Mad world

posted in: Life in Ioannina | 5
An empty Athens airport

I might have mentioned before that I am a nervous traveller at the best of times, and these are far from that (though not – yet – the worst.)  The coronacrisis brings with it fears of border closures and cancelled flights, and added to the mix I discovered, in the fluster of booking my flights home, Val had entered the wrong birth date, knocking eight years off me, but still.  I did make a half-hearted effort to get it changed, but eventually reckoned I was more likely to get the flights cancelled, so decided to let it be and take my chances, figuring the chances of anyone spotting it in the small print were remote.

As it turned out, I was right, and in fact the whole journey, door to door, could not have gone smoother, what with empty roads, empty airports, half-empty planes., and an almost entirely empty final bus to Oxford, with just me and one other passenger.

Coronavirus awareness was apparent in other ways too, with announcements in the airport recommending a two metre gap, making for long but civilised queues.  And I was firmly ordered to “Stop!” by a masked airport official I was approaching for directions, a good four metres away.

Masks were the most obvious manifestation, worn by about two-thirds of the people I saw, including the woman in the seat in front of me for the final journey, who wore, in addition to her mask, a thick coat with the fur-trimmed hood pulled down low, so that only her eyes showed (no, me neither.)  She may well have escaped infection, but I reckon was in danger of expiring through hyper-ventilation.

The important thing is that I am now home and – touch wood, crossed fingers, inshallah – well.  My son Joe told me that he had been advised to stay home from the school where he works because of me.  I did think this a little over-cautious, but knew they did have to consider the health of the pupils.  When I finally realised that it was the other way round, and they were worried about the children, via Joe, infecting me, I laughed and laughed and laughed.  I won’t be laughing if I get sick, of course, but hope I will still appreciate the irony.

5 Responses

  1. Pamela Blair

    Congratulations! YOU’RE HOME! I heard from Cecelia that she plans to go back to Lesvos this summer, but I’m not sure what she’s going back to, since Gekko closed and OHF burned. Maybe we were there during Lesvos’ last hurrah as a place where refugees could get help. Any news you have is welcome here.

    I’m still well, but waiting…and I’m surprised your son is even teaching—the schools are all closed here. My Bath friends sent this out—I think you’ll like it. Their “clown class” was cancelled, so they made this video:

    Stay well, Chris, Val and family. Let’s hope this is over by September and I can come to visit you during my stay in Calais!



    mmmm… very odd…. I’m not able to register a
    ‘ like ‘ …. but if I could I definitely would…x

  3. Lambert

    Glad to hear you are back in Blighty. Hope your neck of the woods is safe. We are fortunate to be living in a very low population density area of New York City, so it’s a little easier for us to maintain isolation. Any day now we expect a shelter in place order.

    So it’s back to the garden and other household task for now.

    Lambert and Gerry

  4. Gerry

    Wonderful you are home and safe. I was just writing a letter to you and thought – is he in Greece or not and then opened your blog and viola – safely back home.
    We are under strict quantine here due to our age and my COPD (mild). But, though a bit boring it turns out there are lots of interesting projects to do here like spring gardening, working on a new painting and cooking nourishing soups. L. does the grocery shopping so I won’t be exposed and except for daily walks that is our live at 319.
    The good news is that world pollution has been greatly reduced due to the very very less use of planes. Who would’ve thought they were so polluting? Tourism has become in our life an enormous business and most of it requires air travel. I know when I was a kid a vacation was a trip with everyone piled into the car to a house Dad had rented on the beach or in the mountains. My first plane trip was at 18 to university in Colorado!
    Hello to Val and Joe is great to stay home and keep you company! Don’t forget to wipe your doorknobs and light switches with a Clorox dilution. Safety is more important than anything right now.
    Love, Gerry

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