(A short account of where we are today - Winter 2020/2021
You must be wondering how we are. Its so long since we last made contact and the years are overtaking us. The COVID-19 epidemic still rages on and here in our Grampian hideaway we no longer feel safe from the rest of the World. We read of frightening outbreaks of the disease in far flung places, even on the other side of the World. Australia has been featuring in recent news together with the fear, illness, unexpected and premature deaths in that normally robust and healthy population.
Having now lived for a retired lifetime in a remote, scenic, safe and comfortable environment we now have the epidemic knocking on our door. There is no escape and travel even to our nearest city and areas further north has been banned under the government rules for our survival. There is no exit at present and the majority of the population have "bedded down" to acceptance of these strict rules and we face the challenge until we are rescued and the law is eased. It is strange to think that we cannot drive across the border into England but some people have attempted that and have had to face the consequences.
Why have 90 or so neighbours and some close friends been so frightened by positive and negative test results ? Who can be blamed for bringing the virus so close to us. Who is a carrier for the virus and is totally unaware ? Is anyone really to blame in the close confines of an age group well in excess of 50 years old ? Most folk have obeyed the rules of cleanliness, social distancing and how to behave both singly and in groups and we remain with that discipline totally but where do we go from here ?
The local care and nursing team employed by Inchmarlo House (the centre of our retirement commune and a retirement and nursing home in its own right) so much admired by all of us have fought valiantly to keep the virus out but sadly without success. There was no relaxation on their part. We take such pride in our care home which has won so many commendations in the past for their success in looking after so many elderly folk. This with such pride and we remain supremely confident in in all of the team there. A number have died of the virus but this remains private and confidential to protect their families but those of us with friends and ex neighbours in Inchmarlo House have no knowledge. Very hard to cope with and it just doesn't seem fair !
Several vaccines have been produced and a massive vaccination campaign has begun with some one million Scots vaccinated to date and this accelerates rapidly. Most over 70s have already received their first dose and a second is scheduled within 12 weeks. Our continuing retirement future, together with relaxation and contentment still seems a long was off. Vaccination may continue for some time ahead, maybe even years, and we may eventually regard it as an annual feature like the influenca jab (or jag as we say here in Scotland).
It is odd to be at home and in lockdown when other issues overtake us. What a time for me to need a replacement hip operation together with all of the pain and discomfort of that condition. This was diagnosed in early November and my operation is scheduled for the 28th of February. The operation was postponed once to accommodate much more needy patients requiring urgent cancer surgery - they had been on a very long waiting lists - yet another crisis is this chaotic world in which we exist. The award of a Blue Badge enabled me to drive out before Christmas to make minimum purchases and have a little independence but the severity of the situation and my impending surgery resulted in a change of plan.
Shopping is now activated by remote control and trusted to the local supermarket who deliver on a weekly basis. An arrangement has also been made with a local butcher and an Aberdeen fish merchant and we no longer have to risk any interface with others in confined spaces. The act of mastering just how much food is required and to make almost daily adjustments has become a fun activity and has been a great success.
For the first time in our lives, we feel old ! There has been an overwhelming desire amongst our close friends, both young and old to come to our rescue and so may telephone chats have resulted in food and needy items arriving on the doorstep allowing us to remain safely at home. We have always offered similar assistance to our elderly friends but the tables turning on us has become a bit of a revelation. Maybe we are OLD now since both of us are in our seventies with me at the top end of the scale. Time has overtaken us and we have to come to terms with that and simply to lie back and enjoy the attention. With my promised new left hip, I will bounce back and be energetic and youthful again ?? I certainly did when the right hip was replaced some 9 years ago.
The telephone rings regularly with the voices of good caring folk, many from the Church and our estate; everyone joyful in the regular contact. E-mails flow in with enquiries about our health and stability and all wishing to remain close during this crisis. Photographs arrive to remind us of life outside, past holidays and fun occasions with family and others. We do miss face to face encounters, the occasional teas and coffees and the even more frequents glasses of wine and nibbles !! The need for others to be near us is overwhelming and their love and kindness will never be forgotten. Many folk have stated that the world will never be the same again after this crisis and no truer words have never been spoken.
We remain very optimistic, knowing what fine friends we have around us. This has eased my pain a great deal where the drugs have done little to reduce it. Friendships have been cemented for ever at this point was we look towards our future.
This odd period in history has had its unusual moments. One morning in December our beautiful and fairly new rowan tree appeared to have grown a red apple. It didn't receive much attention since odd things have been cropping up in the vicinity but on the following morning a second red apple (we think) appeared. This warranted investigation on day three with the arrival of the third apple and we discovered that the apples were bright red Christmas tree baubles. Having sometimes mischievous neighbours we telephoned them to make enquiries. Nothing was admitted and the apples continued to arrive overnight !! This small interlude in our atmosphere of worry and sadness made everyone laugh and truly relaxed the tension. We hadn't spoken to the culprits for some weeks and this was followed by two telephone discussions and more happy chat.
THIS IS A NOTE OF DEDICATION TO ALL OF THOSE LOVING FRIENDS WHO CARE ABOUT US. IT HAD TO BE WRITTEN.
BILL CUTHBERTSON 11TH FEBRUARY 2021
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Banchory East Church
A journal of the life of the East Church through the personal memories and opinions of our members.
We post on Tuesday and Thursdays. but not always every week.