Just a wee update on a couple of things from last week. On Saturday morning I left the house in Bishopbriggs at 6.00 a.m. and made my way to the Royal Mail delivery office in Baird Street, after my failed attempt earlier in the week to find out what was happening to our St. Mungo’s post. Even at that hour there was a socially distanced queue forming and I was 5th in the queue. It was a cold morning but I was well wrapped up with my scarf around my mouth to form a mask in obedience to Nicola. At 7.00 a.m. the Customer Service section opened and at around 7.20 a.m. I was allowed in. No sooner had I said I was the parish priest of St. Mungo’s and provided my I.D. than the very pleasant man behind the screen went scurrying off and came back with a huge bundle of post covering the previous 3 weeks. In a brief conversation, mindful of the ever-growing queue outside, I understood that this would be the procedure for the time being until things return to some state of normality. I never discovered why mail was being delivered during the first 4 weeks of lock down and then stopped, but I was just relieved that, when I got the chance to go through it, everything I had been expecting was there, and I was able to update necessary admin. As I left the delivery office the queue was once again stretching a long way down Baird Street and I felt a pang of sympathy for those whom I knew, from previous experience, would still be in the queue when the doors would be closed at 9.00 a.m. and who would need to come back another day. Still and all, I have reinstated the postal service as recipients of my Thursday night appreciative applause.
The previous day I had gone to the QUEH to collect my brother and bring him home. There had been false alarms on Wednesday and Thursday but I was assured that he would be coming home on Friday. After our streamed Mass out at the oratory in Bishopbriggs I drove to the hospital and found a parking space in the number one car park. For some reason I had expected the hospital to be quieter but finding a parking space was as difficult as ever. I discovered that the discharge area I was expecting to go to is now in fact the Covid-19 special assessment and treatment area known as SATA. This must have been where my brother was admitted the previous week. The discharge area is now the main hospital atrium and it was quite chaotic. There were patients, visitors and staff milling around all over the place – some socially distancing, some not; some wearing masks, some not; but the staff both outside and inside were doing a great job with exemplary patience and courtesy to help everyone. When I called the ward as instructed, my brother was ready to go but they were waiting for a porter; then, when the porter arrived, they had to wait for the pharmacist to come and check the newly adjusted medication that was ready for bringing home. I got the impression this could take a while, so I decided to go out and get some fresh air with the staff nurse having promised to call me. I had about an hour’s walk before the call came. Everything was in order but they had to wait for a porter again. Eventually, he was brought down to the atrium and I was able to get him into the car and bring him home. Since then, his home care has been stepped up and, while he is a bit frailer than before he went in, he is glad to be back in his own space. None of this is any way a criticism because, in such difficult times, I am in awe at the amazing job the NHS and other care services are selflessly doing – thank you.
We Passionists are still doing okay. I have heard a good bit from Father Gareth this week. His mum is still isolating; he is doing the shopping, and they are minding each other and watching the Soaps. No sign of the Infant of Prague arriving in Merthyr yet. Father Justinian is getting more adventurous in his daily walks, especially now that Colonel Tom is going to be knighted. Father Antony is keeping up the running most days, and of course still drops by his mum’s each night on his walk to have a chat from the garden. My routine is a bit more erratic as you can see from the above, but my evenings are usually relaxed, reading a book or watching old episodes of the West Wing – best series ever – although 24 would run it close.
As always, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your life.