In the midst of the biggest and most serious lockdown in history we have found ourselves living down on the south coast of England in a little Airbnb apartment. With everything still closed we are almost treading water like the rest of the country as we move towards summer and hopefully an easing of restrictions. However we haven’t just sat around watching TV eating crisps, we have strived to get out and about exploring as much as we possibly can.
A few tales from our three weeks in East Sussex.
Leopardskin St Leonards
On our daily walks down to the beach and either way along the promenade we’ve noticed something very strange about the people of St Leonards. There are the normal runners of course and a selection of coffee drinkers, mums with pushchairs, and couples wrapped up against the cold but cutting across all of these groups is something we never ever expected. Leopardskin Ladies!
You generally see the odd fake fur coat or animal print top but they are everywhere here! Every day we see scores of women of all ages sporting a leopardskin coat of some sort. So many and so strange that we have to stop ourselves from pointing now and just nod knowingly at each other mouthing “there goes another one“. Weird. We desperately wanted to take pictures of them all but it seemed a little rude so the above photo is just an artistic representation. Use you imagination.
For the first time in six years we have been at a relatively fixed address for Mother’s Day so Jo was lucky enough to receive cards and gifts from our three lovely sons. It’s the little things in life that are so special isn’t it?
Roll on Father’s Day!
Astrazeneca in Eastbourne
Like the rest of the country we have been avidly following the Covid vaccination programme and we were delighted last week to be able to both get our first dose of the Atrazeneca vaccine. We managed to book our spots online via the NHS app and arranged to head along the coast to nearby Eastbourne, only 20 minutes on the train.
A short walk from the station to the aptly-named Welcome Centre and the whole process was almost over before it had begun. Fantastically organised and operated by a wonderful team of nurses and volunteers it ran like clockwork and we were soon back on the seafront eating sandwiches and enjoying a coffee. Brilliant.
Our second dose is booked for 11 weeks time but will be in the neighbouring seaside town of Brighton this time. Hopefully we will be there for a housesit if everything works out ok.
Attack of the Kidney Stone
In our six years of travelling, that’s right it has been six years since we decided to change our lives and do something ‘different’, we have been extremely lucky not to have any serious medical issues. Regular doctors and dentists check-ups aside we haven’t experienced anything unpleasant. That luck ran out for me a few weeks ago when we in Birchington.
Picture the scene. Saturday night, just finished dinner and sitting down to watch a film when I suddenly had a serious stomach ache. After trying to ignore it for a while I took to bed for a lay down but it just got worse, When Jo asked if I’d like her to call 111 I surprisingly agreed. I’m not one to make a fuss but this felt different and after a couple of phone consultations I was being escorted into an ambulance by a couple of paramedics.
Overnight at Margate hospital for checks and tests and painkillers (thank goodness) and first thing Sunday morning I was back in an ambulance to be taken for emergency surgery at Canterbury hospital.
After more tests I was informed that it was a fairly large kidney stone lodged halfway down my urethra and that I needed a stent inserted to ease the pain and help the kidney recover. The minor surgery wasn’t a problem and the nurses and doctors were absolutely fantastic and a day later I was back with Jo at our Airbnb.
It was worse for Jo unfortunately as my phone was dead and she didn’t have a clue where I was or what was going on most of the time. I did manage to borrow one for a quick call from Canterbury but it was really stressful for her.
So since then I’ve been living with this stent and all the issues that it creates. It’s not mega-painful but it’s not nice and I can’t really walk much more than 10 minutes without needing a toilet. Big impact on our daily exercise and very restrictive. Just have to wait now until they call me back for the second operation to laser the stone away and remove the stent. To say that I can’t wait would be an understatement.
The Census and all that
A major event in England yesterday was the national census. It has taken place every 10 years since 1801 and it is a legal duty for every adult to complete. The government uses the results to make economic plans for the future so it’s vitally important.
So I dutifully went online and completed the census with all of our information for our current Airbnb address. Easy. However, a few hours later the owner of the Airbnb came to the door waving the ‘official’ census letter and panicking over how to complete it. I tried to calm him by saying it was all done and nothing for him to worry about.
He continued with the letter-waving though, slowly getting more excited and stressing himself out. Words like ‘legal‘, ‘law‘ and even ‘the police‘ started to roll off his tongue as I kept trying to placate him. Finally I had to firmly tell him that unless he had logged in and started the process again there wasn’t anything for him to worry about. Unfortunately it seems that he had done exactly that. Submitted a new record for the same address thus completely overwriting my previously completed work!
Now I should have been the one getting cross but I agreed to log on and finish off his new record as he blamed me for not letting him know my date of birth and old occupation! So to be a good neighbour and help out I did it all again.
Job done once more eh? Well not really. He popped back later in the day saying he had tried to have another go but it looked confusing so he’d started it over again! Inside I was screaming but on the outside I just asked for the letter, told him I’d sort it, and very gently closed the door!
So either we’re not included anywhere or we are recorded as living in St Leonards for the next 30 years!
17/03 – 23/03/2021