A year ago I was reading reports of some new virus that was starting to spread, and felt that we’d probably be okay if we were sensible. I never dreamed that a year on I’d be wearing a mask nearly all day as a key worker, and as of this morning breaking the news to staff that another colleague had lost a close relative to covid.
Sometimes I’m numb to it, sometimes I’m angry. I’m grabbing humour where I can find it. Sometimes I wish I could work from home, but most of the time I’m glad I can get out of the house. I remind myself I’m very privileged, even as I want to curl up and hide under the blankets.
But hey, someone yesterday asked to buy the original of one of my sketches, so that’s a nice thing.
This week went from being rather pleasant to incredibly stressful very quickly – and I’d be saying I was glad it was all over if I didn’t know I was diving straight back into a hot mess of work and tight deadlines tomorrow. Ah well. The worst of the things are over, and I haven’t caused more problems than I’ve solved along the way, so I suppose it counts as a net win.
So – stories will continue, and indeed today are proving a good way of writing away the stress. Lady M is busy playing Assassin’s Creed beside me while I type away and occasionally mutter to myself, and the spate of small power cuts that were plaguing the house earlier seem to have abated ever since I’ve started calling myself Magneto and swearing at the electricity meter.
Just to prove that the best laid plans absolutely will fall apart even for the most organised of us, our return trip took double the expected time.
In retrospect, believing our satnav when it first said there was an hour’s delay and that it knew a short cut was our big mistake. We knew there were roadworks ahead, and news reports started coming in of multiple crashes in multiple roadworks areas along our route. The in-car satnav and Googlemaps on my phone were both metaphorically screaming and flashing big red lines over significant portions of the roadmap of the North of England.
So we did the stupid thing and began rat running parallel to various motorways down and across the country, with occasional dips back onto main routes. Lady M did the first half but then the tiredness and stress triggered her fibromyalgia, so I took over. In the BMW with which I have been struggling the last few days.
Now, in a bout of desperate anthropomorphism, the car and I seem to be coming to a wary truce; but even so the experience of driving through unlit country back roads at speed in an unfamiliar car was perhaps a little more excitement than I had anticipated.
At least nobody got more than a little startled, and there was only one roundabout I drove round more than once – but I was still very pleased to finally reach the Magic Roundabout – also known as the M25 orbital because that meant we were only 20 or 30 miles from home.
We had intended to go to #Tuesday as usual, based on our original estimate of being home around 5pm at the very latest, but the combination of getting home long after 8pm, plus no food in the house and the local fast food places so busy they weren’t delivering was too much.
We picked up a simple pizza from the supermarket, made our apologies to the unusual suspects, watched a bit of telly and opened our Christmas presents to each other while supping some whisky.
Back to work in the morning. Who needs sleep anyway?
We’re on the road again, on the second leg of our whirlwind tour of the North of England. I did the driving yesterday, but I’ve taken a back seat today, largely to give myself a rest ahead of our long run home tomorrow.
I’m still adjusting to the very different driving style required by Lady M’s car, some of which feel counter-intuitive when it comes to accelerating and braking. I’m not even counting the higher bite point for the clutch, or the extra gear which means shifts are needed at different speeds and engine feels to the old rustbucket.
As you might expect, it’s been exhausting, especially on roads I’m not familiar with, so my witty repartee and naturally sunny disposition have been somewhat muted the last 48 hours or so. The lingering remains of the headcold aren’t helping either.
So if my communications with friends and family have been lacking over this Christmas period, I can only plead a bear-like sore head. If you’ve not noticed any difference, then I’m sure I’ll get round to annoying you soon enough.
To Lady M and Mre B I can only say thank you for continuing to be marvellous. Just kick me as I need it.