Last Tuesday I woke up thinking how uneventful my life has become. I had my breakfast, did a little light housework – very light indeed to be honest- and searched for my book. Never got round to reading it because my husband decided that his detached retina had reattached itself sufficiently for us to risk a flight abroad.
No chance. The phone rang My son. Sky TV had contacted him trying to get in touch with me! He gave me the phone number and I rang them. They were inviting me to do an interview about my position on the sacking of staff in care homes. I’d written a letter to a newspaper and there had been a couple of follow up articles and telephone interviews. Now I was going to be on telly. How exciting. Adrenalin pumped away. I got dressed (ever so carefully) put on my warpaint and rushed for the train. They sent a car for me the other end and within the hour I was there sitting on a bench with my glasses off ( a first for me in sixty years) and answering the interviewer’s questions. Then I had to walk through the garden ( the interview was outside, hence no dark glasses) and it was all over.
On Thursday I was sent a copy of the interview. About thirty seconds of it, but better than nothing!
So far so good. Stressful but pleasantly so.
Then back in London I began to search for where to do a PCR test. What a minefield. I thought I would go with a reputable firm. I went to my local Superdrug. No. You have to go online. Ok, I thought and went to Boots. Same story. But I still had other things to do before I went home and back onto the computer. I could go online from my phone. I went to Hammersmith. I’d read they do the tests there. They don’t. They told me to go to Gloucester Road .
Meanwhile I thought I’ll pop into 02 and get my phone looked at.
What a silly thing to do at that point. The very helpful girl changed my sim card. And only then told me it would take up to 24 hours to activate. I could have screamed. Now I was really stuck
I thought I’d go to High Street Kensington. I took the tube. Direct train. Brilliant. And then the irritations started. Change at Earl’s Court. Incident on the line. I changed at Earl’s Court. This train is changing destination. I got off at Gloucester Road. I found Boots. The Hammersmith one had assured me that Gloucester Road did PCR tests But they did not. So quite fed up I had to get to High Street Kensington after all. I took a bus. I got to Boots. Exhausted.
Yes we do PCR tests. But you have to book on line. I was near to tears by this point and said I can’t until I get home but please please will you make me an appointment. She looked at me very askance. But did. I went on my way.
I found another O2. Please can you do something with my phone. Before, I couldn’t get Wi-fi. Now I can’t even make calls. This time a very young looking boy changed my SIM card several times. But nothing doing. I still had to wait apparently.
I am generally quite a patient person but now I was getting worried. I couldn’t get through to anyone.
I was beginning to really hate the fact that I am so dependent on the magic of instant communication. No waiting for the plop of the envelope on the doormat anymore. You think, you text, you send and you receive. And I was bereft and frustrated.
I went home and started booking on line. Finally success. I booked my test. I paid a small fortune. Then I remembered I had to book day two of return PCR test to do at home. I managed. Even uploading passport details. I filled in everything and paid. And immediately I pressed the pay now button I realised I had filled in my husband’s form with the wrong details. I screamed. I tried ringing customer services They told me they were available but didn’t have anyone to answer the phone. Recorded message. I screamed again. I wrote an email asking what should I do. I’m still waiting for the answer.
I rang a friend. She was brilliant and calmed me down I could do no more at that point.
Friday. Test day. The boiler man was due. Again I hadn’t been able to reschedule him because no one was answering the phone. So I waited, wondering what I would do if he didn’t leave in time for me to get to my appointment. The first minor miracle of the week: he came, he looked at the boiler. All good. He left. I went to get my PCR test. My heart was in my mouth all the way in case anything went wrong. Minor miracle number two. I was seen, poked in my throat and nose. Yuk, and sent on my way.
Meanwhile an older lady had mislaid her husband. Consternation all round for a while. Boots staff all very helpful. Suddenly a very dapper old man stormed in. Where have you been? to his wife… relief all round. Minor miracle no 3
I thought I’d go back to 02 My phone was still not working. The same young man dealt with me. This time he was very thorough. Everything was fixed. I told him I would come back screaming if it didn’t last. He looked confidently into my eyes and said, you won’t be back. It all works. What an angel. Minor miracle no four.
I went home. I found out how to edit the PCR home test form. Minor miracle no five.
And then the stress of waiting for the result. Have I got covid? Will the result come back in time? It did. And I don’t. Minor miracle no 6.
And then in the evening the filling out of the airline forms. By this time we were both at the ends of our tether. Gone are the days of just buying a ticket.
Yet we succeeded. I am now writing this in the very delayed plane going to Palma de Mallorca. Delayed because of storms. Storms??? It will be a minor miracle indeed if we get there. Luckily, I’m an optimist.
Yesterday, Sunday, was a major miracle day. We were in an Uber going to a friend’s for lunch. The car dropped us the wrong end of the street. I went to get my phone to ring and ask where should we be. My phone was not in my bag.
My heart sank, the tears began to flow, when suddenly a car drove up. Our cab. With another passenger who had been persuaded to wait while our driver found me to return my phone. You can imagine the relief! Major miracle indeed.