The Odyssey: Pattaya expat’s quest to come home during COVID-19 – Part 2

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1989
The Streets of Reading were busier in 1905 than they are now.

Well, I am settling into life in Caversham – I am not allowed to call it Reading according to the locals!

It has been fascinating to see how people react to a ‘stranger’ in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Some who you thought would step up have been found sadly lacking. Those who you didn’t want to trouble come to the fore.



The same can be said of local government departments. I found it totally impossible to get a local GP to take me on as a temporary resident thus allowing me to get a prescription for the drugs I need for my blood pressure and cholesterol. If it had not been for a friend’s brother-in-law, who is a doctor near Oxford, I would have been completely buggered.

My only other choice would have been to go and sit in the local Casualty Department and wait to be seen. Surely there is no greater Petri Dish for COVID-19? I really did not want to do this as I used to work in an A&E department a thousand years ago and I cannot tell you of the numerous times doctors were stopped from treating a seriously ill patient because someone had the sniffles. In these present times, I would have felt guilty at wasting their valuable time.

Reading buses – With no funding immediately available from Government or local authorities to support services, they had to reduce the number of buses on the road.

This is where the staff at Boots (I will not tell you which branch it was as they may get into trouble) really stepped up. The doctor had written the same prescription for me that I have in Thailand but the drugs are called by a different name over here. Using complete common sense, they just ignored this and gave me what I needed even though, technically, they were breaking the law. I am so grateful to them.

Anyway, back in Caversham, I am now on first name terms with the people at Waitrose. There are other shops which are open but I can’t get used to their opening times – 10.00-12.00 and 1.00-5.00 but really 4.30p.m. so they can spend the last 30 minutes stocktaking for tomorrow. It is like jumping into the Tardis and going back fifty years…



Apart from that I am being a good boy and trying to adhere to the governments ‘Stay at Home’ guidelines. As those who know me will verify, I have never been one to emulate Sir Mo Farah so the streets of Reading and Caversham are quite safe from me getting in the way of those that do.

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 3

Reading Chronicle launches COVID-19 campaign to help concerned and vulnerable residents

This means even more time at my friend’s place. Unfortunately, his library does not exactly rival the Bodleian so reading is somewhat limited, however, it is a better alternative to watching terrestrial UK television. I thought Thai TV was bad but you really need to watch channels like Horror TV to make you appreciate what we have with the likes of True.

As I have said before, Ian and his flat are a Godsend but life is quite boring even though I am able to talk to my wife every day via LINE or WhatsApp (how do they make money from folk like me?) but people still ask what do I do for the rest of the time.



Well, I did find myself talking to the microwave and toaster this morning…

We all agreed that things are getting bad. I didn’t mention anything to the washing machine as she puts a different spin on everything.

I didn’t say anything to the fridge as he is acting cold and distant. In the end the iron straightened me out as she said everything will be fine, no situation is too pressing.

The vacuum was very unsympathetic… told me to just suck it up, but the fan was more optimistic and hoped it would all soon blow over…

The toilet looked a bit flushed when I asked its opinion and didn’t say anything except thanking me for my contribution but the door knob told me to get a grip.

The front door said I was unhinged and so the curtains told me to … yes, you guessed it…pull myself together.

I think it is time I went out to buy some more whisky and wine. At least I can do that in the UK. So, as you can see, all is good…

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 3

As the Coronovirus pandemic takes hold across the UK, resulting in the UK’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty announcing that an epidemic in the UK was ‘highly likely’. (Photo Business Insider, March 4, 2020)