The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th September 2022: Thin Pink Line

I tested after lunch. The control line came up quite quickly, then nothing. After five minutes I scrutinised it again. Still nothing. I shone a torch on it to check there was no thin pink line I had missed. Nothing. My spirits were on the rise. The world started to look a shinier place, even shinier than it had a little while earlier when I received a message from Celia saying she had managed to get me a marrow. The timer pinged to say fifteen minutes had passed. I looked at the cassette again. And there it was, that skinny little paler than pale pink line that said I still have COVID. Maybe tomorrow. I have started to get messages about work next week. I can’t make the commitment until I get the all clear. It’s like having one foot nailed to the floor. Even more important is that MasterB has his annual vet screening and vaccination boosters booked for Tuesday. Getting an appointment with a vet is not easy. So many people got pets during lockdown that vets are overloaded, many quitting as they are burned out.

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The Coronavirus Diaries 26th September 2022, What Now?

My nose has, thank goodness stopped running like a tap, but as of yesterday evening I am very tired. I slept for ten hours last night. This is a worry as I have a ticket for Outspoken on Thursday evening and I want to be there. I shall test on Thursday morning and hope for no second thin pink line.

The weather, suddenly autumnal, has been achingly perfect for long country walks which of course I can’t take. Celia has brought me my shopping, Octavia called round with a risotto and side salad yesterday. I can’t say I am struggling. Both cats have been perfect companions. A&M return on Thursday, so my duties will end after breakfast. I shall miss the ever demanding Lola. MasterB is a pushover in comparison.

A short time ago I went out to break up a four way cat fight. Stumpy, Hartley, Romeo and Smudge were all embroiled in fisticuffs. My guess is that Stumpy picked on Hartley, who is in general fight averse, Hartley’s brother Smudge and Romeo both piled in. It made quite a noise. MasterB watched from the bedroom window and seems to have decided on an evening indoors.

I finished selecting photos for MasterB’s 2023 calendar today and have despatched them to the printer. There’s a limited print run, and I hope to keep the price to £8.50 again, plus postage and packing which I need to check out. Let me know if you are interested. Some will go to Belfast, some to Melbourne Australia, at least two to the US, one to Italy, one to France. It’s an international though exclusive club!

The news from Italy is not great. A neo fascist set to be prime minister. People here on twitter saying they agree with her views. Our new Prime Minister probably does too. As neither she nor the chancellor are stupid, I am struggling to understand why they are acting as they are. Simple greed? Have they decided the best thing to do is to milk this country for all it has, sharing the spoils with their pals while the rest of us starve, before rushing off somewhere else on the planet with their cash? If they intend to remain here, trashing the country doesn’t seem a great approach. Or maybe they like raw sewage in the waterways, people living in tents on any stretch of land, overburdened hospitals and collapsing infrastructure.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 23rd September 2022: Positive

Well it finally happened. After two and a half years of resisting COVID I finally succumbed. Wednesday’s head cold symptoms turned out to be something else. I had lots of vivid dreams on Wednesday night which is something that often happens when I am running a temperature. This time the Queen’s funeral cortege featured strongly. It was quite exhausting even asleep and clarified for me how the choreography of the funeral was excessive.

So yesterday morning, feeling a little shaky, and having to blow my nose almost constantly, it was time for a lateral flow test while MasterB tucked into his breakfast. A second red line appeared with almost startling rapidity. I called work to say I would not be able to do the job I’d been booked for in the afternoon.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 21st September 2022: the Rest of the Walk in Pictures

To continue. From Feering we walked on. The directions we had printed off were somewhat scant, and we quickly realised that it would have been helpful had distances been mentioned. There was also an instruction that told us to do something just before reaching somewhere. As the notes said, this is a walk popular with local walking groups, and it seemed local knowledge was required too.

As usual Celia was in charge of the notes while my job was to take photographs. There were several moments where we were not sure if we were in the right place, so to find the Plank Bridge and cross it was a relief. Fortunately the terrain was mainly easy and pleasant. The sun came and went. Likewise a stiff breeze. At one point it looked like it might rain. We were fairly sure we had missed a turning to Skye Green only to find a rather overgrown sign announcing it just after this finger post.

We never did find Lees farm, but emerged in more or less the right place opposite a thatched house. It had a bench in the garden where we were tempted to eat our packed lunches, but the plastic flowers put us off, though I liked the thatcher’s sign of ducks and ducklings on the roof. Soon we were walking into Coggeshall town and getting our first sights of solid, attractive houses.

I think I may have mentioned it already, but Coggeshall has, we learned, some three hundred listed buildings. We must have walked by most of them as we eventually found our way to the centre of town after the longest 0.7km ever recorded. There were very few indications of distance in the instructions and it would have been helpful if this one had been accurate. Once again we assumed we had missed our turning, or that it had been built over. But no, suddenly there was the Recreation Ground and a walled passage on the other side we walked through to the town centre.

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The Coronavirus Diaries 19th September 2022: Some Photos

I did watch the funeral today, or at least parts of it. I missed the arrival of the heads of state and the ex Prime Ministers, turning on the television as the coffin reached the abbey. MasterB was confused. I never watch television in the daytime and he evidently could not get his head around this strange occurrence. He kept checking in with me, needing reassurance in the form of cuddles and affection, so I missed other bits too. He is now outside which is why I’m at the keyboard.

The music, as you’d expect, was sublime. The shots of the abbey breathtaking. Only rare and narrow glimpses of David Hockney’s window. Why was that? There didn’t seem to be camera shots from that angle. Did someone decide it was too modern? It is the Queen’s window, one celebrating spring, her favourite season. Nearly all the women wore heels of staggering height and slenderness. I cannot imagine how they stood it. They probably have their feet soaking in warm water tonight.

By one o’clock I was funeraled out. there was a lot more to come, but I switched off and had lunch. I did catch some of the Windsor part and can only marvel at Charles’ stamina. Suddenly a half hour slot at the crematorium followed by tea and sandwiches seems a much better deal.

So to photos. Not of the funeral, of yesterday’s walk. I have a lot, so maybe some tonight, some later.

We started at Kelvedon which impressed us. One attractive building after another, though some seemed neglected.

Essex is famously Tory, so I was surprised and pleased to see Kelvedon’s councillors are Greens. The bench was a nice touch too. There were grand houses, not so grand houses and expensive cars. I don’t recall seeing any reference to food banks.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 18th September 2022: Walking, Not Queueing

While some chose to spend the day queueing along the Thames to pay their respects at Westminster Hall where the Queen in her coffin lies in state, Celia and I headed to Essex. We took the train to from Liverpool Street which meant first taking a bus which crossed London Bridge where we saw the queue snaking along. We also saw it when we returned this evening, just before eight, when an announcement on the bus reminded us that we were due to observe a one minute’s silence.

Ironically much of our day had been pretty silent as we walked paths and met very few other walkers. Liverpool Street Station this evening was a bit of a culture shock, with hoards of people milling around and the usual crowds at the bus stops, noise and a very lovely young dog with his homeless owner. He doesn’t like big bags and barked loudly each time someone passed with one. I went to speak to his owner, a young woman and give her some money. The barking dog turned into a love hound, just wanting to make friends with me and have a cuddle. Still, if I were living on the streets I’d want a dog with a loud bark like his too.

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The Coronavirus Diaries 16th September 2022: Boosted

I had my booster vaccine today. It began with an M but I have forgotten its name already. Funny to think that when the vaccines first came out we learned their names overnight and compared notes on what we knew about them. Now I just want to know if I am going to have an adverse reaction.

The vaccinator – a new word to me today – asked me to expose my arm. That’s the first time I have heard that phrase. It made me laugh. He looked surprised, then laughed too. Apparently he’s been saying it for days and only when I laughed did he think it sounded odd. In future he’s going to ask people to roll up their sleeves.

In the last few days I have decided my sitting room needs redecorating. It’s not a task I relish, and I shall certainly employ someone to do it, so probably not this side of Christmas. after exposing my arm I walked to the Old Kent Road and a branch of B&Q to pick up colour samples. I had been thinking pale grey, but they all seem either too grey or too pale. My thoughts are drifting towards white. The walls are off white now, but quite which off white I don’t recall. I’ve tucked the various cards under picture frames, and lost one behind the sideboard, to stare at over the coming weeks.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 12th September 2022: Out and About

Celia and I met up after lunch yesterday. She’s been away, visiting family in various parts of the country. We went to Sydenham Woods, enjoying the cool of the shaded paths on yet another warm day.

We weren’t alone. There were families, quite a few with dogs, but it didn’t feel crowded. Partks are all very well, but walking in the woods is better somehow. When we emerged at the top of a hill there was a convenient pub called the Wood House. In we went for some cider. Very nice. We couldn’t decide if this was the same pub where Celia’s cousin Sally had a surprise birthday party some years ago.

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The Coronavirus Diaries 10th September 2022, Coverage Fatigue

When Graham made a comment on my last post about the sycophantic remarks we could expect over the next days I thought it was a little harsh. Now I can’t bear to turn on the television or listen to the radio. Even The Guardian is stuffed with royal stories. At least there I can choose what to read.

When I was on the Mall yesterday I saw people, taking selfies with the Palace as a backdrop. Many people were clearly there to witness history, to read the notice on the gates, to marvel at the crowds. Yet television commentary described all of them as mourners. Am I mourning the Queen? I don’t know. I am still shocked at her death. It seemed so sudden. We saw her on our screens on Tuesday, physically frail, but still alert, no apparent cause to think that in forty eight hours she’d be dead. What happened? Was it just a simple case of old age like my cousin Alec’s dog who climbed into the car for a five minute drive to the place where he was going to have a walk, only to be found dead on arrival, eyes closed, curled up as though in sleep? That suddenness is what I am struggling with most. That and adjusting to understanding that when someone talks about the Queen today, they are talking about Camilla, not her mother-in-law.

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The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th September 2022; The Queen is Dead

A cousin sent me a truly terrible poem someone had rushed out when the news of ERII’s death broke. I protested. She said I was harsh. I said no, I like poetry and if you want to honour Her Maj poetically cut out the mawkish, the glib, the trite, the Queen was none of those things. Don’t worry, I shan’t inflict it on you though I imagine if you are curious you could find it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hopefully Simon Armitage will come up with something more thought provoking.

I am no fan of monarchy, and I know despite all the dithyrambs on tonight’s news the Queen had her faults. She interfered with legislation which might affect her finances; she only started paying tax very late in her reign; but like many in this country I had a reluctant admiration for her, and I loved her performances in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and her appearance with Paddington earlier this year in her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

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