My cousin and his fiancée seem determined to go ahead with their wedding plans in January. I had their save the date card on Friday. I’ll have to tell them I can’t make it, which is sad because I was looking forward to seeing all those people again. But it’s simply not safe to travel. And if they were doing the right thing they’d postpone the party or just have a very small ceremony and keep the big celebration until later. Too many health conditions. There was an outbreak caused by a wedding in Maine where none of the people who died actually went to the wedding, so it seems heartless of them to proceed with their plans. Why don’t they get legally married and defer the party for a year or until after a vaccine exists? I feel bad but I simply can’t go. But my heart is heavy because I can’t go home for Christmas, not the way things are. And I don’t see that changing before December. I sometimes worry that I’ve seen my parents for the last time. But we talk regularly and share always. I miss them, but I know it’s not the right thing to travel to see them right now.
Pap smear yesterday. Best nurse ever, it’s never gone so quickly. Visiting the office was terrifying, though. People weren’t distancing as much as I would have liked and both staff and patients were laissez-faire about masks. I have five viewings lined up for next Friday. I only hope at least three are still available when Friday rolls around. I hate this, it’s so time consuming and agencies are difficult to work with. And further lockdown looms. Terrifying. But I can’t dwell on what-ifs, I just have to keep moving forward. And hoping.
Just, too many things going on at once. My Arabic teacher’s funeral yesterday, my first virtual funeral. Nice eulogy from one of his former students. They sang one of my favourite hymns, “How Great Thou Art” but the microphone kept cutting out–not great sound quality for the singing. Gonna be interesting to see if religious institutions and funeral homes up their digital skills. Should have gone straight to bed when I was tired but instead pushed through to fill out forms for one of the estate agents, email two of the removals firms with questions, and do a lot of scrolling new flats to look at on Rightmove, news (Steve Bannon was arrested yesterday), allowing myself to worry and worry and worry. Pap smear today–dreaded, dreaded. Nerves about the pain. Nerves about using the doctor’s office (will I get sick??) Nerves about cleaning for tomorrow. Nerves about work. No wonder my mind races when it’s time to sleep.
Emotional day all around: I got word on Tuesday night that my beloved Arabic teacher had passed away. Yesterday I forwarded the note to a few Simon’s Rock folks–classmates or other teachers I keep in touch with. He had lived a long life and touched the lives of so many students–he was and is so beloved. I am sad, but I feel lucky to have known him. I don’t often feel lonely even in these strange times because I have a strong community around the world, but yesterday I felt sad that there was no collective conversation I could join. I missed being with people who knew him and knew how wonderful he was.
The A-level fiasco continues to burble over but with more limited political effect–no resignations, a few policy changes that are too little, too late, for the affected cohort of students. Britain’s pretence at meritocracy and social mobility has been undermined. And nobody who is currently in power seems to care: “I’m alright, Jack” is the mood of the day. Meanwhile, migrants continue to be targeted as scapegoats at the very same time when businesspeople holidaying in France, Spain and other European countries are chartering fishing boats to get home to the UK before quarantine measures were brought in for travellers to those countries. Some UK cities including Aberdeen are under renewed lockdown for outbreaks–Stella thinks it’s a political decision as much as a practical one because of Aberdeen’s Tory council. She pointed out Glasgow also had outbreaks but no quarantine there. I just hope end of Sept doesn’t bring renewed quarantine to me & interrupt my move. But we must all hope for the best–lives saved is more important than personal inconveniences.
First Shedinburgh performance last night–a series of one-person shows in sheds broadcast live, for one night only. Nice to see a little of the Edinburgh madness even if we can’t be packed in like sardines into a metal scaffold seating under a pub somewhere. Went for a late afternoon walk yesterday, got down by the sand. No new pottery fragments. I haven’t been as diligent about snapping photos each time I go out. But the smell of summer–green growing things, fried fish, a sudden breath of jasmine or woodbine–all very strong.
Rain finally arrived in a mighty thunderstorm last night. I’d been waiting to see that all weekend. Epic. Finally went for a walk yesterday around noon. Air was so sticky I felt like a gasping fish. Didn’t take any photos. The river police were out practicing maneuvers on their fast open sided boat and they waved as they passed by us, a little knot of people on the walkway behind Prospect Wharf. Hadn’t checked the tide times before I went out–too high to do any mudlarking.
My favourite moment yesterday was in the late afternoon when the rain was softly falling in the basin and there was no wind so I could sit in the hammock enjoying the quiet. I will miss moments like that in this little place. I should get out for a walk: I’ve barely left the house in over a week because it’s been so hot, then rainy. Have set aside today for creative stuff but I really want to keep focused on moving. I don’t feel like I have room for more than one idea right now. But on the other hand, when I watch TV all day like a slightly sentient potato it’s no surprise my brain doesn’t feel like it’s firing on all cylinders.
It’s so hot that I haven’t been for a walk since, I think, Thursday night. Starting to go a little cabin feverish with nothing to do but watch TV in the evening. I feel empty, deflated, like a hot air balloon out of use (or perhaps more aptly for the weather, a pool float.)
In continuing “Oh God, what now?” 2020 news, a giant shipment of ammonium nitrate has basically destroyed the city of Beirut. Apparently it’s been sitting there for years but despite repeated warnings nobody did anything about it. And now Beirut is destroyed. There’s a WWII munitions ship in the Thames estuary with a similar history. And they just leave it there because a controlled demolition would be too unsafe. But an uncontrolled one is surely inevitable?