The lost summer: catching Covid is the final straw

This should have been the summer of the new normal, when we finally put the pandemic behind us, got on with life and had some fun (ah yes, fun, I remember that…I had some once!) Only it hasn’t worked out like that. Describing the last few weeks as “the lost summer” may sound melodramatic, but although there have been a few highlights – the Burning Man sculpture trail, for example, and our visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park – overall I’m left with a nagging sense of regret for what might have been.

Wardrobe woes last for weeks

The project to replace our bulky freestanding wardrobe and sundry other old, tired pieces of furniture with a suite of new fitted units in a splendidly redecorated bedroom should have taken just five or six days. In the event it ended up taking five weeks. Five miserable weeks during which we camped out in the spare bedroom with our clothes and various other possessions scattered chaotically throughout the rest of the house! Five tedious weeks when we waited at home expectantly, day after day, hoping something would happen, only to find nothing ever did.

Our woes began when we decided this wardrobe needed replacing!

Don’t get me wrong. Now that the job is complete we’re pleased with our new bedroom. It looks great, and we’re pleased we had it done. But although the destination has proved agreeable, the journey was an unmitigated nightmare. Never again!

Hot! Hot! Hot! Temperature records tumble

Once the bedroom project was done we were determined to get out and about, to escape into the local countryside and relax a bit. But it didn’t turn out that way, courtesy of climate change. There are those who claim climate change is fake news, the invention of mad scientists or duplicitous politicians. Now, some scientists may be mad and many politicians are clearly duplicitous, but here’s the thing guys: climate change is real, as we were reminded to our cost a few weeks ago.

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Raphael Wild on Unsplash

Pretty much immediately after the bedroom was finally fixed, climate change flexed its muscles and the UK was hit by an unprecedented heatwave. Records tumbled like the walls of Jericho, and we spent our days indoors, hiding from the sun and emerging only late in the evening to water the tomatoes and the beans. Mrs P and I are not built for hot weather, and having fun was out of the question. Our ambitions extended no further than desperately trying to stay cool.

What a waste, but on the other hand what was the alternative?

The final straw – Covid catches up with us at last!

All things must pass, and so it was that eventually the torrid temperatures gave way to something less unbearable. At last, an opportunity to escape the house! Just a few days after the heatwave broke, Mrs P spent a morning at a craft workshop, indulging in a hobby that has been an important part of her retirement. Unfortunately, one of her fellow crafters must have been suffering from Covid, and a couple of days later so was Mrs P. And just 48 hours after, I was showing all the symptoms too!

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Ever since the pandemic started we’d been cautious, behaved responsibly and avoided unnecessary risks. Mr and Mrs Platypus are also known as Mr and Mrs Sensible. Boring we may be, but the aim was always to stay healthy and enjoy the benefits that good health brings.

Of course it could have been worse, much worse. We have lived to tell the tale, after all. And, thankfully, we’ve now tested clear and are feeling quite a lot better. Although we’re not yet firing on all cylinders, there’s no indication so far that “long Covid” has got its claws into us. But it was bad enough while it lasted, which was nearly two weeks. Two weeks of wearying, aching, cough-crazy self-isolation, confined to Platypus Towers when we should have been out enjoying ourselves.

Worst of all, probably, was the impact on our sense of taste and smell. It wasn’t that we were unable to taste anything at all, but rather that everything tasted wrong and a lot of it tasted horrible. Mrs P and I both enjoy cooking, and during our two weeks with Covid we had plenty of time to devote to culinary endeavours. But what would have been the point, given that everything we prepared tasted like an unfortunate accident in a badly-run food warehouse?

IMAGE CREDIT: dronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Realistically, I suppose it was inevitable Covid would catch up with us in the end. That, after all, is the nature of a pandemic – the disease is everywhere and one day your luck runs out, however careful you may be. And I suppose we should be grateful: in the two years since Covid first hit the variants of the virus have become less serious, and the vaccinations we have had may also have helped reduce the severity of our symptoms.

The good news is that, finally, Covid is behind us. We’re doing our best to make up for lost time, but the last few months still feel like the lost summer.

* * * * *

Postscript, 10 August: I drafted this post a few days ago in a spirit of hope and expectation, immediately after we tested clear of Covid. Since then, however, a second horrible heatwave has descended upon this sizzling nation, and once again we are stuck indoors, hiding from the sun.

And we both continue, in our different ways, to feel below par, not seriously sick but definitely a trifle unwell. Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe it’s the after-effects of Covid. Or a combination of the two? Who knows? But whatever the cause, I’d like to put on record here that I’ve had enough. Roll on, winter!

Update, 16 August: Well, at least the heatwave is beginning to lose its venom, but an official drought has been declared in this – and many other – parts of the country. Our rivers and reservoirs are running dry, and the measly amount of rain that’s fallen in the past 24 hours won’t even begin to sort out the problem. This is a summer I’d dearly like to forget, but sadly I don’t think that will happen any time soon. Woe is me!

One of the new fitted units in the bedroon. Never again!

.

36 comments

  1. Laurie Graves · August 17

    Gosh oh gosh! So very sorry that you both got COVID. Darned thing. Then, the dreadful heatwave. We’ve had it in Maine, too. A real scorchah, as we Mainers would say. Dreadful. Not sure what to say about climate change deniers. What the heck! Glad the renovations are done. The new unit is so sleek and pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      We’ve had plenty of time to appreciate the new units in the last few weeks. Our bedroom is on the cool side of the house, facing north, so we’ve retreated there during the heatwave, particularly when Covid exhaustion has demanded that we have a lie down for an hour or two. What a summer!

      Like

  2. Ms. Liz · August 17

    Sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough time.. one thing after another like that. Surely things can only get better now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      Thank you, Liz. We’ve tried hard to cultivate a positive mental outlook in the face of all that’s happened this summer. It’s not been easy, but we’re not going to let it get us down (honest!). One day, hopefully, I’ll re-read my post about this summer’s misfortunes and laugh 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thelongview · August 17

    Hey, me too! Get really well soon! The bedroom at least looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      Thank you. We are doing our best to remain positive. At least the heatwave has broken (catching Covid in the middle of an unprecedented heatwave is no joke!) and, as I write this, some much-needed rain is falling.

      Like

  4. Paddy Tobin · August 17

    Unfortunately, I’m in the perfect position to empathise with you as, except for the wardrobe episode, we have had an almost exact mirror experience. It has truly been a horrible summer – Covid, heatwave and the loss of opportunities to get out and about, to meet with family etc etc and, like you, we have lived the very cautious lifestyle – over two and a half years of ordering the weekly groceries online with delivery to our gate etc etc, no social contacts except earlier this summer when we began to meet some people in an outdoor setting. All our precautions were finally breached after a weekend when two sons and families came to visit – all tested and clear before the visit but that, obviously, proved insufficient. We can only make the most of whatever opportunities come out way – head out again for you days out, your visits to interesting places. It would seem that, following the infection, you now have an especially high level of protection against further infection for some time – so go mad! LOL, of course, I don’t mean that but go and do some things to enjoy yourself. In the meantime, I shall keep my fingers crossed as I have a company coming to measure up two fireplace alcoves for shelving!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      Thank you, Paddy, for such a long and thoughtful message. I’m sorry to learn that you too have been laid low by the vile virus. Wretched, isn’t it.

      In about 90 minutes we are due to drive into town to catch a train to Birmingham, where we have tickets for a show that we were originally due to see in 2020. It has twice been postponed due to Covid, but is now definitely happening. Catching Covid has dented our confidence, and over the last few days we have been actively debating over whether or not to go ahead with our trip. But I’m pleased to say we reached the same conclusion as you, that we need to take any reasonable opportunities that present themselves. If we don’t go today, Covid will have won the psychological battle and we’ll be its prisoners for evermore. So we will go, and have some fun for a few hours!

      Your fireplace alcoves project sounds good. I hope it works out for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin · August 17

        Enjoy the show!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · August 18

        We did, thank you! The auditorium was packed, as were the trains and the pub in which we had lunch before the show. No doubt the virus was circulating all around us most of the day, but I’m glad we took the risk and had a good day out.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Thistles and Kiwis · August 17

    Sorry you have had Covid….we had it here in July during a week of awful weather (after all it is winter here). And I hope you are enjoying your new wardrobe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      Thank you. Hopefully you are now fully recovered. The wardrobe and other bedroom units are great (the photo shows only one of many) but I still haven’t learned exactly where all my clothes have been stored. One day, hopefully…

      Like

  6. Steve Gingold · August 17

    Well, if things come in threes then you should be in the clear with 1/3 of summer still remaining. We experienced two of your three with the heat and Covid. Despite two vaxxes and two boosters we both got it but because of those four shots it was more like a tough summer cold. But, it was my vacation week.
    Glad that your bout with the virus has passed. We are experiencing quite a drought as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 17

      I’ll gladly settle for 1/3 of the summer, much better than no summer at all. I always feel cheated getting ill in summer. I kind of accept that I’ll get ill at some point in the winter – that seems like the natural order of things – but illness in summer seems so much worse, so unfair. Anyway, I’m feeling pretty good today so I’ll try to have some fun. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yeah, Another Blogger · August 17

    This pandemic is incredible. People right and left — I’m referring to those who are fully vaccinated and fully boosted — are getting Covid nonetheless. It’s a troubling situation, and doesn’t bode well for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 18

      Troubling indeed. A couple of days ago our government approved a new booster vaccine, one that protects both against Omicron and the original (Wuhan) strain. They say it’s a ‘world first’ and sounded quite confident that it will help (but can we ever believe politicians?) It seems that these vaccinations aren’t going to stop the virus spreading, but if they further reduce the severity of the symptoms it’s a development to be welcomed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. June’s Travels · August 17

    Sorry to hear you both had COVID. It looks like difficult to avoid Omicron for its fast spreading rate. On the bright side, the symptoms from Omicron are much softer than Delta mutations two years ago. From what I read, it caused more upper respiratory (flu like) symptoms. Enjoy the rest of cooling down summer (we had the same situation) and your new wardrobe. I enjoy reading your blogs with British humor😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 18

      Thank you, June. It’s good to know you like my British humour – not all of your fellow citizens “get” British humour, but I don’t know any other way! A couple of days ago our government approved a new Covid booster vaccine, one that protects both against Omicron and the original strain. They say it’s a ‘world first’ and sounded quite confident that it will help, but we will see. Meanwhile, I hope you and your family continue to dodge the virus. Please say ‘hi’ to Calie and Oreo from their British admirer 😺

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In subtropical Queensland we are experiencing our coldest winter on record. Your summer hadn’t been a write-off : the wardrobe is gorgeous! Here’s to Autumn🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. T Ibara Photo · August 18

    Hello Mr. P,
    So very sorry to hear that both you and Mrs P had COVID – despite being very cautious for all these years. As has already been mentioned, it seems almost inevitable, even when the “correct” precautions are taken. We are hoping that you will be fully recovered and feeling better as soon as possible.
    The brutal summer has been another global phenomenon. My husband and I painfully empathize with you, as we too had the worst summer in terms of deadly heat and humidity. (Even for Japan, which is notorious for having brutal summers, this was the absolute worst…) We also empathize how frustrating it is, being forced to have limited interactions and opportunities to go out and about.
    Keeping hope that the remainder of the summer will be a bit more bearable for all of us.
    (Hope Milky Bar is managing to stay safe and cool too).

    Warm wishes,
    Takami

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 18

      Hi Takami. The weather seems to have gone crazy all across the globe this year. I’d heard that Japan has been suffering badly and feel your pain! Humidity on the scale you’ve had to endure is horrible, and is so exhausting. Hopefully conditions are improving and you and your husband are feeling more comfortable than earlier in the year. Milky Bar has spent much of the summer seeking out patches of shade in our garden where he can doze peacefully without getting too hot. But yesterday morning we had some welcome rain and he loved it. I’ve never before met a cat that likes rain as much as Milky Bar, and he spent 30 happy minutes letting it soak his fur coat before he finally moved off to find some cover. What a cat! 😺
      Best wishes to you and your husband from me, Mrs P, Milky Bar and his pal Malteser.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. blhphotoblog · August 18

    You have my sympathies Mr P.
    We have avoided the dreaded lurgie (so far) though friends have fallen foul. Apart from my trips to the drag racing I keep well away from folk if possible.
    The heat was just too much. Like you we have been renovating for months so thought “great summer is here, let’s get out”, step outside and ‘wham’ step back inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 18

      Good to know you’ve stayed clear of Covid so far. Hopefully the autumn will be more comfortable and we’ll both be able to get out into the countryside a bit more, dodging both the heat and the virus.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Carol Ann Siciliano · August 22

    Ugh. I join the well-wishing for you and Mrs. P. You so aptly (and sadly) reminded us of all the things that are out of whack. And that makes your other (more pleasant) adventures so important. I’m glad you’re getting back out there.

    And I appreciate your wry sense of humor amidst all that unpleasantness. This line about your cooking tasting “like an unfortunate accident in a badly-run food warehouse” had me laughing out loud. Thank you for being you, throughout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 23

      Thank you for your kind words, Carol Ann. I naïvely believed that, once I had tested clear of the virus, things would be “back to normal”. But it hasn’t worked out like that. Each day is different: one day I can feel pretty good, and the next I want nothing more than to spend all day in bed.

      I suspect it’s going to be some time before I fully shake off the after-effects of the virus, but such is life (and isn’t it good to be alive, it beats the hell out of the alternative!). Meanwhile I shall continue to be me…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Carol Ann Siciliano · August 23

        I think being you (and how I enjoy that “you”) is pretty good medicine! I send you warm wishes for a steady recovery and for joy wherever you and Mrs. P. can find it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Platypus Man · August 23

        Thank you!

        Like

  13. Adele Brand · August 23

    Oh no! Sorry to hear that covid caught you. I’ve managed to evade it so far, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I really hope that you and Mrs P are completely clear of its aftershocks before too much longer. Miserable virus.

    I would thoroughly welcome a month of rain. Well, maybe. A fortnight at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 24

      Thank you, Adele, for your kind thoughts. Pleased to report that we’ve had some rain here this morning, but even more disappointed to add that it’s already stopped!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Adele Brand · August 24

        Still hot and dry here, but my iPhone is promising that my part of Norfolk will get 26mm in the next twenty hours, and it had better not be misleading me!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. tanjabrittonwriter · August 27

    Dear Mrs. and Mr. P,
    So sorry to read about your lost summer. Having had to deal with our own trials and tribulations, I can relate somewhat. I think our resilience is down after dealing with so much turmoil in the last several years and it’s harder to deal with the challenges that present themselves.
    Wishing you a complete recovery from Covid as well as relief from the heat and drought.
    Tanja

    Liked by 1 person

    • Platypus Man · August 27

      Thank you for your good wishes, Tanja. Yes, I think we’ve been worn down by events over the last 30 months, and are not currently in the best place – mentally or physically – to deal with new challenges and disappointments. But we won’t let it beat us!

      I’m sorry to hear about your own trials and tribulations. I hope these have now resolved themselves, and that life is good for you and your family. Sincere best wishes to you, from Mr & Mrs P.

      Liked by 1 person

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