What a lockdown-easing delight of a weekend. Like thousands of others in Scotland, I came finally face-to-face (but nae too close) to my nearest and dearest, after three months of virtual contact.
Like many I’m not entirely sure our foot should come off the lockdown pedal here and now. Scientists are saying no, grimly aware a second wave of infection could be on the horizon.
But Boris, desperate to distract us from wayward aide Dominic Cummings, couldna wait to announce big concessions in England for Monday, including schools re-opening, and the weekend saw masses south of the border hit beaches and parks in shoulder-to-shoulder droves ahead of their deadline.
Oor nippy sweetie Nicola has mair sense. No classes until August and deffo “mind how ye go” when meetin’ yer ain folk.
And so on Sunday afternoon my grand Toots exploded into my garden. Sun out and hot. Their mum and dad got to filling the paddling pool. My nearly six-year-old wee man came up to the distance he’s learned and said: “It’s nice to be back, Nana. Have you still got the apples I like?” That was me, tears prickin’.
So wanted a cuddle but kept hearing Nippy Nic in my lug. (By the by, is my bairn the only one who, when asked if he wants a treat, requests a Pink Lady? As he announced at home last week: “Someone needs to go to Tesco because there’s no fruit.”)
Out with the paddling pool, 20-minute-heat-up, super-efficient disposable barbecue (why hassle with the heatin’ up and scapin’ oot o’ a real one?) and an afternoon of perfect, socially-distanced fun. But it was a different, stressed-oot Mo the next day – week two of my Mallorca (holiday in September) diet weigh-in with my pal.
How much did I regret gorging into the delish burgers, sausages, potato salad and coleslaw? (I’d vowed to put the burger between super-slimming lettuce leaves but fell at the first hurdle – eat-me Glasgow rolls.) That’s me, willpower personified.
Every morning, we Messenger each other to declare the goodies we’ve resisted and the calorie-bustin’ meals we’ve devised and consumed the day before. Every Monday is our simultaneous virtual weigh-in.
On she steps and declares: “Sh… urely not (she never swears) only one flaming pound!” Folks, I’m ashamed to admit I emitted a silent: “Yess!” secure in the knowledge I’d beaten her for the second week. Then I tip-toed onto my brand new, digital, highly calibrated scales. You’re havin’ a laugh… can’t be right.
Stepped off then on to re-re-calibrate. One pathetic, sodding pound. Her total in two weeks, four pounds. Mine (who’s loads more to shed) a piffling six pounds. Little more than the weight of a small sock.
That’s been without my adored butter, Coke, beer, custard slices, mini trifles, bread, tatties, cheese, meat, biscuits and (most of) my wine for two weeks. Help!
Delicious ices left me with bitter taste in my mouth
Just joined one of those Facebook groups about being brought up in Rosemount. Pictures and stories about the great people and places way back in the mists of our memories.
Among the many shops remembered, no one has yet mentioned the sweetie mannie’s place near the top of Argyll Place, where he made his own delicious, red ice lollies – our after-school treat.
When I came out in a rash of about the same colour, wonderful Dr Walker (just doon the road a bittie) – no allergy testing in those days – was quick to declare I’d developed a galloping allergy to them. Shame.
Pandemic a chance for system revamp
If anything good comes out of the pandemic, it must be a revamp of our care system. Many years ago, my father and mother endured appalling times in places which appeared excellent when I went to view them but – in reality – were the last anyone would want for loved ones.
Things haven’t improved. More recently, a relative was in a “care” home which charged thousands a month. We persuaded him it would be like living in a top hotel. How wrong we were. When I complained the minibus for days out was non-existent, the manager said it was awful and suggested I write to the owners, who had stopped it. To increase profits.
I am terrified I might end up in one of those places, having to sell my house to shell out huge payments. I would be delighted if I were being treated to the very best. Indeed there are homes which provide the tender loving care and comfort these vulnerable people need.
But too many fall short of the standards set out, in spite of the efforts of dedicated, sorely-pressed staff.
Some private companies pay rock-bottom wages and skimp on conditions and services to rake in profits.
Ironically, those who have died in such tragic numbers in homes deserved even better medical care than the free NHS. They were paying tens of thousands for it.