“How am I going to get my Christmas dinner?” was, I confess, my first thought on hearing the government announcement on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t volleyball; restrictions on our sport could scarcely get tougher and I would have to break a strict, perhaps pedantic interpretation of the new restrictions to collect the turkey I had ordered.
The televised press conference installed a new anti-Covid fourth tier covering London and its surrounding counties where there were to be harsher limits to folks’ movements and mixing. In seven hours time all indoor meeting and non-essential travel would be banned; residents in tier four areas were to be restricted to joining just one person from another household in an outdoor public space and no overnight stays would be allowed: along with non-essential shops, gyms and sports centres had to close. Effectively no volleyball can be played.
A telephone call to the butcher who was to supply our turkey saved our dinner. He would be staying in his premised preparing for his busiest time of year so an immediate drive to Brookmans Park in Hertfordshire where I had once worked and near where I used to live and a rattle on his shutters allowed me access and the vital purchase.
Alas, our next game of volleyball looks a lot longer away. The tiers structures are due to be reviewed only once a fortnight and the current rise in infection rates suggests it may be some time before we can be on court again: perhaps too late even to be tempted to restart the 2019/20 season twelve months late.
All we can do for now is wish one another a Happy Christmas and hope to meet sooner rather than later at a New Year volleyball game.
Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton