Lockdown Diaries #11.

Hello again everyone, and as usual I shall start with an apology and some thanks.

Apologies that it has been three months and more since I wrote anything here and if you are in the slightest bit interested in what I have been up to, which quite frankly amounts to absolutely nothing, then click on the “read more” button and I’ll tell you. The thanks are due to the decent amount of people who, for reasons which are still a complete mystery to me, still visit my pages even though nothing has happened on them. Please feel free to step inside if you want an update.

Thanks for taking the time to have a look. so where to begin? I know I left you all a bit in limbo last time, being midway through my exploits at the Royal London Hospital. I had met up with the good Doctor Mark Harley who had given me a crash course in advanced Physics in about two days flat. I even understood some of it, indeed I still remember some of it which is remarkable.

Just to let you know that I shall not be continuing with that story in this post but I had prepared a lengthy piece and almost finished it away back in July after my last entry. I was almost finished it and then I lost all interest, not just in the blog but in just about everything. The reason is fairly obvious. The furthest I have been since February is the hospital which, in normal circumstances, is a 15 minute walk from my home. I have not been out of the E1 postal district for over eight months now and that is a very small administrative area.

My trips outside my own door in that time have consisted of hospital appointments, appointments with the practice nurse to get my leg wounds dressed, a once a month outing to the pharmacy where at least I get a bit of a chat and once or occasionally twice a week a visit to the small supermarket 50 yards from my home. Such fun. Anything I had to interest me in my retirement has been taken from me and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

We are currently in another period of quite strict house arrest in England and just about everything is shut again. They said it was until early December but are already talking about extending it. Frankly, the so-called experts have not got a clue, they are guessing wildly and making it up as they go along.

So what have I been doing? Surely with all this time on my hands I should have been writing blog entries like a demon. The truth of the matter is I just have had no inclination to do so. I have no motivation to do anything except re-read all the books in my library (which I had regrettably cleared out to a great extent in a fit of Spring cleaning about January!), watch every documentary the BBC iPlayer has to offer and sleep. I know I have a propensity to keep odd hours and I have a sleep disorder but surely sleeping 30 hours straight isn’t normal.

My mood was dealt a further blow on the 05/10/2020 when my Father sadly died a month short of his 89th birthday which naturally knocked me back a bit. It was not entirely unexpected, he had been failing for some time. What did really hurt was the fact that I could not even return to Northern Ireland for his funeral but thankfully, my brother was there to take care of things.

It was so sad, he was a founder member of his male voice choir and they would have undoubtedly turned out and sung at the service but of course numbers were strictly limited. They had to do with a small token honour guard and playing a couple of the choir’s recorded numbers on my brother’s laptop through the Church p.a. which is hardly the same. Apparently the Rev. Foster, who was friendly with my Father commented that my Dad would have enjoyed the irony of singing at his own funeral and I think he was right.

I do realise this is probably of no interest to my readers but, as I have said so many times here, this blog is as much for my own benefit as it is a travel document or the hopeful entertainment of others and so I am going to post a brief memorial to my late Father with two photographs. One of them is the last time I saw him when he was thankfully still vaguely coherent and I know I have used it before. My Father was a good horseman in his day and loved them, he seemed very happy that day which is a nice memory.

The other one is, I believe, the last known photo of my Dad which my brother took on a visit a few months ago. Because of this damned virus, my brother and sister in law had to stand on the lawn and try to have a conversation, a situation that was not exactly helped as the staff had lost one of his hearing aids. A most undignified shouting match apparently ensued, not a great position to be in.

Eric Campbell 09/11/1931 – 05/10/2020, RIP.

Of course I am not the only one in this position. My uncle Jackie sadly died about three months ago when Northern Ireland was under some sort of draconian lockdown. My Aunt had pre-deceased him, and two of his three children live in the USA and Germany respectively so that was never going to happen. However, my eldest cousin lives not 20 miles from the crematorium and was not even allowed to attend. The only people present were the minister and the undertaker’s men, I find that very sad. I would have made a trip home for that funeral as well as I was very fond of Jackie but………………..

I dread to think of what the ramifications of all this are going to be. I read the BBC news online a lot, let’s be honest I have little else to do, and I read yesterday that incidences of child abuse are tragically going through the roof. I dread to think of what is happening with the mental health of the world. I was talking to my mate in Sri Lanka per e-mail earlier today and she tells me the suicide rate in that country is going off the scale, it must be the same everywhere. None of this even touches the surface of the world’s economy which is going to be in tatters by the time this is over.

I doubt I shall ever be able to travel properly and independently again in my lifetime. In another BBC article I read that Australia may well close it’s borders until the end of 2021! I think what is the most galling thing is that this pandemic was, to a great extent preventable. No, this is not ex-President Trump speak, it was ably demonstrated by a respected journalist on a BBC flagship news programme (Carrie Gracey and Panorama respectively) a couple of months ago.

The CCP (Chinese Government) had been informed of animal to human transmission and the potential ramifications of that. They refused to lock down the epicentre as they were afraid of unrest in the face of the Chinese / lunar New Year. Instant pandemic and the world as we know it ended. Social media types reporting on it have disappeared and Doctor’s were threatened with arrest and jail if they mentioned the issue. Plus ca change!

Enough of this depression although it is difficult to throw it off. I suspect my travelling days are effectively over and I cannot see when I’ll ever be allowed to play a gig or Festival again. It doesn’t leave much really.

About the only thing I have to look forward to, and it is undoubtedly merely a pipedream, is a decent sized dinner party I am supposed to be catering for if I can ever get back to Sri Lanka. This is doubtful now with the pandemic and my recent medical history (who will give me travel insurance to fly with a history of DVT?). Myself and my friend sit and swap recipes and menu ideas all day. I think I am committed to about six courses so far for ten guests. No pressure then. Just to add to the culinary hurdles to be cleared most of the guests are veggies for religious reasons and I don’t generally do veggie, I like to eat dead animals as our earilest ancestors did, so that will be a bit of a challenge! Still, it is something to hang onto, I suppose.

Well, folks, that is about the sum total of what has been going on. I must say that putting this together has not been the trial I was expecting, I was really forcing myself and I am sure most of you are wondering why!

The next post will be the lengthy diatribe I had nearly completed and which shall continue the long story of my suddenly collapsed well-being. I have no idea how I abused my poor old carcass so badly for 59 years and seemed to be enjoying rude good health and then it all went belly up in the space of less than a year. Payback time I suppose.

That’s about all for now and I’ll resume my medical saga in the next post so stay tuned and spread the word.

Anyway, as always, stay tuned and spread the word.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there and welcome to my blog which is the last attempt of a retiree and child of the 50's to overcome advanced technophobia and create a memoir of my rambles having had three commercial travel blog sites pulled from under me in just over a year. A learning curve like Everest! I am rapidly approaching a senior citizen bus pass and realistically I have more days independent travelling behind me than before so I intend to "do it while I still can" and am trying to cram in as much as I can now. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and sport, although my active participation is now restricted to the very occasional game of pool. I read voraciously, probably a legacy from my dear late Mother who was a librarian and encouraged me towards books from an early age. I'll read just about anything although I do have a particular interest in military history of all periods. I live alone in fairly central London where I have been for over 30 years since leaving Northern Ireland which was the place of my birth, youth and early manhood. Partially by necessity although more by love of the art I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day. Nothing fancy and none of your nouvelle cuisine nonsense, just hopefully tasty, proper food. To my knowledge, I have not poisoned anyone yet! No doubt other little personal facts about me will emerge during the course of my writings here so stay tuned if you are at all interested.

15 thoughts on “Lockdown Diaries #11.”

  1. Welcome back! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, may your father rest in peace. This has been an incredibly difficult year giving each of us our own unique challenges, so be kind to yourself. I am really hoping the situation improves soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello again Marissa and thank you so much for your condolences, they are much appreciated.

      You are right, it has been an unprecedented year. There has probably been nothing like it for 100 years since the “Spanish ‘flu” (which was nothing to do with Spain!) killed about 50 million people just after the First World War.

      It is just so difficult to even attempt to be positive under these conditions, there just seems to be no end in sight. I hope you are safe and not suffering too much with all this nonsense.

      I hadn’t even checked wordpress for months until yesterday so I must check your site, I’ll bet there are some great recipes on there now.

      Thanks once again and we shall speak soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear about the deaths in your family Fergy. And I can well understand that things are quite depressing for you at the moment. I am of course also hurt travel wise and finacially by this. At least I have managed to get some work in market research, which is a field that I have previously worked in. But with a bit of luck, we have a vaccine coming by the end of the year. So if we are lucky, then borders should slowly start to reopen again, when we gat a little in to 2021. Hope to see you soon again mate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Claus, my friend,

      so good to hear from you again and thank you for your kind words. I know I shouldn’t really say this but my late Father is probably better off out of it. He was very well cared for in the nursing home but he really had no quality of life towards the end, he didn’t know who he was never mind anyone else.

      Funny, I was thinking about you a few days ago and wondering how you were coping. I knew your travel work was obviously on hold but I did not know you had another skillset to draw on that didn’t involve travel. I knew you had plenty of skillsets but I thought they were all centred round travel. I am glad you have at least got an income and you obviously have somewhere to stay which is good.

      I know I have heard talk in the media about a vaccine which is good if it works but you then have the problem of producing and administering billions of doses. It will be a mammoth task and the virus will just mutate and we’ll have to start all over again. It is pretty difficult to be positive now but I am trying. At least I have this blog and I certainly have more than enough material form old trips to write up!

      Thanks again, stay safe and hopefully we can meet up soon. Fancy another outing to the Zeppelin in Phnom Penh? That was some night!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Fergy! It’s wonderful to see you blogging again but I’m so sorry to read of the death of your father. It’s never easy to lose someone close but this is a particularly s**t time for it to happen. I do hope that maybe when this is all over his choir will be able to sing for him properly at some sort of memorial event.

    As to the rest, like Albert I hope you can find a way to feel more positive – not about the immediate future but maybe a little further down the line. I’m hoping we will be able to get together with the London VT crowd once larger groups can gather again, and eventually to arrange that Newcastle meet. Even if you find you can’t travel abroad, maybe abroad can come to you?

    In case you’re interested, one of my lockdown / semi-lockdown projects has been to start a blog of my own, with help and encouragement from Albert and Malcolm in particular. You can read my own ramblings at https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/ if you run out of other things to do!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Sarah,

      thanks so much for your kind words, they mean a lot coming from a good friend like you.

      As you say, it is difficult to be positive at this time as I really do not see this ending any time soon, I suspect nothing will have been changed by this time next year. We had a family re-union on my late Mother’s side planned for September which we have postponed until the same weekend next year but I shall be surprised if that even goes ahead.

      Don’t forget that the Justinian Plague initially lasted for eight years, killing between one third and one half of the population. It recurred for several centuries. I know medicine is much more advanced now but it is a worrying precendent as nothing seems to have changed except the death toll since it all started. I am surprised there has been absolutely no chat about it in news reports etc., I thought somebody would have picked up on it.

      Obviously, I shall be travelling as much as I can when I am allowed and there is still plenty of the UK I need to visit or re-visit even if I cannot go overseas but I can still get pretty far without flying. One of my great pipedreams was London – Singapore overland although I think that is unlikely now.

      Are you still planning the Euromeet for May, do you think it is feasible? Of course I’d love to attend if it is all possible. I promise to bring all my own meds and I’ll try not to end up in hospital!

      Thanks again and I am going t be all over your new blog like a rash. It is already in my favourites. Are you going to keep the other one going as well? I know you have put an awful lot of work into it and it would be a shame to let it slide. As you know I loved writing for VT and even blogspot when I had that going but there is something rather comforting about having your own site. I know that even in my wildest excesses I am never going to pull the rug from under myself!

      Thanks again for your condolences and we shall speak soon. Looks like neither of us are going to quit in the foreseeable!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to hear back from you Fergy 🙂 At least there’s some good news today about progress with the vaccine – that’s the thing we need to be able to get moving again!

        At the moment the Euromeet is still planned for May although I think even if we are able to go ahead there are members in some countries who wouldn’t be able to attend. I want to see how things are looking in the run-up to Christmas, when we see if the current lockdown has had any impact and maybe also have more news about the vaccine. If it’s looking iffy for May I will have to consider alternatives – postponing to 2023 (I wouldn’t want to bump DAO again), swapping years with DAO if Malta looks feasible but not England, maybe looking at later in 2021 if that would work for most members. One way or another I intend to hold a meeting in Newcastle – I just don’t know for sure when or how big!

        Thanks for the encouraging words about my new blog. Yes, I intend to keep up with TravellersPoint. I like being part of the community there, for one thing. I’ll probably use that for journals of my trips, much as I have been, while the new blog will be shorter travel anecdotes, snippets, ponderings and photography. I’m getting involved in some of the photo challenges that I’ve discovered in the ‘blogosphere’ which is rather fun! I do hope you like what you see when you check it out 🙂

        And here’s to being able to get together some time!


  4. Hi Fergy, good to see you back. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your father. May he rest in peace. I can understand how horrible it must have been that you could not even attend his funeral.

    In regards to the rest, please try to be more positive… easier said than done – the current situation has got to everyone. It will improve and you will travel and do all the other things you love again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Albert,

      it was not so much his death which wasn’t unexpected but not being able to go to his funeral got to me. You know as well as I do what a big deal it is where we come from. I hope you are keeping well, I know there have been several bad outbreaks in Aus. recently. Are you “confined to barracks” yourself or can you get out and about?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do indeed understand re not being able to get to a funeral.

        Just on Australia, as I think what was in the greater scheme of things a fairly minor outbreak in Melbourne has been blown out of all proportion by overseas media and leaders, let me give you a few facts.

        Australia has a population of around 26 million. Total covid cases from March to date have been 28,000 with 907 deaths. Of these 20,000, and 800 deaths were in the recent hit in Melbourne and they have now had 0 cases for 10 days in a row. While all cases and in particular deaths are awful our numbers are nothing in the greater scheme of things. In Canberra (popn 500,000) we have had I think 100 cases and three deaths. Outside overseas travel (which is banned by the government) and a dwindling number of internal travel restrictions life is pretty much back to normal for me … social distancing rules apply in restaurants etc but I can put up with that . No barracks for people outside Victoria/Melbourne for a long time .. we were in Barracks for I think it was six weeks, if even – very fortunate.

        In reality, though I have not seen numbers yet – and I suspect they would suppress them for now anyway – I would be pretty certain that the number dying from the flu this year would have been many thousands less than any other year so net gain.

        Of course, and I hasten to add, if we had not acted as we did when news of the virus was made public, as many countries that I need not name didn’t, we would be in a very different position then we are today.

        Take care and I am looking forward to your future missives on the net 🙂


        1. Hello again mate and thanks for the quick and comprehensive reply.

          You are right, the press were making quite a big deal out of it but another online friend of mine who lives u near Cairns (another ex-pat from Plymouth) tells me that her life has hardly been impacted at all except for restrictions on interstate travel which she didn’t do much of anyway as she has a small farm and has animals to look after. I think they banned the beach parties she used to love but that is about all.

          Interesting numbers there. I read yesterday that the country of our birth has just passed 1,000 deaths with a population of what? Two mill, give or take. I think you are doing pretty well, all things considered.

          Obviously you are helped by the relative low population density in such a vast place but you Government’s swift action has undoubtedly helped. Is it true they are debating keeping the international border closed until the end of 2021 or is that another media scare story. I have not checked it, I heard it from another online friend, I have no idea of the provenance of it.

          I am glad you are able to function more or less normally and, although I have not eaten out since this whole thing started, I don’t think “anti-social” distancing as I call it is necessarily a bad thing, I am not a huge fan of crowded restaurants.

          Are you still taking your lazy dog for “walkies” in the bike trailer? Talk about a pampered pooch! I really must check out your blog now I am back on here, I suspect you have been a damned sight more productive than me this last few months.

          Speak soon.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks Fergy, Your friend from Cairn’s experience would be more representative of the average person’s experience here, outside a few of the bigger cities.

            It is sad to see the numbers in NI.

            I think the reference to the relatively low population exaggerated .. of course if there are few people in an area then few will get it, naturally. Places like Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, China etc and specifically cities in these places are as or in many cases more densely populated than cities in Europe (incl the UK) and the US and these places have been significantly more successful in controlling the virus than the US and Europe (and sadly the UK) where other factors, not least poor leadership, have been been detrimental to its control.

            Alas my lazy dog passed away five years ago now but he had a good and long life so I can’t complain though I miss him immensely.

            I have had a good run on the blog after writing nothing for about six months but I am beginning to tire of it again . I don’t force myself to write – got to enjoy it otherwise it becomes a burden and we all have enough of those wothout adding to them!!!


          2. Hello again mate,

            I couldn’t agree more about the problems of leadership in various places not helping at the present time but I fear it was ever thus.

            I am so sorry about your pooch, that must have been a blow for you and I am sure you do miss him. No thoughts of getting another one?

            You are so right about forcing yourself to blog, that is a pointless exercise, it is meant to be enjoyable, not a chore. I have no idea how these “inluencers” (what an awful job description) do it all day, every day.

            Speak soon.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I had two dogs, Fergy… one died five years ago and the other just over a year ago now. Lucy the second one was 16 years old, Oscar a little younger when he died. We will get new dogs but not now as we would like to travel while still up to it. While we loved the dogs they are a big commitment and restrictive when it comes to travel.


          4. That is very true and I believe kennelling them costs an absolute fortune unless you have someone to dogsit them for you.

            Where would you think about travelling to once things calm down a bit?


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