Tag Archives: covid

More Covid

I assumed, in the early stages of Covid, that we had caught it at the same time and that Julia’s infection was worse than mine because I had had so many vaccinations.

Turns out I was wrong. Last night the main event started – temperature, shivering, thirst. loss of appetite, and a cough. Every time I cough I sound like a pair of Victorian bellows and feel like my bronchial tubes have been cleaned with a wire brush. I have done no work, no cooking and not much talking. Mainly I have coughed, spluttered, wheezed , slept and whined. One of the neighbours brought us a pot of tomato soup. The tomatoes were from their garden and were very good.

On Monday I will have to find out how this affects my Wednesday blood test – they may not want me in the surgery. It’s also going to delay my Covid booster, which is now due.

Now that the Covid has become more severe I am starting to worry that I will end up with another post-Covid slump. I do hope not, as I would hate another barren patch like the last one.

In the end, I got downstairs just before lunch, had a sandwich, watched two episodes of Murder She Wrote and a black and white Sherlock Holmes film – The House of Fear.

It’s not very sophisticated or complicated, but it was just what I needed this afternoon.

Then I went back to bed, woke up, ate the gift of soup, sat round watching rubbish on TV and decided to blog. I feel I’m not as sharp as I could be, but am a lot better than last time I had Covid.

I’m going to go and talk to Julia now then go to bed early. I expect I will have bad dreams and wake up far too early in the morning.

Orange Parker Pen

Covid, Filing and a Cough

As promised earlier, more dullness.

Time for dinner. We are planning something more substantial today, as appetites are coming back. I will probably still snooze all afternoon, because that’s what I would do even without Covid.

I’ve just finished sorting through dsh or Drifting Sands Haibun if you prefer a title that tells you something about the magazine. I’ve added seven more Haibun to my list, though it’s hard work. They do something  with the formatting of the haiku and I can’t work out what it is. I can’t cut and paste successfully, I can’t alter them manually after I’ve pasted, and I can’t even re-write them as there appears to be something in the gap that messes things up. It is like they explode when I move them. I will sort it in time – either with a flash of technical inspiration or by rewriting the whole thing. Even if I have to write them all manually, it isn’t a big job.

As a bit of light relief I ordered groceries for delivery. Next week is going to be focussed on vegetables and I have actually done a menu plan for the week. I say plan, possibly “guide” would be more accurate. I have a list of dishes in my head, I have the ingredients and I just need to sort it out into order.

Five minutes later . . .


Now I have some Tanka to sort as I go through my thoughts to find more subject matter.

Much later . . .

I have now traced 33 Tanka, 27 haiku/Senryu, 10 Tanka Prose and 14 Haibun. That’s 84 poems. I also know where my published western style poems are, so that’s an extra 21. Total – 105. I stopped counting after 100 so I’m not sure how many are left to find. Whatever it is, it’s a lot less than it was two days ago.

After a nearly two hours digging in archives, I have found another 7 Haibun and 3 Tanka prose. There were others, but I’ve already extracted them by way for looking at old submissions in my email boxes. That’s 115 and I suspect that I can still find at least ten more.

Having looked at my submissions record and thought about things, if I can find that 10 extras that’s probably about all I’ve written. It’s not an interesting pursuit, and it doesn’t make for a particulalrly interesting read, but it is my life.

Covid, filing and a cough. I think I just found my title.

Bean Soup with pumpkin seeds – my attempt at being healthy and sophisticated

Dull and Dullability

I’ve had two or three goes at starting this post and they have all petered out. I decided to take a break and pay an invoice, and found that I had several messages on my phone. I haven’t picked it up since ringing work on Wednesday. In that time I have been sent three messages – hardly the most thriving social life, but more than usual. One is a get well soon message, one is a picture of an Edward VIII post box and one is delivery details for my injector pens.

It seems, despite it not triggering the spellchecker, that dullability isn’t a word. Ah! It didn’t trigger the spellchecker in the title, but it has done in the text. I see it as a late Victorian to 1930s word. It should mean the ability to be dull, implying a certain amount of choice and style, calling some one dullable would be similar to calling them clubbable. Of course, they wouldn’t be as sociable as a clubbable person. It would have taken a knock in the Great War, as shellfire is generally considered to be the antithesis of dullness, and WW2 would have polished it off completely as aerial bombing followed by TV would have made dullability all but impossible. It would be such a useful word . . .

Covid, for instance, would allow it to flourish, as people work from home and no longer socialise with workmates. Or merely sit at home struggling to find 250 reasonably interesting words. I could release myself from the shackles of cheeriness and moan to my heart’s content if only it were possible for people to refer to me as a dullable sort of chap.

A two part photo hit – we have been eating soup, but dreaming of cake.

I may use that in a poem.

There will be more dullness later today.

Sticky Toffee Cake

Our Private Lockdown

At the moment, my eyes feel a little hot and tired, I occasionally cough and I have a sniffle. Last night I had an upset stomach and the suspicion of a temperature. In my mind I have the symptoms of a very mild cold. The main problem is that I am feeling very tired, and that isn’t really a notable problem as I often feel tired.

Nothing I have is unusual, and, if anything, I am feeling better than I did a couple of days ago. IT could be a cold or it could be “being under the weather” as we used to say. Nothing registered with me to tell me I was ill. Julia was much the same. Her symptoms are a little worse than mine, though she has had no stomach problems. She has had headaches for several days though. I was duly sympathetic, but didn’t really think much about COVID until last night.

After a day where I made her do nothing (which isn’t easy), relax (ditto) and keep warm, she showed no improvement.

That was when it clicked. COVID! So she did a test. Positive. Then she did another one to check, and it occurred to me after our last COVID infection, that I’d better test too. Both positive. As I say, I don’t really feel ill, though I did feel very tired last night.

Watch out people – this new one creeps up on you!

I rang the shop last night and we arranged for me to stay away for five days. Julia rang her manager last night, who didn’t answer, so rang again this morning. It seems three clients, including one Julia has been in close contact with, have all reported being positive. Of course, having learning difficulties, they don’t always notice, and even when they do they have been known to turn up and tell staff they are positive. Sometimes the staff at residential homes actually send them when they are positive because they don’t want them hanging round during the day.

I’m so glad we are retiring next year.

Fortunately we have cake. Julia bought some earlier in the week, excusing herself with the words “You never know when you might need some.”

Clementine Drizzle cake with pistachio topping


The Day Continues . . .

The previous post covered a few things I had in mind this morning when I sat down. This one will cover the sitting down bit. I woke at 7.28, a little late than normal but not bad seeing as I hadn’t set an alarm.

I was downstairs and ready to work by 8.00 and started – read emails, respond and file as necessary, answer WP Comments, organise my Inbox (including deleting over a hundred mails that were just hanging around), answer feedback requests from Amazon and eBay (which I had allowed to back up). Eat breakfast (prepared by Julia), do the washing up, start on reorganising my files on Open Office. The enthusiasm for that lasted about 20 minutes, Strat on the list of my published poems.

At one time I was very good about printing copies and used to keep a file of them as a way of keeping my confidence up. It’s hard to become too downhearted if you have hard copies of successful submissions. I got a bit lazy after that and all I have now is the list of submissions.

Numbers are building up and, as Lavinia remarked a few days ago, I will soon have enough for  book. Of course, I need enough good ones, but it is encouraging to see them mount up towards book length.

My Orange Parker Pen

Julia has not been well for a few days and I have been doing my pathetic best to make her feel better, but in the absence of medical qualifications,  pharmacy and, most importantly, a cooperative patient, I haven’t made much headway. She is a nightmare as a patient as she never believes she is ill or should rest.

Finally, after giving it some thought (as I have also been a bit seedy for a few days, I suggested COVID tests).

Both of us have had runny noses, sore throats and tiredness and Julia has had headaches and now has a temperature too. All COVID symptoms, but all cold symptoms too. And I spend my life constantly feeling sleepy.

However, the tests revealed all and  it seems we have COVID again. We didn’t have particularly bad symptoms in 2021 when we had it, and they don’t seem too bad  at the moment. We also have plenty of food. Guidance for work is that we should avoid contact with people for five days so we are off until Monday. It’s inconvenient for work but there’s not a lot we can do about it. Julia definitely can’t associate with her group while she is infectious and it really isn’t a good idea for me to go to the shop while I’m infectious as a number of our customers are elderly or immunosuppressed, or both.

Definitely a day of two halves. It started so well and ended on a rather depressing note.

Orange Parker Pen


Vaguely Medical Monday

Monday morning, and it’s a nice clean day. The weekend’s rain has washed the streets, the standing water has had time to disperse and there is very little traffic about, as the schools, and the associated parents and teachers, are on holiday. I’ve never understood how school holidays manage to empty the roads so completely, but there’s no point agonising about it – just enjoy it. I left home ten minutes late today but still got to work on time.

The lateness was due to my COVID test. I’d started sneezing over the weekend and had a runny nose, watery eyes, bad throat, fatigue and even a headache. I’m normally tired but it’s very unusual for me to have a headache. I just passed it off as a summer cold and left it at that yesterday. However, in the evening, after seeing there is a new variant, and these are the exact symptoms, I decided I’d better do a test. Then I forgot. This morning, I remembered. It was negative, so it was a summer cold. Magnified by thoughts of COVID, it was, for a short while, important. Now that the result was negative it’s just a summer cold aggravated by a touch of cyberchondria.

However, although I don’t have COVID, and can’t pass it on, which is good, I have killed the planet a little bit more. One swab, one plastic bottle, a plastic pouch of liquid, one plastic testing kit, a plastic ziploc bag for disposal and a bit of packaging, including a desiccant sachet. I don’t know the exact carbon footprint of all that, but it’s come all the way from China by the look of the packaging slip. It’s so easy to use plastic, particularly when, like this, you get sent a pack by the NHS. They sent it before one of my hospital appointments, so I took it as a hint they wanted me to test before I went. On the other hand, I might be wrong, as they didn’t actually send me any information with it.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

Soup and a Virtuous Life

I know I keep saying I must lead a better life, but the events of the last couple of days have finally brought things to a head.

For the last two days I have been incapacitated. It’s partly down to bad habits and partly due to stupidity. My medications can cause digestive disruption but generally this isn’t too bad, and I have a range of ways of coping with it. One is to take other pills to stop it happening, and the other is to watch what I eat, as some foods are worse than others. Mainly I control it by taking the pills on Saturday night (the dose is ten pills once a week) so I have Sunday to recover. Normally, nothing bad happens. I’m not an idiot, despite some of the things I write, and generally I can adapt to most things in the search for an easy life.

On Saturday, I forgot to take the pills, so this week I took them on Sunday. It’s not usually a problem. However, this week Julia had bought a Colin the Caterpillar Superman Cake for Father’s Day. Any excuse for a celebration . . .

Unfortunately Colin has four feet and a face which are all big chunks of chocolate. Add rich chocolate cake, chocolate and (I confess, a pork pie) to my medication and the results were uncomfortable.

I suppose I’m getting older and I should be more careful with my diet. I’m also less resilient than I used to be. This was a fact driven home yesterday as I sat on the edge of the bed staring into space and thinking about putting my socks on. It was the same sort of thing I used to do when I had Covid, but this time it wasn’t a worldwide pandemic that brought me down, just eating too much cake.

I was still a bit slow putting my socks on this morning, but much better than yesterday. I’m now going to make beans on toast for lunch (my first solid food since Sunday) and explore the many choices of soup that I can make. I may even blog again today, after a few weeks of being lazy.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

COVID Precautions Fade Away

There’s a definite change in the way we treat COVID.

On Sunday,none of the vaccination candidates were wearing masks, though the volunteers and vaccinators were still masked. In contrast to the queues (and red tape surrounding my coagulation status) that we used to have, there was little fuss. I just walked in, confirmed my details, was shown to a table. There, I had my medication status checked (I have to show I’m on drugs that reduce my immune response, and they mutter about my Warfarin). They used to have to call a doctor over to confirm I could be vaccinated because they were afraid of me bleeding excessively. Nobody could tell me why they were so bothered about it when flu vaccinators and blood testers just used to bung the needle in without a care in the world. Considering the rate of flow from a tint hole with the amount of blood I have in my body I could probably make blood faster than I was losing it. I’d certainly be likely to die of old age before I bled to death.

Compared to the complication, queues and lectures that had to be endured to get a vaccination, this was the simplest of times.

They didn’t even tell me to wait for 15 minutes in the car park this time. From the days when you used to have to log in and out of the waiting area, to the times they told me just to sit in the car for 15 minutes, to merely wishing me goodbye, has been a steady decline. At one time they told us we weren’t covered by our insurance to drive for 15 minutes, but I have checked the car insurance companies and they say they are happy that you are covered to drive as long as you feel OK and have no history of problems.

Meanwhile, at the surgery this morning there are no masks and no mention of masks. The waiting area was crammed and people seem to be bringing companions with them again, after being asked to come on their own during COVID. It was a nightmare of crowds and noise and I didn’t enjoy my wait at all.

You would think, looking at the way we now live, that there had never been a pandemic and that COVID has gone away. Over 150,000 people have died from it. Compared to the Great Plague of 1665-6, which killed approximately 100,000 in London and 100,000 in the rest of the country  we got off lightly, considering that the population at the time was around 5 million compared to our current 67 million. On the other hand, 40,000 people were killed in the Blitz . (approximately half of them in London).  The population in WW2 was around 40 million. I’m loathe to say “only 40,000” but it does set the figure in perspective. It amazes me that we can just shrug it off as easily as we seem to have done.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Canada, Coyotes and Covid

I got home yesterday at just after 4.00 and spoke to Number Two Son in Toronto because he was on WhatsApp with Julia. I commiserated with him because his new dog is disruptive, demanding and destructive and found myself unable to resist mentioning that was exactly what I felt when he was at home. It just seemed like too good an opportunity to let slip. Transatlantic sarcasm – an unforeseen benefit of technology. I was also able to comment on the quality of his wood flooring, which looks excellent. This is he sort of technology they had on Stingray and Thunderbirds when I was growing up, though I always though it would be reserved for saving the world, rather than commenting on wood flooring.

It seems that if you have a dog in Canada you have to protect it against coyotes. My first thought is that you should make sure you buy  dog that can see off a coyote, but it seems that this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as coyotes are more lethal than they look on TV. To get something capable of seeing off a coyote you have to invest in something that would be a danger to small children. And would cost a fortune to feed. That doesn’t sound like the sort of thing you would want as a family pet. Alternatively just buy a cowardly dog that always runs away when it sees a coyote. That’s probably simpler. Life in foreign countries throws up so many problems that we don’t have here.

Yesterday was quite busy in the shop, which was good. There is something depressing about a shop with no customers. We are gradually getting more visitors again as people start to put their lives back together, but it’s taken a long time. This year, I suspect, is the one where we start to forget about Covid, although the shortages in the shops will persist thanks to the war in Ukraine.

It would be interesting to come back in 100 years and see how this time was written up in the history books. Liars and Lame Duck Governments is a book just waiting to be written.

The header picture is a cat, our apex predator. Badgers are too slow, foxes eat worms and insects, dogs are lazy and can’t climb trees. That leaves the cat.  They may seem domesticated but don’t be fooled. Once they learn to work a can opener the human race will be living on borrowed time.


A New Record

I sent a group of poems out yesterday evening, and had an acceptance later that night. It’s a new speed record for an acceptance, and probably a sign that I’m not the only one champing at the bit after a few days off.

There is one more set of submissions to send off before the end of the year (or within the next two days, to put it another way, though that sounds a bit more desperate). I am just about on top of that, but as soon as that ends I am straight into a month with five more submissions needed. That’s quite daunting as this hasn’t been a productive month and I have little left to send.

I thought I had plenty down on paper but when i looked again a few weeks ago I realised I had quite a bit written, but nothing finished. A good number of the pieces had bits missing as i struggled to find the right words and I’m still no closer finishing them. This isn’t unusual and most of them will eventually be completed. It’s just that if I get myself in the position of being unable to finish I often find it can take months to get it right.

I’ve been going through things tonight and have tinkered with several I’ve also cut a couple substantially because both language and thoughts were sloppy. None of them are actually finished yet, but I have four weeks until they really need to be sent. Fortunately I have another selection in draft form – either as notes or in on paper, so I have not yet run dry.

Pre-Covid I had myself organised so I was able to send things out on the first day of a submission window opening. I always feel that puts you at an advantage. Submit early and you only have to be good. Submit late and you have to be good, and be better than the people who submitted earlier.

Since Covid, and my several months of inability to write, I have not yet caught up. I will, but it won’t be this year.

My Orange Parker Pen

Note to self – Parker Pens seem impervious to my attempts to earn money, or free pens, from product placement.