Up at 6.28, back ache "magically gone, like a miracle" after a very nice sleep. Going to bed at a sensible time helps sleep. Apparently. Who knew? Anyhow, you wake up if you have a shower, apparently. So I did that. There wasn't time for breakfast really but a bit of toast... and a coffee. Then off we went to the airport to begin our very long day of sitting around in airports. 7 hours at Arlanda in the Gold lounge, that sounded bearable now, didn't it? Which is why we paid extra to do it.

Unfortunately there was a different regime in place due to the situation. No wine on tap, no beer, no smokes salmon, no buffet of fresh salads, no cake, no delightful little treats etc etc. Hmm. There was coffee and there was a delicious soup, and some rubbish sandwiches and normal crisps served in individual bowls. The saving grace of this rather disappointing experience was the fabulously wonderful Danish chocolate bars, individually wrapped salted nut chocolate with no additives, no milk products and no gluten. Fab! My idea of gently marinating my brain on the red wine on tap during the long wait for our onward flight, was scuppered. Probably just as well really. (sorry to whine on, first world problem and all that - but the lounge really is a high spot in my travel-memories and today didn't add value)

During the long period of time we spent sitting in comfortable chairs in calm and empty spaces at Arlanda, I wrote the skeleton of our Christmas letter, did some of the groundwork for the will we should have written a long time ago, did some political work, read the start of a PD James novel I'd managed to miss, and taught myself how to make a simple animated gif using Keynote. That took by far the longest time of all these little jobs and I really hardly swore at all. It's also political work in my role of social media "expert" for the Left party - that is an indication of how poorly equipped we are on that front!

Anyhow, we are now in Kalmar with Kjell, we have red wine in our glasses, we have eaten a delicious soup (it's popular today) and are now doing something I haven't done for over a year - watching the TV news. The first item was "the vaccine 90% effective", the second "we're all going to die if we don't start sharpening up and being really scared right now", the third item is the wearing of masks and the 4th has to do with unemployment caused by covid, and the financial arrangements to help people. I have now turned my focus to blipping. Scaremongering instead of encouraging good behaviour is not productive in my experience. Personally, I respond so much better to reasonable arguments, as soon as things get too emotional and dramatic I tend to turn off. Hysterics are so unhelpful in the long run.

As we travelled we wore the cloth masks I made months ago, they were acceptable to the people deciding, apparently. It was ok wearing them I thought, a bit weird but I can manage weird and it was pretty cool weather so not too sweaty. I noted that everyone in the airport also wore a mask, as required. But an awful lot of paper thin masks were hanging under chins and under noses. I tried really hard not to fiddle with my mask and touch it, as I know I shouldn't - it was not easy! Keith was constantly touching his mask, and so was everyone else I watched for a minute or so. It was interesting to see how things worked. I haven't been anywhere where masks were being used, it was a real study visit for me.

In the Gold Lounge we were asked to sanitise our hands before taking food, or to wear purple latex gloves. The gloves are another thing that only really works if you use them as they are supposed to be used, and most of us don't. I wonder if they make people feel "safe"... like the masks seem to do, but are in fact not... I am a great believer in distance and hand washing, & my habits have really changed because of the pandemic. (never had cleaner hands for a start) I'm sure everyone is doing the best they can, with the knowledge we have - I'm sometimes puzzled by how different the suggestions are from place to place. I hope I'm not offending anyone, I'm thinking aloud really - because for the first time in a long time I am not in my safe little corner of the world, but out and about with other humans in a busier environment. I think blip is the place I think so that I can persuade my brain to sleep at night. 

I feel very, very grateful to have been able to travel safely to the south of Sweden, and very, very grateful to have a warm welcome in Kjell's home on Öland, and to know that the trip back will involve a lot shorter wait in Arlanda and consequently less rambling about pandemics and safety measures to upset my blip pals!

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