It has been some time now since Part 4 so I thought I would put pen to paper and bring things up to date with the ongoing saga of the Odyssey.
In the UK, we reached the three month’s mark of lockdown. Some think that life is beginning to return to some semblance of normality. I am not sure I agree with them. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I could go to M&S to buy a pair of knickers. If you remember I was only meant to be here for 13 (unlucky for some) days and had planned to return to Thailand on 1st April – silly me! The new purchases have been a breath of fresh air – literally!
However, more than anything, I am looking forward to someone else doing my washing again. It is amazing the colours you get when you wash dark blue underpants with a pink shirt.
The UK government has also revealed that it has plans for certain service and entertainment venues to open but not all of them. So, whilst you can take the family to Chester Zoo and Alton Towers for such fun rides as Oblivion and Battle Galleons you cannot take them for Sunday lunch at a beer garden in a country pub. This madness continued when it emerged that you could go for your botox treatment after 5th June but have to wait for a haircut until early July.
The Financial Times got more than a few hopes up prematurely earlier this month when it announced the Government was planning to allow pubs to reopen from 22 June. If only! What with the new outbreaks in Leicester et al, I do wonder if we will ever see them open again. Am I that desperate to go to the pub? Yes, absolutely! The fact that we are not allowed to go to the aforementioned country pub and keep socially acceptable distancing is absurd in my mind and it could make the difference between them opening up properly again and not.
There is no finer place in the world than an English country pub, spending a summer’s evening drinking great beer or picking the wasps out of your pint of Scrumpy. To deny a Brit this little privilege is one of the evils of this lockdown.
Elsewhere, life and death never cease to amaze. In one country, not a million miles away from here, I see the death rate has actually gone down by one. Now, this means they got their counting wrong or have re-evaluated how they categorize death. Who knows? Maybe it is neither of these options, it could be the person’s name is Lazarus.
The temperature in Reading has gone up quite a lot recently. It was only at the start of June that I found myself having to wear my woolly socks to bed! I jest not. It was bloody freezing getting into the sack. Fortunately, as stated, this has now changed and we can happily drink beer in the garden enjoying the light of the long, sunny evenings.
I have been lucky to be in Reading. I have friends here who have been more than generous and allowed me to visit them even when lockdown forbad it. One is a retired surgeon who I have known for over forty years. He was regaling me with some of the stories he had when he was working in a hospital up in Scotland. One of the surgical teams where he was had the wonderful names of Payne, Savage and Haq. You can’t make this stuff up. It reminds me of a solicitors’ practice in Leamington Spa called Wright Hassell which may or may not be right when it comes to the phonetics side of things.
Talking of hospitals, I found it wryly amusing to see that the President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that appointments to be seen in Accident & Emergency (A&E) could be introduced permanently. I had to read this several times to make sure I was not missing anything. I am sure I am not the only one to see the absurdity of this statement. I may have got it wrong though, maybe you now have to book being run over by a car these days to get access to a Casualty Department.
I certainly felt as though I needed an A & E recently. I was brave, a.k.a. stupid, enough to go for a walk. By the time I got back my blisters had blisters on them. I would have walked to the Casualty Department, hopefully without having to book, but I am sure you see the problem. I could not even drive as depressing the accelerator pedal caused more than a wee twitch in my foot I can tell you. Needless to say, I was distraught at not being able to go for another wander around the nearby locale. One thing is for sure though, I will, never again, stay at any venue which has the words The Mount in it. Those last steps felt like climbing up the North face of the Eiger – Clint Eastwood I am not!
I was relieved of my agony the other day when I got the news that I had been waiting for – I was being allowed back into Thailand. I had been to the embassy before that to drop of various bits and pieces. As I was zooming, well as much as a Fiat 500 can zoom, down the M4 I was suddenly struck by the fact that I had not thought about parking. For those who are not aware, the Royal Thai Embassy is on Queen’s Gate in South Kensington. Finding somewhere to park is akin to finding rocking-horse pooh. Then I thought to myself, fear not, you can park at the Holiday Inn only to then remember it was shut for the duration. Oh well, onward I went fearing the worst and finding I would have found it closer to park in Windsor than wherever I would eventually end up. Oh ye of little faith I discovered thinking of myself. I ended up walking all of three yards from where I parked the car to the actual embassy itself. I could not believe it!
I only had a few days to get everything ready. It all went so quickly. Before I knew what was happening, I was on my way to Heathrow, dumping the car at Eurocar and then I was off to Terminal 2 for departure. I was surprised to see that there were loads of flights leaving for all four points of the compass, however, I knew my flight would be different to a normal one as it was classified as a repatriation flight and not a commercial one. I also knew I had to do two weeks in quarantine when I landed.
That though, as they say, is another story and so I shall leave you with this thought – is a locksmith a key worker?
Must also Read:
The Odyssey: A Pattaya expat’s quest to come home during COVID-19 – Part 1
The Odyssey: A Pattaya expat’s quest to come home during COVID-19 – Part 2
The Odyssey: A Pattaya expat’s quest to come home during COVID-19 – Part 3
The Odyssey: A Pattaya expat’s quest to come home during COVID-19 – Part 4