Travelling Home to Self Isolation

We spent our last morning in Dubai, gently getting our last bag packed and breakfasting with Lucy.  Our flight was at 1435, so she drove us to the airport for around 1230.  The roads were quieter than usual with so many people working from home there now.

It was hard to say goodbye this time, knowing that we will not see her for a while and that we can’t get to each other if we need or want to.  Hopefully it will not be too long and we can use the web in the meantime.  Although UAE does not allow Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime or any of those products.  You can use them for messaging but not for pseudo telephone or video calls.  It’s not easy.  We’ve had a really lovely time with her in Dubai.  Love her apartment and the views.  It’s a really secure development and very comfortable and well placed.

We put on our masks right away on the curb and wheeled our luggage away, hand sanitiser at the ready.  Felt a bit awkward because very few people were wearing masks and those that were, were wearing the plain material ones.  Ours fitted tightly to our face and had a little filter in the front.  A bit Hannibal Lectorish to be frank but they seemed to be good quality.  Check in was easy and our suitcase weight was ok.  The checkin staff were also not masked and not wearing disposable gloves.

On through security.  Still nothing……   After security we went and washed our hands really thoroughly, having had to touch the trays to put our stuff in for x ray.  Then I had a Howard Hughes moment, looking at the door handle.  But I remembered cruise drill and took a couple of paper towels from the dispenser (didn’t touch the dispenser) and used them.  It’s difficult to know how far to go…..  I also find it difficult to go on escalators without touching the hand rail but I concentrated on not doing that.

The plane was very crowded but I was lucky and had an empty seat next to me.  Bob not so lucky and in a full row of 3.  We were across the aisle from each other, both with aisle seats.  There were some masks on the flight and the cabin crew all had disposable gloves on, but not masks.  I used the sanitiser to clean my tray, the arms of the seat, the touch screen and the screen controller and my hands (again).  I didn’t go to the loo on the plane at all by design.

Food was good, service was good and entertainment programme was excellent.  I do like Emirates.  The flight was just under 7 hours which was fast – it had been billed as 8 hours 10 mins.  We landed at Gatwick at 545pm.  It was very grey but dry.

The staff marshalling through passport control were unmasked. No screening at all was done and no questions were asked. We walked right in. Quite shocking that.  Didn’t even see a customs officer after the baggage hall, there was literally no one there.   Sanitised again after the passport scan and of course had to take the mask off while that happened.Bags came through pretty quick.  We visited the loo and washed up again, and took towels to use with the trolleys.

Our taxi driver was waiting for us and we were soon in the car.  He had a mask on and we kept ours on in the cab.  I had a message from a friend just getting over corona virus and it sounds horrendous to be honest.  16 days of hell and very frightening and she wasn’t hospitalised.  Definitely something to be avoided at all costs if you can.

It was lovely to get to the house and get inside, find everything was fine and looked lovely.  Always so glad we go to the trouble of a big clean and tidy right before we leave.  It’s much nicer to come home to relative pristineness.  We made a cup of tea and turned in.  Tomorrow morning I have a Tescos delivery.  I checked it tonight as it can be amended up to midnight.  20 of the 75 things I’d ordered had become unavailable since I checked last night.  I managed to get alternatives to all of them except the paracetamol which has gone out of stock.  I got some other flu capsules.  We have some paracetamol left but not a lot.  I shall have to hunt for some just in case.

And so ends one of the strangest winters ever.  I little thought in January that we would be returning to this situation which is the worst thing I have ever known, having not lived through the catastrophe of a world war.   We’re in for a rough time.  I wish you all a safe transition through to the other side.

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