Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Sorting out the past

I feel this has been a busy day. I didn't know when it began with a leisurely shower and hair wash, followed by a slow breakfast, that I was going to find myself so wishing there were more hours in the day - why on earth would I want a deeply chilly, greyish lockdown March day to go on and on?

I blame the Covid test. My first reaction was to be incredibly impressed that the home testing kit I'd ordered online after 6pm yesterday should arrive with the post before 11am today (along, oddly, with another test kit over which, for now, I shall draw a veil). I poured a coffee and sat down to study the book. Before I even began to think about testing myself, I had to check the location of my nearest designated post box. (It turned out to be the one I'd think of using, just two streets away.) Then I had to register the test online - a quite separate business from what I did to order it. By this time - and I'm still only reading about it - I was losing the will to live.

After twenty minutes on the computer ( I like to use the desktop for important stuff) I had done the preparatory stuff. Time for the first hand washing. Prepare a flat, clean surface. Right. Get a mirror and a light (sprint downstairs to find Himself's head torch - I need to be able to hold the mirror close enough to be useful). Find tonsils. Wait a minute - they were removed 68 years ago. Oh - find where they were. Turns out to be less simple than I thought. Check Himself's tonsil-less throat to see if there's any sign; find strangely rumpled bit of tissue and think that because he was a teenager when his tonsils came out they maybe made a less tidy job. Back to the mirror. 

Wash hands again.

Now the hard bit. I have the most reactive gag reflex you can imagine. My dentist stands back when he's putting an X-ray plate between my teeth, just in case ... So here I am, the head torch light angled down into the mirror which then reflects it back into my mouth, trying to still the involuntary arching of my tongue as I introduce the long swab in the general direction of the tonsil bed on the left. I'm supposed to scrape it around for 10 seconds, and do both sides ... And it touches. Immediately I heave, gagging uncontrollably. Get a grip, woman. Do the other side. I manage a slightly more convincing dab at it, and get it out while the going's good. And then? Stick it up my left nostril and twirl for 10 seconds. Aye right ...

Actually that was easier. Hold on - don't rush with relief. Open the plastic tube, without spilling the holy water inside (ok - it's not holy) and put the business end of the swab inside. Now break the handle at just the right spot so that the top goes on. (I think I've made it too short. It was quite tough.) Put the vial inside the zip-top plastic bag, along with a strange white paper mat thingy. Check your bar codes match. Then put that bag inside the plastic bio-hazard bag. Locate the strip that protects the sticky bit; pull it off and stick the top carefully, squashing out the air.

The last bit required a degree in paper engineering as I struggled to assemble the cardboard box in which all this gubbins had to go. I was a sweating wreck with paper cuts all over my fingers when I finally managed to hold it all shut and stick it with the security label provided. See all these people I saw on the TV news this evening, skipping along nonchalantly to the post with their wee boxes? I staggered along to mine before my lunch, disconcerted to see that the Priority Post Box label had been more or less ripped from the metal, but not inclined to enquire further. It's over, let it go ...

My photos have nothing to do with any of that. I'm not going to think about it again. Main blip is the box of my father's small proof prints in which I was finding treasures (and yes, that's me in his arms in one of the photos). The extra is a collage of lovely things I saw in the baltic Benmore Gardens this afternoon: a wonderful mossy tree trunk, a massive rhododendron in flower, and some lovely fulsome snowdrops.

But see all those lightly-expressed references to testing and tracing ...?

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