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Everything Smells Burnt

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.

10 March 2022

Whiteout

Edinburgh, 24 February 2022

Taking a break from doomscrolling with a gallery of snow photos from last Thursday—click through to see more.

28 February 2022

Have Yourself an Isolated Christmas

Self-Isolating Calendar

We had a faint positive lateral-flow test in the family last Saturday and so have to selfisolate 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.

24 December 2021

Firth of Forth

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.

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20 November 2021

20 GOTO 10

I was excited to see a sample of Sir Clive’s handiwork at a school open day yesterday…

Sinclair C5

They said it still works.

3 October 2021

Breathing Room

Two weeks ago today I wasn’t feeling quite right, and thought I’d better do a lateral flow test from the kit we’d recently been given, just in case. Within moments I was confronted with this:

My positive lateral flow test result, 7 September 2021

Damn.

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21 September 2021

Quiet is the New Loud

Now that I’ve got 2020’s sounds out of the way, time for a post about 2021’s (so far).

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26 August 2021

Begone

After last year’s non-holiday summer, everyone in our family was yearning this year to get out of Edinburgh for a proper summer holiday. With the Delta variant on the rise, international travel was off the cards, whatever the state of vaccinations, so like the rest of Britain we were looking closer to home. Luckily, school holidays in Scotland start earlier than in England, so we faced less competition for holiday homes in remote locations, and were able to book one without much trouble. It wasn’t cheap, but not as bad as some reports of costs down south.

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26 August 2021

Renewal

Springtime

This was a low-key spring compared with last year’s, without as many visits to the garden to track the growth of the flowers, but I managed a few photos of blossoms and blooms, plus my best-ever shot of a giant panda at Edinburgh Zoo (though don’t raise your expectations too much). This modest gallery ends with a sunset on Portobello Beach, briefly observed while picking up my teenage son from a friend’s place the weekend after lockdown ended. The way the summer is looking, I’m not sure how many more of those there will be.

10 June 2021

Snow Trails

As we’ve been doing for the past few years, we booked the kids onto a mountain biking course at Glentress for their school holidays this Easter, but when we made the booking six months ago had even less idea than usual about what the conditions would be like the following April. It turned out, of course, that this month is the tail-end of Scotland’s second Covid lockdown, when we’re all still supposed to be staying local, which for Edinburgh residents means no driving beyond the Pentlands.

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12 April 2021