I love those Swiss cheeses with big holes in them but, if you get particularly fascinating gaps inside, you are in fact paying more for air than cheese. That’s in my mind because there are some definite air gaps in current COVID guidelines and practices in England. [Bad language warning a few paragraphs down]
For example, you are now required to wear a mask in church services if you are able to do so. That makes sense – we know that wearing a mask gives you some protection and provides more protection to others if you are unwittingly carrying a viral load yourself. Except when singing? That seems counterproductive. It is reasonable to make an exception for those speaking and singing from the front, where others might need to see their lips moving and for clarity of sound. In the congregation, though, if you can wear a mask, my experience is that you can indeed sing in a mask.
The other thing that is particularly exercising me today is lateral flow test kits. I don’t enjoy sticking a swab up my nose but I appreciate the opportunity to know that I am clear of identifiable infection before I start sharing it around. We are being advised to test before mixing with crowds of people but it’s turning out to be hard to get the kits required to comply. I’ve just walked out of my way on the way back from work to pop into the Tescos in town, collection code at the ready, to be informed that they are out of kits. They had expected a couple more boxes by now but they haven’t arrived. Gallingly, I’d walked by another place where I might have picked up a kit because I also wanted to do some shopping in Tesco and didn’t want to visit too many different places and, it turns out, I walked past another on my way back home.
You can’t check online that a site has test kits available. You can’t even call an obviously published number (I asked if I could do this at the Tesco pharmacy but they couldn’t offer any help). Does that mean I have to expend shoe leather or petrol to visit each local supplier? I could be trawling round a cloud of infection (in my case, at least mitigated by my mask) and still come back empty handed. I can’t even order a kit to be sent to me (“You can still pick up rapid lateral flow tests from a pharmacy or collection point today” says the website. Really?).
I normally resist bad language but what a fucking mess. I’m not ‘excusing my French’. That is the established vernacular for expressing frustration. Boris Johnson and his cronies (an apt term, it seems) are busy telling us to take responsibility, that things are serious and we need to follow the rules. It has been observed by many that they are attempting to evade responsibility, they don’t have the integrity to take things seriously themselves and they are setting rules that turn out to be somewhere between difficult and impossible to follow and which clearly create additional, unnecessary risks.
Oh England, England. To be in a continuing global crisis but having to cope with such nonsense after almost two years and being led by holes that don’t even smell as sweet as an aged cheese is beyond frustrating.