Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Seasonal Reflections: May (2)

Through 2020 – May


Nature: Birds pairing up at the beginning of the month meant nesting and chicks. By the end of the month Blue Tits had nested produced a family and flown, Blackbirds were still feeding chicks and a family of Gold Finches with five chicks were flying and coming and going. May has been the month of the Aquilegia and the Rose (an unlikely pair) and flowers of all sorts are in abundance. Trees are now in full-leaf. Broad Beans are flowering and forming the beans, Runner Beans are climbing their sticks, the Asparagus has come and gone, onions are filling out, potato greenery is filling out and a first plant of new potatoes dug. The last of the Purple Broccoli has just been picked. Tomato plants are strengthening up and covered with flowers. First Gooseberries and strawberries have been picked. The rhubarb is coming to an end because of lack of rain.

Weather: May has been designated the hottest May since records began in the south-east and locally it has not rained since the last week of April. Sunshine has predominated with temperatures often above twenty and a few times recorded locally just into the 30’s. The edge has been taken off the temperatures by a frequent north or easterly cool breeze.  Amazingly early morning roof frosts with temperatures just above freezing were recorded on the 7th, 12th, 14th and 15th!

National Pandemic News: The following were among some of the news items this month:

o 4 May

o The ONS reports that more than 25 million people – 49.6% of over-16s in Britain – rated their anxiety as "high" after the lockdown, more than double the number who did so in December 2019.  

o 5 May

o The UK death toll from COVID-19 becomes the highest in Europe at 32,313

o Trials of an NHS contact-tracing app start on the Isle of Wight with the app being made available to healthcare and council workers

o NHS Nightingale Hospital North East, a temporary critical care hospital built near Sunderland for COVID-19 patients, is officially opened by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

o 7 May

o The government confirms that 400,000 gowns ordered from Turkey to protect NHS staff from coronavirus have been impounded, after failing to meet the required safety standards.

o The Bank of England warns that the economy is on course to shrink by 14% in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, pushing the UK into its deepest recession on record but the Governor says it will bounce back

o 10 May

o The government reveals that its lockdown slogan "Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives." is to be replaced with a new message, "Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives". A new alert scale system is announced

o 11 May

o The Government Document, “Our Plan to Rebuild” issued.  

o 12 May

o The UK furlough scheme is extended until October, with employees continuing to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500. A quarter of the workforce, some 7.5 million people, are now covered by the scheme, costing £14bn a month.

o 18 May

o Loss of smell or taste are added to the UK's official list of coronavirus symptoms

o Testing for the virus is extended to everyone aged five and over in the UK with symptoms.

o 19 May

o Captain Tom Moore, who raised £32m for NHS charities, is to be knighted for his fundraising efforts

o Cambridge University becomes the first UK institution to announce it is moving all lectures online until summer 2021.

o 21 May

o Antibody tests to check if someone has had coronavirus will be made available on the NHS after a deal is agreed between the government and the pharmaceutical company, Roche.

o 22 May

o The ONS reports that government borrowing rose to £62bn in April, the highest monthly figure on record, after heavy spending to ease the coronavirus crisis

o 23 May

o Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's senior adviser, faces calls to resign after a joint investigation by two national dailies alleges that he travelled 260 miles from London to his parents' home in Durham, and whilst he was displaying coronavirus symptoms, during lockdown

o 24 May

o Boris Johnson expresses his support for his senior adviser during the government's coronavirus daily briefing, saying he had acted "responsibly, legally and with integrity"

o 25 May

o The Government announce intentions to gently lift lockdown from 1st June with some schoolchildren going back, some shops being allowed to open and group gathering opened up.

o 26 May

o Junior minister Douglas Ross resigns, saying that Dominic Cummings' view on lockdown guidance is "not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked."

o 28 May

o Contact tracing systems go live in England and Scotland – NHS Test and Trace in England and Test and Protect in Scotland

o EasyJet announces plans to cut up to 4,500 jobs as it struggles with a collapse in air travel caused by the pandemic.

o Durham Constabulary conclude that no offence had been committed by Dominic Cummings in travelling from London to Durham during lockdown

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