This post is written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC), amount.

My mum and dad both died in 2012 (separately). My dad has a sister, who is now in her early/mid seventies. She emigrated to Australia back in 1970, when I was just a toddler. She got married out there and remains there to this day. I have three cousins who I’ve never met. I do, at least, keep in touch with the aunt via a weekly email exchange.

My mum was the middle one of three. She had an elder sister, and a younger brother. I haven’t seen the brother since I was a teenager – actually he is an interesting guy because he was a lowly market trader, who one day had an epiphany moment (think St. Paul!) and then became a church minister! I’ll tell you more about him one day, but this post isn’t about him.

My auntie – my mum’s elder sister – is somebody with whom I have been in regular contact, especially since my mum died. She was born three years before my mum, and is 79 now. She lives up in Greater Manchester – halfway up the country from me, about a five-hour drive.

Since the stroke, my own mobility has of course been restricted – I posted about this all the time, especially a couple of years ago – and I have not been able to visit her. We make do with a phone call every couple of weeks. When I last spoke to her she hadn’t been feeling well. Her eyes had been hurting, her head was aching, etc. I made sure I called her daily for a few days, as things eventually wore off. She has a daughter (my cousin) who still lives nearby, so I’m not really the primary contact anyway.

A week ago, the cousin contacted me, to say that my auntie had been taken into hospital. Where I’d laid off calling her for a couple of days because I thought she was getting better, she’d actually become bad enough to be admitted to hospital. All I could really do was to call her daily. When I spoke to her, there was a noticeable difference – she had become very anxious about things. She was convinced that she had done something, and that this was her punishment. She was convinced that her cellphone had been tapped, so she would not speak for long. Imagine the secuity services analysing those phone taps – what juicy material our conversations must have been 🙂. She apologised for even knowing me, in case it had somehow jinxed me. But, to her this was all real, and nothing anybody said could convince her otherwise. I mean, it sounded very stroke-like to me, almost a switch flicking in her brain. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, though, and in my years volunteering with stroke survivors, I never came across anything like that. She did have an MRI scan which didn’t reveal anything – but I took that with a pinch of salt because mine was negative too, and now look at me!

Anyway, Fandango issued the prompt of amount, and I’m getting there. It won’t have escaped your notice that there is a little health scare going on at the moment. In the UK, the peak is expected in the next 2 weeks, and the NHS is preparing for it by kicking as many people out of the hospitals as they can.

This can mean things like cancer patients not receiving urgent treatment. Some hospices, too, have been closed. In my auntie’s case, she was discharged on Tuesday, complete with 7 days of anti-psychosis meds and an urgent outpatrient appointment booked for tomorrow. When I spoke to her Tuesday night, she was convinced that she had not been discharged properly (although she wouldn’t know the difference), that she had effectively run away, and that my cousin was about to be arrested for kidnapping her. So, judge for yourselves how cured she was!

Amount, okay. I heard on the tv tonight that this is very much a deliberate strategy by the NHS, and that some hospitals had brought their occupancy rates down to 80%, in preparation for the onslaught. I don’t particularly blame the NHS – this seems like a no-win situation. People without COVID-19 are not being treated, or not being treated properly, and they are the collateral damage. I wonder whether these people will appear in the final Corona data? I suspect not.

Our media is expressing shock, horror, that our medics might have to choose who to treat and who to ignore, as they have done in Italy. It sounds to me like that choice is already being made!

As a postscript, I spoke to my auntie a few hours ago. So far, so good. Actually she sounded better tonight at home than she had all week in hospital, but I guess that’s not surprising.

Intellect in Isolation #2

After the question the other day received more likes than I expected, how about aother bit of trivia for you? This one will be easy for some of you, because you were born in this year so will recognise it immediately.

Do me a favour, this time, though. By all means comment on which clue gave the game away, but don’t write the answer itself, just in case it spoils it for someone else.

I’ll post the answer, in a comment, at (or just after) 8am GMT tomorrow (Friday). I shall keep you in suspense until then.

You can look this answer up if you like, but I’ll be impressed if you don’t need to! Again if anybody can figure out a better title, I’m all ears.

Without further ado, what was this year?

  • In the UK, McMillan became Prime Minister (so note, not for the entire year) (this clue got me close)
  • POTUS was Dwight Eisenhower, and his Veep was Tricky Dicky,
  • and the president of the USSR was Kruschev
  • Humphrey Bogart died in this year.
  • Sometimes wanna kill your partner? In New Zealand, the last person to be executed died in this year. He poisoned his wife.
  • Civil Rights. The governor of Arkansas calls out the National Guard to prevent black students enrolling in high school, in Little Rock.
  • Camp Nou, home of the mighty Barcelona soccer team, opens
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai is released (this clue got me the exact year)
  • The laser was invented, by Gordon Gould
  • The very first US rocket, Vanguard, blew up on the launchpad

And in music, we had amongst others

  • The musical West Side Story premiered
  • A Memphis, Tn mansion became Graceland after it was bought by Elvis
  • Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel became Tom and Jerry
  • John met Paul
  • Buddy Holly and the Crickets release their debut album, The Chirping Crickets
  • Elvis released All Shook Up, Fats Domino sang about Blueberry Hill
  • and, The Everly Brothers released this classic: