Difference

Since going through menopause I’ve noticed a definite difference in the way perfumes smell on my skin. Old faithful fragrances find themselves out of favour these days as hormonal changes alter my ageing senses and shift my own subtle secretions so that what once smelled sweet now tends to sour slightly on my skin, musty and mouldering.

For too long I’ve been lamenting what I’ve lost instead of wondering what I might have gained by these new nuances of self. So perhaps I need a difference in my approach to match the new menopausal me? Forget the past and find new fragrances that fit my new life phase… Maybe even something bolder to suit my older years… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Difference

Who Indeed…

Who remembers the poor bloke from Hove who went on a sales conference in Singapore last January 2020, then went on a short ski-ing trip with his family in France, then flew home to the UK in early February and went to the pub, as you do, all before realising that while at the conference he had been in contact with a delegate from Wuhan, China…? So for two weeks he had just been getting on with his life, totally oblivious to the fact that he had been infected with Covid 19 and was inadvertently passing it on to others through his normal everyday social contact.

Remember this was all pre-lock-down, pre-pandemic – in fact pre- pretty much any understanding of the significance of the devastation this particular deadly coronavirus would have on the world. The papers all jumped on the story at the time and rather cruelly named him a ‘Super Spreader’ due to his asymptomatic status. I mean, it was cruel because the poor bloke did nothing wrong other than be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was the first Briton to be diagnosed with Covid. In February 2020. And remember he was asymptomatic, and unwittingly passed it on to several others.

So how come the UK Government claim that the reason they were (and still remain) so adamant in creating a national test and trace system that ONLY tests people with at least one of three main symptoms is that THEY WERE UNAWARE OF THE PREVALENCE OF ASYMPTOMATIC TRANSMISSION! Seriously guys, you’re the bloody Government! All you had to do was pick up a copy of any red-top tabloid back in February 2020 and they would have told you that there was clear evidence of under-the-radar transmission of the virus right from the very beginning – it was the very first case, widely reported in the usual sensational style.

But even now, one year on, if you go online to try to book a Covid test here in the UK it asks if you have at least one of three symptoms – fever, new continuous cough, and a change to your taste or smell. That’s it. If not that specific narrow selection of symptoms, or no symptoms at all, forget about it. Self-isolate if you think you’ve maybe been exposed, but officially we’re not interested in you. At all. No symptoms, no test. Yet when I caught Covid at the beginning of the year I’d already been feeling decidedly unwell for a few days before my strange sense of taste developed.

Headache, dizziness, ear-ache, sore throat – that’s how it started for me. I thought I might be coming down with flu. It was only around the fourth day when I had a strange metallic sensation in the back of my throat and developed a bit more of a cough than usual that I took a test. Things got a bit worse later on but I never did develop a fever. And had it not been for the lock-down imposed after Christmas I’d probably have been at work for those first few crucial days, so even with a mask and sanitiser and social distancing who knows how many people I might potentially have infected?

This virus has a two-week incubation period. Not everyone gets the same symptoms, and some people do not get any symptoms at all. Whether pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, if you don’t test the entire population to see how the land lies, you can’t possibly begin to control transmission. Lock-downs alone are not the answer, not without adequate testing and tracing too. Restrictions have to be there for a reason, to tackle the problem head on not just kick it down the road to be dealt with at a later date… Grrr…!

OK, enough of a corona-rant for today – and sorry for shouting, but really, at times Boris and his gang are the absolute limit! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Who

Scottish Parliamentary Elections

This year we’re going to be holding Scottish Parliamentary Elections on 6th May – there have been two local elections since we moved up from London 18 months ago, but this is our first ‘big’ election since living in Scotland again.

We’ve already had our voting cards arrive in the post, and a useful Government leaflet explaining the whole Scottish Parliamentary election process, but so far only one candidate flyer has dropped through out letterbox. Hopefully we’ll be getting some more through soon or we’ll have absolutely no idea who’s actually going to be running in the election, and so who to vote for!

There’s been a right stooshie lately – no, probably more of a stramash – relating to the way the Scottish Government have (mis)handled a lengthy investigation into past allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the previous Scottish National Party First Minister, leading last week to a failed Parliamentary vote of no confidence in the current Scottish National Party First Minister.

Hmmm… Not exactly setting a good example of a strong and stable leadership, having such serious squabbles at such a high level of Government just a few weeks before an election – recently it’s been far more of an ongoing soap opera saga within the highest echelons of the Scottish Parliament than pedestrian politicians on the ground doing their usual pre-election propaganda stuff.

I suppose we’ll just have to see how it all plays out in the ballot box locally and nationally in about six weeks’ time… 🙂

PS A stooshie is a row or a fracas, whereas a stramash causes more of a commotion and uproar!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Run

Caledonian Canal: Clachnaharry Sea Lock

One of my favourite walks close to home in Inverness is to tramp along to the very end of the Caledonian Canal where it finally meets the sea at Clachnaharry Sea Lock. I’m a creature of habit so walk here a lot, sometimes with my camera and sometimes just my phone, and tend to take very similar photographs every time I go. I’d really struggle to choose a favourite image out of all I’ve ever taken because I genuinely love them all in different ways. The scenery remains pretty much the same every time, but the weather changes along with the seasons and the tides. This morning it was dry and cloudy with intermittent sunny spells but OMG it was really windy – my hair was whipping about in all directions and was in knots when I got home! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Starts with ‘Cal’

Photo A Week Challenge: All About the Scenery

One Year On…

Amazing to think it’s been a full year since the Covid pandemic started to bite, devouring reality as we knew it and restricting and restructuring our lives in previously unimaginable ways… For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda wants us to write about our last year…

I know it’s already Sunday not Saturday but yesterday I just felt struck dumb – what to write? Somehow I can’t quite find the words to convey the enormity of what’s happened over these past twelve months, and of what’s not happened. So much to say – too much to say – sentence upon sentence backing up one on top of the other all ready to be let loose, and yet still a page of silence sits glaringly empty, waiting to be filled.

So I try to make some sense out of the random whirlwind thoughts whizzing around inside my head but the only sound I can hear clearly is wave after wave of whooshing white noise, interspersed with that fuzzy faraway in-and-out interference we used to get back in the old days when we tuned in a radio with a large fat dial and didn’t quite hit the right spot. It’s all there, tantalisingly close, but talking in tongues.

Maybe this is just something I can’t write about off the cuff in a stream of consciousness format? Maybe it’s something I need to break down into smaller ideas to be able to process it all properly? Maybe I just need to stop there, and come back to it later when I’ve thought it through some more…

Honesty

I meant to pick some of the tallest and strongest Honesty from my garden, to arrange it in a vase and keep it long-term, but yet here it is still gracing the flower bed at the end of February, its delicate papery grey seed pods lifting the heavy dull greens and browns of winter… I’m just so delighted to have it growing in my garden, so glad it comes back year after year… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: ‘sty’

Truth and Consequence

Yeah I know, I’m a whole day late with answering this prompt, but lock-down-limbo time plays impish tricks on me and I struggle sometimes to remember to get my days right. But I figured it probably doesn’t matter all that much in the grander scheme of things right now – and as it happens I’ve got far more of an idea today about what I want to write than I had yesterday…

So I’ve had all sorts of frustrated thoughts and feelings floating around in my head since hearing the disappointing but entirely expected outcome of the US Senate Impeachment ‘trial’ of the man-who-would-be-king. Acquittal. Again. Seriously, what an absolute farce of political posturing is that particular partisan example of ‘due process’. Thankfully there were seven brave Republican Senators who put their own moral conscience above toeing the party line by voting along with the Democrats to convict the former President.

But what about the rest? However clever the other 43 renegade Republican Senators think they’ve been in completely side-stepping the issue by using their triumphant-if-tenuous get-out-of-jail card to pretty much say – well yeah we know he did it but he’s not in power any more so we’re letting him off on a technicality – rest assured the rest of the world saw what happened on the day, and what has transpired since the insurrection, and we all know what we heard and saw without needing anyone to provide us with a carefully-edited alternative version of an otherwise obvious truth.

So whatever poor-me ‘witch-hunt’ narrative Trump’s followers choose to present in wily weasel words the whole world saw it all unfold live on TV in real time, backed up on countless social media platforms. Trump lied to the American people, because he lost that election fair and square. He lied and he lied and then he lied some more, just to make sure. Because the only potential ‘steal’ to be stopped was clearly being perpetrated by him. He and his henchmen deliberately whipped up a perfect storm based on perpetuating that basic lie and let it loose to go spinning off to do its stuff, come what may.

Outside of America, Trump’s infamous bad-loser legacy will inevitably go down in world history as a bad example of deluded demagoguery, a disgraceful and embarrassing autocratic abuse of power in a supposedly world-leading democratic country. Inside of America? Well, for now how that plays out in the long term remains to be seen. Will the Republican Party reclaim the right to its own name and regain its moral compass, or will it continue down the slippery slope of selling its soul to a slick snake-oil salesman?

But whatever happens across the pond post-Trump be in no doubt – the former self-styled Emperor has only imaginary clothes to cover his shame, and however many times he and his lawyers and the myopic members of the not-so-grand-old-party-any-more tell us how wonderfully appropriately he is dressed, we’ve all got eyes in our heads and can clearly see the naked truth evident below the grandiose fabrication of alternative facts draped so defiantly in layer upon layer of illicit lies…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Above/ Below

Six Nations Rugby

We sat and watched the first two matches of the 2021 Six Nations Rugby on TV today. There were no spectators present due to Covid restrictions but ambient atmospheric sound was played which mimicked the noise of a crowd, and it worked surprisingly well.

The first match was France against Italy played in Rome, and France won as expected but by a hugely ridiculous number of points – 50-10 – so the outcome was easily predictable early on. The second game played later was Scotland against England at Twickenham (England’s home ground) where minimal points were scored overall, but oh, what a surprising match that turned out to be!

This particular clash of UK nations was an important match as it marked 150 years since Scotland first played England at rugby for the historic Calcutta Cup – and just for the record Scotland last won against England at Twickenham in 1983, so one way or another there was a lot of national pride riding on the outcome for both sides.

And amazingly for us, Scotland ran rings around England for once and won the match 11-6, although the low points score belies the enjoyment of the game. I’m not usually one for flags and national pride and all that patriotic stuff but I must admit I love singing the national anthem at the beginning of the game, and it does feel good to have a really good reason to feel proud of your country, even if it is just because of a sporting competition.

So I don’t actually own a Scottish flag to wave, but if I did have one, I’d have waved it tonight because for once, we did well in something! Woo-hoo! Roll on Ireland against Wales tomorrow… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Flag

What is Important

For this week’s Stream of Conscious Saturday prompt Linda wants us to open the nearest book or paper or whatever, close our eyes and point, and write about whatever word we land on. Hmmm… OK… so the nearest thing to me is a brown envelope sitting on the coffee table that arrived in the post this morning. It contains a public information leaflet from the Scottish Government and relates to the current Covid vaccination programme.

Close my eyes, open to a page and point… and the word I land on is ‘important’… OK, here goes nothing…

Covid seems to be everywhere just now. I mean, not just the virus itself of course but the dire consequences of it all, lockdowns and restrictions and facemasks and constant hand cleaning and the drastic effects on the economy and society and families and individuals and… well… just about everything. And with so many negative issues surrounding this pandemic it’s hard to look on the bright side but one thing that has become ultra-clear to me over the last year is my view on what is really important in life.

What was before a dream-like, fuzzy, amorphous idea that kept half-coming forward before being pushed to the back of my mind due to the ongoing business (and the sheer busyness) of ‘normal’ everyday life has suddenly come into sharp focus with dramatic effect. What is most important to me in life is the people I love. Knowing they are OK. Making time for them. Seeing them in person. Hugging them, holding them, touching them, and being hugged and held and touched in return.

That’s it, that’s all I have to say right now, that’s what is most important to me in life… the people I love most who love me too ❤