My cousin, who I know well because she lived with my family when I was young, phoned me up out of the blue from the US a few days ago. I missed her call because I was out. She phoned twice more over the next day or so, and again, very unusually, I was out. But it seemed a little panicked/urgent (given that she seldom calls), so I made sure I called her back when I got in. We had a somewhat strange ranting conversation…she was going to have a knee operation but her company’s insurance wouldn’t be paying for it because they’d laid her off her airport job because the airport was all but closed. Her private insurance would cover most of it, but, in further ranting tone, she complained that Biden was reversing all the Trump policies; taxing her and other better-off folks so that people who never worked a day in their lives could get free healthcare; handing out thousands of dollars of tax-payers money to everyone in a stimulus package she would have to pay for…. and hadn’t I seen on the telly that there were billions of immigrants at the border with their pregnant wives being ushered in and given free healthcare and housing. It was so bad, she was thinking of coming back to the UK to live because Biden was bringing in socialism.The ranting tone made it feel like I wasn’t actually talking to her at all. And I had to tell her that Europe invented socialism..so she wasn’t going to get much of a break here….
I also suggested that perhaps these ‘immigrants’ that Biden was ‘letting in for free’ were perhaps legitimate refugees, maybe? (I have no idea). And that perhaps it might benefit her to stop watching the news. I also jokingly mentioned to her that most immigrants would hesitate at putting themselves through US customs….which, in my experience, is mightily hostile to all ‘aliens’. I suggested she remember that she lives in the richest country in the world, has access to arguably the best healthcare in the world, as well as covid jabs and all the food she could possibly need. I don’t know exactly what her job is at the airport, but she looks after international passengers so she hears directly what it’s like to go through US customs….she remembers how grateful international passengers feel when they see a friendly face like hers…how she enjoys helping them feel comfortable….she misses her job…she is such a people person. At this point I hear her voice change and my real cousin returns…
I trust the superb surgeons who will have operated on her will have done a great job and that she will be up and running once she has completed her physio…I pray also that she focuses steadfastly on the vast positives that come from living in a rich western country, that she reduces and monitors her news intake judiciously, and looks forward to a future where she has a healthier body and a life where she does what she really likes doing…which is serving others. She’s in control of that.
You know me….I like to be positive. I still have plenty of food, a lovely house, a job, a great husband and a beautiful cat called Millie. There is a plentiful supply of vaccines and no doubt I will rise to the top of the list soon…the government is doing well on that front. But the (no socialising/no going out unless essential) full lock down in the UK is getting to me. Husband, who hates MacDonald’s, found it ‘essential’ to go for a ‘picnic’ at a drive-in….ordering something called a MacTasty(?). So we ate with a view of a concrete boundary wall and artificial grass. Like everyone, we are having zoom meetings with friends/zoom quizzes etc…but I feel so restricted. Outside exercise under cold tupperware skies do not appeal. At least husband has started a new job…with a one flight of stairs commute. Excitement around here is when a dying smoke detector wakes us up at 3 am and we have to fumble for the rcd on the consumer unit to shut it up….
An antibody test shows I have antibodies to covid-19. I have had no symptoms…unless a cold I had over a year ago was it…. but this would have been about 5 weeks before the first lockdown…when coronavirus was mostly something going on in Spain and Italy…when the approaching covid tsunami had not massively hit our shores…
Something is up. There is mental turmoil going on….a tenant is erupting with repeated angry, sarcastic, bullying messages…and there really is no explanation for it. A cousin, in lock down abroad, has been involved in an unspeakable tragedy. Lack of cash/not having a job is driving some to be inventive…but perhaps not in the best way. My delightful youngest sister had an explanation as to why I might be exposed to these challenging situations: she has faith in me and thinks I can deal with it. There is negativity ramping up like a lion with a thorn in its paw and, although I’m a pretty useless nurse, maybe the reserves are within me to respond with compassion, and contribute to making things better. Fingers crossed.
PS. Since originally drafting this post, Mr. Johnson has announced a ‘roadmap’ out of lock down….but as far as I can see, things will remain pretty restricted until mid-May….I am however, buoyed up by the fact that I had my first AstraZeneca jab today – so my already resident antibodies will be multiplying and bouncing around the place….invaders (variants or not) don’t stand much of a chance I think…..incidently here’s a podcast between a fitness trainer and an immunologist, which I found pretty helpful:
I have a theory (actually it’s not my theory), that all pain and suffering and even slight irritations have a purpose…and that purpose is education. There is something to be learnt. My covid lessons have taught me, primarily, how to make face masks. Plus, how to teach others; how to bake banana bread, how to entertain myself; what I can live without; how important and useful and clever (and lovely) my husband is; why time with my mother is irreplaceable….and today it will teach me to make Christmas dinner.
I have never, ever made Christmas dinner…we’ve always managed to get out of it…mostly by virtue of 1. not having children and 2. not strictly being able to cook. So Christmas is either with his family or my mum…and I’m just required to bring a side dish or a dessert. I give my mum a lump of cash as my contribution, or buy an organic turkey for my ex-cook sister-in-law and her husband to deal with. Job done.
But of course coronavirus is turning everything on its head. We were prepared to not travel anywhere and have Christmas dinner at home with 1 other household – my god-daughter and her parents, who live 10 minutes away. But the latest variant of the virus (which has put us into a sudden tier 4 lock down here in London)…means no socialising outside of your own household whatsoever. So, like many well-prepared boy scout types, I am stuck with a pile of cranberry sauce, a large Christmas pudding, 2 tubs of brandy butter and enough turkey for 8. But….I’m mightily relieved that my first Christmas turkey will be just for me and Husband. Relieved, because we get to learn how to roast a turkey, cook crisp roast potatoes and parsnips, make bread sauce and most of the other side dishes, but have none of the stress of anyone else having to eat it. And we’ll have stacks of left-overs for turkey and ham pie…etc.
brrrmmmm…..brrrmmm (presses sewing machine pedal)…whoooosh….snip. clip. damn needle..can’t see the hole…brrrmmm….brrrrmmmm
I have no time to write a blog….I’ve got on the face covering skateboard and I can’t get off. The charity I volunteer for needs the dosh…plus it feels like we’re helping keep people safe. We’ve made over 800 masks and raised around £3K. Now with a second national lockdown starting tomorrow, we have to get creative about how we sell them…
I’m avoiding the news as much as possible…so I’ve got little to say about the American presidential election…but I have to say that, with Mr. Trump, it looks like what you see is what you get…which is kind of refreshing…and terrifying. No idea about Mr. Biden. What do the leaders we choose say about us?
Nothing is normal of course, but husband and I had a relatively normal garden meet-up with an ex-neighbour and her twenty-something daughter, M, taking a break from her pure physics PhD up in Glasgow. M had just had a paper published, to a flurry of press interest, following her practical demonstration of a theory which said you can get energy from black holes…. Continue reading →
The (socially distant) WWII Victory in Europe (V.E) day celebration on 8th May gave neighbours in my street a chance to ‘meet’, 6 feet apart (or thereabouts…it was very easy to forget).. in front gardens, have tea and cakes, and exchange stories of what’s going on for them…everyone’s experience of this time is the same…but different…Continue reading →