Ten days since my last blog, a slightly longer gap than usual for reasons that will become clear.  Gratifyingly, a few of you have noticed my absence and sent messages asking if I’m OK.  Since, it’s much easier to notice something that is there, as opposed to something that isn’t there, I’m full, not just of gratitude, but of admiration.

I used to write a regular monthly column for a training journal (850 words each month for 20 years: a total of 204,000 words, all forgotten now − even by me!).  I’m reminded of this because when I started to write my column, I compiled a list of promising topics.  After a couple of years I’d used up all the items on my list and, when the deadline for submitting my next column loomed up, I had absolutely no idea what to write about.  So, I used to look in my diary, packed with happenings since writing my last column, and that would be sufficient to trigger the next scintillating column (sorry, I couldn’t resist inserting ‘scintillating’!). Consulting my diary always did the trick until I stopped working and no longer rushed around being busy.  I was left with nothing to say (scintillating or otherwise) so I gave up writing my column in 2014.

And now the problem of having nothing to say is back to haunt me. Looking in my diary won’t rescue me  because it is empty!  After my cataract op I was told to go back into strict isolation for 14 days and, ever obedient, that’s what I’ve done.  With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I’d asked why it was necessary to hide myself away for another 14 days. Perhaps the hospital were worried that they might have infected me with Covid-19 and I’d become a spreader?  Or perhaps they wanted to reduce the chances of me becoming infected before returning for my follow-up appointment?  Both?  I’m not sure.  Never mind, I can console myself that I’m ‘following the science’.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I now have two days to go before I can do my ‘civic duty’ and go out to spend money in restaurants and pubs.  I haven’t found it much of a challenge to learn how to self-isolate, so surely it will not be difficult to ‘relearn’ how to go out gallivanting, albeit responsibly.  Mind you, there are some things I’ve learnt during the last three months that I don’t want to unlearn: being wary of touching door handles, washing my hands more thoroughly/more often than ever before, reading books guilt-free during the daytime, becoming adept at finding my way around digital newspapers, regularly phoning/emailing friends, getting in touch with people I hadn’t heard from for years (they all pretended they were pleased!), sitting still doing absolutely nothing, trimming my own eyebrows……… Need I go on?  Splendid new habits I plan to retain.

I’ve also become better at spotting scams, simply because there have been more of them to spot.  One, purportedly from BT, wanted me to provide intimate details of my bank account and another wanted me to set up a direct debit for a TV licence that at the moment, though probably for not much longer, is free.  I’ve also been phoned a few times by women insisting that I’ve had an accident that wasn’t my fault.  Little do they know that the only accident I’ve had with my car is the battery going flat though extended inactivity.

Today is the NHS’s 72nd birthday, nearly eleven years behind me!  According to my mother’s life story, when I was a small child I had all the usual illnesses, chicken pox, measles, mumps, whooping cough and, at the age of five I went into hospital to have my tonsils taken out.  My mother received bills from the surgeon and the anaesthetist which she describes as ‘horrifying’.  Fortunately she had kept up weekly payments into a medical scheme: one shilling a week.

How times have changed.


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