Tag Archives: COVID

Burning Down the House

This weekend I almost burnt my house down. 

I have never done that before. Just to be clear, I’ve never actually burnt a house down. I’ve not even come close. Mrs Carmichael has a very healthy respect for and enduring fear of fire and houses on fire. This childhood respectful fear (or should that be fearful respect?) that I nurture, stems from bearing witness to my neighbours of yore successfully burning their house down in front of my eight year old eyes. It was a bird’s nest in the chimney apparently. Good God that bird must have had pyromaniacal tendencies fo’ sho.

So, you have to believe that almost burning down my house is a big deal for yours truly.

This is how it happened…..

In COVID times many things, for many people are different. Perhaps I should rephrase. Most things for most people here in pandemic central are not as we know them. Nor as we want them to be. Nothing is the same; everything’s different and thus ‘things fall apart’. As centre’s go, mine for one, isn’t holding. Big time. William Butler Yeats may not have been describing an outa control virus in The Second Coming but boy did he get the mood spot on. 

But I digress…..

An element of my centre not holding is that Lyle, the cockapoo, has made his way through numerous obstacles, physical and emotional, and now appears to be sleeping on our super-king of a nighttime. 

‘How did that happen?’ you ask. 

Well, it all started when I forgot his seventh birthday last Thursday and, with literally nothing else to do #covid, I experienced an irrational amount of guilt.

Friday found me walking dog miles, cuddling constantly and feeding my furry friend lots o’ treats. One of said treats came back to bite me in the bum.

Saturday early hours found me waking to the sound of vomit. The sight of vomit way worse than the sound but at least I had, with foresight, shrouded our linen duvet cover with a dog sheet. This must, I briefly thought, be good news. 

The bad news was that, although the spring onion root (M’lud I never meant to put that in his salad) lay solid and whole on the dog sheet, the yellow bile that pooled around it had done its worst and soaked through, not only the dog sheet and the duvet cover but the duck down duvet itself. Such woe but at least, I guess, it gave a purpose to my day #covid.

I stripped the dog sheet and spoilt duvet cover and set the patch of sick on the duvet in a bowl of Vanish on the bedroom floor. I put the linen on a hot wash and took Lyle out for his first walk. Obviously feeling much better on an empty stomach, he was keen to go.

Duvet cover drying, dog sheet waiting its turn my single task for the remainder of the day and evening, was to get the puke, puke stain and puke smell out of the duvet, dry it and remake our bed. Even with nothing, and I mean nothing, else to do #covid, I was aware that time was not my friend. Patch drying a supering duck down duvet is another thing I have never done before. 

Obviously the duvet wouldn’t fit in my dryer. There was no washing line to hang it on nor sunshine to warm it through. Mid-winter COVID is the worst variation of high summer COVID. It sucks in a way sunny summer COVID can but fantasise about.


I rigged up a, seen better days, drying rack in front of the fire and draped our bedding over it. Positioning the damp patch toward the flames, I sent Mr Carmichael (who was making a business call from his car in the driveway #covid) a photo of my Professor Brainstorm brilliance and sat down to watch episode 16, series 8 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with Lyle. 

I got a text from the Mercedes asking if the duvet wasn’t a bit close to the naked flame and thus a fire hazard but I didn’t have time to read it because our duvet was on fire and the living room wall was queuing for ignition approval.

The room smelt of burnt fowl, the duvet looked like a Baked Alaska and the vomit stain was still soaking and somewhat yellow.

I text Mr Carmichael to say the fire was out. He thought I was joking until he walked in the front door and was greeted by the stench of singed swan and the sight of Lyle making himself comfortable on a floor-based Baked Alaska in the front room.

Today I plan to wash my hair and feed my dog only kibble. Let’s see how that goes…..

COVID: Variations on a Theme

Here we all are coming up to 2021 and I find myself looking forward to 2022. 

But, it must be said, with the hope that 2021 could be something still. Still in a good way that is. The last thing I want to do is wish me, my family’s or my friends’ lives away. That is not the plan but right now it’s a tad hard not to make use of the one time teleport option I won at a, ’this is not a Doctor Who’ party many moons and a world away from where I am now.

Today or tomorrow or maybe New Year’s Eve, because Boris Johnson likes high day and holiday announcements (see Brexit agreement), the Astra Zeneca vaccine may be approved here in the UK. We have 100 million doses reserved for us. That’s 50 million people and they way I figure it, I’ll be in that 50 million. And I’ll be having the jab. Yes Sir, yes M’am, yes indeedy. So will Mr Carmichael. So will Carmichael offspring various as and when they get offered the dregs sometime this decade.

 Let’s hope it works.

Let’s hope it and all the other vaccines that are being developed, approved and injected into arms, before approval (yes Mr Putin although I noticed you didn’t have it on your doctor’s advice) and after approval, work too. It’s important they do. It’s important because right now, right here, it feels as if we are under attack. It feels different to the beginning; to the COVID launch; to March. Do you remember March? More importantly, do you remember pre March when we were just living our lives? Ha!

Right now, with COVID-19 and the two variant strains that we and South Africa have managed to breast feed, burp and nurture so well we, here in the UK, had 41,000 COVID cases registered yesterday. That’s 41,000 and that does not include people in hospital or care homes I believe. There are probably quite a few cases in these two types of establishment, don’t you think? The day before yesterday it was around 35,000. 35,000 which is a huge number of new cases but now doesn’t seem so huge because yesterday it was 41,000. 41,000 is huge but won’t seem so massive tomorrow I bet. Tomorrow, we’ll be wishing the number of new cases (that exclude care homes and hospitals) was 41,000. That’s my prediction. For what it’s worth. 

Most of these cases are in the South East of England. And the majority of these cases are the new mutant (just look into my eyes and I’ll give you COVID) strain. The South East of England is where I live. These things, put together are worrying. Very worrying indeed.

What is also worrying is that it’s got personal. I now know people suffering with COVID. I know many, many people isolating because they’ve been in contact with someone for more than fifteen minutes who has tested positive. These people, and this  includes Daughter Number Two who could not spend Christmas Day with us her family, are watching, on their smart phones, a ‘days left to go’ bullseye count down to their release.

 On release, they will be allowed to do very little. We, in the South East are in the newly imagined Tier 4 which is, in all but name, Lockdown. So, they will be able to go for a walk, buy a takeaway coffee, play golf or tennis at Queens and catch mutant COVID because they looked, for a nanosecond, into someone’s virused eye. Their phone will beep and they’ll be back in isolation. Or, of course, they may get sick. I may get sick. Did I mention I now know, and know of, many poorly people?

This is no way to live.

The government’s aim (yes you Matt Hancock of the foreskin pink ties) and you Boris Johnson (on recess but not in the Caribbean on a freebee this year) is to vaccinate one million people a week over the next Lockdown. 

“What?” You scream. “We’re not in a Lockdown. We can still go to the non essential shops and buy shit, we can mingle in houses and we can look people in the eye over a pint in the pub. We’re not in Tier 4. We’re the lucky ones.”

From all those in Tier 4 to all those not. Didn’t you see the boats, trains and stations the night our ‘leader’ and his pink oppo invented Tier 4? Those transporters were headed with eyes steely trained on you, traditional COVID carriers, to all parts not South East for Christmas. I fear you will bypass Tier 4 in the blink of a cough. And we, the already theres, will smile and say, “NOW, we’re all in it together.”

But back to the vaccination roll out. SAGE or some other acronym have warned today that unless you, the small g, government, pull your needles out and do two million a week we’re heading, without passing Go, straight into a third wave. You probably don’t know this Mr Johnson. It hasn’t come out in tomorrow’s paper yet. Buy a copy, why don’t you?

I’m a New Zealander. How many of you knew that? What I would give to be there now. A month ago, with fewer than 5000 cases a day, I could have gone, been popped into monitored isolation for a fortnight ( who’s kidding who? I’m as good as in it now and for the foreseeable just without the monitoring) and right now be as free as a bird with good eyesight, hugging people, going to friends’ homes, eating out, feeling safe and have Jacinda Ardern watching over me while I sleep COVID free. But no, now, not wanted anywhere in the world, I’m here in COVID Cactus Town and I can tell you, it’s one shit place to be.

Did I mention we had 41,000 new COVID cases yesterday in the UK? How many will it be today? Come on, roll up, place your bets.