The Coronavirus Diaries, 19th September 2021

I woke up with a sore throat. It didn’t go away. I took two paracetamol and considered my slightly stuffed nose. Cold? Covid 19? A couple of hours later my nose was clear and my sore throat was sore no more. A slight cold maybe. Nothing more serious. On the bus the other day there were five of us on the upper deck. I was the only one masked. On the lower deck all five had masks, but two were wearing theirs under their chins. There are lots of tweets about Covid 19 being over. But the evidence says otherwise. I don’t want us to return to lockdowns, I don’t want us to live sequestered lives, but it does seem we can learn to socialise safely, with masks, and some people don’t want to do that. I don’t have a solution, but I think I shall probably be steering clear of crowded venues for some time to come. Maybe for ever.

Tonight we enjoyed a neighbourly game of Cluedo. Last Sunday four of us convened to play Equaliteas, a game devised to raise awareness about women’s enfranchisement in the UK. We enjoyed it so much we made another date for tonight. So six of us sat down around Celia’s table. It was my game in the sense that I brought the board and pieces. There are new versions of Cluedo. Mine dates from the 1960s. We began by rubbing out the pencil marks on our Detective Notes. Quite a few bore my childish handwriting. It was fun. Usually Michele and I are otherwise engaged on Sunday evenings, and we are already wondering which night of the week can be our games night this winter. Cluedo is a less chatty game than Equaliteas. I have never played it with the full complement of six players before. It was a novel and interesting experience. When I was a child I usually played it with my friend Marion. Charlie struggled with the idea that his character could be the murderer yet he would not know until the crime was solved. Reinhild got a pad of paper and a pen and worked at the solution. Next time we may have to go the whole Line of Duty hog and have a whiteboard, photos and coloured markers.

I have Scrabble, Ludo, Monopoly as well as Cluedo. Celia has Carcassonne which I have never played. I saw a game called Shakespeare the Bard in a charity shop. I may need to return and buy it. I also have decks of cards, and Lexicon which I haven’t played in decades. My father and I used to play cribbage, but I have forgotten how to play. The winter is suddenly full of possibilities.

So now for the first walk of Celia and my series of three. No walk this weekend as Celia was away until last night and I have been working.

This walk was the one we have done before. Several times. It’s a good one. Guildford circular via Compton. Last autumn I did it with Nicola. Here are some pictures.

There were blackberries as we had hoped. But we didn’t want to pick in the morning and carry all day, so we picked and ate. Had I been living in Guildford or anywhere along this circular route during lockdown it would have been. walk I should have been happy to do every day.

We met the man with the aged Labrador as we left. Coco was back in the boot of the car and raised her head when she heard her master speaking to us.

I had been hoping for apples for sale at the farm table, but it was bare. At the fingerpost I wasn’t’t sure if this was a lost boot or a memorial. As a teenager, The Withies Inn was considered quite classy. I don’t even know if it still exists.

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Let the boy sing the sad one one more time

One way or another today has included a lot of death. I spent much of it in Guildford, the town where I was born, and where I lived throughout my teenage years.

Looking down the High Street to The Mount


The main purpose of my visit was to see the dentist for my six month check up (all good). I was early and looked at my ‘phone. There was a message that made me gasp, notification of the death of Ernie, a really lovely man I used to see often during the course of my work. I made a note of the funeral arrangements in my diary. His partner Paul must be devastated. They were together for nearly sixty years. Throughout my appointment I was remembering his kindness, the way he used to call me Mate.
As I was leaving the dental practice an elderly gentlemen was making a follow up appointment. When I heard his name my ears pricked up and I turned to look at him. It was an unusual name and one I recognised, though I did not recognise the man. He was our family GP for some years. More grist to the memories mill.
Then it was a trip to the museum, a place where I spent some time almost every Saturday until I was around twelve. I walked there via the Castle Grounds where I used to walk my grandparents’ dog. I’m sure some of my DNA has entered the soil there.

The Castle Keep

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A Visit to the Dentist

Given the main purpose of the journey was see the dentist, you might not think it was that good a day.

Wrong.

Celia had said she’d come to Guildford with me. I only learned later that her main experience of it prior to yesterday had been the one way system, a system which has probably caused more mental anguish and geographical confusion than is fair.

It’s a quick journey from Waterloo, and soon we were walking through the town. For those of you unfamiliar with Guildford, hills feature quite strongly. The railway station is at the bottom of the town, near the river, and my dentist is at the top, not far from a rather lovely sculpture recalling the Olympic Torch Relay.

Olympic torch relay sculpture

Olympic torch relay sculpture

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Home Thoughts From the Train

I am writing this offline, on the train back from Guildford where I have been to see the dentist. There is no signal so I can’t tell if WordPress has recovered from whatever was affecting it on the journey down. First it spammed all my replies to comments on my own blog. I take Internet and blogging security as seriously as anyone, but this seems the paranoid side of safety to me. Then I noticed there were some games going in with the gravitars: a bit of identity swapping. Jo had taken over the Scroobious Pip, Pix had succumbed to Cobbies69, and Julia was masquerading as TBM. It’s like a fancy dress party. I expect a murder mystery weekend on WordPress any time now.

I grew up in Guildford, and although my parents moved away to Suffolk when they retired, I still had relatives in the area I liked to see, especially my Aunt Kath, so my dental appointments were usually combined with visits to see her. Aunt Madeleine lived the other side of Godalming and I saw less of her. Then both up and moved to Gozo, which is a bit far to go for a dental check up. I suppose when my lovely dentist retires I might move to a London practice, but for the moment I still enjoy having a foot in Surrey.


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Mother 1949 At Work and At Play

Mother was born in 1919, so this was her thirtieth year. My parents married in 1948.

Mother was working at the Jarvis Maternity Hospital as a midwife. In those days you had to be a State Registered Nurse before training as a State Certified Midwife. However, qualifications didn’t mean nurses didn’t have to deal with the laundry. Mother’s the one on the right in a sister’s uniform.

My parents lived in the centre of Guildford, at an address since demolished, near the castle. They enjoyed walking, especially once they got Snibby, their Cairn terrier. This photograph is at Racks Close where Snibby had her twice daily walks. Continue reading