Ode To Boris

Question: What does it take to visit family in the UK in times of pandemic?  

Answer: A lot!

So much so that although I discourage the notion of Christmas in July, I started humming a familiar Yuletide tune: I bet you can guess what it is.

Ode to Boris1

On the first  day of travel, Boris required of me,
No cough or fever, and a form so he can trace me.

And so on through the first week of the trip so that;

On the seventh day of travel, Boris required of me,
Seven “Track and Trace” calls
Six days’ quarantining
Five Covid tests
Four airport detours
Three itinerary changes,
Two grocery deliveries,
No cough or fever, and a form so he can trace me!

Here’s Chris to sing it for you:

And yet we prevailed! My daughter and I spent a dozen cool and often rainy days in northern England visiting family we had not seen in a couple of years. My parents are leaving their home of thirty-five years to be closer to my brother, so we had some “goodbyes” to say to familiar haunts – including the marvelous monkey puzzle tree I mentioned in a previous post. We found England and the British characteristically “Keeping Calm” (or nearly so), in the face of Covid and the repercussions of Brexit, and “Carrying On” in some old familiar ways:- The fish and chip shops are prospering, likewise the Indian takeaways. Enough tea is swilled to denude Sri Lanka, Gin and Tonic mercifully to a lesser degree. There’s always royal controversy,  (currently regarding a statue of Princess Diana and whether it will heal the rift between Princes William and Harry).  Rain and strawberries characterize Wimbledon almost as much as the tennis. And all that ails the nation will be well now that the England men’s soccer team is winning at Wembley stadium!2

I staggered off the final plane after a journey of more than twenty-four hours, lovely to go and nice to be back.


1Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson  –  commonly known as Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
2The England men’s soccer team qualified for the finals of the European Cup for the first time in half a century.  The game was decided on a penalty shootout and in spite of the valiant efforts of the English goalkeeper, Italy were the eventual winners.

End Notes


Small Island
Amanda Levy


Katherine Jenkins 

Fix You
Sam Smith




I Can’t Move in With You, London
Simon Armitage

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