First Days In England

Tuesday 30th November

Following the “full English” and basic shopping in an empty store also on the direct route, we headed to our isolation address just praying we would receive the PCR test kits and the results by the Friday morning; a tight timescale but hopefully achievable.  We were very confident of the results as we had been very careful prior to leaving Spain and whilst travelling.

The rest of Tuesday was taken up by domestic chores and sorting the car out, nothing else happening: day 1-of isolation.  We went to bed crossing everything that our PCR tests arrived next day.

Wednesday 1st December

Day 2 of isolation and we paced about waiting for the tests to arrive. We had a text from the courier giving us a time spread of an hour around midday so clock watching was added to pacing about!!!!

About 1300hrs the door bell rang and upon opening, “Bingo”, our test kits were here.   We quickly set about reading all the instructions, “very carefully” as we couldn’t afford to do anything to prevent them being accepted.  After checking and double checking Christine went first, poking the stick down her throat and up her nose and apart from nearly vomiting and sneezing, succeeded to do the requisite number of turns with the swizzle stick and get it into the pipette.   I then followed suit, similar suffering to Christine, before we carefully placed the swabs into the correct pipettes, then the correct pipettes into the correct plastic bag and into the correct posting box.  Each test kit had its identity bar code on each item so swapping either part about was a no-no.  Once all packaged up we headed to Morrisons where they had a “priority posting” letterbox.   Once this was accomplished we headed back to isolation and crossed everything we could to get the negative results back by early Friday morning.  We were also keeping up with the progress of our packages, the first little success was when it confirmed it had been collected from Morrisons, 👏👏👏.   So now we were back to “just” pacing the room!!!!

Thursday 2nd December 

Day 3 of isolation and some carpet is beginning to show some wear, must pace in a different room!!!! But the good news this morning on our tracking app was that our packages had arrived at the laboratory over night.  We were over the moon, so far so good.   It was now finger-biting time waiting for the results.

With too much time on our hands we started to question ourselves; example, had we swivelled the extended cotton buds enough to get sufficient “stuff” to carry out the tests.   Had we not been as cautious as we thought we had, maybe not and we were tested positive etc., etc., etc.  we couldn’t settle, we kept checking the results app for an answer, but alas, none available.   We were in a friends house, couldn’t do anything, couldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t invite friends in, we were going doll-ally and then around 2000hrs I received the e mail I was expecting, a negative result, wonderful.   Unfortunately this then set the hairs running about Christine’s, why hadn’t she had a result, what had happened, had she not carried the swabbing instructions to the letter, oh dear and there was nothing on the tracking app.🥵🥵🥵

After a sleepless night, scanning her ‘phone continually we emerged from the bedroom to make breakfast discussing what the chance was of being caught if we just went anyway.   As breakfast drew to a close and our course of action decided, Christine received her email, Negative test, wonderful, we could head to Crick without any worries.     I have to say we were very impressed with the service.

With the car packed we headed off.  Our first stop was at “Oakham Bites”, one of our normal “pit stops” when in this part of the world, they do the most amazing an fresh bacon baguettes, this place has won many awards and is always busy; a must stop at place!!!!!

Being Friday we expected heavy traffic on the M 25, especially around Heathrow but wrong, there was heavy traffic everywhere, Friday afternoon now must be a bank holiday!!   We crawled around the M 25, bumper-to-bumper and eventually got onto the M 1, expecting this to be quieter after all it was still around lunch time, but no, just as busy.  At this rate we won’t get to East Midlands airport in time to collect Jane, her flight from Jersey arrives at 1600hrs. We plodded on, stop start and when we got going, we hit road works, slowing us even more.  The good news, if there was any good news, was Jane’s flight hadn’t left Jersey due to fog!  At least this gave us a chance!!!

As we approached Crick we received a text from Jane informing us she was about to board so this gave us a short window of time to stop off at the hotel, book in and more importantly get the bags out of the car.

Back in the car half an hour later it rained, goodness it rained and that with the traffic, the speed reduced even more and as we eventually approached the junction for East Midlands, all the roads shown on Waze Satalite navigation were red, standstill traffic and we were within a couple of miles from the airport, but gridlock so Waze took us down every narrow country lane, we’ll off the beaten track and though the rain had eased, it became foggy👹👹👹👹 what a journey!!!  Anyway we eventually arrived at the airport from the opposite direction and drove through the “quick drop off” lane where Christine was out of the car and I said I would drive round and meet them back at the same place.   Blow me down, there was a barrier and it was down so I couldn’t get out of this lane, still I thought this would just rise as number plate recognition would realise I had only been in the lane for no more than 2-minutes, but it didn’t!!!!    Of course being in a left hooker, I had to get out and walk around to find out what was going on.  By this time there were a couple of cars behind and I was looking for the help button when one of the car drivers came up and asked me to get on with it.   I said I was looking for the help button only to be told I couldn’t get out without paying £5; bloody hell, I wasn’t in the lane for more than 2-minutes!!    There were three of these pay stations but only one working!!  By now there was a queue behind and I was told it cost them £1 per minute after 5-minutes and they were nearing their 5-minutes, panic!!!   I tried every credit card I had, both sides, both ways all rejected.  The others were tearing their hair out and one in a “bit-of-a-rage” tried all my cards, he couldn’t make them work either.  Now I was checking Al my cash, plenty of euros, short on Stirling, anyway I scrabbled about and cobbled to get her £5 in loose change, by now horns were Tooting, fists were being shaken and one kind driver took all my change and said, “get in the car, and get ready, I’ll feed the machine.  She didn’t want to watch me have to go round the car after, too long!!!   Anyway, I was in the car in time as the barrier went up, phew!!!   They should have put a sign up telling us entry into the “quick drop off lane” costs £5.  

Oh dear, I had told Christine I would be back, no chance!!!   I found a spot to park and rang her; thankfully she had her ‘phone with her and we arranged pickup at the petrol station.

Returning to Crick was easy, no rain, no fog and more importantly, clear roads, well for us going South; northbound was still clogged-up.

Back at the Holiday Inn at Crick we collected Karon and headed to an excellent Indian restaurant on the canal at Stoke Bruerne, where we could at last relax.   Tomorrow is a big day, Christine’s 75th Birthday bash.

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