Friday, 19 August 2022

You think it’s all over... it isn’t yet (I should know)

You think it’s all over... it isn’t yet (I should know)

SINCE March 2020, there have been 20 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 164,000 people have died. Even those of us who have not lost anyone in the pandemic have had two years stolen from our lives. The second anniversary of coronavirus lockdowns finds us all moving on and focusing on Ukraine instead, hoping to leave covid-19 behind us. But are we really?

Wednesday, March 16

STORM Eunice prevented us making an earlier trip to our two families in Guernsey. All have already had the virus, except for Kate’s little twins and Anna’s husband, who is considered immune to everything.

UK travel restrictions have ended, as have Guernsey’s. We’re booked to go tomorrow — what could go wrong?

Text arrives — Kate’s little twins have tested positive. What do we do? We’ll go anyway and stay with Anna’s family.

Thursday, March 17

SET off for Guernsey. No departure or arrival tests, no travel tracker, no NHS jab checks, nothing except a mask on board. Smooth sunny trip.

Anna’s ecstatic girls welcome us. Both houses are amid building chaos for extensions, each having new kitchen/utility, snug, study, patio. Otherwise totally different.

Family supper with both families at favourite local pub — avoid all contact with little boys for the moment.

Guernsey’s landscape holds many wartime occupation reminders. We talk of Ukraine. Seven-year-old Lili explains: “They’ve broken their pinky promise not to fight, which is really naughty.”

I tell her about children in our village who have held a cake sale and raised lots of money for Ukraine as well as the lovely, crocheted Ukraine flag hanging on our bus stop. Blue and yellow flags flutter here on the island, too.

Friday, March 18

WAKE up very tired. Obviously not used to big noisy families. Don’t like the cold breeze, have sharp pains in my joints, headache. First time ever, don’t want to do favourite cliff walk.

Harry’s new Yoshi toy (from us) has been chewed by their puppy. Please can Granny mend it? Do my best but it’s not very good. Three operations later, the Yoshi is repaired, possibly not to son-in-law’s high surgical standards.

Kate and George off to a Japanese ball tonight, Anna does the make-up. Kate wanted to wear two chopsticks in her hair but the dog has chewed through one.

Saturday, March 19

I TEST positive for covid. Family aghast. Lili says: “This is a bad week for you to get the germ, Granny. I’m very busy, I have two parties to go to and swimming and ballet.”

I just want to sit in the sun, so am pointed to the “covid chair” in the conservatory, reserved for virus
sufferers.

Earl Grey tea has lost its taste. Son-in-law says it never had any, so irrelevant as a symptom. Slight cough, heavy head and tired “covid eyes” are more convincing.

Manage a short walk to get the children out on their bikes.

Sunday, March 20

ANNOYING tickly cough comes in spasms, discombobulated brain. Perfect sunny weather, so try light gardening with the girls. They save worms, give them names, build them a home. Worms wriggle away. Wave of tiredness allows retreat to cosy covid chair.

Eva abandons worm house, grumpy. Shuts herself in kitchen determined to balance on her birthday present — a hoverboard. All instructions translated from Chinese by someone who speaks no English. Incomprehensible. Eva works it out anyway, balances serenely, head high, turns and spins. We fall off it.

Monday, March 21

HUSBAND tests positive — says it’s a rogue test but I recognise early symptoms. He has the “man” variant, the wine tastes odd. Takes over the covid chair.

Cancel crossing back to UK. Where better to sit out this bug than in Guernsey sunshine?

Cough spasms replaced by a deep, throaty roar, but feel better. Girls say I sound like one of their teachers. Although Guernsey has no more restrictions than UK, we still want to avoid people. Feel like a pariah, dash out of sight when builders enter the house, or someone comes to the door.

Anna’s friends turn up unexpectedly, have to be warned off. She ends up serving tea along a Putin table in the garden.

Boys all negative today, back to school tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22

FEEL normal apart from cough, brain-fog and waves of tiredness. Teach myself to balance on the hoverboard — restores self-confidence. I can roll along, turn and spin, but slowly. Physio daughter impressed, even surprised. I want to show Eva but she insists only she can do it. So there.

Over supper we discuss how Anna’s husband Jamie seems to have avoided catching covid while the rest of the family has had it.

Wednesday, March 23

TWO years to the day since PM announced the start of the first lockdown. Remember that extraordinary day so well. UK holds a minute’s silence for all who have died from covid. A million more people have caught it this week.

Finally, Jamie tests positive: succumbed to the BA variant. Scorns offer of the covid chair, goes patio-building in his enforced time off.

This afternoon we are on a ferry home. Glorious sunshine, so we can sit on deck, out of everyone’s way.

Girls sad to see us go but I tell them we’ll be back at Easter, it’s only four weeks away. “Explain me how long that is, what is a week,” demands Eva. Seven days, I say. “How long is a day?”

• A WEEK further on, I test negative but still have cough, tiredness and fuzzy brain. Husband a few days behind. Free covid test kits are no longer available so from now on it’s down to common sense and guesswork. Wonder what surprises the next trip will hold.

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