The Coronavirus Diaries, 11th August 2020

It’s hot. Sitting still is hot. Walking is hot. Lying down is hot. As hot as Africa, says Celia; as hot as Turkey, says Viv; as hot as Greece, say I. All of us referencing places we have been in the height of summer where it has been, well, hot. Hotter than the dutch Antibes, says Ross who is painting my hallway on Friday. I am guessing he has been there, but I don’t know.

Wearing a face mask in the heat is hellish. Except if you are in Marks and Spencer where the fridges are wonderfully cool and three of us admitted to loitering today.

Octavia, back from France, is off to Croatia in the morning. She had bought a big box of disposable masks. I was surprised. It turns out when she flew out of London she was wearing her good cloth mask. No problem. No problem arriving at Nice with same face mask. But when she went to board the ‘plane for the return flight she was told paper masks only. The kindness off a fellow passenger saved the day for herself and other passengers in the same situation. For obvious reasons Octavia does not want to be caught out going to or coming from Croatia. Continue reading

A Visit to Aunt Before Christmas

I’ll try taking a picture of her tomorrow and you’ll see her smile is just the same, but I thought I could see the skull beneath the skin before, yet when I first saw her today I was shocked.

 

Hours in her company have done their work and now I see she’s still Aunt, but I do wonder how much longer she can continue like this. She’s wrapped in layers of warm clothing, the central heating supplemented by a clever Dyson machine her friend gave her. I brought various fruit juices for her to try. The anti sickness tablets are helping her to keep food down, but as she explained, she isn’t much interested in eating or drinking. I think she’s shutting down. Certainly she is sleeping much more, and her mind is not so clear. She is forgetful, muddled. But that doesn’t stop her being independent.

 

Maybe my opinion will change tomorrow, but tonight I am wondering if this is the last time I shall see her. A good friend of hers who is also frail will spend Christmas Day with her. There will be visits from members of her church who have stayed loyal to her over these months when she has been unable to attend. She hasn’t written any cards, and she hasn’t put up the ones she has received.

Continue reading

Ulcerated Aunt

I heard an owl when I went outside earlier, and then again a few minutes ago. Otherwise the silence seems intense. If I listen hard I can hear cars faintly. They are swishing through the dark streets of an East Anglian night.

Aunt was worried I might be cold. In her flat the heat was like a wall. She had at least five layers on that I could make out, and thermal leggings under her warm trousers. How the elderly must have suffered in the old days, and how some must suffer now when they economise on heating to be able to pay the bills.The guest room is what estate agents describe as cosy; but it will do. The first thing I did was open the window and turn off the heater. That was hours and hours ago. It’s still very warm here. Hot air rises, but I am on the ground floor.

Taking the various bits of recycling out to the bins the cold felt delicious, like when you go clubbing and outside the cool air on your skin is like a welcome friend.

Continue reading