Episode 332 – The Covid Chronicles, Part 2, and The Maple Leaf Forever.

Day 5. Saturday September 17.

All that napping may be throwing my sleep patterns off a bit. I’m up at 2 a.m. with a cup of mint tea, listening to the neighbours discuss/argue about something. At their volume, echoing up from the open outdoor stairwell through our partially open windows, it should be easy to tell what their topic is, but their English accents are so broad that I have absolutely no idea.

It’s been 5 days since our positive tests, and our friends in Portishead have remained healthy, so at least we didn’t spread it to them, despite hugging. We still have no idea where we picked up the virus (transit? hair salon?) except that after visiting so many countries in the past 8 months, and staying so healthy, we got a bit complacent about mask-wearing here in England where virtually no one does.

We’re not re-testing yet because, frankly, until Ted is feeling at least as good as I am what’s the point? I honestly don’t think either of us are negative yet, although Ted’s throat clearings have transformed overnight from bull moose to bullfrog, somehow managing to completely switch not only species but class, from mammal to amphibian.

The weather all week has been mocking us with its beauty: sunny, warm, slightly breezy, with just the slightest hint of fall in the air. It’s warm enough that our windows are able to be left open all day and night. Today, with Ted also beginning to feel more energetic, we’re going to head out into the park, to walk among the tall trees, far away from any other people, and just breathe deeply of the fresh air.

Unlike on our last walk up the hill, this time Wolfe’s statue was not crowded with people. I cannot walk past the statue without singing the original words to The Maple Leaf Forever, learned in grade 4, to myself:

In Days of yore, 
From Britain's shore
Wolfe the dauntless hero came
And planted firm Britannia's flag
On Canada's fair domain.
Here may it wave,
Our boast, our pride
And joined in love together,
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
The Maple Leaf Forever.

[CHORUS]
The Maple Leaf
Our Emblem Dear,
The Maple Leaf Forever.
God save our Queen and heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf Forever.

At Queenston Heights and Lundy's Lane
Our brave fathers side by side
For freedom's home and loved ones dear,
Firmly stood and nobly died.
And so their rights which they maintained,
We swear to yeild them never.
Our watchword ever more shall be
The Maple Leaf Forever

[CHORUS]

Our fair Dominion now extends
From Cape Race to Nootka Sound
May peace forever be our lot
And plenty a store abound
And may those ties of love be ours
Which discord cannot sever
And flourish green for freedom's home
The Maple Leaf Forever

[CHORUS]

- penned by Alexander Muir, a Toronto public school Principal, in 1867, Canada’s confederation year.

Since then the lyrics have been rewritten many times, and some of the more recent, less Anglo-centric, ones are quite beautiful, but it’s the original I committed to (somewhat faulty) memory back in about 1964.

I was surprised by the fact that the statue was a gift of the Canadian people in 1930, and that it was unveiled by the Marquis of Montcalm! For those unfamiliar with Canadian history, it was French General Marquis de Montcalm that British General Wolfe defeated on the Plains of Abraham in September of 1759, in a pivotal battle to the 7 Years War. That war finally ended in 1763 with France ceding its territories in eastern North America to Britain. It’s why Canada is this week mourning her British Queen.

There was no one around us in the Greenwich Royal Park Herb Garden (below) where we sat on a bench to verify the correct words to The Maple Leaf Forever. It will surprise absolutely no one who knows us that Ted remembered the words correctly, while I did not. Wolfe is described in the original lyrics as “dauntless”, not “conquering” (which I’ve been singing for years, in error). Now if only we knew what a daunt was and why Wolfe had none…

We caught a cricket game in progress on the sunny Greenwich Park pitch. Ted got some lovely action shots by zooming in from our well-distanced vantage point.

En route home, by yet another previously unexplored path, we passed by an interesting old building two engraved stone plaques above the door reading “Greenwich Hospital” and “Standard Reservoir”. A quick bit of research revealed that it was a “water conduit house” dating to 1710-11, built under the direction of architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, then deputy surveyor for the Royal Naval Hospital. Inside (not visible to us) is a room 24.3m/80 ft in diameter. Water was piped from here to the Hospital from a large cistern into which all the conduits on the west side of the Park drained. We’re going to need to look for the one near the Boating Pond, which was originally one of the water storage units for the Tudor Palace and dates back to around 1515.

I’m down another half a pound, despite the extra biscuits with my tea and pretty much just sitting around all day. Covid, or my body fighting it, must consume a ridiculous number of calories. Tonight I’ll be adding the M&S bread and butter pudding to our dinner for “afters”.

9 comments

  1. “I honestly don’t think either of us are negative yet, although Ted’s throat clearings have transformed overnight from bull moose to bullfrog, somehow managing to completely switch not only species but class, from mammal to amphibian.” Best line ever!!! Hope the “all clear” whistle is blown soon for you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Rose – glad to hear that you are gradually getting better. I had COVID last month and it took 12 days to get a negative test and about four weeks to really feel healthy and about five weeks till ALL my symptoms were gone. It’s remarkable how quickly one gets deconditioned after being under the weather that long, so it’s good that you and Ted are continuing to walk outside, getting exercise.

    It’s also interesting how varied the disease can be – at the same time I got it, others did too. One had no symptoms at all, one was ill for just a week, one was ill about the same length as me and another is still having some symptoms.

    So, it requires patience sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I check, I’ll probably realize I’ve found the weight you lost! Scones, jam, CREAM! When I read about you singing, I immediately started singing about the dauntless hero. Good word – I see it as unconquerable with attitude and clout. Get better soon!!!!! Love you

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ROSE:

    Watching the Queen’s funeral as I read your blog. Wanted to stand when I read “The Maple Leaf Forever”. I don’t remember it, but think “Oh Canada” is one of the best national anthems. Good to hear that Ted has progressed to bull frog. What happened to caribou? Wonder what’s next.

    Take care!

    Al

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 2 people

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