee shops.

Talk to local councils and councillors, change the mindset that allows traffic into city centres, pedestrianise the city centre, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking.

Find and locate your local indie coffee shops. Support them.

If anyone wishes to follow me on social media, I will try and post every day indie coffee shops worth visiting and supporting. No guarantee they are open or when they will open.

Buy coffee. If not from a local coffee shop, from a coffee roastery.

Buy bean-to-bar craft chocolate.

Support local businesses.

Government has to extend furlough for local businesses if they are unable to open. Reducing social distancing from two metres to one metre does not help as it greatly increases the risk for staff and customers.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day seventy eight

June 9, 2020

Three passengers on the bus into Lincoln. Al wearing mask apart from me. Next week it will be mandatory.

Horrified the number of people around.

In M&S the obstacles through to Food Hall removed. No safeguards on the clothes. People trying on clothes, shoes, then putting back.

Next week when shops open it is going to be bad.

Only two passengers on return bus. Driver fails to turn off engine or open door when siting at bus stops. When asked why heating on, driver rude.

Reclaim the Streets Soho

June 3, 2020

The impact of covid-19 has hit everyone hard, every sector, but none so hard as the hospitality sector, with no sign yet of when they may be able to open.

Look at Soho, boarded-up streets and unless action is taken soon, they will remain boarded-up. And unlike airlines and travel sector which spread covid-19, are victims.

And yet it should not have been. Opening up too soon, relaxing lockdown, will create a second wave, but there was absolutely no reason why indie coffee shops and restaurants, not chains, could have not opened up in May, the weather was ideal, opened up with their tables and chairs spread well spaced apart in the street to maintain social distancing.

What has stopped this happening is the intransigence of local councils who would rather see local businesses die than give them a helping hand.

We can hear birdsong, streets are traffic free, city centres pollution free.

Covid-19 has jolted us into another now.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

Time to Reclaim the Streets.

Pedestrianise not only Soho but also Covent Garden, leaving only the arterial routes for through traffic. Deliveries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart or trolley.

Kick start the local economy, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables well spaced apart into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking, social distancing maintained.

Win win for everyone, local businesses helped back on their feet, improves the ambience.

Soho Summer Festival:

We’re proposing that streets around Soho are temporarily pedestrianised, in order to allow restaurants and bars the space for outdoor seating. This would allow the public to enjoy the Soho we know and love, while maintaining a safe social distance.

The norm in Athens, local streets at night turn into restaurants.  The Mayor of Athens is extending the pedestrianised streets.

The norm in North Laine in Brighton, coffee shops and restaurants, tables in the street. Brighton is extending its pedestrianised streets.

This does not require a change in licencing laws, it does require a change in the mindset of local jobsworths who would rather see local businesses go to the wall than improve the ambience of our city centres.

An initiate to Reclaim the Streets in Soho has been launched, an initiative dubbed the Soho Summer Festival. Initially pedestrianise the area for the summer. 

Once the summer has passed, it should be made permanent.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day seventy

June 1, 2020

First day of June.

A hot sunny day.

Single decker bus. Four passengers. Driver fails to turn off engine, open door, when waiting at bus stops. Bus very hot.

Four trains as Lincoln Central Station, including LNER Azuma London train.

Bus station many buses, usually deserted. Bus station still deserted of people.

I learn buses now running every half hour as of first of June not once an hour.

Not been out for six days, more traffic, more people about.

Sterile space in front of Central Coffee House, 200 Degrees, should be used for tables and chairs. Tragic the behaviour of brain-dead local councils, who would rather see businesses fail than provide help, a win win for everyone as improves the street scene.

More shops open. Sweet shop now open.

I learn a zero waste stall will open in Lincoln Central Market. They have been working on the space last few weeks. Bizarre though laying new floor. It will be a welcome addition to the market, if well run and well stocked.

Two passengers on return bus.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day sixty four

May 26, 2020

Three people on the bus. A single decker. It was ludicrous last week a double decker. And with single decker, easier for people to keep apart.

In Sincil Street and the High Street more people about.

Sterile spaces in front of Grand Coffee House and 200 Degrees coffee shop could be given life, if the coffee shops were allowed to use for tables. Helps the coffee shops back into businesses, safeguards staff and clientele, and improves the street scene.

I discussed with both coffee shops. They thought an excellent idea. But, said backward council would not permit. It is up to them to demand, or are they going to continue allowing the local council kick small businesses in the teeth?

A coffee from 200 Degrees. Not good, I poured down the train.

How are M&S getting away with selling clothes on their ground floor. Even the sales counter is open. People are trying on clothes, shoes, then putting back.

Six passengers on return bus.

Dominic Cummings press conference

May 25, 2020

Strange times.

What we have witnessed over the last few days could not make it up if tried.

Mirror and Guardian break story of Dominic Cummings trip from London to Durham by car in clear breach of lockdown. In the car, two adults with covid-19, a small child.

Lockdown rules were clear, stay home, only go for exercise and essentials, food, medical reasons. if covid-19 symptoms self-isolate away from others in the household, no one in the household permitted to leave the house.

A small child in a car with two people with covid-19. or suspected covid-19

Did they stop en route, for fuel, a break to stretch legs, toilet, bite to eat?

At the time London was recording high number of covid-19 cases,and should have been cordoned off, County Durham relatively low number of cases.

Tories demonstrating  their lack of integrity, falling  over backwards to defend Dominic Cummings, without being in position of the facts.

We then learn, seen at Barnard Castle. Seen again at a later date after return to London.

The story changes. It was in seek of child care. Mother of Dominic Cummings says an uncle had died.

Ordinary people had people they were close to, could not be with them when they died, could not attend their funerals.

I had a family friend die, a veteran of WWII Bomber Command. Very sad he had died, very sad no one could attend his funeral.

Cabinet Office tweet they are to investigate a mischievous tweet. Investigate Dominic Cummings for Breach of Civil Service Code of Conduct? Er seemingly not.

Sunday Pepsi Trump gave a stomach churning press conference, defends Dominic Cummings, did what anyone would have done in the circumstances.

Actually he did not, he broke the rules, other people complied with the rules, hard as it was, as they did not wish to spread covid-19 around the country.

Fired by Theresa May for lying, Gavin Williamson does the rounds telling all who would listen, Dominic Cummings telling the truth. How does he know. Er, Dominic Cummings had said.

When press camped outside home of Dominic Cummings, he made very clear his position: I don’t care what you lot think.

Having completely fucked up his own press conference, the following day Dominic Cummings to give a press conference.

The press conference was given in the back garden of Downing Street, and no, it is not the Rose Garden.

He was almost contrite, he admitted breaking the rules without admitting he had.

At times somewhat bizarre,  a 30 minute drive to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight was ok.

But what was telling, and does not appear to be picked up on, he had so much to do and had to get back to London. And what he outlined was an executive role not that of an adviser and very much what one would assume would be the role of the Prime Minister.

Should he resign or be fired? No, it would not achieve anything

He gave an account of what he had done, and why, from his perspective reasonable, but if everyone had, not reasonable.

And that is the dilemma. What is reasonable for an individual in their best interest is not reasonable for society. We are seeing lockdown breaking down, and the fear now is complete breakdown.

But on the plus side, he was not evasive he answered questions politely.

I would rather see Dominic Cummings once a week head the Downing Street briefing and give straight answers not what we normally get, and I would rather see him on the record than off the record briefings, sources said.

If this is the guy calling the shots, than |I would rather hear him tell us why and be open to scrutiny, not the incomprehensible waffle we get from Pepsi Trump.

As an anticlimax later, we later heard from Pepsi Trump, a timetable of how lockdown will ease,  From 1 June car showrooms and street markets. Street markets fine, but car show rooms. Mid-June all shops to open. Nothing yet on coffee shops, restaurant, hairdressers.

Indie coffee shops, restaurants should be open at the same time as street markets if able to spread their tables into the streets, restricted to outside seating only. It helps kick start the High Street, improves the ambience of city centres, but is being held back by backward councils living in the Dark Ages.  [see Reclaim the Streets]

There is still no track and trace app available. With each phase of relaxation we need to be able to monitor what is happening.

Adapt the German app, open source, destroy app post-pandemic, anonymise data for research.

Our High Streets are not going to recover through chains. Several have collapsed, M&S and Next have junk bond status. People can shop on-line for the crap found in High Street chains.  We should not waste the opportunity to re-imagine, reinvigorate the High Street.

With our focus on Dominic Cummings we are in danger of missing the bigger picture. We risk Dominic Cummings being made a Tory scapegoat to distract from the failings of Pepsi Trump. It is the Prime Minister who should resign.

We have over over 26,000 covid-19 deaths, close on 27,000 covid-19 deaths. Had UK acted a week earlier on lockdown we would have a quarter of this number of deaths.

Chima bought us time, we squandered it. We saw what was happening in Italy and Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Germany, when death toll was less than a hundred, implemented lockdown. UK waited until measured in hundreds. Germany had in place track and trace. UK nothing. Deaths in Germany several thousands, not tens of thousands.

Greece, total number of deaths 170. Less than UK records in a day.

In UK, thanks to insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown is breaking down, UK heading for a second wave.