Week 52/2023: A very covid christmas

An uninvited guest

Week of 25 December 2023

The last week of 2023 was supposed to have been a week of catching up with Slabs’s family for Christmas, a short break in Melbourne, and relaxing. We don’t always get what we expect though.

A battered wooden pine tree with a red 0 above the words 'days til xmas'. There is a broken gold wooden star on the top of the tree
Christmas is here

A very covid Christmas

Our Christmas plans were cancelled on Christmas Eve Sunday when, after four years, covid made a very unwelcome appearance.

Christmas was pretty much a non-event.

A black chicken with dark eyes turning her head to the left
Happy Christmas, Pepsi

With the sick person in isolation from Sunday morning, we hoped everyone else would avoid it.

Not so, and I was devastated to test on Tuesday and see that dreaded second line.

Feeling terrible and confined to the spare room, I spent a lot of the week asking myself if I’d done things differently whether it could have been otherwise.

I’d been so careful in the two years since the government opened the doors to the virus, because of the long-term damage it can cause to our organs and immune system. With a family history of Parkinson’s Disease, the links between covid and that condition in particular terrify me. I do not want this.

But I got it anyway, and those of us who succumbed passed the week isolating from those who didn’t.

I’ll spare you the details but it wasn’t pleasant and I’m absolutely gutted about the whole thing. Public health messaging has been minimal, and many people have been going about their lives as if this virus doesn’t exist any more (it does) or it really isn’t that bad (it is).

When I wasn’t sleeping, I didn’t feel like doing much so I caught up on some TV shows I’d wanted to see and even watched a movie. I couldn’t get my brain around much reading, even though my current TBR pile threatens to engulf me.

The King’s Speech

I watched The King’s Speech, which is about King George VI (formerly Prince Albert, played by Colin Firth) working with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to overcome his stutter. I was vaguely aware of this movie and had read that the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth, played by Helena Bonham Carter) had asked it not be made until after she had died.

A movie poster for The King's Speech featuring three white middle-aged humans, a woman with dark hair is standing between two men, both with dark hair.
The King’s Speech

I believe it’s been criticised for some historical inaccuracies, particularly relating to King Edward VIII’s views on the Nazis. But the movie wasn’t about that, and that wasn’t the story it was trying to tell. It was about the relationship between Lionel Logue and the king, and the king overcoming his demons to be able to lead the country through the second world war. Movies like this aren’t history documentaries, and the beauty is you can go away and find out more about what actually happened for yourself.

So yes, I enjoyed it.

Back in Time

I also watched the remaining episodes of the ABC series Back In Time for The Corner Shop, which I’d started to watch several months ago. It takes a modern day Australian family and drops them back in time to operate a corner shop through different periods of history from the 1850s to the 1990s. Through the years, we can see how this type of business evolved, how delivering and selling food has changed, some major social events that took place, and how expectations on people have changed.

I learned a lot from this, and from its predecessor series Back In Time For Dinner (1950s to 2000s and beyond) and Further Back In Time For Dinner (1900s to 1940s).

For example, Vegemite was invented in 1923 as an Australian alternative to Marmite and was commonly used in soups, stocks, stews and gravy more than as a spread.

And more substantially, I learned that Aboriginal people were taken from a mission in western NSW and forced into participating in a re-enactment of the first fleet landing for the 150th anniversary of white arrival into NSW in 1938. This date was also the date of the first Aboriginal Day of Mourning, which I believe was changed into an event to celebrate Aboriginal culture and is now NAIDOC Week.

This seems particularly relevant in the weeks leading up to so-called Australia Day.

Week 52 summary

What am I grateful for this week?

It was hard to be grateful for anything when I felt so miserable and frightened about my health. However, I am grateful for having a place where I could isolate safely and for the support from family and friends to get through this.

What was the best thing about this week?

The one time in the whole week after Christmas I saw one of the chickens from the kitchen window. I missed them terribly.

What I’m reading this week

  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides


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