Squished in a window seat on a flight from Heathrow to SFO, I’ve 10 hours to replicate on my star-crossed journey. My husband had booked aisle and window seats, hoping nobody would come between us. Alas, an enormous burly man claimed his seat simply as we had been about to take off. After a bout with Covid, I used to be returning house with muscle cramps and congestion. My husband, the one one in our Cornwall cottage who did not contract Covid, awoke the subsequent day with a feverish flu. Go determine.
I ought to have anticipated the tenor of this journey after we had been about to deplane in London and my husband could not discover his pockets, which contained his bank cards, money and his driver’s license. It by no means made it to London. Instead, it was ready safely in an obscure SFO safety workplace. Despite our TSA PreCheck-Global Entry standing, my husband was requested to empty his pockets, take away his belt after which take out his passport. He reclaimed his passport and belt however forgot concerning the pockets in a separate tray.
Over our 22-year marriage, with journey on 5 continents, journey and misadventure has a means of discovering us, whether or not it’s a pickpocket in Barcelona or an offended Roosevelt elk in the redwoods. But our week in Cornwall wasn’t imagined to be an journey. Instead, I used to be trying ahead to visiting gardens, galleries and rugged coasts, and wallowing in clotted Cornish cream.
My son and his household, who stay in Yorkshire, had rented a three-bedroom cottage in Truro, the place we might spend every week collectively. Not having seen my granddaughter since 2019, we had been overjoyed when his household met our practice on a Friday afternoon.
On Sunday morning, I awoke with a fever, examined constructive for Covid and spent 5 days quarantined in an upstairs bed room, searching the window at a lone headstone of a girl named Catherine. My son and my husband carried meals to me on a tray and communicated with me on Facebook Messenger. Meanwhile, I napped, checked the information on my iPad, did crossword puzzles and completed “Sarum,” Edward Rutherfurd’s 1,039-page novel that traces the historical past of the Salisbury area from prehistoric occasions to 1985.
Fortunately, I used to be by no means terribly ailing. Fully vaccinated and double boosted, my case of Covid was the equal of a 24-hour virus. Had I been forearmed, I may have traveled with a just-in-case prescription for Paxlovid, which I used to be unable to acquire in the UK On the opposite hand, not taking it means I did not have a post-Paxlovid rebound.
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But after ruining everyone’s vacation, I was tormented by post-Covid guilt.
Our rental ended the next Friday, and simply as we had been about to go away for the practice station, my son texted us. He and his spouse had contracted Covid. They could not fly house to Yorkshire as deliberate, and the airline would not credit score them for a future flight.
We provided to be caregivers and spend time with our granddaughter, however “Covid Cornelia” was as welcome as ants at a picnic. My son wished us gone. Several days later, my granddaughter got here down with Covid, delaying their return house by eight days. We may assist financially — the delay value them $2,000-plus — however we may do nothing to ameliorate a vacation gone awry.
My husband and I grabbed our suitcases and ambled down the hill to the railroad station a mile or so away as a result of all of the cabs had been ferrying youngsters to highschool. Still involved about contagion, we canceled plans to dine in Bath with University of Glasgow housemate and famed astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Ironically, she emailed again that she, too, examined constructive for Covid.
We made the perfect of our remaining time in the UK In Bath, we immersed ourselves in Jane Austen, Roman remnants and Georgian structure, and relished a gooey-rich afternoon tea. Moving on to Salisbury, we explored historic Sarum, the hilltop website of historic ruins described in Rutherfurd’s e-book. And in Salisbury itself, house of a powerful cathedral and the unique Magna Carta, I had the perfect Sunday roast in my reminiscence at our Sixteenth-century inn.
Upon returning to London, we met up with my stepdaughter and her household, who had been additionally visiting, and took our grandsons to the Churchill War Rooms, exploring the underground bunker the place the prime minister and his officers holed up throughout the Blitz.
At the tip of an extended flight, I used to be glad to flee Britain’s blistering warmth wave. Cornwall’s gardens will await one other go to, however I appeared ahead to tooling round my very own backyard. Palo Alto just isn’t too shabby.