Thursday, 25 November 2021


Blogging is back. Apart from one post last June there has been nothing, not a dicky bird, since I brought my Covid diary to an abrupt end on March 17th supposing, as I did, that Covid itself was nearly at an end. How wrong can you be?

Covid goes on. We have just fallen from the crest of a third wave and would have had a fifth lockdown had it not been for the johnson wanting to maintain open house and an air of normality for COP26. As a consequence people are still dying, upper 100s per day, more infection, possibly new variants of it, is being brought here through open borders from across the globe. It might therefore be too late to keep out the so called 'Botswana' variant from South Africa recently described as a super mutant. The johnson could not lose this opportunity for one final, tragic and potentially devastating cock-up to end the governments long list of failures. COP26 was widely predicted to fail and it did.  

My Long Covid lasted 11 months and I am writing today because after what seemed a second infection, or at the least a relapse with 10 days of the most violent headaches, there have now also passed two whole weeks of much reduced long-covid symptoms. Symptoms I am glad to be free of because they were cramping my style, fogging my brain, battering my already dilapidated memory banks and prostrating my person far to readily in a comfy chair. 

Long covid is a serious, potentially long-lasting illness and it's severity does not depend on how bad the original Covid 19 was for you. There are more than one million UK sufferers. I struggled to remember things, could not focus on any creative work, had bouts of extreme fatigue, mental and physical disinclination to be active and regular head and neck aches. I found everyday conversation difficult and serious conversation largely impossible. It seemed to me that my brain could not keep up with my mouth creating confusion and bumbling embarrassment. These symptoms continue but to a much lesser degree and I am calling it over, possibly more out of a determination to move on and a romantic optimism, but over, done with.

I'm back. I hope it lasts.

Finally on this subject, I had Covid, not too seriously, coughed violently for 10 days and it seemed to pass. My people were aware, I kept away and we all moved on. In the following ten months I was much more unwell. Apart from my dear wife very few people noticed or bothered and even today, nearly 1 year later, when I tell people about it I get responses such as "I didn't know" and they are surprised at the heart issues and all the tests. An insidious fact about long covid is that, like mental illness, not only is much of it unseen, no-one wants to engage and understand the condition if the sufferer appears to be getting by okay. Above all other considerations, this is why I still wear a face covering in busy places. Long covid can hit anyone, of any age even after quite mild Covid-19 and with a million plus sufferers already, is causing more NHS overload.

A second and related issue is this: If you acquire long covid in your 74th year, people with zero understanding and even less empathy assume that it's symptoms are due to age related mental decline. Well bollocks to them!

I'm back.

Today is a day of rain showers and dark skies with intervals of bright sunshine. In one such interval I took this photograph of a favourite tree, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Elwoodii'. It stands outside of the Shedio and despite it being a generally difficult tree to look after I love it. It was planted in 1955/6 by the now deceased former incumbents, Mr and Mrs Clark. This cultivar has a flaw, it grows side branches on which the foliage and new branches grow too heavy for the tree to support. In a heavy wind they flop out like new arms never to return hence the sawn off trunks. Inside this tree there is an assortment of ropes, ties, old belts and at least one vehicle loading strap holding the whole thing in shape. Today it looks particularly attractive in the sunlight with its main branches at ground level wet and shining. In late Autumn it emerges, full of life, from the freezing mists covered in a coccoon of spider webs dripping and glistening.

This Lawson Cyprus supports a Woodpigeon's nest higher up. Mr Woodpigeon can be seen at his seemingly endless task of ripping fresh, springy twigs, exactly 200mm long from the as yet unadorned Tamarisk bush nearby and flying in with them. This tree is also a regular plaything of the Blue, The Great and the Coal Tits which can often be seen hanging upside down foraging in the lower branches in full view of our garden window which is only about 4 metres away. The work and maintenance required is well worth the rewards this tree gives back. It lifted, higgledy piggledy, our upper patio slabs but of course I forgave it.

In other news I have completed the next in my series of articles called 'Connections', part of my Sort-Of-Auto-Biography, concerning my wife's bust. If you are interested you can read it here

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