Unshielding

I’ve just had a letter – yes, a proper letter, in an envelope – from ‘HM Government’, telling me that my doctor (sic) has told them that I’m ‘no longer considered to be at the highest risk of severe illness from Coronavirus’, and am therefore no longer in the ‘shielding’ category: unable to step outside my house, etc. I was little disappointed – took it as a demotion; and like most people apparently who have received this letter I don’t altogether trust the government – this government – to know what’s good for me. With regard to ‘self-isolation’ and ‘shielding’ I’ve used my own judgment up to now, which luckily has coincided with the Government’s; but peeking out from my curtains today, and reading the papers, I can’t see what has really changed. So I shall continue being careful, sneaking out for my pint of milk from the corner shop, or to visit neighbours in their gardens; until I see the Hull Council waste disposal vans clearing all the dead bodies away.

I plan to risk travelling to Stockholm as soon as Humberside Airport renews its flights to Schipol for a connection to Arlanda. (At present the only flights out of there are to Aberdeen and to the North Sea Oil rigs – nearer, but not quite near enough.) I may stay there for good – in our sommarhus. I’m not sure that Sweden’s response to the virus has been much better than Britain’s, but at least it hasn’t got an Old Etonian in charge. I’m done with England.

For the time being I have work to do, preparing two books for publication. Don’t be too impressed: one is a new edition of an old book, the other a collection of old essays. Hence the radio silence.

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