The Social Distance: Week Commencing 23rd of March, 2020

Having already been removed from work last week owing to the fact that I fall into a ‘high risk’ category, I had already had several days of ‘social distancing’ (read: quarantine) before the whole of the UK entered a state of lockdown on Monday, 23rd March 2020.

(Working from home – recording and editing lectures for my students)

Schools closed on the Friday previous, which meant that children are being homeschooled. My own children are studying their after-school martial arts classes (which are being organised wonderfully by Samurai Hearts in Grimsby) at a distance, with their sensei using online platforms to live stream their lessons every evening into the homes of the children who attend the dojo and after-school clubs. The Samurai Hearts team are also providing the children with Japanese lessons, again streamed online, twice a week.

The near-constant hand-washing, which the government has advised all citizens to practice in order to prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is taking a toll on skin. Both of my sons are lathering their hands in moisturiser and wearing cotton gloves (not unlike the ones I use to handle my negatives) at various points of the day.

(Gloves worn over moisturised hands by my eldest son, to counteract the effects of near-constant handwashing on his skin)

On Wednesday, 26th of March, Prince Charles tested positive for the Coronavirus. The BBC news report showed Charlie shaking hands with the general public at a recent event (during which the future king may very well have been incubating the virus) like a 21st Century variant of Typhoid Mary.

My family have also been taking part in ‘Body Coach’ Joe Wicks’ attempt to situate himself as ‘the nation’s P.E. teacher’ via his daily broadcasts on his Youtube channel.

And, of course, there is downtime…

Suggitt’s Lane Railway Crossing – Protest Against Planned Closure

The railway crossing at the top end of Suggitt’s Lane in Cleethorpes is a lifeline for the community, offering direct access to the North Beach of Cleethorpes and, from there, the promenade. My grandmother, who lived on Suggitt’s Lane for many years, used it daily when walking her dog; my elderly father uses it daily also, as do many other local residents and, in the summer months, visitors to the coastal town.

Network Rail are planning to close this crossing, which will mean that residents will either have to climb over the steep footbridge at Fuller Street – which is impossible for many elderly, disabled or infirm persons – or make a trip of c.1.5 miles to the North Promenade, and then walk back along the North Promenade to the North Beach (another trip of 0.5-1 miles). This, again, will be difficult or nigh on impossible for many of the residents who use the railway crossing for its convenience. The planned closure of the railway crossing also raises issues for access for the emergency services, who if the crossing is closed will presumably have to access the North Beach via the promenade, which is often heavily trafficked in the summer months (apart from being a much less direct route to the North Beach itself).

On 9 March, 2019, Friends of the North Beach organised a peaceful protest against the planned closure of the railway crossing on Suggitt’s Lane. There was a strong turnout, including Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers and several local councillors/members of local government (including Matt Patrick and Debbie Rodwell).

More info at: