“Right, that’ll be me done with the pandemic then”, I thought, as a fully double-vaxxed, responsible member of society.
After all, after 18 months of lockdowns, restrictions and other complete pains in the bahookies, here we are the fag end of the pandemic and getting back to normal.
So, a sigh of relief, relax and get on with things, shielded by the power of AstraZeneca in my arm. Twice.
Then reality came chapping at the door. Well, not so much chapping as coughing. Someone near and dear to me felt under the weather, but we decided nothing to see here. There are still bugs going around other than corona, after all.
Besides, she has always been meticulous about anti-Covid measures and she, too, was a member of the Immortals, as we double-vaxxed like to think of ourselves. Well, I do. Did.
You see feeling under the weather turned into a cough. And without hesitation, it was off for a PCR test. Just belt and braces you understand. No way it could be Covid.
Every time I had a tickle in my throat I had the fear, until I realised cheese and onion McCoys do that sometimes.”
On the plus side, it was a light dose of the bug. Bit washed out for a day or so, then back on track to wellness and right as rain even before 10 days as a shut-in was over.
As for me, well, as a double-vaxxed close contact with a negative PCR test to my name, I was free to be about my business. Except I wasn’t.
I decided a planned holiday to London might not be the best idea, as I was doing daily lateral flow tests, to be sure I wasn’t diseased.
Every time I had a tickle in my throat I had the fear until I realised cheese and onion McCoys do that sometimes.
While I was out and about, I kept my distance from all and sundry. I didn’t go to the pub until the end of my close contact’s self-isolation period. Just in case.
And now, with seven days of negative tests and no symptoms, I can relax again. Except I can’t.
This episode proved to me beyond any doubt that coronavirus is still out there, still waiting for us and we can still get it, still spread it.
Side note to the swivel-eyed anti-vaxxers who might be saying : ‘This proves it’s a scam and a hoax’. No it isn’t.
Side note to the swivel-eyed anti-vaxxers who might be pointing and saying “see, this proves it’s a scam and a hoax”. No it isn’t.
The vaccine stopped my close contact getting very ill, it stopped me contracting it. End of discussion. Off you trot and adjust your tinfoil hat.
But I am now back into being vigilant about washing and sanitising my hands at every opportunity. I wear my mask in shops, pubs and restaurants until I sit down. It stays on for bus and train trips. I still give folk a wider berth than normal. And if somewhere has a heaving throng inside, I body swerve the place.
I am still enjoying my freedoms, still doing things I couldn’t do before. I still can’t wait to get back inside a theatre. I’m not scared, merely wiser for the recent experience.
And if we all do the same, especially as autumn and winter close in, then we can all stay safe and finally get to the point where this Covid malarkey is a footnote in history.
Covid changed the way the city looks … and how we look at the city
Huzzah for common sense breaking out at the cooncil over Spaces For People.
The decision to keep Aberdeen’s Union Street closed until at least November is a sound idea on more levels than you can shake a bus lane at.
I think the thing that got me was the defeated notion of getting the city centre “back to normal”.
By normal, do we mean letting buses and cars roar up and down the Granite Mile, as opposed to opening up for people to walk, wander and enjoy?
By normal, do we mean getting rid of the tenties that have sprung up, offering a more cosmopolitan way to dine and drink out of an evening?
By normal, do we mean running Union Street for the benefit of bus timetables instead of the people who have become used to the freedom from stinking exhaust, never-ending din and rush of traffic?
The pandemic changed the way Union Street – and Belmont Street – looks. It should also change the way we look at Union Street and the city centre as a whole.
We have here the green shoots of a café culture. Look beyond what is there now. Of course, some of the tents look makeshift. They are. Imagine, though, if they were proper, attractive structures, like the one outside Café 52 on The Green.
There is an opportunity here to reclaim the heart of the Granite City for all of us. Let’s take that bold move instead of handing it back to the buses.
Heart goes out to students who lived through the Year That Never Was
I have a heartfelt wish for all the young folk who have lived through the Year That Never Was.
These are the students who headed with wide-eyed excitement to university campuses last year. They were thrilled at the prospect of striking out on their own, meeting new friends and finding new adventures.
Instead, the pandemic that hobbled their last year at school in a blizzard of cancelled exams and lost proms escalated yet again just as these kids were entering halls.
No Freshers’ Week, no lectures, no pubbing and clubbing, no freedom to practise being adults.
Now they are heading back for their second year, which will hopefully not be so blighted. However, no matter what the coming months bring, it can never bring back the experiences they deserved, but missed, of a first year at uni.