Back to Life

When everything kicked off in March, I wondered if I should set up a dead man’s switch to post an explanation of where I’d gone if I hadn’t blogged here for a month (viz: to the Eternal 404 in the Sky). It felt too paranoid an idea to implement, though, so I figured I’d just keep to a schedule of posting every weekend, until… I couldn’t.

After a couple of locked-down months of hanging in there, the plan sure went belly-up this month. I spent the first week of June facing a marking deadline which I ended up missing, and had to work through the first weekend of the month to get it all done. Meanwhile, a family member was in crisis on the other side of the ocean, with no possibility of getting on a plane to help him; our daughter turned nine; and the day after that, J. lost her sense of taste and smell.


We immediately steeled ourselves for two weeks of self-isolation, which wouldn’t have been that different from the life we’d been living, except with no going to the shops or going out on the street. I grabbed an online delivery slot at Sainsbury’s for the weekend, the first I’d seen available in months.

Luckily, J. found a way to get us all tested, which isn’t as routine in Scotland as it’s supposedly becoming in England (though with the government’s fiddling of the testing statistics, who knows what’s real). So the next day we drove out to the airport—our first time with all of us together in the car since February—and made our way to a remote staff carpark, where masked staff in hi-viz gave us the kits and waved us along to the parking bay where we stuck swabs down our throats and up our own noses in the comfort of our own vehicle.

The process felt less than streamlined—we had problems accessing the QR codes for the kids—but after only 24 hours of resigning ourselves to the worst, we received a string of texts giving us the all-clear. It’s impossible to know whether they weren’t false negatives, especially for J., but the results said we could “return to work if you’ve not had a fever for 48 hours and feel well”, so we were able to relax a bit. We still didn’t go out of the flat much, and the only time I went out on my bike (to take my mind off marking) I kept well away from anyone else.

J. got her taste and smell back a week later, and none of the rest of us came down with anything. It’s been well beyond two weeks now, and life has returned to abnormal. Maybe I can even find time to write here again.

Here are a few photos I took when I went for that quick ride to the castle and back. It wasn’t hard to social distance on the Royal Mile, because there was hardly anyone there—on a Sunday in June, when it would ordinarily be full of tourists.

Emptyburgh II

21 June 2020 · Journal

Added by Rory on 23 June 2020.