My wife Hattie and I had two visitors this New Year. One, my brother Simon, was very welcome indeed. The other, his exotic friend, Omicron Variant, was not.
Simon flew in from Los Angeles on the 30th December, eventually arriving via a gruelling six hour transit stop in Dallas that involved, much to his horror, mingling with a massive crowd of hundreds of New Year’s travellers.
Though he, like us, is double vaxxed, boosted and tested negative multiple times both before and after his flight to the UK, by January 4th the almost inevitable had happened. He and I were both positive and effectively under voluntary house arrest.
Happily our symptoms were relatively mild – not much more than a bit of a cough and cold – but it meant that what for Simon was supposed to be a five day flying visit planned between TV lighting jobs in California, became a two week stay durng which we couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone.
It definiteky wasn’t what we had planned. We read, we wrote, we watched TV and caught up on years of conversation. We also gazed longingly at the world beyond our windows while working our way through a couple of boxes of lateral flow tests and waited to be officially declared contagion free.
Simon finally managed to fly back to California with a clean bill of health on January 12th, arriving just in time to supervise the start of the new series of the US version of The Masked Singer for which he is lighting designer.
We later worked out that it was the first time for more than 50 years that Simon and I had spent so long in each other’s company. Ths last time was during the school and college holidays in 1970 when we spent a long and lazy summer with our parents in Hong Kong and Macau.