GONE FISHING… Being able to reconnect with nature was one of the undoubted benefits of lockdown. Hours of mind-numbing home confinement made the prospect of cashing in our one-hour walking token the highlight of the day. If you want to hold onto feeling of discovering the great outdoors, then proposals for a rural retreat in Weeton, east of Blackpool, could meet your desires. An application submitted by planning consultant De Pol Associates on behalf of client Kerry Ixer, details an idyllic vision of a fishing lake surrounded by six wooden lodges across a 5.5-acre site. What more could you want? 

Rishi's Suitcase

Rishi Sunak about to throw away his lunchbox and head to a restaurant for 50% off his dinner

OUCHER… There was a fleeting moment when it looked like we were each going to get a £500 high street voucher. As Rishi Sunak stood to unveil the details of his mini-budget, the nation held its breath, already mentally splurging the money as grateful retailers kissed our feet. In the end, the chancellor’s watered-down offering left us feeling a bit foolish. How did we allow ourselves to believe we would be given £500 for nowt? Instead of the freedom of the high street, the British public will instead have to make do with 50% off restaurant bills, up to £10 per pseron. Now, if you’d have offered us that at the start of lockdown we probably would have taken it but – like being 2-0 up against the runaway league leaders and conceding two goals in stoppage time – the promise of what might have been will always weigh heavy. 

McGoff Boxing 1

McGoff, left, didn’t pull any punches

GOING McOFFThere are few professionals on Twitter who will dare to say what they actually mean for fear of treading on the wrong toes. So amid the beige back-slapping and corporate pandering posts, it is good to have people like Chris McGoff around to remind us what it is like to speak your mind. Boxing fan, McGoff, chief executive of care home developer New Care, pulled no punches as he delivered a damning assessment of the planning system: “In my general experience [planning committees] are populated by, unqualified, NIMBY-sympathising, retirees, lacking basic planning knowledge.” Many will agree, only privately.

Windmill Green Spinning Studio

SPINMILL GREEN… Finally, a place in Manchester city centre where cycling enthusiasts can meet and show off their latest skin-tight purchases and chat at length about the pros and cons of disc-brakes without having to worry about inconsiderate drivers, inadequate infrastructure and rogue Deliveroo couriers (I’m looking at you, Deansgate). Introducing Cycle X Revolution, a swanky, eco-friendly, indoor cycling studio that will occupy 3,500 sq ft on the ground floor of Windmill Green, Fore Partnerships’s 78,000 sq ft office development. As well as room to get fit there will be vegan snacks, a ban on single-use plastics and bikes that feed electricity into the grid. 

Llandudno Goats

c.Jimmy Lane

GROOMING GOATS… Nature has been healing over the past few months. The air is cleaner, rivers are clearer and long-lost wildlife is starting to reemerge in towns and cities. In Llandudno, goats are beginning to repopulate the town. Here’s a few forming an orderly queue for a long-awaited haircut. Holding clippers in hooves is pretty tricky, so the relief on barbers reopening was clear to see.

Liverpool FC Mural

c.Anfield Watch

BOLD REDS… It just goes to show, if you take away the cars you are left with so much more room for other things. On the recently pedestrianised Bold Street in Liverpool, vehicles are a thing of the past and, as hospitality reopened last weekend, customers could enjoy a cocktail in the drizzle on newly installed outdoor seating areas. Now, in honour of Liverpool FC’s first title in 30 years, Bold Street is welcoming another addition, a mural dedicated to the champions featuring Roberto Firmino, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Maand skipper Jordan Henderson. You might still have to social distance but if you decide to venture out to Bold Street this weekend, the presence of the champions means you’ll never eat and drink alone.

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