What a week!

The flag of Ukraine

This time last week, I wasn’t expecting a week of food poisoning and international war.

After the last couple of years of avoiding Covid, I was hoping that 2022 might finally be a much more positive year; a year of rebuilding. But we now have a world leader intent on starting World War III.

But we’ll get to that… this week, it appears that I tried to start a fight with my immune system.

As many of my friends know, my main focus for 2022 has been my health: physical, emotional, financial, mental … the lot! As well as being much more careful about what I eat, I’ve cycled a lot since mid-December 2021, which has done wonders for me on every level.

Things took an ironic turn this week when in an effort to save some time, I bought an oven-ready chicken dish, followed the instructions exactly but failed to take into account that everyone’s oven is slightly different.

I’m now on day six of food poisoning symptoms, but thankfully feeling much better today. I won’t go into graphic details suffice to say that at one point I did describe my body as being a portal to a sewer from hell, and I’m now gradually climbing the Bristol Stool Scale once again. Oh, and the couple of days of fever and delirium was… interesting—I wonder who I thought I was speaking to.

My fever broke around 03:00 one morning. I switched on my radio for company and was shocked to learn that Russia has invaded Ukraine.

I scrolled through Twitter and Instagram and YouTube. Posts from Ukrainians and journalists within Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine. Reports from the Ukrainian president, standing with his citizens in the streets of Kyiv, refusing to leave, standing alongside his people, showing them what true leadership is. (Our prime minister, in contrast, hid from a journalist in a fridge!)

I had no words, only tears.

Perhaps one of the enduring images of this war will be the Ukranian woman confronting a Russian solider asking, “What the f—k are you doing on our land with all these guns? Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers [the national flower of Ukraine] will grow when you all die here.”

I understand that there are reasons why neighbouring European and NATO countries can’t immediately leap in to help, but it is heartbreaking to watch the destruction.

Heartbreaking, too, to watch the British government resist doing the right thing and welcome Ukrainian refugees, as other countries have done. This Conservative government really is shameful and morally vacuous.

The world feels fragile right now. Hug those close to you. Tell your family and friends that you love them. Be kind. Look out for each other, especially strangers, especially the vulnerable in our society.

And if you don’t have anyone around you just now to do that to you, I love you. And as my late Mum used to say, “Have a hug through the screen!”

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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