The Corona Chronicles – I Have Seen “The Beast”

Well, the question of whether or not to have the “booster” jab is now settled – for me, at least. The week before last, I had what appeared to be a cold (and, I have to say, I have had worse colds). I didn’t think much about it, but when, after 3 days or so, a slight temperature appeared, I thought it might be a good idea – since we had a family dinner planned for Rosh Hashana – to make sure that a cold was all it was. So I took myself off to the nearest COVID – testing station for a test, which, to my dismay, proved positive for COVID-19. And that was that, as far as the family dinner was concerned, since my father and stepmother, and anyone else with whom I had been in contact during the previous week (even before the symptoms appeared) now had to remain in quarantine for 14 days.

Now, see how ridiculous the rules are. My contacts had to observe 14 days of quarantine from the actual day of contact. I, on the other hand, was obliged to remain in quarantine for 10 days from the day I took the test, even though the symptoms had actually first appeared several days earlier, and had all but disappeared by the time I was tested! The result was, they were out of quarantine before I was! And, in fact, if I had waited for an appointment with my healthcare fund, which my family doctor told me was overwhelmed, I might have had to wait another week for the results!

Even more ridiculous, in order to be released from quarantine at the end of 10 days, I was not required to take another test, but merely to contact the COVID hotline of the healthcare fund to which I belong, and answer a few questions about whether I had had any symptoms during the previous three days, (to which I was truthfully able to reply that I had not), after which I was issued with a Confirmation of Convalescence.

But since we have been hearing about people who forged test results in order to be allowed to return to Israel from the Ukraine, I think it’s safe to assume that not everybody is as truthful as I – which raises the question: what kind of a system is this???

Anyway, to get back to the question of the vaccine. On the one hand, those in favour of the “booster” shot will no doubt claim that if I had received the third shot a month ago, I might not even have caught the very mild illness which I did, eventually, suffer.
That is one possibility, certainly. On the other hand, since we now know that the vaccine does not prevent catching the disease, but only serious illness and death from COVID-19, it is also possible that I might, even with the booster shot, have contracted the disease in an even milder form than I actually did (which, as I said, was pretty mild). In which case, I might not even have suspected that I was ill, would not have gone to be tested – and might have ended up infecting everyone at the family dinner.

Make of it what you will. At any rate, since I now have the natural immunity conferred by contracting the disease and recovering, in addition to the original two shots of the vaccine, I no longer require the booster shot.

And now to the book review I promised in my last post.

The Vanished Bride - The Bronte Mysteries (Paperback)

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis – a self-confessed Brontë devotee for most of her life, as her pen name makes clear – is a typical, Victorian Gothic-style mystery, featuring the Brontë sisters, home together at Haworth Parsonage in the summer of 1845, as amateur detectives. Word has reached them of the disappearance of a young woman from a nearby mansion, leaving no trace other than a large pool of blood in her bedroom. The fact of her disappearance having been first discovered by an old schoolfriend of Charlotte’s, employed in the house as a governess, suffices to convince them that it is their duty to investigate the mystery themselves. They soon discover that all was not well with the presumed victim’s marriage – and that her husband’s first wife had died in tragic, not to say mysterious, circumstances.

I used to be a big fan of Gothic romances (not that there is any romance in The Vanished Bride), and so I had high hopes for this novel, but I was rather disappointed. The plot was, alas, entirely predictable – certainly for anyone acquainted with the writings of the Brontë sisters – and the style of writing was patchy. In some parts, it was very good indeed, especially in the descriptive passages, such as this one:

A deep, dreamy sense of peace settled over Charlotte, the last of their small party, as she followed her sisters through the long, golden grass of the meadow. Her fingers outstretched, she brushed her palms across the tips of the ears of seeds, plucking a sprig of first harebells and then fireweed from the meadow, tucking the small wildflower bouquet into the buttons of her blouse. What had that old gypsy woman meant about a flame within her, that if ignited might burn forever? It seemed impossible to Charlotte that such a prediction could be true of her, and yet something about it chimed within. It was a sense of possibility.

As they descended into the heart of the valley, they followed the barely detectable path into a deep, tree-covered tunnel, where midday sun dappled in flashes like a school of minnows and the exposed roots of trees seemed to reach out in a bid to catch all passing intruders. It seemed to Charlotte that the deeper they travelled, the slower time passed around them – that perhaps, as they walked on, it might even begin to turn backwards.

In other places, I found the writing commonplace and very obviously written from a 21st century point-of-view. Even some of the writer’s stylistic choices appeared clumsy to me. For example:

‘I hardly know,’ Charlotte said, watching Emily some several yards ahead muttering and gazing about her like she was entranced by some kind of vision, which to be quite honest wasn’t all that unusual behaviour for Emily…

The use of “like she was” is a mistake here. “Like” is a simple comparison, and should be followed by a noun or a pronoun. When preceding a verb, as here (“she was entranced), the writer should have used “as if”. (“muttering and gazing about her as if she was entranced…”)
In fact, come to think of it, the verb should have been in the past subjunctive (“muttering and gazing about her as if she were entranced”).
This particular mistake occurred several times throughout the book and, at the risk of being branded a “Grammar Nazi”, I must confess it drove me crazy.

That said, if you enjoy Gothic novels and are not too sensitive to inappropriate grammar, and especially if the many injustices to which women were subjected in Victorian England make your blood boil, this book is not a bad choice for a week in lockdown or quarantine, or for a rainy weekend.

I would like to write more, as I have two more books to review, but that will have to wait till next week, as this evening, I have a choir rehearsal and must rest beforehand.

Before I go, since Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) starts tomorrow evening, let me wish you all a favourable sealing in the Book of Life, an end to the pandemic, and a return to health and to prosperity.

גמר חתימה טובה

G’mar Hatima Tova.

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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11 Responses to The Corona Chronicles – I Have Seen “The Beast”

  1. Carole Schulman says:

    I have strong opinions about the whole thing which I will spare you here.

    • I actually hoped to generate a discussion among my readers. I, personally, am in two minds about the whole business and – mostly – confused by all the conflicting information.

      • CATachresis says:

        I am also confused as I mentioned below. It’s a nightmare. Now the English government are saying they might have to impose home working and masks everywhere again! The Welsh as always are way behind!

  2. CATachresis says:

    I do think the whole COVID thing has been handled so badly. Doesn’t matter what country you’re in. However, I’m glad I’m not in charge and have to make these decisions! I am more concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who have had hospital appointments cancelled because of it – I’m one of them! But I know that people have died because of missing out on treatment. Here you still can’t get an appointment to actually see your GP. It’s all done by phone and this makes me furious!

    • Here, you can see your GP or you can have a consultation via phone or videolink. They call it “hybrid medicine”.

    • Hello from England

      I am very sorry to hear about your cancelled hospital appointment. When you know what I know about Covid 19 you will be really, really angry like me.

      The GPs in my local practice are now seeing people but the insanity of having chairs wiped with sanitiser (i think this is supposed to make people saner but it doesn’t work!), whilst the floors can be traipsed over in shoes which may well have bacteria on them defeats any logic.

      Conversations on phone boil down to ‘what do you think the problem is’ rather than the doctor examining you which of course they can’t. I remember a time when the GP came to your home and could see the circumstances of home life and knew your case history.

      I have written about vaccines on my website should you be interested and will write about the NHS in due course. I do use humour on my website to lighten the mood if you can cope with puns and plays on words.

      Kind regards

      Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

  3. Caren says:

    I think the main takeaway from this, that some seem to have missed……is if you HADN’T been vaccinated AT ALL…….the outcome could have been much, much worse and we might be writing totally different comments here……just sayin’…….even flu shots don’t stop people from getting the flu……….peace out……

    • True. But that sort of confirms what I have feared all along. Nobody really KNOWS anything for sure. And we are all prone to confirmation bias. Every piece of information or news we receive, is interpreted in accordance with what we already believe.

    • Dear Caren

      I know many people think the same as you do. I might have done myself as I used to think vaccines were of some use until I researched properly last year.

      The issue is in fact boosting of the immune system via vitamins and minerals etc. The main issue with Covid 19 is vitamin D deficiency, the true pandemic due to increased working and living indoors. I try and explain on my website.

      I have done a post on vaccines if you are interested. This leads to the other issues via a Covid 19 Summary link.

      Kind regards

      Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

  4. Hello from the UK

    Thank you very much for your post, very interesting. I did a lot of research last year on Covid 19 after my 60th birthday. Some of what I discovered was not too surprising, but having once thought that vaccines were of some use, I realised I was badly mistaken. I changed my mind.

    Vaccines ignore the fact that it is your immune system that needs boosting with vitamins and minerals among other things, including good sleep and exercise.

    Covid 19 is the ‘flu, the internal toxicosis of the body primarily due to lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is the true physical pandemic due to an increase in indoor living and working.

    The toxicosis is made worse by the numerous chemicals/toxins in the environment, including food, water and air. I did realise quite how bad the food issue was either until this time last year.

    I cover many things on my website and if you, or anyone else of course, wishes to take a look here is a link to vaccines. You will find on my posts use of humour to lighten the mood and to help make the points. They do say laughter is the best medicine!

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

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