The view this afternoon from our kitchen window.
Covid restrictions have now eased in Scotland (as of 18 April), and at least two-thirds of people seem to have abandoned masking in the shops. Two of our household caught it again in March, one pretty badly, so we had another few weeks of disruption as a result. I had another faintest-of-faint test result, but didn’t come down with it this time. Is this going to be the story every three months?
When the kids were little we used to visit North Berwick a couple of times a year, but for some reason hadn’t been in eight years. (Possibly because finding a parking space there on a warm dry day is almost impossible.) I took them out there on Good Friday for a beach picnic of hot cross buns and some soft serve, for old times’ sake. On the way back we spontaneously stopped at Chesters Hill Fort to admire its earthen ramparts, cows and gorse. Click through for more photos.
A few days ago we visited Gartmore House in Stirling for our son’s performance, which I’ve since discovered was the home of Robert Cunninghame Graham from 1883 until 1900. I took a few photos of the grounds while we were there… click through to see more.
Our family has been part of the ONS Covid survey for a year, and I’ve been answering that I don’t think I have any symptoms of Long Covid from my Delta infection in September. But I may have to change my answer next time. Everything smells burnt, as if I’m smelling smoke; not cigarette smoke filtering up from the neighbours downstairs, but sooty smoke, like from a campfire or a fireplace. At first I wondered if it was from sitting on the couch in front of our old blocked-up chimney; but I went in to the office for the first time in a month yesterday, and smelled it there too. So, that’s new. I’m pretty sure I got Omicron at Christmas; my PCR test was negative, but one of my LFTs showed a very faint test line—faint enough not to be sure if it was a trick of the eye. I was slightly under the weather for a few days, so it seems possible. Repeated exposure seems to raise the risk of Long Covid, and its different features can come on at different times. All I can hope is that being vaccinated up to the hilt keeps them at bay.
The signs of a new and stronger variant from Hong Kong and South Korea are ominous, and cases are going up here as well, in the face of—or partly because of—the relaxation of restrictions. Mask-wearing is still required in shops in Scotland, although that’s set to change. Covid has disappeared from the news in the past fortnight, totally supplanted by Ukraine; but it feels as if the pandemic is far from over, and that we’re in a period of collective wishful thinking.
Taking a break from doomscrolling with a gallery of snow photos from last Thursday—click through to see more.
We had a faint positive lateral-flow test in the family last Saturday and so have to self–isolate until next Tuesday, despite negative PCRs all round and no definitive Covid symptoms (although with Omicron it’s harder to tell). The chance of false positive LFTs is low, so we have to assume this one wasn’t, and Track and Trace want us to isolate either way, even with negative PCRs and multiple jabs. It’s not how we would have liked to spend the week running up to Christmas, but the rapid rise in cases was already putting paid to those plans; everyone here seems to have entered voluntary de facto lockdown in lieu of actual lockdown. The street has been unnaturally quiet all week.
What a fitting end to another difficult year. Looks as if January 2022 won’t be much better either. Hope you and yours can keep safe.
A month ago today I took the kids out to a place J. and I had visited a couple of times when we first moved to Scotland: Culross in Fife, former Royal Burgh and home to a striking ochre-harled palace. We spent an hour walking around the town admiring its seventeenth-century buildings, before driving to nearby Valleyfield Woodland Park for a walk in the woods to admire miscellaneous fungi. We finished the day at Queensferry at sunset, taking in the red glow of the rail bridge while eating some of Edinburgh’s finest ice-cream and fish and chips. It was an enjoyable afternoon, captured in these galleries of Culross, Valleyfield and Queensferry.
I was excited to see a sample of Sir Clive’s handiwork at a school open day yesterday…
They said it still works.