London Calling 2022

It’s Sunday. Cold and windy with rain showers..early spring. I pick up the newspaper and a chocolate croissant and head home. Morning tea while I watch the daily press conference on TV from the Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton (who incidentally has the best tats. under that conservative public servant suit…How do I know?… Footage of his arm while he was getting the Astra Zeneca Jab…that’s how pathetic life has become- lusting after the Chief Health Officer!!)

At the press conference Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews makes an important announcement. Victorians will be 70% vaccinated by Thursday and although Covid rates are the highest they have been in Victoria, restrictions will ease this week. No more curfew, no movement restrictions. ……..Except Melbournians can’t visit regional Victoria until we reach 80%  of Victorians immunised.

It’s not working though. Daylesford is full of tourists and visitors and they are clearly spotted. They’re the ones in expensive Helly Hanson gym gear and noise cancelling headphones..Oh and they’re the ones who never say hallo as they stride around the lake clocking their fit- bits…a dead give-away!

We’re told not to focus on the number of daily cases. We should look at the hospitalisation numbers and deaths. Much better.

We’ve all done it tough these last 2 years. Separated from loved ones, isolated and cold. Cold. It’s been a long, cold winter. Like many people   the black dog dropped by and  I climbed the rafters with anxiety during these uncertain times. Swilling anti-depressants with a glass of wine (dramatisation..its not quite that bad!) and telehealth counselling can only go so far. Meditation and mindful living, tapping and healing chants are distractions. Online yoga, pilates, afro-dance and Joe Wicks, the body coach distracted me from covid numbers. Its been a long nearly 2 years.

But there’s always a tipping point in making change happen.  Inspired by a 70 year old friend who does 20-30 kms on a Saturday ” walk” I started walking again..I,,,,small steps and  I can now do 10,000 steps a day… feels good. Spring is in the air and as I walk the countryside  there’s a different energy to life. Possibility. Hope.

Qantas has been advertising  cheap  flights to London. I dared to look a week ago. I dared to dream. But what if I get Covid on a 22 hour flight in a plane stuffed with germy people? Nah… not worth the risk.

But this Sunday morning…..I ate my croissant, listened to the press conference,  and then layered up with puffer jacket and boots, I walked my 10,000 steps plus some, through country lanes and past cruisy cows. At home I looked out of my laundry window at the row of sheds and bird cages my neighbour has recently built along our fence line. Think Manus Island detention centre rather than Frank Lloyd Wright! Then I saw my other neighbour now has ducks swimming in his above ground pool..this is after the council asked him to get rid of the goats he kept in his small concrete backyard. Ok there’s serious craziness going on here!  I need to get out of this place!

Neighbours! Ducks in the swimming pool and sheds everywhere!

I look at my bank account. I had planned to pay $1,000 for red bricks to be used for landscaping my garden. I hover on the Qantas site. Qantas has return flights to London for $1800…bugger the bricks……..

So I head off for nearly 3 months in the UK in April 2022, returning late June. I’m 72. It feels like 2 years of very precious life have been stolen by fear and Covid. Around me 70 year old friends have died or are sick. Life reduces as we age. If not with sickness then with fear. I won’t live this way.

I left the UK and a newly discovered Scotland in 2019 vowing to return, never imagining how our lives would change. I want to visit Rick Stein’s Padstow in Cornwall. I want to head home to Nottingham again and walk the lake at Wollaton Hall and deer park. I want to hike the  Scottish highlands and drink whisky in noisy Glasgow pubs where the glasses on the table rattle in time to the music. I want to picnic in Hyde Park with my salad lunch from Marks and Sparks. I want to pretend I’m a Londoner as I walk the streets around the hotel I call home near Portobello Road. I want to gasp at the art I see in tiny Notting Hill galleries and at the Tate and the National Portrait gallery. In the UK my days aren’t counted in steps…they are counted in adventures.

We’re all different. But my time to live in fear has to end. I’ll get a booster shot of Pfizer before I go, I’ll do all the Covid tests required and I have my Vaxx certificate ready. The flight has one stop- over (in Perth or Darwin depending on WA feudalism!) I’ll wear a mask. I have 5 months to prepare and see how the land lays. Worst case scenario I get my money back minus $400. But the best case scenario has already happened. I can dream again and plan my trip. I can keep improving on my health and get Scottish highlands fit. I am smiling and I have a goal ahead of me. I can live with fear and hope and travel with whatever comes down the road.

As Springsteen says..” I’m alive! I can feel the blood shiver in my bones…..”

17 October 2021 | Life-Style


    1. Hi Anna
      Thank you so much.. We’ll all take the steps that make sense and speak to us individually. and yes.. not a moment to lose..Viva la Vida xx Nora

  1. Nora, I take my hat off to you for taking action in such a big, brave way and surging forward with life plans! Living with ‘fear and hope’ is exactly what we have been facing each day for almost two years, and I guess stepping into the space instead of pulling back is taking some sort of managed control. As I read you piece, I could feel some of your confidence reaching me. I’m not sure I will book plane tickets but I’m thinking more about balancing the ‘fear and hope’ in a way that allows joy and pleasure to be part of the future. Thanks, Nora.

    1. Hi Heather
      Thank you so much for your lovely words and a welcome to the Viva community!
      I read this in the Age newspaper this morning from Wendy Tuohy ” We’ve galloped our adrenal glands bareback through the valley of fight or flight so often, so hard and for so long. We’ve asked so much of our resilience…” Such great words! I guess travel will be one of my stepping stones to the healing I think we’ll all be doing for some time to come….as you so clearly say.. “Stepping into space instead of pulling back.” Thank you

    1. Hi Lovely…you’ve got to have a dream!…..and I’m feeling brave and will stay informed… all that walking with your mum will get me fit xx nora

  2. Woohoo for booking those flights. We are looking at 2023 as a 70th birthday celebration for me. That gives us a little more time.
    Enjoy the planning and dreaming x

    1. Thanks Jan..yes very excited… and something to look forward too. Your 70th birthday travel adventure will be great.. and some wonderful photography I’m sure. x

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