…I am in one of the those ‘little boy in the Emporer’s new clothes’ moods where I am screaming “listen all, Covid 19 is a political pandemic, the world has gone mad, don’t be afraid, don’t panic about anything, the more stress and cortisol you reap in your body the more you will be affected by everything, even toothache… don’t be fearful, this is NOT normal what is happening, wearing masks isn’t normal, just stop and think, don’t read the news, don’t listen to the media” but nobody will listen to me anyway, I can carry on, but then I may be attacked and called a ‘nut job’ and I’ll have to accept that with grace. It will take years to repair the psychologial damage of this Politial Pandemic. Poor Liz, she’s a bit bonkers. So, I will be a nut, doing it’s job and the nut job went on holiday and here is how it went.
To celebrate my shielding advice for 1st August (i.e no longer necessary because the sun turned one day), I took the first flight out of Gatwick at 5.55am. Ariving in Corfu at 11am. From the half filled plane load, I seemed to be the only one to be dragged off for testing. I don’t think it was a proper test, I asked the Dr not to hurt me and could my daughter take a photo and she did and he didn’t. He just waggled a stick about in my mouth and I never heard anymore about it. At the same time the Dr was waggling, my phone rang. Eager to hear our taxi driver Nikos’s voice, I was surprised to see the call was coming from Turo in Cornwall. I nearly didn’t answer it and then remembered that my son is in Falmouth, he is at uni there, having lots of fun and thinking similarly to me re CV. He also should be writing his CV to get a job, there are jobs in Falmouth apparently as half of Britian are holidaying there.
“I’m okay,” he said, sounding not okay
“I’ve just arrived in Corfu, I’m having a covid test, what’s going on?”
“I couldn’t remember Dad’s number. I’m in hospital. I fell off a roof.”
My son is lucky to be a alive, he landed on concrete on his feet, he got away with stitches in his head and a few weeks on crutches (bring on insomnia and dreams of falling off buildings for the entire holiday). On arrival at our wonderful accomodaton in Pelekas, where I have been staying for over 35 years, we met with old friends. A few hours later of stress and worry and phone calls to many people, and my son’s Dad – we sorted what was to be done. At the point where I thought I could begin to enjoy my holiday, I slipped over water on the floor outside the toilet, re stessing my meniscus scarring which meant I could hardly walk, MS is bad enough, each step is fully meditated and I actually can’t walk wearing a fucking mask, and I can’t hear people either because I lip read a lot, stop Liz, get back to the holiday (I’ve always wondered why I never knew the colour of all my boyfriend’s eyes).
The following morning we decided to hire a car for 3 days (we were only there for 6 because our original flight got cancelled, in cohoot with Covid shielding probably, stop Liz), and just before we went to pick it up, my husband realised he had forgotten his licence. Nondes, who knows us, let him have a scooter to help ferry us all to the beach etc. I had also forgotten how difficult the dynamics between three teenage girls might be. Ho hum. And then the storm came down, very unusual for rain in August there. It passed over and everything dried out and we celebrated Belguim Spiros 50th birthday, his big party had been cancelled, we made up a few numbers. I don’t know Spiros well but I do now, Pelekas is like that. He bought lots of B52’s.
On a half empty Pelekas beach I was pleased to find Yannis bar (Yannis is about 90 now) was alive and kicking and serving the best and cheapest food and drinks. His very young wife Sonya was wearing a mask and tending to his poor toe which is doing that overlapping thing, it looked nasty. The nasty, isaw of a chain hotel the otherside of the beach was closed. Good, lets hope sprouting olive trees disturb its foundations and claim back their space. I made another new friend who was doing his rehab there. We’ve been facebook friends for years but I’d never met him. He was 11 days in and doing well. More friends were arriving as we were leaving. I was very excited to find that the new bar they have just built in Corfu airport is called Bentley’s. Finally, to top off the holiday in style, at Gatwick, my daughter left her passport on the plane. It is lost and we were the last to get out of Gatwick that night, like Nondes, our very lovely taxi driver, Ahmed, waited for us but berated his boss because he said he really shouldn’t be taking the five of us.
Remember: Mask mask and Screens screen …. I need a holiday now.
Here is another poem I wrote when I went to Pelekas the day after my mother’s funeral, Gatwick features in it too, making it even more relevant for this blog.
The Lilo of Double Standards
I had a holiday booked when my mother was dying
She had days to live, it was just over a week I was due flying
I rang the funeral directors but they were unable to book
She had to be dead first, but they did have a look
At the diary where a bank holiday appeared
My mother had to die that day
Or I would not get to go away
The thunderstorm stopped her heart
Crematorium – Terminal – her depart
Gatwick – North Terminal – my depart
Twenty four hours it took to book
My dad with Alzheimer’s got out his check book
My sister was pleased, she had to get back to Wales
To her husband working on the farm
Before he did any self-harm
The funeral went quick and well
I necked back the whiskey and danced til the last bell
The next day I stepped into the Ionian Sea
And grieved on the lilo of double standards