IT has been a peaceful Christmas week and I have stuck to my usual monk-like discipline of total abstinence and only light wafer-based snacks.
It was all going swimmingly until December 29 when the offer of a temporary bed that I was supposed to be laying in was suddenly withdrawn late in the day – “cozzer Covid”.
So I did what any self-respecting credit card holder does and took myself off for a night in the Lake District – booking last minute into a palace in the middle of nowhere for drinks by the holly-lined fireside and a slap-up beef dinner for one.
I’ve never dined in a draughty aircraft hangar before, but can now summon up a fairly reliable image of what it must be like. The very attentive member of waiting staff explained that they had been required to extend the chairs and tables into the conference centre/function room, cozzer Covid.
The plates were the size of chargers and the starter was with me before I had unfolded my napkin. The main course included huge soft cuts of beef, the creamiest mashed potatoes, sprouts you could actually taste and gravy you could drink by the pint.
I distantly mingled with some hardy pensioners from Wigan who had spent the day staring at the drizzle from the windows of a fogged-up coach trip which, of course, had very nearly been cancelled at the last minute because five of the party pulled out cozzer you know what.
“Not that they had it, but that they were scared of getting it,” said my informant.
“The company had thought about cancelling but if they had done, there would have been absolute uproar.
“We only come away the three of us – me and me Mam and me Dad because we haven’t seen them the same this year, cozzer Covid,” she sighed as the rain hosed the windows and Let It Snow played over the speakers.
I noticed the background music in the hotel was about four fractions too low on the volume for me; although like I said to her: “My hearing aid isn’t what it once was.”
“It’s been a dead day today because there’s nothing to do around here,” she added dismissively. (The hotel being somewhat socially distanced from civilisation).
At the bar, there was quite the socially-distanced queue for drinks too because a couple of staff had managed to socially distance themselves from going to work, presumably because of you know what.
So it was left to the blue-arsed ones to wait on, clear up, serve on, check people in and remain patient and smiling throughout, having festooned the room with lovely Christmas trees.
The music was marred for me when I detected this joyful little trio of upbeat numbers Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen; Phil Collins’ I Wish It Would Rain Down and These Are The Days Of Our Lives by Queen.
I spent far too much time contemplating whether Phil Collins had ever been to the Lake District. Probably not on the evidence of this weather.
Still, like I always say, you’ve always got to look on the dull side of life.
And spare a thought for the geriatric cat of a friend of a friend of a friend.
Its thoughtful owner had decided that after one last Christmas together it would have to go for one last visit to the vets this week. Its explosive bowels and poor bladder control have added a new dimension to the term kitty litter.
But in an 11th hour day of drama, reported to me by the Non Practising Buddhist Big Sister, the latest word is that the owner has now tested positive for Covid and must self-isolate, so Kitty gets a stay of execution for another week.
All because of Covid.