At dawn, starving, I drove to a commercial laboratory in the town centre where five phials of blood were taken from my arm. I was then handed a plastic jar and a refreshing wipe and directed to the nearest unisex lavatory to give a urine sample (mid-stream). Then a nurse stuck a long cotton bud up my nose as far as it would go and twiddled it this way and that. Blood, urine and Covid tests were preparatory to a hospital admission for a procedure involving a general anaesthetic. Then I drove home and ate a kipper for breakfast. While I was eating, Catriona stuck a hypodermic needle in my upper arm and injected me with a flu jab she’d bought at the village pharmacy — the last one in the shop.
In the afternoon I felt a little queer in an undefinable way and went upstairs to lie down. Then a sharp pain, situated I think in my colon, intermittent at first, then continuous, drove me to cry out for painkillers. I lay on the bed like a dying duck for the rest of the afternoon until five thirty, when it was time to get ready to go out.
We were slated for dinner at Michael’s house, door to door a distance of about 100 yards. I can’t stand dinner parties at the best of times. But knowing Michael, he had put a lot of time and effort into the meal preparation, so I washed down more codeine-based painkillers with a goodly tot of gin, lied on my Covid ‘attestation’ form that I was leaving the house for the purpose of exercising the dog, and tottered down the path to Michael’s house.