I never use the Q word, and if you know me well enough by now you know that I will always prefer to and resort to the C word. Calm, that is. To me the word calm represents a less uneasy feeling about what lies ahead and what the future may hold. Calm is a peace in the present which I am able to settle in to, whereas the Q word holds with it a suspicion of when it will break. With the lockdown restrictions in London being what they are currently, life outside of work has returned to the calm of a routine and some exciting interactions over Zoom. Work is, so far, nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year and, although we are seeing some COVID deaths, it is very much in line with the national statistics being produced showing the death rate is not increasing as it did earlier in the year.
On Sunday last week my husband and I went to walk the local rescue greyhounds at the rehoming centre. We live close to one of the greyhound race tracks in East London and since lockdown there have been record numbers of dogs rehomed to people who have more free time and time at home with them. We are hoping to be able to rehome a dog one day, but the nature of the greyhounds who have raced does not really match a household with two cats. For now we are content to help walk the dogs across the fields local to the rehoming centre and help look after them. Later on that day we headed out to Southend on Sea and I sat by the seaside merrily eating chips. That was the kind of Sunday I love, just a shame there was no graveyard to wander about in either location!
The start of the week I was working at our smaller mortuary at the other hospital which does have it’s perks. For a start, there is a window in the office there through which you can actually see daylight. As the dark hours become greater, it’s certainly a nice change to work at the other site and see some of the sunshine when it peeks through the clouds. The shuttle bus between the two hospitals is also a nice break in the day as we only spend the mornings over there, and I like the chance to catch up on my podcasts in the time spent. I’ve discovered some great new podcasts recently, which is brilliant but does mean I am struggling to keep up with them all. My recent taste in true crime has abated slightly for a dive into spooky season specials on haunted houses and some paranormal radio style drama. If there is interest, I will happily write a podcast recommendation post once again just let me know in the comments below.
On Wednesday I attended one of the London Month of the Dead series of talks hosted by John Troyer of the Death Reference Desk titled Technologies of the Human Corpse. John recently published a book of the same name which I am hoping to soon buy and read. It was such a thought provoking and interesting talk around themes such as Transhumanism, how we define death and the politics around death. I wish that I had read the book beforehand, however I have struggled to have the attention span to read recently. Funnily enough, the first book that I have read from cover to cover in about a year is for a very good reason that I will let you know all about next week. I have heard John speak before in person at Brompton Cemetery for a previous London Month of the Dead talk and I really hope that I will be able to attend more talks by him in the future. John is such an interesting person with a great insight into death and a great way of expressing that in how he speaks.
On Thursday I received my seasonal flu jab at work, in a year where I think it is more important than ever to get it if you want to and are able to. There is a great uncertainty around what will happen if people were to contract the COVID-19 virus as well as a flu virus. With the COVID-19 virus proving to have life long effects impacting the respiratory system it seems hugely important we are protecting the most vulnerable in society in the ways which we can, that is wearing masks, washing our hands and having our vaccinations when we can. My arm did swell in a red welt for a few days but this has finally subsided today and I have had no ill effects otherwise.
On Friday I had a great morning training some of the staff from Theatres on our Care After Death course. They asked some really awesome questions which people had not asked before and it felt like a truly engaging session. We run these so that the teams from the wards and departments get to have an insight into our work, by doing so they can then improve their practices which greatly improves the care of the deceased in our hospitals. When a group of people are engaged in this way, and want to learn, it totally makes conducting the sessions worthwhile. In fact, since we began them we have seen the practices improve immensely which is evident in our everyday work when we book in the deceased. There is something hugely satisfying about this and I am grateful to my manager for persuading me and allowing me to be involved in conducting the training.
The last couple of days I have been catching up on housework, computer work and generally completing things around the house or that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I’ve started a couple of (very easy!) sewing projects that should see me through the dark evenings too. Next week there is a few different events online that I am attending and looking forward to, with Halloween coming up at the weekend also. Today I went for a stroll in the rain around the country park, my main aims to search for magpies and swing by the bat boxes once again. I’m not sure why I like them so much, I will not see bats during the day, but I am pleased that they are there and hopefully have snuggly bats inside. I’ll leave you with that thought.