Through 2021 – MARCH
The first week of the month, I see in my diary, is recorded as “grey, cloudy, with rain” but on the 7th SNOW arrived and remained with us (not very deep) until it started to melt on the 14th. Starting-
In the following, third week, “grey, cloud and rain” prevailed with occasional sunny intervals until the end of the week when temperatures climbed to 16 degrees, then 18 before dropping again for the next couple of days and then rising to 17, down again but up to 17 and 16 on the 26th & 27th respectively, which were the only two days in that month I recorded “Clear, sunny all day”, The most common word for the weather throughout the month was ‘grey’! The end of the month saw two frosts (26th & 27th) followed by fog on the last day. Overall, not a very auspicious month!
This is the month for peering at the soil to see if seeds are coming up. Tomato plant seedlings on the window sill and then the greenhouse came on quickly. The generally cold weather meant the ground was cold which meant that the beetroot seeds showed no signs of activity in March. The broad beans have picked up a bit, as have the onions. Wildflower seeds sown, showed no sign. Blue is one of the two prevailing colours as forget-
C. General News
As the following will show, the news expands beyond the Pandemic. The ‘royals’ TV interview on the 7th generated high audience ratings and much subsequent media comment. Likewise the murder on the 10th appeared as a cause for a vigil, demonstrations, and much subsequent media comment. On the pandemic front, the falling infection and death rates together with vaccination numbers were regularly in the news.
Economy / Business
3rd – Data from the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast the economy to grow by 4% in 2021 and 7.3% in 2022, bringing it back to its pre-
3rd – The Chancellor delivers his fist budget since the pandemic began in which he committed an extra £65bn to "protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people", including an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of September, but warns that future tax increases are needed to stop "irresponsible" mounting debt as it is confirmed government borrowing is expected to reach a peacetime record of £335bn in 2021.
4th – Amazon launches its first ‘cashless grocery store’ in the UK, which uses camera vision and sensors to automate the shopping process.
5th – A proposal to give NHS workers a 1% pay rise is described by the government as "what is affordable" given the public finances, but unions and others strongly criticize the amount and call for strike action.
People / Misc.
7th – Prince Harry & the Duchess of Sussex appear in a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, in talk of suicidal thoughts, racism by an unnamed family member, and other concerns about the Royal family predominate.
9th – Piers Morgan quits as presenter of Good Morning Britain following his remarks about the Duchess of Sussex, which drew 41,000 complaints to Ofcom. A week later, Ofcom confirm over 57,000 complaints have been made, making it the most complained about programme since the regulator's formation!
10th – The government commissions a feasibility study for a bridge or tunnel connection between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
10th – Police searching for a missing woman, Sarah Everard, discover human remains in Kent woodland. A serving Met Police officer is arrested on suspicion of her kidnap and murder. Two days later, police confirm the body is that of Ms Everard.
13th – After a vigil/protest on the need for protection for women and to mourn Sarah Everard, police are criticised for their heavy-
21st – Demonstrators attack police in Bristol during "Kill the Bill" protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
21st – Census 2021 is conducted in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
22nd – An independent inquiry finds that Nicola Sturgeon did not mislead the Scottish Parliament over her involvement in the Alex Salmond scandal, and was cleared of breaching the ministerial code.
30th – The UK experiences its second warmest March day on record, with temperatures of 24.5°C (76.1°F) in Kew Gardens, the highest since 1968.
30th – Northern Ireland riots begin.
1st – Data published by Public Health England suggests that a single dose of either the Oxford or Pfizer vaccines reduces the need for hospitalization in older adults by more than 80%
8th – Most children return to school in England, after two months of studying at home, as the first stage in easing the national lockdown.
15th – Suggestions linking the Oxford vaccine to blood clots is denied by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency saying there is no evidence linking the two after several European countries pause their use of the vaccine as a precautionary measure.
18th – A record daily high of 660,276 people are given a COVID-
19th – A record daily high of 711,157 people are given a COVID-
20th – A record daily high of 844,285 people are given a COVID-
23rd – A minute's silence is held across the UK to remember the 126,172 people who have died from the virus since the beginning of the lockdown exactly a year ago. (NB. But across the pandemic, there have been 148,125 deaths in the UK where Covid-
25th – MPs vote by 484 to 76 to extend the emergency Covid-
27 March – COVID-
30th – The ONS reports that half of people in the UK now have antibodies against the virus, either through infection or vaccination.