Tuesday 12 January 2021

Furthest South

We had the best Christmas that could be reasonably expected at the end of a Plague Year: enough food, perfectly cooked; family present; but min presents; drink but no drunks. Beyond having Dau.I and Dau.II home we didn't get hammered and didn't go <cof> <cof> visiting. As a country, we seem to have Xmasocialised rather too closely and rather too widely and the Covid+ numbers have gone vertical. It was an unfortunate time for the Girl Who Invented Herself aka B to exercise her decision, arrived at last Summer, to repatriate herself from foreign. But back in the fall, she booked her flight home for 9th Jan 2021.

Common sense, Covid sense and The Man all advise that self-isolation for 14 days is required of all immigrants . . . we have enough virus circulating in the community without adding any foreign germs to the already frothy [and potentially fatal] mix. The Public [whoever that might be] don't do nuance [although they are grand with me-exceptionalism] so rules, regulations and requirements are necessarily blunt. Any rational risk assessment will conclude that B, inccommming from Covid-free Singapore is much more at risk from us than we are from her - even factoring in a two-leg Etihad flight. 

From commuting my Yaris 80 km every day; since Coronarama in March, its use been down 80km a month. It made sense, therefore, to add B to the insurance and let her drive herself to her quarantine lazar house on the Waterford Coast. Plan: I drive the Yaris & The Beloved drives her Grape to the Airport. B takes the Yaris while TB and I return home in the Grape. It was a plan not without its anxieties because a) the travel restrictions b) the previous night was the coldest since the Beast from the East three years ago. All fine and dandy until Bob the Duh starts the additional driver insurance 24 hours after B's arrival from foreign and only notices his error minutes before departure.

We decide that the best fall-back is for me to do Driving Miss Baisy and for TB to pick me up from outside the Quarantine Station after delivery. It should be okay on the Riskometer Scale if B sits in the back as far from the steering wheel as possible; we both mask up; and drive with the windows open. Did I say it was cold? Not really cold, not Sweden cold but it was -5°C when I crunched the ice to leave home. 

At the airport it was a [comparatively] balmy +1°C. Brilliant sunny day, though which helped. Gradually the temperature crawled up as with headed towards to tropics: +2°C in Kildare, +3°C crossing the Carlow border, +4°C in mid-Kilkenny and touching +5°C as we crested a Furthest South rise and saw the sea. This is how lots of people travelled 100 years ago: one of my elderly female rellies was still going about her rounds in a pony and trap in Wexford in the 1960s.

Near the J3 turn-off for Moone and Timolin [what passes for a metropolis in the M9 Kildare corridor], we noted a motor-cyclist and I said we were better protected, in all senses, than them. B made a quip about Shackleton and Tom Crean [R <not!> photo courtesy George O'Mahony] and how well 'ard we were.  Somewhere along the way she also shared a Coronarama silver lining about how face-masks were just the thing for outdoors in Winter. To which Dau.I would add: especially if cycling

Now here's the thing: when we were making ableist, self-congratulatory, comparisons with real Hard Chaws like Crean and Shackleton we were cruisin' past, and not more than 5km from, Kilkea House, where Shackleton was born and reared . . . on the 112th anniversary of his Furthest South achievement struggling to within 100 nautical miles of the South Pole on 9th Jan 1909. Doing a 2 hour trip with the windows open doesn't really qualify. And to show that the real Tom Crean had a heart of gold, R is a picture of him with an armful of puppies.

1 comment:

  1. If I had known, I would have made the pilgrimage. Also, 1. puppies had to be shot, 2. i think puppies were also eaten.