I went out for my first post-lockdown coffee yesterday. We went to the coffee shop, a friend and I, in a nearby village. I had not seen the friend since pre-lockdown.

Outdoors. Apart from having 10 or 15 people within 10 or 15 yards of me (nobody too close, not even my buddy), I figured that the risk was no greater than having friends come sit in the garden. It was even better for me, because I didn’t have to go into the shop to order – my friend did so. Although I suppose if he picked something up in there, he’d likely have breathed it in my general direction afterwards. We didn’t wear masks – we are only mandated to wear them here when we go into a shop.

So we followed the UK’s rules. I’m not too sure, how closely the UK’s rules match the science, so I wanted to be happy for myself. Before I agreed to meet him, I satisfied myself about the state of the virus locally. In the last available figures, week ending mid-July-ish, there were 11 deaths in our region. The week before that, there were 7. The week before that, 17. All in the same ballpark. Our region is the south west of the UK – probably 10-20,000 square miles? a big number. If you imagine dividing the UK into about 8, that’s us. And me and my space is, what, a square yard?

My friend… Well, my friend is an old cycling buddy. Up until corona, he was a director for a well-known, UK charity. In charge of all new development, nationally. At the very start of this, he figured that for the next few years, new development would be a thing of the past, so figured he was living on borrowed time. He’s roughly retirement age anyhow.

But they kept him on through lockdown, even though he was at home, and they only made him redundant last week.

We had a weird conversation, about my own mobility. As we both love cycling, he suggested an electric bike, or trike. I said that they were good ideas (I’ve thought about this a lot) but that the holy grail would be a new car, an automatic (uncommon in the UK). And with anything, I would not be prepared to spend any cash until I was bringing money in.

– will the state not buy you a car?

– You’re joking, aren’t you?

I told him that instead of receiving the thousands (GBP, USD, EUR, any currency you care to choose) to pay for a car, immediately after the stroke I was awarded GBP 10 per week because I could hardly walk. When the state assessed me a couple years ago, they decided I must be walking better by now, so reduced that portion to zero. I still get additional benefit because I can’t use my hand, but we’re in the same ballpark.

My friend knows somebody, apparently, up in Yorkshire, a long way from here, who has terminal cancer, and needs to travel around 20 miles (presumably a few times a week) for treatment. They are probably pretty rural, they probably have no public transport – outside of London, it is not good in the UK. Anyway, he says that the state awarded them a car.

I mean, if this is true, there are probably discrepancies between this other case and mine. I never really got any treatment once I left hospital, so there is no ongoing relationship between me and the health service.

But I thought it was interesting that even my friend, who as a charity bigwig will have seen hardship cases, believes that when something happens, the state will come to the rescue.

Anyway, I took a few photos yesterday, it was a lovely day.


  1. Hmm, the state really giving something besides the bare minimum? I can’t complain at this point in time but I’ve seen difficult times when on benefits. I can’t imagine a car is given.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the criteria is something crazy, like you are not able to walk. At all. When I first came out of hospital I could walk maybe 10m and only qualified for that tiny amount. Once somebody can walk, not sure 25m or 50m, then they get no aid whatever.
      The test also includes a cognitive element, are you able to plan a journey, where of course I never had a problem.
      There is a related effect that when somebody improves, they then take the car away!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s just not right at all. Seems like those criteria are very arbitrary and not helpful at all.
        It seems to be very difficult to get the right help at the right time to the people that need that help.
        I’m curious about what I’ll meet along my way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right, one size does not fit all. I can see the trouble though – because the benefits are so low, people play the system to get that little bit more. Doctors tend to side with patients. So it is basically a system where nobody in honest. I don’t know how you solve it, because ultimately there needs to be some kind of test – you qualify and you don’t.

          Liked by 1 person

            • No I have been grateful that my difficulties are very visible. Unfortunately, people are more understanding. If we park in a disabled space, we never have anybody coming up to us and saying “why have you parked there?”, which happens a lot.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Meant to say, btw, my walk yesterday was 2.4mi, about 3km. To get there, I took maybe a half hour. To get back home took longer. My legs feel sore today but I really need to do this more often.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I try to go walking too with Churro but sometimes I just can’t and when I force myself it’s not a pleasant walk as I’m anxious all the time. Being ill ran away with my self-confidence. But I’ll try to keep it up too. Do you follow some kind of schedule to built up walking skills?

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, I should do, even if it is just “walk to the end of the road evry day”. One excuse is that I am trying to work (albeit in front of the computer) so I do not wany walking to interfere with that. But that is a bit nonsense, really, there is nothing to stop me walking at 2000, say, or 0700.
          I have always advocated pets as a good incentive for stroke people to get moving again, simply because a dog will always need to be walked. Even a cat will need to be fed, so there is no question of sitting on your ass all day.
          Can you go walking with Pierre, would he do that? The three of you go for a walk?

          Liked by 1 person

            • try to get out, in the garden at least. I am speaking to somebody now who has a Vitamin D deficiency, to go on top of her anxiety. They think it makes her suddenly fall over, never a good idea.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I go out in the garden every day. When I can’t walk Churro I play fetch with his tennisbal 🙂 He needs to move and I toggle along 🙂
                Vitamin D deficiency can be serious. Actually we all should get out every day to catch some sun. It is said that the hours before noon are better to absorb vitamin D (I don’t know if that is entirely true).
                But some fresh air and a different view can help sometimes. Unfortunately we have Covid rising again.

                Liked by 1 person

                  • Good idea, I took supplements of vit d when I was at home most of my time and before I became ill. I hoped it would ‘revive’ me but that didn’t happen.
                    I think you should check what dose is recommended because vit D isn’t soluble in water, which means you don’t pee out the possible excess. I have no idea if you can get too much of it but as they say ‘too much of even a good thing, isn’t good’ (I’ve made that up, I think that expression may exists.) 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Mister Bump and commented:

    That pathway on the left is the pathway across the meadows to the next village. It came about in 2000, after neglect caused the village to flood every winter. So we eventually got flood defences, costing millions.


    • Yes our village looks at its best at this time of year. Not so good in January! We’ve had plenty of rain this year, too, so everything still looks green. You should one day post some photos near to you – I am sure that what I imagine Saudi to look like must be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Saudi is so dry at this time that’s why whenever I see photos like yours, I feel as if I can breathe again… I miss seeing water and dark green grass…

        But there are parts of Saudi Arabia that are different, although they’re quite far from the capital.

        One of these days, when I break my routine of work home work… I’d be able to show how Saudi Arabia looks, from a suburban mom’s perspective 😅

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, you are in Riyadh? I imagine that must be very built-up. I always lived in cities until I moved out here. My daughter hated it because we were so remote! At least you should not have that problem.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Things are accessible in the city but I kind of miss living in the province. I’ve only lived in the province for 10 years more or less during childhood but I still remember how that was… Hahahaha, we also hated the places our dad moved us to… it’s like there never a good timing to move, but we eventually liked it…


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