Tales from a Plague Village

A history of Queniborough in Leicestershire during Covid-19, as told by those who lived through it. All profits from this book are for the benefit of the village.

There is no evidence the curse ‘May you live in interesting times’ comes from China, although many believe it does. Certainly the events recorded in a forthcoming book – Tales from a Plague Village – had their origins there.

The book, edited by Andrea and Bharat Patel with artwork by Peter Kitchen, documents the very interesting times experienced by villagers in Queniborough in 2020.

The tales are in their own words, reflecting sadness, frustration, annoyance and occasional joy during lockdown. It is our story and a microcosm of the story of the nation and of the world during the worst pandemic in a century. More than 60 people have contributed.

The book is work in progress and will be available in local outlets and via Queniborough Online.

May Queniborough never be so interesting again!

Extracts from Tales from a Plague Village

Shampoo – Karen Williamson
After lockdown the panic calls started: one old lady, who had not washed her hair in forty years, could not remember what to do or what to use. I told her the product she needed was called shampoo!
One turned her hair orange, so she tried it again to lighten it and burnt her scalp and she had to slap suncream all over her head. Another turned herself lilac and one client has a khaki glow.
My best advice is this: do not do anything with your hair!

On the frontline – Victoria Meynell
I am a cardiac nurse and work for the British Heart Foundation’s service engagement team. I was one of the hundreds of thousands who answered the call for doctors and nurses to return to work, so early in lockdown I spent four days on a hospital ward for the first time in ten years.
Each day I was on a Covid-19 ward, kitted out in PPE. On my first shift I took over from a nurse who told me about an elderly lady who was very poorly. She was on end-of-life care and we were trying to keep her as comfortable as possible in her last days; but within ninety minutes I was holding her hand as she passed away. I felt an incredible sense of pride that I could be with her while her family could not, because of visiting restrictions. I know they were greatly consoled by the fact that I held her hand during her last breaths. It was so sad they had to be kept away. The experience was deeply humbling.

Dreams  – Lesley Frake
It’s too early to rise so I give myself permission to dream and return to my sleeping self. I drift away to a world that feels safe and familiar. Here, there is much laughter and fun and memories run free. Sometimes, I hug my children and feel their hearts beating next to mine. Their smiles tell me they are happy and this reinforces my unconditional love for them and their love for me. My happiness soars above the clouds. I wake up refreshed and uplifted and ready to face the day.

White Gold – Lynn Duxbury
Who would think five weeks into lockdown it is the simplest of things that can make you smile! Every week I put plain flour on my shopping list and every week the shelves are bare. But who should come to my rescue but our local post office? I go in for stamps for birthday cards and ask the postmaster if he has any flour? After a quick glance around the shop to see if anyone is listening, he answers in a hushed voice. ‘Yes, but I can only give you one bag and all I have is plain!’ With a whoop and a very broad smile I pay for my flour. I walk all the way home hugging that flour like a baby, with an added spring in my step.

We’re doomed! – Andrea Waind
This evening we went to the Owl and the Pussycat, a sprawling Indian pub restaurant. I really wish Bharat had done more science. He thinks that as he has washed his hands for 20 seconds while singing Happy Birthday twice they are still clean after carrying six beer glasses to the table.
‘The glasses are clean,’ he says irritably. I say, ‘The barman may not be.’
Jim mentions that he is going skiing twice in April. I don’t think he is.

Calming Words – Gabriella, aged seven
I was poorly and our family was self-isolating in case we had coronavirus.  I had nothing to do and I was really bored. I was miserable as I could not see my friends. I cried for a while and then after a few weeks felt better, although I still felt sad. 
Playing Bananagrams was great because unscrambling random letters to create words helped me understand how I was feeling about lockdown and how others might be feeling. Homeschooling is fine but I still miss REAL SCHOOL!