19 Mar 2020

Hestia and life in the time of coronavirus

One day, our diaries will be historical documents, so we might as well document what's happening.

The virus isn't in Argyll & Bute yet - or at least there are no publicly confirmed cases in the area that I've heard about at the moment.  But that will change.  And it might change because of the Easter holidays and the University students who have been told to go home.  And maybe not to go back to uni this term.  That's a lot of bodies on the move back to distant communities.

Sonshine is just finishing second year at St Andrews and lives in a house with two other Scottish lads (Dirty Harry and Fightin' Fraser).  Who are lovely. 

Tartarus has driven up to St Andrews today to bring home Sonshine and whatever worldly possessions he wants to keep.  Because it might be the case that we go into some kind of lockdown scenario and they will not be back before the end of the lease on their property.  I think we will be kissing the refundable deposit goodbye.

I wonder what the boys are doing about the gas and electric.  *can feel financial panic rising* Maybe today isn't the best day to be worrying about that.

Anyway here on our sleepy island, things are not as bucolic as is usually the case.

We have one Big supermarket - the co-op - and any time I've been in in the past week, it's been full of folks milling around wondering who the feck is hoarding all the toilet roll, rice, pasta and butter.  And, as of today, I'm wondering who is also hoarding the butternut squash and the chickpeas.  I know - very first world problems, right?

Tartarus and I are trying to keep ourselves out and about, but, paradoxically, not being very sociable.  Well, Tartarus has been at the pub for three evenings last weekend, but I have asked, all 'nagging wife' jokes aside if he could please stop doing that as you just don't blerdy know what's going on in public spaces - especially pubs.

Juno, my mother, is on the mainland and living in her 'supported' housing.  She has stocked up on gin and jigsaws.  Has also got series 2 of The Crown to watch and a boxed set of The Sopranos.  'Hen, I survived being bombed by Hitler, so being stuck in the house for a month with a box set isn't much of a hardship.' 

The plan is, I think, at the end of that month, when things are - god willing - starting to flatten down in the UK, that I can bring her down to the island for a month or so.  Not staying with us.  Oh for GAWD'S sakes, that would be madness! But my friends have a one-bed cottage that she will be able to rent.  She'll be nearer, but still able to be isolated if the need arises.

I am trying not to panic, but the truth is that the chaos that is swirling around this virus frightens me more than contracting the virus itself.  Someone on the island, for example, discovered that her mother's toilet roll had been stolen by a visitor to her mother's house - carer? cleaner? I have no idea - but WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!

There is a really thin veneer of civilisation on us (well, clearly its thinner on some folk than on others) and it won't take much for that veneer to chip right off.  That scares the crap out of me.

I am spending my time flicking between scare stories (AKA 'up-to-the-minute-updates') and weeding.  Flicking through my packets of seeds and being determined that things will, as somebody famous once said, be ok in the end. 

And, if things are not ok, it's not the end. 

With lots of love from me and mine to you and yours, wherever you are <3

16 Feb 2020

Hestia - what colour is your name

Sometimes the internet brings us wonderful things and this is one of them.  Synaesthesia is where your senses are more closely linked than the average bear - so some people see colours when they hear words, or music etc.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to feel colours from music?!

Anyhoo, in an article on Medium, someone wrote about the colours (or colors if you are one of my American cousins) she sees when she hears someone's name.

She has even designed a tool to let you SEE what colours your name would conjure up for her.

Here's mine:

Now that it's been rendered into an image, I can use my Tarot interpreting skills to tell you what *I* see when I look at the image.

I see an image that starts out as vital and light (on the left), but which slowly descends into sombreness on the right.  There have been two breaks in my life which were life-enhancing (white) but that ended up back in the same place.

Yes, Tartarus, I'm looking at you. Or maybe it's house moves, I dunno.  it's harder to read for yourself because you KNOW the backstory :D 

Why not try the little web app thing for yourself and see what your own name looks like as colours! 

13 Feb 2020

Hestia's eyes and the NHS

On Monday Tartarus, Nero and myself headed north to glorious Perthshire where the soil is the colour of a chestnut and gleams like a race horse's flank in the low winter sun.

We were staying in the Meikelour Estate in a wee cottage (gorgeous - single bedroom, dogs welcome, log fire kind of thing) and the world-famous Meikelour Hedge is but a scant mile's walk to the edge of the estate at the A90.

On Tuesday night, we popped to the other single bedroom cottage to visit our friends - The Mad Woman From Kilmarnock and her lovely hubby. And their two whippets.

As I stepped out into the rural darkness I became aware of a tiny glitter when I blinked.  I thought nothing of it and after an hour it went away.  A lovely evening was had.

I woke up on Wednesday morning with definite visual disturbance - a bar that lay across my peripheral vision of my left eye from about 10 to 12 (if my gaze was a clock face).  It went away after about an hour.

But I was shitting myself.  To tell Tartarus or not to tell Tartarus? I told him.  Just in case anything else happened.

Thursday morning we drove home as planned and I made an appointment for Friday morning at the health centre.

Friday came and my sight felt fine, but I went all the same.  The nurse shone a light into each eye.  'There is more of a halo effect on my left eye,' I admit to her.

She scoots off to ask the doctor on duty at our cottage hospital what to do next and returns with the answer - a pressure test is needed on my eyes.  A puff test.  I get that done every year at the opticians - no sweat.  But cannot be done today on this fecking island.  I need to go to the mainland.

I am left with instructions to phone Specsavers or Optical Express in Greenock and get a puff test today.  Specsavers tell me to come over and they'll squeeze me in.

'Shall I come with you?' asks Tartarus.  I have had the puff test before, I tell him that I will be fine.

The long and the short of it is, dear reader that I found myself at Inverclyde Hospital at 2pm on Friday with high pressure to both eyes.  Drops immediately brought it down.  But the doctor started talking about lazering holes in my iris to help with drainage.

Fine, I think to myself.  That will be about June or July.

'Oh no, we'll do it later today' says my lovely Doctor, as if we were talking about going to Tescos for the shopping.

I text Tartarus.  I ask him to come over on the next convenient ferry - I am not going to be able to drive home.  It's a 10 minute taxi drive from Wemyss Bay to the hospital.  He's there by 4pm.

Just in time for me to get my eyes lasered.

Reader - it was completely painless. And over in less than 10 minutes.
Another quick check at my pressures confirmed that they were down from 40 and 36 to 20 and 16.  The upper range of normal and normal.

The doctor asked me if I had any questions and I shook my head dumbly.  Less than 12 hours ago, my eyesight was fine.  Reading glasses needed, but fine.  Now I am looking down the barrel of glaucoma and eyedrops for life.

I am due back next week - possibly for a bit more work in the eye that is still high pressure and definitely to let the doctor inspect my optic nerves for damage. Permanent damage.

Specsavers were magnificent. The NHS even more magnificent.  This Service of ours is a wonder of the modern world and we need to protect it and cherish it and those who work within it.

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