Negative

For the first time since at least the beginning of the pandemic I have a horrible cold (clogged nose, throat ache, headache, low grade fever). My son and daughter have the same thing. Did my first ever Covid test today and it thankfully came back negative. Kids are OK too. Mr Esther has asthma and so is the only one in our house who gets the flu shot. He isn’t sick so I’m thinking this is the belated flu streak rearing it’s ugly head, now the mask mandate here is over?

I am relatively susceptible to colds, I have one 3 or 4 times a year normally (not always heavy, though), but I haven’t had one for so long due to this whole quarantine business, I almost forgot what it feels like. This one I’m having now is quite miserable. Starting to shiver again, I’d best cover myself in my red blanket in this large comfy armchair, block out Wimbledon that’s on TV now (women’s quarter finals) and maybe take a little nap.

Hope it passes quickly but I have a feeling it will take a little while to shake. At least it isn’t the corona virus.

Another Easter in quarantine

The second Easter spent in quarantine and this Corona crisis thing really isn’t over yet. Yesterday we heard that someone in my daughter’s soccer team and someone in my son’s class have been tested positive for Covid 19. Both are asymptomatic and both haven’t been in close contact with my kids but with quickly spreading variant Covid strains you never know. Today we heard that someone else in my son’s handball team was also tested positive. So, we are stuck inside and around the house a little more now (especially difficult for the kids who had been happy to do their sports and go to school again from time to time) until somewhere in the coming week the kids can get tested.

We did enjoy a lovely Easter brunch this morning, prepared (as every year) by the wonderful Mr. Esther…

… and this evening the four of us will have a nice table grill dinner, making the best of having a little time off over Easter. I wish those who celebrate a…

… and may the new hope of spring also bring new hope for better days without Covid.

Isolation

A no-deal Brexit is looming on January 1st and on the highways here in The Netherlands, on the ferry routes from England, I saw these signs the other day…

Now in addition, with a new Corona virus strain in the UK appearing, the EU is blocking all travel from the UK and the UK is more isolated now than ever. In our family group chat my brother in London feels more locked in than ever. “For now, we’re not coming off the island” he is saying, accompanied by some dramatic smilies. My aunt replied with “The UK is now completely cut off! Very radical (as in painful). Be careful.”

For the more cynical amongst us, I guess Brexit has started early and it’s heartbreaking to see the UK become even more isolated from their neighbours now that even all goods have been halted at the borders. I hope something can be done, it was already going to be very difficult with (no-deal) Brexit, these new bans make it even more impossible. I hope my brother, niece and friends and readers in the UK will be OK. All of them/you are very much in my thoughts.

As for this new corona virus strain, which is even more infectious than the original virus, it has also been detected in The Netherlands. So far, reports say that only two people in Amsterdam (one of whom had not been to the UK recently) have been diagnosed with it. We are already in strict lockdown (no curfews as yet, but in all other aspects it’s strict) until January 19th, I wonder if this new strain will be cause for measures to become even stricter or prolongued here. This past year has already been a year in isolation, I wonder if, despite the vaccinations that are coming, the year 2021 will continue to be the same. The thought is very depressing.

Strict lockdown & Christmas

The Netherlands is going into a strict lockdown again to bring down Covid-19 cases that have been re-surging due to en masse Christmas shopping and people not adhering as strictly to the semi-lockdown restrictions that were already in place. Schools are closing as of tomorrow, non-essential shops are closing, restaurants were already closed and hotels aren’t allowed to provide any room service or restaurant services anymore, no more than 2 visitors allowed in your household (and 3 for Christmas), no more group gatherings, no travel abroad, and theatres, cinemas, museums and public buildings will be closed. All these measures will be in effect for five weeks, until January 19th. Does this mean…

Well, Christmas isn’t exactly called off but it’s certainly going to be a bit of a lonely Christmas this year. With three visitors allowed, we will be able to invite my in laws over if we are all healthy and socially distanced and we will be able to visit my mother another day and that’ll be it. No large Christmas gathering with the family on my side like we usually have, no going away for a few days during the Christmas holidays and no nice outings like to Christmas markets (which have already been cancelled). I am and will be really missing all that! So, let me wallow a bit in music.

“It’ll be lonely this Christmas, without you to hold…”

“It’s gonna be a cold, cold Christmas without you […] it’s gonna be a long and lonely Christmas without you, missing you my darling in oh so many ways…”

“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you, I’ll be so blue just thinking about you; decorations of red on a green Christmas tree, won’t be the same, if you’re not here with me…”

“Nobody ought to be all alone on Christmas…”

Let’s just hope for better days: “Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings, and designer love and empty things, just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days…”

Yes, I know this lockdown sucks but it really is for the greater good and I hope it can save many lives and spare our healthcare workers from the horrors of this past spring. One somewhat more lonely Christmas, even if disheartening, seems to be a reasonable price to pay for that…

The second wave

This is what Iman (David Bowie’s widow) said today and I’m so with her…

Corona is really on the rise again. We are well and truly into the second wave here and I think we may have one of the highest infection rates at the moment.

(Source)

At 7 pm there will be another Covid-19 press conference here and stricter measures are expected to be announced. And so quarantine life trudges on and even I, as an introvert, wouldn’t mind more social interactions by now, rather than less. It is what it is, however, and I guess until there is a reliable vaccine this will continue to be our lives and we will have to continue social distancing and making do virtually.

It is not an option for us to ignore the virus and pretend it isn’t so bad like my nephew does, who I’m told that even though he has contracted Covid-19, still thinks it’s all a hoax, as does his boss who continued to let him work (in a barber shop!) even though he had a fever. I wonder if this second wave also has to do with a growing number of people seeing it all as a hoax. It doesn’t help that some very public figures (like that US president everyone looks to) continue to downplay it all. A few weeks ago there were some Dutch young social media influencers who said they would be opting out of following Corona rules, they all thought it was nonsense. The most well known of them (I didn’t know her but my kids assure me she is very popular amongst youngsters) went on a talk show and she also talked to one of the most famous intensive care doctors here right now. He apparently later also toured an intensive care unit with her and since then she has taken down her opposition and is now working with him to highlight the importance of following Corona rules. Doesn’t sound like her change of heart (and the change of heart of many others in that protest group) influenced my nephew, however.

To counteract such depressing times, at least virtually I can still sometimes keep my spirits up, for instance with these new Colin Firth pictures taken at the premiere of the Supernova film the other day. He’s turning into a lovely grey fox.

I really want to see this movie but I know it will break my heart as well (see trailer here), so it may take me a while to get around to it. On to the very many more quarantine weeks and months to come…