A Stalybridge pub has been celebrating the festivities of Christmas in May.
Okay, this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the idea behind the premature celebrations makes a lot of sense.
As you will remember all too well, the Christmas cheer in 2020 was a little sparse – thanks to a third spike of COVID-19, families and friends were unable to meet in pubs or restaurants to celebrate the festive period, and new regulations announced just two days before the big day meant they could only see each other in homes, places of worship or outdoors.
Pubs in Greater Manchester were already closed before Christmas, with the region facing Tier 3 restrictions.
The region was then moved up to Tier 4 on December 30th, before a third national lockdown came into effect just 6 days later.
Pubs were finally able to reopen their doors last month, and most owners were quick to remove the dusty decorations from their last orders in December.
But the Stamford Arms had a different idea entirely.
The Tameside pub had asked its punters back in January if they should relive the festive season once it was finally able to reopen, and the answer was a resounding yes.
Rebecca Jones, who runs The Stamford Arms with her husband James, told the Manchester Evening News: “We were a little bit gutted when we found out we couldn’t open at Christmas.
“I was getting a lot of messages from customers saying ‘the pub looks lovely, we can’t believe we can’t come, we feel like we’re missing out’.”
Since the pub reopened its doors on May 17th, the Christmas tree and decorations have remained in place, and familiar Christmas classics have been playing over the speakers.
Guests have even been able to wear party hats and pull crackers as they tuck into full turkey dinners and Christmas puddings.
Rebecca said: “They [the customers] have loved the Christmas theme, they’ve come in with friends and family that they might not have seen.
“They’ve been able to come out and enjoy themselves, have a few drinks, and do what they would have done at Christmas.
“We’ve had a few comments from customers saying they feel more Christmassy now than they did at Christmas.”
The pub’s week of Christmas has been a roaring success, with the pub’s diary full of bookings last weekend.
And if enough people want it, Rebecca hasn’t ruled out making ‘mid-year Christmas’ a regular fixture on the calendar. To make your own booking, you can visit the Stamford Arms website here.
Supermarkets and petrol companies issue update on current fuel situation
They have urged motorists to stop panic buying fuel
As frantic motorists across the region continue to panic buy and stockpile fuel, supermarkets and petrol companies have issued an update on the so-called ‘fuel shortage crisis’.
Now, this fiasco has never been about a shortage of petrol – it is about a shortage of HGV drivers, the very thing that has been causing minor food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants. Three of the UK’s biggest petrol suppliers did initially report some fuel shortages as a result of the driver crisis; however, only a small fraction of their petrol stations were actually impacted.
But this hasn’t stopped thousands of drivers descending into a panic and rushing to their local petrol station to stock up on fuel, causing lengthy queues and, ironically, the actual shortage of petrol in a number of stations across not only Manchester, but the rest of the country.
Well, amid the frenzy and the chaos, supermarkets and petrol companies have now given an update on the ‘crisis’ and have urged people to stop panic buying.
Firstly, a Tesco spokesperson acknowledged that while the supermarket chain is experiencing ‘temporary outages in a small number of areas’, there is no need to panic buy and stockpile fuel, saying: “We have good availability of fuel, and we’re working really hard to ensure regular deliveries to our petrol filling stations across the UK every day.”
A Morrisons spokesperson also said: “It is a rapidly moving situation and we are working hard with our suppliers to ensure we can continue to keep our pumps open and serve our customers.”
Similarly, a BP spokesman said: “We are experiencing fuel supply issues at some of our retail sites. This is being caused by a shortage of qualified drivers. The majority of the 1200 sites we supply remain supplied and open.
“However, at the moment we estimate that 10 to 15 per cent of sites in this network currently may not have one grade of fuel or another.”
A spokesperson for Shell added: “We are working hard to ensure supplies for customers. Since Friday we have been seeing a higher-than-normal demand across our network which is resulting in some sites running low on some grades.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also weighed into the equation during a TV appearance this morning, saying: “The good news is there is plenty of fuel, the bad news is if everyone carries on buying it when they don’t need it then we will continue to have queues.”
Woman sparks outrage after advertising cans of petrol for sale on Stockport Facebook group
As people queue for miles for fuel, one woman decided to cash in on the crisis
A woman sparked was met with a wave of backlash this morning after she advertised two cans of petrol for sale in a local Facebook group.
The controversial advert was posted in the Marple, Romiley & Bredbury Community Facebook group this morning, where two cans of petrol were being flogged for £50 or the nearest offer.
The ad read: “10L e10 petrol. Collection from Romiley. £50 Ono. Cans not included but can fill up on collection.”
The post, which has since been deleted, instantly racked up a number of angry reactions, with one social media user asking, “Is this a wind up?”
The woman’s attempt at cashing in on the ongoing ‘fuel shortage’ crisis comes shortly after the government urged people to not stock up on fuel, explaining that there is no shortage.
Chairman Brian Madderson said the shortages were actually down to ‘panic buying, pure and simple’ as he slammed whoever leaked BP’s original supply concerns to the media following a meeting with Government earlier this month.
Madderson added: “Whoever leaked it to a main broadcaster must have known the chaos that would ensue as soon as it hit newspapers, and that’s what we’ve had.”
North West residents urged to cut back on water as reservoirs run low
United Utilities has suggested a number of ways in which residents can cut back on their water usage
United Utilities has issued a water usage warning for North West residents as reservoir levels plummet.
While reporting that the region’s supply of tap water is ‘less than half what it should be’ at this time of the year, the water supplier has offered an array of suggestions as to how residents can lower their water usage.
In an email to customers, United Utilities said: “To keep precious water in the reservoirs until they have a chance to recover and help protect local wildlife, save water and only use what you need.
“We can do this with very little impact on our usual routine and every drop is precious, so swap a bath for a four minute shower, use the washing machine once less each week and re-use water where you can.”
The water supply across the North West comes from Haweswater and Thirlmere reservoirs in the Lake District, which are both only 36% full – usual levels in September would be around 70%, according to ITV News.
The shortage comes as a result of an unusually dry summer; although there were plenty of wetter days in North West cities and towns and even flooding in some areas, it has been the driest June to September in over 130 years in the Lake District.
There has also been extra demand on water being used as a result of more people staying at home and taking holidays in the north west during the pandemic.
Over on their website, the supplier also suggests a number of methods to lower water usage, such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, using a washing up bowl when washing the dishes, and refraining from overfilling the kettle by only boiling what you need.
For those with a garden, United Utilities also suggests investing in a butt, a device which collects rainwater to be used in the house, and to fully ditch the hosepipe while watering plants and washing cars, noting that using a watering can for your plants and a bucket and sponge for your car will not only save water, but will do wonders for the environment.
See their full list of tips here.