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Jean recently returned from a long-planned visit to New Zealand, unhappily cut short by Covid-19. Because of editorial incompetence (JT) this story is a bit late to appear, but we thought it was worth it for the lovely photographs — just click on any of them to enlarge it.

I have never been so pleased to be back in Audlem after the curtailment of my month long rambling holiday in New Zealand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After Covid-19 cases increased there, apparently introduced by travellers from abroad, the customary friendly welcome changed to refusing us entry to cafes and tourist sites, and being stared at in the street, not a comfortable feeling.

Later, trying to secure flights home was problematic due to the closure of Singapore airport to transit traffic, and changes in New Zealand government policy on what constituted essential travel.

I finally arrived at Heathrow on Monday morning after a packed 26-hour flight, including sitting on the tarmac at Singapore whilst the plane was refuelled, surprised to find there were neither health checks nor isolation advice provided to arrivals to the UK.

So I am taking my exercise accompanied by my dog, avoiding the village and keeping my distance from the few people I see. Food is delivered to my doorstep by thoughtful friends and neighbours.

But on the bright side it is wonderful to be back in such a creative, caring community.

Jean Stainthorpe

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