Saturday, 20 November 2021

Testing times!

 Modern technology is amazing, smartphones doing stuff that whole rooms of computers couldn’t do half a century ago. Who would have thought it possible? Apart from science fiction writers, Woody Allen in his film “Sleeper” and , of course, Star Trek with their “communicators” as forerunners of mobile phones.

I am prompted to say this as we had to struggle with QR codes and our iPhones and using them to upload stuff onto websites yesterday.

Earlier in the day we had been waiting for the delivery of our post-travel-from-Portugal covid tests. We’d ordered them from Boots the Chemist. When I say “we”, I really mean Phil as he does the bulk of the technology-related stuff. At some point while we were still away we were given a delivery date, by text message, for said tests. Unfortunately it was four days before we were due home and so we (Phil) had to work out rescheduling delivery, arranging for them to arrive AFTER we arrived home. Somewhere between 9.40 and 1.40 on Friday, they said the amended delivery would be.

Also earlier in the morning I’d been talking to a neighbour who has just been on a cruise in the Mediterranean with her son and his family. During her cruise, she told me, they had all had to have rapid flow tests every morning before leaving their cabins. Security overload or what? However, they got used it and knew each day that they were not going to be confined to quarters and not allowed to go ashore on visits. They still had to test on their return to the UK though. She had been surprised that her test and her grandson’s test had had to be posted off to Newcastle while others in the party had had to send theirs to Liverpool. Quirks of the system, sharing the work out. Happily they all came back negative. 

So I was expecting to have to post ours off to somewhere and was working out timing accordingly. I didn’t want to miss the post. When we opened up the packets, though, we discovered that everything would be done online, placing our completed tests on a special form with our order number and photographing everything in order to upload it. Okay! 

I admit to being a little apprehensive about the test itself. As we’d barely left our area since lockdown prior to heading off for Iberia, we had never had occasion to carry out a test. Consequently I had never had to poke a swab up my nose and twirl it around. Just think, we spend all that watching toddlers to ensure they don’t stick things up their noses, not even fingers to pick their noses, and now we are being told to poke swabs up our noses and swivel them. But, you know, in the end it’s no big deal. It feels odd and slightly tickly or tingly but that’s all. 

The chemistry side of things was straightforward too, swirling the aforementioned swabs in a little container of liquid of some time, removing said swab carefully, dropping precisely 4 drops of the resulting brew onto the test gadget and timing every stage precisely. It was father like being back in the science lab with Miss France when I was 14! Easy peasy!

Then came the technology. It took quite a bit of careful working out (even for Phil) to deal with QR codes and uploading photographic evidence, waiting for confirmation, almost throwing everything away too soon. It’s a good job I had Phil to work it all out for us. I could feel the tension mounting in me. I had to consciously relax my shoulders. I was transported back to those IT training sessions I had endured as a teacher, when everyone else seemed to have reached stage 12 in the procedure but I was still on stage 3 and was about ready to storm out of the room in a bad temper. It was very frustrating to know I was an intelligent person and yet to find this stuff supremely incompressible on the first go. I always grasped the new knowledge eventually, following written instructions step by cautious step in my own time. No doubt some expert would have comments to make on my “learning style”!

Anyway, we completed the task successfully. We both tested negative, which was, of course, a relief. The added complication of a positive test might have tipped me over the edge! 

That’s that little adventure completed. All I need to do now is put away all the stuff we brought back from Vigo - a new challenge!

But we’ve even got a bit of blue sky today. We shall go for a walk. The organising and putting away will wait. It’s not going anywhere. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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