Travels with the Sherwood: Little Folk in the Forest and COVID affected family. November, 2022

At Little Folk in the Forest – we were supposed to be able to read the words, but it was difficult🤣

Little Folk in the Forest 18th to 20th November, 2022

Our time at the LFF was enjoyable, with catching up with friends the best part. We joined in the dancing on Friday night and basically stuffed up our dances, but other people were doing it too. We went to bed after the dance, whilst a smaller group continued into the early hours. Although we were close to the main building we couldn’t hear them as they were singing and playing in the round, with no sound equipment.

The Ceilidh at Little Folk in the Forest

It was bitterly cold, and our heater, probably due to the fuel tank being too low, wouldn’t work. I could hardly wait for Stephen to come to bed and warm me up. The second night wasn’t quite as cold fortunately. We were parked in the main area on a bit of a slope, which probably also contributed to the line going into the fuel tank not connecting. The fan and fuel pump came on, but then would fade out for lack of fuel. We have yet to fill up the tank so that I can check on the heater.

On Saturday afternoon Stephen sang a G&S song during the open mike session which was able to happen in the outdoor Dome setting as although we had a bit of rain it was clear enough in the afternoon.


We had had some leaking in the roof of the van which Ken Peachy Caravans had attempted to fix, but then it leaked again so they had another go on the Monday after we got back from LFF. It’s always tricky with leaks to find out exactly what is happening. And it has to be really heavy rain to cause problems. Although we had some light rain at LFF we didn’t have any leaking. However, it had leaked the day before we left after some heavy downpours.

On Sunday everything finishes at 2.00 p.m. We had been snacking in the morning so weren’t hungry, and decided to pack up and go into town for lunch. Due to delays in chatting with friends we didn’t get to the cafe until 3.00 p.m., and of course, the cafe kitchen had closed. We tried another one nearby and fortunately it was open. They do dinner as well, so just stay open all day.

One of our friends has given us a book on 4WD driving, which is very interesting and detailed. He and his wife are very experienced with off roading in their 4WD Toyota, I think it might be Landcruiser. Our friend said that airing down the tyres is one of the main ways to either avoid getting bogged or to get the vehicle out in case we do get bogged.

Family COVID story, so far. 25th November to December 1, 2022

We hadn’t seen Matt (apart from on Facetime) for a couple of weekends in a row due to Dunsborough Songfest and LFF happening on consecutive weekends. We were looking forward to seeing Matt on Sunday the 27th, but had a call from his house on the morning of Friday the 25th to say that he has COVID and will have to isolate in his room for seven days. We wondered how he would cope, but he seems to have been fine. At first he was feeling ill, so perhaps glad to rest.

We spoke to him on Facetime Friday evening and I saw him on Sunday morning, just talking to him from outside on his patio. He had been calmly watching a cooking programme when I arrived. He later rang Stephen to have a Facetime session. He has to wait for staff to go into his room for something else (e.g. a meal) and fully kitted up for just a Facetime session would take up too much time, and waste PPE as well.

Matt and friend before he got COVID

On Friday night, also the 25th, Stephen woke me up to say he had a sore throat. He was giving me the chance to move to the spare bed, but as we use my study as a store room it would have taken a big effort to get it ready and I stayed in the room with him for the night. On Saturday late afternoon he did another RAT which had a very faint second line, and because he was feeling ill, like having a cold, we decided to begin taking more serious precautions.

I had cleared out my study so that I could use the bed, we designated the small toilet room as mine only, and Stephen has been staying mostly in the main bedroom ever since. We went to the nearby clinic to have a PCR test a bit later on Sunday morning, that came through positive on Monday morning. We got even more serious about keeping out of each other’s way. I took over any food preparation where I was going to be eating (he still makes his own breakfasts and lunch), and set up the Sherwood as a sitting room. It means I can relax without having to wear a mask all the time.

Stephen contacted his GP and was prescribed an antiviral medication. It was on an e-script, which turned out to have some downsides. First of all I had to take his mobile to the pharmacy and it wouldn’t transfer to my phone. Then, the pharmacy was very busy and it had to be scanned when they had finished a couple of complex scripts, rather than me just being able to drop it off, go and do some shopping, and come back, as we normally would. As we pass our GP to get to the shopping centre we will be sure to ask for a paper script in future. But, the clinic probably preferred that I didn’t drop in as I might have been a carrier.

Stephen has been contacted by the Health Department to see if he needed support. I suppose it means that if he was on his own they would have helped with taking the script to the pharmacy, shopping, food prep. etc. We are not sure as he has me to do those things.

I am trying to not test every day, just every second day. Stephen had a RAT on Tuesday which had a very strong second line, confirming that the brand of RAT we are using at the moment CAN detect COVID. I tested yesterday and it was negative again. Although we are taking precautions we are not sure if it will work to keep me COVID free. We are doing our best.

Yesterday I spoke with Matt a couple of times. We had had a very hot day on Tuesday and they have had to set up a portable airconditioner in his room because using the main house airconditioner would have circulated air from his room to the rest of the house. His staff don’t just wear KN95 masks when they go into his room, they dress in full PPE, and so far noone else in his house has COVID.

On that hot day we had a bit of the same problem. When I was out in the Sherwood I definitely needed the airconditioning, whereas the house stayed fairly cool for most of the day. In the evening we had it on for a short time, but it was too much of a worry and we relied on the overhead fans, which do work extremely well if you are directly under them.

Having lunch in the Sherwood. I’ve converted the dinette to a bed so that I can comfortably lounge when reading.
This is the RAT testing kit we are using at the moment. We were given five packs of five when we had our last booster a few months ago. Assuming Stephen has one of the latest variants we are pleased to have RATs that actually work.

Where did Stephen catch COVID? There are a couple of possibilities during last week where he went to a couple of things and I didn’t, but there was also our annual Harold Peden lecture at the union building. Our choir director had tested positive the preceding week and didn’t come to our rehearsal Thursday night. We considered him recovered on Tuesday night so that we could sing (Working Voices Choir). The room the lecture wa held in is fairly small without good ventilation apart from air conditioning, which has a tendency to spread things around. Stephen and I were almost the only people wearing masks, but we took them off to eat. He might have been just unlucky, compared with me.

Matt has been living a fairly normal life, going to shopping centres and Ten Pin Bowling, though some of his staff do make sure they only take him to outside venues. Given that we are in a ‘wave’ and he doesn’t wear a mask, it seems like he was almost bound to get COVID at some point. Thankfully, he hasn’t been seriously ill, so far. There are, of course, non respiratory effects of COVID that show up after the first phase, but his regular staff should be able to tell if he has problems. Not sure about relief staff.

So, here we are on Thursday morning, 1st December, 2022. Stephen has just done a RAT which is positive, still.

Added here for no reason except that it tickles me.

I should have been keeping a daily log as even though it is less than a week we’ve had trouble remembering the exact sequence of events.

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