Despite the pandemic, life goes on. Peter’s brother, Frank, died a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t unexpected. He was seventy-nine and obese, with all those other ailments that go with that situation. And he’d been recently tested for the big C. Given all that, he had a gentle death. He was a mad Arsenal fan and stayed up to watch them play via cable TV. That morning, he saw his team win the FA Cup, had a cup of coffee, fed the cat, went back to bed… and never woke up.
It’s never easy losing close family in that way. Not unexpected, but sudden. great for the deceased, not so easy for those left behind. Especially for his daughter, who found his body.
On the other side of the spectrum, my nephew and his wife welcomed their second child, Alice, into the world. She was something of a prima donna. She’d kept everybody waiting to the point when the doctors were going to induce the birth. But young Alice had other ideas and Dad had to deliver his daughter right by the front door. She popped out at 5:30am, was in hospital for checks by 6am, and was back home by 10am. Sounds much nicer than a twelve-hour labour – but what would I know?
And in a wonderful bit of irony, Frank’s and Peter’s mother’s name was… Alice.
Apart from that, covid-19 continues to disrupt the world. In our case, the Christmas trip we’d planned, a short cruise departing from Adelaide, will not happen. We had intended to drive to Adelaide, passing through New South Wales then into South Australia. Back in the good old days, the trip would have taken around three weeks all up, but not any more. We’d have a two-week quarantine in NSW, then a two-week quarantine in SA before we get on the ship. Then the same again, to get home. Our three-week trip would have to be extended by eight weeks. Besides, the cruise was supposed to stop in ports in Victoria and Tasmania. Presumably we wouldn’t be allowed off the boat.
I mention all of this because travel is going to be like that. If we wanted to go on holiday to New Zealand, we’d have to tack on four weeks of quarantine. Even flying business class we’d be wearing masks, gloves, and face shields. Forget about dinner service, with each course delivered separately. It would all come on a tray, just like in economy. And then there’s all the palaver of going through security, with temperatures being taken and luggage being sanitised. Thinking back, I can remember a couple of times when we probably wouldn’t have been allowed to board a flight. What then? Off to hospital for covid testing and quarantine?
We’ve enjoyed several river cruising experiences but that will change, too. No more breakfast or lunch buffets, a longer interval between passengers leaving and new passengers arriving so that rooms can be deep cleaned. A much more rigorous cleaning regimen all round. Combining that with the lower capacity of aircraft, prices will have to rise.
Ah well. Maybe for a while travel will have to stay virtual.