Lockdown, COVID & Travel.

(Updated information)

16th March 2020. The UK prime minister announces a ban on nonessential travel and contact.

On the 26th, the first lockdown commences. Nonessential shops are closed. Students confined to accommodation. Flights are grounded. Shops run out of toilet roll as a result of panic buying.

Dolphins return to Blackpool in the North. The UK recorded one of the best summer weather in years. The sky’s were quiet. Communities came together for a short time. Streets were filled with the sound of clapping for the NHS workers, delivery drivers and other essential workers. Windows were filled with rainbows in support of the NHS.

12th April 2021. Over a year later, most things open up a bit more, and then self-contained accommodation holiday’s were encouraged.

Lots of independent businesses closed as a result of lockdown, but how big of an impact did COVID have on the travel industry?

Travel industry struggling…..

During the first lockdown, accommodation and travel agency businesses saw the sharpest decline in turnover during the first national lockdown, falling to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.

Hays travel had to close 89 of their UK branches. This company provided work for the staff who came from Thomas Cook when that company closed down. This company is still active and continue to make their loyal customers happy.

“The family-run firm stepped in to take over all 555 Thomas Cook travel agencies – as well as 2,330 former staff – after the failure in September 2019.” – The Gaurdian.

(Source of Picture).

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What happened to the staff?

Well, about 450 staff  lost their jobs after a slump in business caused by the government’s sudden warning against travel to Spain.

Now this is a big company, and these 80+ branches are just a drop in the pool when you find out they have over 500 other branches to fall back on. When you’re a small company or just one shop/restaurant, the story is not the same…

In places like Greece and cities like Rome, restaurants not only need local residents to keep them going but they sometimes depend too on the tourism generated by local attractions. With lockdowns happening all over the globe, travellers were stopped from entering the country, which meant that small businesses that needed the income from holiday makers needed to close down or shut up shop.

Unemployment in Italy

Italy was the first European country to lockdown nationwide in an attempt to stop the spread. In March 2020, Italy’s industrial production fell almost 30%! The decline in unemployment started at the start of March and continued in April, reaching the lowest figure since 2007.

“Since July 2020, employment has started growing at a constant rate. However, employment levels in August 2020 are still 1.8% lower than the ones registered in August 2019. The drop in the number of employed is largely due to fixed term contracts not being renewed.”

IZA

According to Statista, Forecasts published in April 2021 expect that the unemployment rate in Italy will stand at 10.3 percent this year, an increase compared to 2020.

8.4 Million people are currently unemployed in Italy.

(Picture: GFM)

We can see on this chart, (provided by Trading Economics), that the numbers stayed at 9.3 percent in August of 2021, unchanged from July.

This is promising and can bring hope for those who are trying to find work, but as we have seen, nothing is ever guaranteed.


In conclusion, it is easy to see that everything is connected and that when one part of the chain is affected, the rest suffer too. Those who have been affected badly by Coronavirus, whether it is physically, mentally, emotionally or financially, I hope you are soon able to find some relief from your struggles.


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Isle of Arran

My best friends family took me on their holiday to the Isle of Arran just before lockdown in the UK.

Sadly, we weren’t able to travel all over the Island however we did visit the island’s main town – Brodick.

Where is Arran?

Isle of Arran is situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. Brodick is halfway along the east coast of the island, and this village has a population of 621.

Brodick receives the Islands ferries that come across from Ardrossan in Scotland. It doesn’t take ages to travel on this ferry. From what I remember it was roughly 45 mins to an hour. It was a calm crossing when we went but it was incredibly windy.

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828,262 passengers and 202,843 cars travelled on this ferry in 2016

Brodick

Brodick has much economic activity. There are many family-owned business and tourist attractions such as the Auchrannie Spa and Resort, where we stayed.

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Isle of Man – Cregneash

Cregneash

Cregneash is a small village and tourist destination in the south-west part of the Isle of Man, about 1 mi from Port Erin. Most of the village is now part of a living museum run by Manx National Heritage, and overlooks the beautiful blue sea!

Cregneash is a living illustration of a farming and crofting community in the 19th and early 20th century. You can see plough horses, Loghtan sheep, shorthorn cows and Manx cats.

Manx cats?

Manx cats walk all around the little village. “The Manx cat’s lack of tail is the result of a genetic mutation possibly caused by inbreeding among the small population of British Shorthairs on the Isle of Man. The true or ‘rumpy’ Manx has only a small hollow where the tail would have been, although cats with residual tails are born.”ICC

Cregneash opening times:

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Site closes for the Season on 17 November 2021.


This is one of my favourite tourist attractions on the Isle of Man! I haven’t included a lot here but if you have the opportunity, take it. It will be well worth your trip!

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The Needles, Isle of Wight

The history of the Isle of Wight dates back to the Iron Age, with much evidence of settlement being discovered through archaeology and ancient structures which still stand today. 

The Needles History
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The Battery

This military battery was built in 1861 to 1863, and its purpose was to protect the West end of the Solent and defend against the enemy ships.

How did the rocks get there name?

Originally, there were four rocks. The name the Needles comes from the fourth rock, which was needle-shaped and known as ‘Lot’s Wife’.

“But Lot’s wife, who was behind him, began to look back, and she became a pillar of salt.” – Genesis 19v26, (JW.org)

Sadly, that 4th pillar fell down in 1764, and the collapse was that great, it is said that it was felt in Portsmouth, on the other side of the Island and over The Solent.

These unusually vertical rocks are a result of heavy folding of chalk. The remaining stacks are of very hard chalk that is resistant to erosion.

(Source)

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The Chair lift

They have a chair lift to take you down to the beach at the bottom of the cliff, here they have boat rides available to the base of the needles. They can range from a 15 minute ride or 20.



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Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Around about 2 weeks ago, we visited the popular Osborne house on the Isle of Wight down at the south of England. It took us 12 hours to get to the Isle of Wight in total as we were part of a coach party.

Click on the videos above to see the grounds and house in video.

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Bit of a back story…

“Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought the Osborne estate on the Isle of Wight in 1845. There they created a private home away from court life. Victoria used Osborne for over 50 years, entertaining foreign royalty and visiting ministers, finding solace there after Albert’s death in 1861. Today, many of the rooms are still filled with original furniture and works of art, while the planting in the grounds is to Albert’s designs.”

English Heritage

This house wasn’t built for them but was owned by a previous family – the Blachford family. The estate came into their hands in 1705 and from 1774-1781, Robert Pope Blachford extended and adapted the existing house and added a walled kitchen garden.

At the time when Victoria and Albert were looking for a seaside resort to relax in, Lady Isabella Blachford owned the Osborne estate. The happy couple leased and then bought the estate in 1845 and 3 years later demolished it because was too small.

If you would like to download a plan of Osborne, click the link below which has been provided by the English Heritage site.

SITE PLAN OSBORNE HOUSE.

Photos taken from English Heritage

Albert died in 1861 away from Osborne house, but Queen Victoria died here in her quarters in 1901.

None of her successors wanted to take on the upkeep so in 1902, Edward VII gave the estate to the nation. Only part of the ground floor was public in 1904 as other parts were transformed into a convalescent home for officers.

In 1903, part of the estate was convertred into a college for naval cadets but years later in 1921, it was closed as Royal Naval College Dartmouth took over.

“In 1933 many of its ‘temporary’ buildings were demolished and thereafter a succession of short-term tenants occupied the site.” – EH.

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Osborne today…

In 1945, Queen Elizabeth II unlocked Victoria and Alberts private rooms after being locked for 44 years. In 1977 the rooms were redecorated.

In 2012 Queen Victoria’s private beach opened and then in 2014, £1.65 million was spent refurbishing the Swiss Cottage.


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Fyfonne Waterfalls

I love looking at waterfalls, hearing the sound of the water as it cascades over big rocks, spying the little water boatmen in the calm spots of the river.

We visited an area of South Wales called Fyfonne Waterfalls.

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It was a beautiful sunny day when we all went, and the sun shone through the trees. It was so quiet as we were passing through the forest, feeling the breeze and hearing the chirps of the birds.

Where I live in the North, we have to travel over an hour to enjoy peace and quiet like this, no cars, no screaming children, no dogs barking. So to enjoy peace and serenity like this was bliss.

After we got to the actual waterfall we decided to go off the beaten track and head up stream past the initial waterfall.

It was steep and the natural forest banking was crumbling in parts so you had to be careful, but delving deeper into the forest it felt like we were on an adventure!

It made me feel very happy being there and I miss it already, I cannot wait to go back! If you get to go, please visit!

Thank you for reading!

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Norway 2019 Part 2

(Link to part 1)

“My family and I went on a beautiful cruise to Norway in May 2019. I didn’t keep a journal like I did for our holiday in Italy but I still have the beautiful pictures and experiences to share with you!

We travelled from Newcastle and after travelling for roughly 36 hours and 548 miles, we made it into Norwegian territory. We first visited Bergen.” – Part 1.

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We also visited…

Eidfjord

This small village is located on the shore of the Eid Fjord, an inner branch of the large Hardangerfjorden which connects other villages such as Ulvik and Brimnes.

We were here briefly because we were going to be visiting a cider farm a 35 minute from Eidfjord.

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Hardanger
Juice and Sider Factory – Lekve Gard, Ulvik.

Sider, not a typo but translated form their official website: Hardanger Saft- og Siderfabrikk.

We were given a tour of the place and a taster session alongside a history of making the alcohol and where their ingredients came from.

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A truly amazing bridge…

On the way home we had to drive on the Worlds longest suspension bridge, it has room for both cyclists and pedestrians so no matter which mode of transport you choose, you can still enjoy how beautiful this bridge is.

The bridge is 1380 metres long, which translated to feet is 4527 long.

This bridge connects to the Bu Tunnel which actually has a roundabout within the tunnel, and in total from start to finish the tunnels length equals to 7,510-metre, 24,640 ft, 4.67 miles long.

I never thought I would be writing about a tunnel and bridge before on my blog but here we are haha.

The roundabout was added to the tunnel in 2013, 28 years after the tunnel was originally opened.


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Camping Holidays

Do you like camping? I love it.

I love it even down to the deflated air mattress, the grass in your crocs and the smell of the dew on the grass when you wake up.

We have had so many childhood holidays in tents and caravans. When I say caravans, I don’t mean a static caravan. I mean a tourer caravan. There would be 4 of us in that caravan and our small dog Rollie. At times it was very snugg!

We have travelled all over England, Scotland and Wales in caravans, often staying overnight in a layby if it was a long journey.

Every year we go to a friends farm in South Wales. They are an older couple and we help them out by clearing the polytunnel of weeds or helping clear the land of dead trees.

There’s usually us and 2 other families that go each year. This year it was just us and one other family.

We swam in the sea, saw beautiful waterfalls and trekked through forests. We got to visit places we had never been to before and the weather was beautiful, I got sunburn on my shoulders!

17 days of fun. It flew by!

Evening at Newport Beach

As you can see, I took lots of photos…


Sorry for the short post, I will be honest. I haven’t been feeling very well this week. I am in quite a bit of pain so I haven’t been in the mood to write or sit at my PC for very long but I do hope to get back to writing regularly soon.

Take care!

Talitha x