Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Monday, June 01, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise itís Monday the 1st June and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

Itís quite staggering to think that this is the third month of lock down. I looked back at the podcasts from 1st April and 1st May to see what I was wittering on about then. It was just fascinating.

On 1st April, I started the day with a pathetic attempt at an April Foolís joke, saying I was broadcasting from the Outer Hebrides. Amazingly, a couple of people fell for it, as they had assumed I was off getting Dexter the Hound.

It was interesting that weíd had a really fractious day the day before on the WhatsApp group. There had been some frayed tempers and disagreements. A couple of people had even left the group in frustration. This is just typical of new groups. Management 101 classes often say that new teams go through 4 distinct phases, Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. When the history of this emergency is written, the historians will definitely see this in Chelson-cum-Cawcud. Just a couple of weeks into the emergency, we were definitely in the Storming phase with people trying to establish the rules of engagement. I was asked to step in to write the rules, but I refused as Iíve been there before. Groups work best if they evolve themselves. Iíve been proved right on this one.

It was also quite sobering to realise that we were nowhere near at the peak of the epidemic on 1st April. Deaths doubled in one day and we were beginning to realise that this was really serious. The peak of infection was still 10 days away at that point.

On the 1st May, we were well into our norming phase, exploring our history. We had stories of Michael Foulger getting locked in the Church by Canon Roger Davison. It was also the 55th Birthday of our local celebrity Christopher Joseph Charles Blom. Our emergency has been anchored and enriched by Blomís tulips, but until 1 month ago, most of the Village residents were unaware that we had Chelsea Royalty in our midst. Since then, weíve had VE day and the tulip arranging competition. How quickly things evolve and become established. Many people are now planning to buy Blomís tulips this Autumn. If it all pans out, weíll have coach loads visiting the tulip gardens of Chelson-cum-Cawcud.

So here we are at the 1st June? And it really is quite bizarre.

In the space of just 3 days, the ďrulesĒ that have defined the lockdown seem to have crumbled. On Thursday some minor tweaks were made, supposedly being implemented from today. But the country collectively ignored that message and implemented their own interpretation of the new rules from Friday morning.

And indeed, most people went further than the Government envisaged. We had bizarre scenes over the weekend of two air ambulances landing on the beach at Durdle Door. They had to rescue idiots that had jumped from the Door into the sea. Everyone else was crammed together more densely than a pop concert on the beach as they couldnít leave it. What were all these people thinking?

Traffic around this Village was crazy from very early in the morning over the weekend. I was on my litter pick before 7am and have never seen so many motorbikes. Unfortunately, there were two serious road traffic collisions on the B645 and A45, closing both roads. These were non-essential journeys putting pressure on the NHS, and putting recovery workers at risk.

And then out of the blue, the Government announced a relaxation in the rules for the vulnerable and medically shielding overnight on Saturday. This was definitely not in the Thursday briefing from the Prime Minister. I have checked the Government press releases on Thursday and Friday. Iíd love to know what changed overnight to cause this policy shift.

You see nothing has fundamentally changed in the data over the last week. We are still in the midst of a serious epidemic. All that has changed is the politics and the collective perception of risk.

We have now received advice on what needs to be done to re-open the Village Hall. The message is clear. Social distancing and safe hygiene practices are very important, but I was intrigued by the tolerances. In a full blown aerobic gymnasium (which of course we arenít) an operator must allow a minimum of 3 square metres of space for each person on the premises. So thatís a space just 2 metres by 1.5 metres. So again, we see flexibility in the 2 metre rule. I was expecting a 2x2 square. There is no mention of masks for attendees or teachers in the guidelines, which amazed me. We will certainly be taking a stronger stance on this.

We are fortunate to have received a grant from East Northamptonshire Council to assist us in getting through this crisis. The grant was intended to help poorer Village Halls survive the loss of income. Many Halls live almost hand to mouth and need the hire income to survive. Chelveston Village Hall is in a stronger financial position. The Educational Foundation that owns and runs the Village Hall has survived since 1760. A 4 month loss of income wonít sink it. The Trustees are therefore using the grant to beef up Covid-19 bio-security. Whatever is needed, will be invested. The Village needs to return to the classes and activities that have enriched lives over the last few years. But we need to do this safely.

We are fortunate in the Village that we have Neil Chambers, a Health and Safety professional. He responded quickly to my request for input and will be reviewing our plans in detail next week.

Yet again, we find the expertise we need in the Village. This has been another revelation of this emergency. The Village is full of talent and expertise. Iím delighted to be able to use it. Keeping things in the Village is far safer than having to bring in outsiders.

So where will we be in 1 monthís time? My prediction is that we will experience a second wave of infections, but we will cope. The Government will be implementing local lock downs to overcome this. Our venues will start to open from 4th July. So the month of June will be busy, as the Church, the Village Hall and the pub, put in place the measures we need to manage the risks we will still face.

But during the month of June, I implore you. Please keep yourselves safe Ė donít go to risky places, keep your distance. Wear masks outside the Village.

Weíve come this far, it would be a great shame to get another infection in the Village now.

Thank you