My own experience this weekend, when the weather was so beautiful:
I only go out once a day for exercise, as I am working from home and go out to buy food, no more than once, every 3 or 4 days.
On Saturday, I walked up Peascod Street, (I feel the hill is good exercise), as it is very wide and it’s easy, to maintain appropriate ‘social distancing’. Very few people were out, but everyone was observing the new regulations in good grace, with a knowing nod and a smile. I walked along the High Street, to Park Street and the Long Walk. As I entered the gates, I heard a car zoom up and park behind me. Six teenagers climbed out ! They walked into the Park, where I challenged them. They were immediately defensive, abusive and dismissive. Other people exercising there ,were watching and pointing. The group realised they were out of order, immediately turned around, got back in their car and zoomed off. There wasn’t time to call the police on the 101 number, but that would have been the correct thing to do.The police here will always respond and do now have new powers, to issue fines. They will be responding responsibly, with discretion and in the first instance, offering advice. There are three further stages of increasing fines, if people are found, to have disregarded that advice. If one of those young people had the virus, every surface in that car, would have been contaminated and as they walked along as a close group, laughing and joking, they would have contaminated each other. As teenagers, they were presumably living at home and could possibly infect parents, relatives, brothers and sisters ! It was totally reckless and I was told in no uncertain terms to ‘ go away ‘ but, they got the message ! NEXT – Dog walkers. Most of those exercising, were walking along the wide swathe of grass, either side of the path - to allow appropriate ‘social distancing’ easier. A lot of dog walkers – not all – were walking along the path. As dog owners do, as they passed other dog owners, they stopped and chatted, sometimes in groups of 5 or 6, not always, 2 metres apart – and – as dog owners do, they petted each other’s dogs – something really innocuous, as we have been told, dogs are not affected by the virus. But – if you are a dog owner – can you think about this. All front line services key and essential workers, are advised to carefully remove their clothing, as soon as they get home and wash it. They are also advised to shower immediately, as the virus, could have landed on their skin and hair. Our hair, is no different from dog fur - so please, do not let let strangers pet your dog and possibly bring the virus into you home, where children and others, will pet the dog.
NEXT: Cyclists - On Sunday, I chose a different route for exercise and walked along the Thames. Past the Leisure Pool, over the slip road and along the tow path back to the Broccas. This was a problem for ‘social distancing’. The tow path is very narrow and there were quite a few walkers. They were brilliant, and we would each step off the path, to let them pass with as much distance as possible, on the other side. Many cyclists, would do the same thing and dismount, to allow people to pass – especially on the narrow bridges. Some cyclists, just rode straight through along the middle of the path, in convoys. That sometimes left no more than 2 or three feet, between the walkers and the cyclists. The Borough, may have to consider closing off narrow paths to cyclists, to allow proper social distancing. Also, as the first cyclist was breathing and panting out, because they were moving at speed that breath, would be breathed in by the following cyclists, who were inches behind them !
NEXT: As I walked back, I stopped off and purchased a coffee. The shopkeeper did all the right things, only allowing one person inside at a time – but then handed the paper coffee cup to me. I had to pay by card, but the machine was not contactless, so I had to pump in my PIN number manually - just as every other purchaser had done ! I made sure I did not touch my face for the rest of my walk and washed my hands, as soon as I got home,
We all need to be really sensible, in these extraordinary times, confronting circumstances and situations, we have never faced before, nor had to think about. I have heard that at one supermarket, customers queue up in the car park, collecting a trolley as they wait. When they get to the store, a staff member, wipes the handle with a spirit wipe !!! Trolley handles are wiped, but I haven’t seen anyone wipe basket handles ?
I now always wear gloves when I go to buy food, as everything you touch, has already been touched by someone else. I am at that age, when I am at risk !! As soon as I get home, I wash my hands and wipe everything I have purchased.
I have just had a call from PCSO Les Bradfield, from the Neighbourhood Geographic team, covering Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury and Old Windsor. He is also working from home, as he has been ill. This morning, he has been contacting everyone in those areas. The voluntary support systems there, have now been rationalised and made as simple as possible with the creation of 'hubs', to coordinate all the local support services.
If you need any help, support or local advice, there are single numbers to call, if you live in: Wraysbury & Horton, you can ring 01784 482 515
Datchet, you can ring 01753 905 247 an automated help line
Old Windsor, you can ring 07787 406 930
These are single points of contact, who will then pass on your details to the relevant person / group who can help you.
If you are organising support services in your area, or have received support and want to say thank you - let me know and I will publicise it for you.