Thursday 21 January 2021

Self-Isolation - IV

The river overflows

Stuck indoors yesterday in quarantine, I did not realise it had rained so much in the wake of Storm Christoph that brought with it floods, snow and evacuations, our usually tame River Irwell flooded its banks in the city centre.

As I have always been fascinated by the ebb and swell of River Irwell, I have missed my early morning walks which would have brought me close to seeing the malevolent side of nature. The river breached the minor flooding height of 3.00 metres at 9:15 PM on Tuesday the 19th of January and reached the high-water mark of 4.30 metres at 7:00 PM on Wednesday the 20th of January before it began to recede, though it is rising again to 2.68 metres as I am writing this blog. [Flood Information Service: River Irwell]

River Irwell level, this morning

Testing my mettle

At closing time, the Track-n-Trace or the UK Government Test for Coronavirus Service called using the information I had entered in my Passenger Locator Form last Friday to ask if I will participate in an International Entrant Test (IET) programme to determine if I had contracted the Coronavirus from South Africa and ascertain what kind of strain it is.

If I were to take into consideration the inconvenience of my enforced quarantine, I would have declined the offer and stayed at home. I am under no obligation to submit myself to testing apart from for the benefit of science and maybe society at large.

The registration process was laborious, cumbersome and intrusive even as they wanted me to take the test today. Having no mode of transport, I would not have been persuaded to test if the testing centre were not within comfortable walking distance. It was just under 2 kilometres away.

Testing my patience

We scheduled the appointment for 6:00 PM and I made my way out to the walk-through testing centre where the conversation and guidance was easy in a completely hands-off manner. I took a swab of my tonsils as I still have then, then stuck it up a nostril for 10 seconds before spilling the contents of the swab kit and obtaining another in which to place the swab.

Then I had to call a freephone number to register my test, following prompts like a manic depressive making time to goose-stepping with 1s and 2s in different orders, I probably did 1221211 before I got to speak to someone who put me back on hold because they probably did not know what an IET was. Passed on to another, a few questions and back on hold to listen to the Top-40 chart of music I could neither make head nor tail of.

A few seconds from 14 minutes into the call, they had obtained as much information as possible, linked my details to the sample and I was ready to have my pizza box kit shipped to London for expedited analysis. Bathing my hands in sanitiser, I stepped into the rain slightly becalmed and got back home with just as much a Poirot shuffle in my gait to spend another six days in self-isolation.

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