Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer and face of the country’s coronavirus public information campaign – appearing daily/nightly, too frequently on our television screens – omitted one addendum at the end of her very clear instruction with regard to self-isolation: that being, ‘with the exception of myself’! As we, all, adhere to the restrictions for the greater good, she happens to be the owner of a second home – an hour away – and saw fit to ignore her own rhetoric. In a world which has, effectively, been flatlined, we, as human beings – like it or not – are, collectively, on a level playing field. The virus is indiscriminate, making no distinction between class nor creed; judge nor janitor. One must, each, behave responsibly and remember that ‘No man is an island’. Phew! It’s been a while …
Personally, I am glad she was caught and she should have to accept the consequences of her arrogance and blatant flouting of the regulations. As the face of the campaign, she was utterly depressing! I used to rush for the remote to press ‘mute’, if not change the channel. Yes, she had a serious message to relay but did she have to behave as though she had just been exhumed? As much charisma as a slab of concrete! Even the Rev. I. M. Jolly was cheerier and, if you remember, he had always had ‘a helluva year!’. Ah, the irreplaceable Rikki Fulton. The point is, in this trying time, Dr Do as a I say, not as I do Calderwood was enough to drive anyone to drink!
Pause to pour my gin and tonic. It is 19.07, I might add. I have just returned from the beach and, more than unimpressed, there were other people there! When I say other people, I mean less than a dozen but my intolerance levels have shot down. Is it down or up? I mean, I have become increasingly less tolerant! Suffice to say, there was a group of students – I presume – some distance away from me on the sand but close enough that I could hear the girl’s flirtatious screaming and giggling. That, immediately, irritated me! I want to hear nothing more than the waves affording time for solitude and reflection – not other people’s conversation and laughter. Help! What does that say about me? Well, I suppose I have always had an aversion to people invading my space. Of course, it is not my space; merely, in my dreams – that life I should have lived on my country estate from which I would only venture occasionally. Have another gin! No, seriously, even the last time we were in Edinburgh, I realised that I couldn’t stand people walking close behind me to the extent that I was privy to their conversation. Smacks of a burgeoning recluse? Thing is, despite an aversion to people in general, I am, actually, very sociable; select but sociable. Alright, I concede, slightly off the wall but one must remember that my role model was a consultant psychiatrist; one of a kind.
Five hundred words down. Refer to notes. Listening to Richard Madeley on the radio, yesterday morning, his final record was Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’. Becca made a comment, the night before, about a guy on the Abba documentary we watched – that’s a whole other story – who had the most charismatic eyes; just so alive and full of character. At once, intelligent, kind and humorous, they just drew you in. Real windows to the soul. Eyes, such as those, are very rare. Believe me, I am doing the research! Suffice to say, they possess a magnetism independent of looks.
So, what do the twinkly eyes of the guy on the Abba documentary – yes, for a future post – have to do with Louis Armstrong and ‘What a Wonderful World’? Well, I realised he has the most expressive voice! Rich, warm, kind and humorous, one just knows that he means every word – and he is smiling! That’s it. He sings with a smile. Louis with the smiling voice! The guy from the Abba documentary – for future post – with the laughing eyes! You see, little things …
I missed the Queen’s address to the nation, last night. We decided to venture along our little – very popular road – to the fields and beyond to see what the great attraction is! None the wiser, really. Four miles there and back – to the next village – it is little more than a walk through fields and farmland of no great note. Blown to bits, we arrived back just after 8pm when a friend messaged me to ask if I was watching the Queen? Quickly switching on the TV, however, I realised that the remote remained unresponsive. Stuck on the Sony channel, it was an old episode of The Saint or nothing. One had to laugh. Becca? Not so much. Wall-to-wall Starsky & Hutch, Hart to Hart and Murder she Wrote!
I learned on the news, today, that Austria is to be the first European country to ease lockdown with shops due to open as early as next week. The Austrian growth rate of daily new infections has slowed to 2.8% from more than 40% in mid-March due, it is thought, to aggressive enforcement of containment measures and well-resourced medical facilities – including one of the highest numbers of intensive care beds per capita in Europe. I am not surprised. Austria is efficiency! I remember, many years ago, flying into Salzburg en route to St Wolfgang. There were major roadworks in progress, on arrival. However, on visiting the city only a matter of days later, all evidence was gone. The work was completed. We commented on it, at the time. Now, in this country … I can’t even bear to start: weeks, peak-time disruption, Sunday double time and spot the workman! Sound familiar?
Enough. Manny has just messaged me with the breaking news that Boris has been moved to intensive care. Reality check. We’re all rooting for him – genuinely.
‘If there comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.’ A.A. Milne
This is Trish, signing off.