The Coronavirus Diaries, Christmas Eve 2021

I can hear rain against the windows, but the shutters are closed, candles lit, MasterB asleep on the chair, his nose tucked into his tail. We are cosy and warm. I am listening to A Mediaeval Carol Service from St Bartholomew the Great. It took place a few days ago, but is available to listen to and watch online courtesy of YouTube. I recommend it. Earlier I went for a walk before seeing Michèle for a glass of wine in her flat. She’s been home for over a week now, her ankle getting stronger daily, and she’s obviously loving being back in her own territory.

While I walked I was thinking about Christmas, this year and last, both shadowed by COVID but feeling very different. In 2020 we were making the best of things, not allowed to travel, so nearly all the neighbours were around. We were in it together. It was cold but dry and bright. We could meet outside, observe social distancing, exchange cards and gifts over a glass of something bubbly. But COVID has become a virus of attrition and it feels this year we are wearier, less inclined to find ways to be imaginative in our celebrations, more inward looking.

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Gold Stars

A wonderful thing happened on Saturday. I was clearing up after our revels celebrating the EU the night before – excellent company, good chat, a sociable cat, lots and lots of food, several bottles of wine and champagne – when I found little gold stars on the carpet. I hadn’t bought gold stars, had someone else? had they been wrapped in the EU flag which arrived in the morning and served as a tablecloth? were they an endorsement from the universe/almighty of our toasts to the EU and declared allegiance? I looked up at the ceiling and wondered about revising my atheism. Continue reading

Flags and Flowers, London 2012

I was talking to my friend on Skye last night. She asked me how I was coping with the problems in London during the Olympics. I told her, truthfully, that I have not encountered any. She sounded sceptical. I expanded on my theme, and said what a brilliant time everyone was having. She countered with some negative stories she had heard or read in the news. You should be here, I said. Oh no, she replied, I don’t think so.
After we had finished talking I realised I was feeling quite irritated by her tone. I have met people from all around the UK in the past few days, every one of them has been enthusiastic about the atmosphere in London. This includes members of police forces from elsewhere in the UK who have been drafted in for the summer. They may not be able to direct visitors to the places they want to go, but they said what a great time they were having. I’ve met people from the around the world, from the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Brazil, China, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Russia, Lithuania. All of these people were glowing with the Olympic experience here. Most had been to the games and were now enjoying the Cultural Olympiad.
I suppose the lesson is that if people want to believe it is all ghastly and they are lucky not to be here, they are not going to change their viewpoint.
I am going away for a week tomorrow, so this is probably my last Olympic post this side of the Closing Ceremony; some photographs I took in Westminster yesterday.
I suddenly noticed that the Olympic House was flying over Portcullis House, which is part of the Palace of Westminster.

Olympic Flag, Portcullis House

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