Tales of the Coronavirus (Italy): 26 March 2020


Another Tale from Italy.  For me, this is a real link with family and we are probably all using different methods to make contact with people.  The news has been telling us that we were four weeks behind Italy, then it became three, now 2½ weeks yet the figures of deaths in Italy are still rising.  It is scary but, in a strange way, interesting to know if Italy and UK are doing the same things, experiencing the same things.  Here is Andrew’s Story:

“Quarantine Day Number 16:  I bought this tea towel in January 2020, in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.  I was charmed by it’s hypnotic, visual effect.  I thought my wife, Elena, would appreciate it.  When I got home, she definitely did and placed it on the fridge door, held by magnets: top corner, on the left, is a wall tile displayed in Whitworth Art Gallery.

The Whitworth Art Gallery boasts 55,000 items, in its collections: water colours, sculptures, wallpapers and textiles.  The tea towel is a reproduction of a wallpaper motif.  The Art Gallery didn’t warm up my heart.  The first two halls display 19th and early 20th century wallpapers and textiles that were attractive.  But the temporary exhibitions, on display in the following rooms, either I didn’t quite understand or I wasn’t interested in them.  My fault, I guess.

This tea towel bids me welcome every day, but today when I went to the fridge to prepare my breakfast, it appeared different, no psychedelic stimulations this time.  I just saw the depiction of the viruses in a lab-grade ‘soup’.  Yes, yes, I know, I am influenced by this period of general infection, like everybody else, I reckon.  It is a pandemic, isn’t it, after all?  

We are always afraid of seasonal illnesses; as if we ‘got it’, becoming paranoid at any coughing or sneezing, could we be touched by Coronavirus?  Could our neighbour think ‘we’ are plagued?  Or, the way round, could he/she be?   A few days ago, I went to my family doctor; for a month, I had been suffering from sore throat, and hacking cough.   I had to continuously tell myself, and my suspicious family, that a sore throat was not a sign of Coronavirus, that I had no fever or wheeze whatsoever, that we were talking about it for the whole month, not 5 days (when possible symptoms start to emerge), nor 10 days (when your illness could be confirmed.  It was only pharyngitis.  

After that, it was then I found, in the post box, a soft square padded envelope, just arrived from UK.  There was no mistaking, it could only be a tea towel from my cousin, Barbara.  I sent her a photo of me holding the tea towel, as a ‘thank you’; her response was “Now that’s what I like to see.  A happy man with a tea towel!!”   A nice thick towel, with a powder-blue border – a favourite colour of mine – and a display of my beloved owls, is what you need to make ‘your spirits bright’ in such a period of crisis.  Thank you Barbara!

Can’t wait for the next edition of your Tales of Coronavirus.


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