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RACHEL JOHNSON: Have I had Covid Toe … or is it the menopause and Fizzy Legs?

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rachel johnson have i had covid toe or is it the menopause and fizzy legs

A few weeks ago I was at home on Exmoor, cleaning and puppy-sitting, but mainly scratching and tearing at my left foot which had, overnight, exploded. Two of my toes were pink Wall’s cocktail chipolatas covered in itchy red bumps.

‘Please get me some athlete’s foot cream or powder, anything!’ I begged my husband via text, hoping he was still patrolling the shops in his black leather gloves (his choice of PPE).

I should explain: he is classified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ following a liver transplant, and so in theory he will be allowed back into circulation for the first time in four months this Saturday, August 1.

In fact, the notion that he has been shielding from March 23 is, I’m afraid, a bit ridiculous.

Rachel Johnson (pictured) who had itchy red bumps on her toes a few weeks ago, questions if she had Covid Toe

Rachel Johnson (pictured) who had itchy red bumps on her toes a few weeks ago, questions if she had Covid Toe

Rachel Johnson (pictured) who had itchy red bumps on her toes a few weeks ago, questions if she had Covid Toe 

One, the letter telling him to stay in his room self-isolating arrived halfway through lockdown. Two, the suggestion that I would wait on him hand and foot, wearing a pinny and a visor, was never going to happen.

Three, he had no intention of not going out at all during the most perfect spring there’s ever been, and was, therefore, in our local town of Dulverton, having the strimmer fixed, when I begged him to go to the chemist for me.

When he returned, laden with Mycil products, I anointed the two red, itchy, and swollen toes. After a few days, it settled down and I forgot about it, until I read a story in this paper headlined How To Spot Covid Toe.

This ailment, it explained, was a mysterious rash appearing well after the respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 in some patients.

To me, this was conclusive — and good news.

I announced: ‘Well, that proves it! I definitely had Covid Toe. (I could swear I had the tell-tale red ‘maculopapules’ on two toes of my left foot), which means I did have Covid in February after all when I came back from Venice and was laid out with a streaming cold for five days.’ My husband laughed. It didn’t help when a poll came out revealing that vast numbers were convinced, like me, that they’d had coronavirus, despite testing data showing they hadn’t.

After the Covid Toe episode, my husband took to groaning sceptically whenever I told other people I’d had the virus.

Rachel (pictured) is convinced that she's had the virus, despite having a negative antibody test

Rachel (pictured) is convinced that she's had the virus, despite having a negative antibody test

Rachel (pictured) is convinced that she’s had the virus, despite having a negative antibody test

But I stuck to my guns. Can you blame me? We are both pretty sanguine, but the one thing that did worry me was passing it on to him — I was going to London for work — so I’d had regular antigen tests to see if I was an asymptomatic carrier (I wasn’t). Plus, if I’d had it already, I reasoned … then I could be immune now, right?

All in all, Covid Toe seemed the perfect solution to me, and many others who choose to believe they’d had the unpleasantness and therefore 1. Couldn’t get it again or 2. Infect others.

Meanwhile, I have at least one other unusual symptom, although I can’t find a catchy label for it like ‘Covid Toe’.

‘I have a sort of electric … flashing feeling,’ I say, at any opportunity. ‘My skin goes all crawly … it’s as if there’s Champagne in my veins and not blood.’

Unlike most men (who are far too frightened to mention it), Ivo insists on telling me it’s the menopause when I bang on about the fizzing and flashing, which makes me bark back, ‘But I can assure you it’s not! That ship has sailed!’

Breaking news 

This just in from Liz Hurley, who once admitted that the only meal she eats is dinner plus tiny snacks in the day like six raisins: ‘Wearing a mask inside your home is now highly recommended,’ she says. ‘Not so much to prevent Covid-19 but to stop eating.’

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Indeed, so convinced I am that ‘Fizzy Legs’ is a weird post-viral syndrome that I am collecting fellow sufferers. In fact, I am thinking of forming a Fizzy Legs Support Network.

‘If you are so convinced you’ve had it,’ my husband suggested ‘why don’t you do an antibody test?’ It seemed like a sensible way forward.

Private antibody tests were £100. So I did the fiddly home test and posted it back.

On that agonising cliffhanger, let us pause to take in ‘the science’.

In search of corroboration, I went straight to the horse’s mouth, ie my friend Kate Bingham, chair of the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine taskforce.

She could not pronounce on Covid Toe/Fizzy Legs, but she did say that even those who had definitely, definitely had the virus weren’t necessarily immune for ever.

‘We don’t know and won’t know until we have much more data on reinfections,’ she said, then added that when it came to world-beating progress on the vaccine we shouldn’t hold our breath either as ‘it’s unlikely one dose will offer any durable protection but two might’.

Very disappointing. For everyone.

As shielding lifts on Saturday, the vulnerable may well be encouraged to step outside their homes and the hale and hearty back to the office, but we are all essentially at the same place as we were at the beginning of lockdown: still in limbo.

P. S. My antibody test was negative, but I’m still convinced I had it and am, therefore, right!

I can’t wait for Charles’s cheeky flash Dance…

Rachel revealed she's looking forward to period drama Singapore Grip because it's starring Charles Dance (pictured)

Rachel revealed she's looking forward to period drama Singapore Grip because it's starring Charles Dance (pictured)

Rachel revealed she’s looking forward to period drama Singapore Grip because it’s starring Charles Dance (pictured) 

I can’t tell a lie: am looking forward to the lush period drama Singapore Grip on ITV, mainly because Charles Dance, pictured, is starring.

As a teenager, I locked eyes at Taunton station with the future Game of Thrones actor, and swooned so hard I almost fell under a train. My anticipation has nothing at all to do with the fact that he gets his kit off (aged 73, good for him). Still, I checked if we would be seeing more of him. ‘Not that much more, a brief cameo,’ he parried. ‘Blink and you’ll miss me!’ BOO!

Whatever else you think of the Harry book, he’s a good date

Rachel said Prince Harry's cardinal sin was to put his woman first and his family second. Pictured: The Duchess and Duke of Sussex

Rachel said Prince Harry's cardinal sin was to put his woman first and his family second. Pictured: The Duchess and Duke of Sussex

Rachel said Prince Harry’s cardinal sin was to put his woman first and his family second. Pictured: The Duchess and Duke of Sussex 

It’s become fashionable to decry the stall of whining self-pity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured, as set out in the new book Finding Freedom, but something stops me from laying in.

Harry’s cardinal sin, after all, was only to put his woman first and his family second.

In the Royal family, duty is all, but Harry is a wild romantic and was prepared to sacrifice everything for Meghan Markle, the woman his older brother William dismissed as ‘this girl’. This girl. Just two words — dropped into a fraternal chat about Harry’s girlfriend of a few short months — came between the brothers and maybe changed history.

I have no doubt Harry thinks this girl is worth it, the fact that he flew Meghan all the way to the Okavango Delta in Botswana for one of their first ‘meet cutes’ (in movie parlance) was the giveaway. But golly, Harry does set the bar high for a third date, doesn’t he!

Empowered or posers? 

Rachel admits she has mixed feelings about using hashtag #challengeaccepted to empower women. Pictured: Eva Longoria's Instagram post

Rachel admits she has mixed feelings about using hashtag #challengeaccepted to empower women. Pictured: Eva Longoria's Instagram post

Rachel admits she has mixed feelings about using hashtag #challengeaccepted to empower women. Pictured: Eva Longoria’s Instagram post 

My Instagram feed is awash with beautiful black-and-white images of women, posted by the subjects, using the hashtag #challengeaccepted, like this one by Eva Longoria, and tagging other women to do the same. It’s supposed to be some marvellously empowering movement to make us feel good. I am mixed about this.

One, I’m not sure it does honour, even less empower, other women for us to put up flattering, self- curated portraits.

Two, and far more worrying, not a single, strong girlfriend has yet asked me to post a #blessed picture of myself!

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Teenager bursts into tears when she realises her phone is locked in smartphone ‘jail’ for two days

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teenager bursts into tears when she realises her phone is locked in smartphone jail for two days

A teenage daughter in the US experienced a roller coaster of emotions when she realized she had accidentally locked her phone in smartphone ‘jail’ for two days.

The girl’s brother had locked her phone inside the box for 40 minutes as a joke. 

But when she attempts to get it out, she dramatically increases the time.

A hilarious video filmed in the family kitchen captures her mixed reaction to her own mistake.

Captions on the video posted on TikTok explain that the girl’s dad got a ‘phone jail’ for his birthday.

A ‘phone jail’ is similar to a safe but is operated by a timer, that only releases whats inside after a delegated period of time.  

The timer is operated by turning the dial on the lid to choose the desired ‘jail’ time.  

A hilarious video of a teenager in the US captures her mixed reaction her brother locks her phone inside a smartphone 'jail' for 40 minutes

The teen, desperate to get her phone back, attempts to open the 'jail' by turning the dial

A hilarious video of a teenager in the US captures her mixed reaction her brother locks her phone inside a smartphone ‘jail’ for 40 minutes

The teen’s brother, spotting an opportunity for a prank, locked his sister’s phone inside the ‘jail’ for 40 minutes.

However, the girl, desperate to get her phone back, attempted to open the ‘jail’ by turning the dial – unknowingly dramatically increasing the timer. 

She takes another look at the ‘jail’ and sees the time displayed on the digital screen which reads: ‘2 days, 3 hours, 39 minutes, 50 seconds.’ 

She unknowingly increases the timer to two days, 39 minutes and 50 seconds

Her siblings gather round both shocked and laughing at the situation

The teen, desperate to get her phone back, attempts to open the ‘jail’ by turning the dial – unknowingly dramatically increasing the timer to two days, 39 minutes and 50 seconds

Realising her mistake she exclaims: ‘What? It’s two days? This is not funny.’

Her siblings gather round laughing at the situation and her bother defends himself saying: ‘I put it in there for 40 minutes.’ 

It appears the teen can see the funny side of her mistake as she starts laughs. 

But then breaks down again as she faces the prospect of an unintentional two-day phone detox.

She realises her mistake and briefly sees the funny side

She begins to cry again as she faces the prospect of an unintentional two-day phone detox

She realises her mistake and bursts into tears. She briefly sees the funny side until she begins to cry again as she faces the prospect of an unintentional two-day phone detox

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Moment one-punch killer, 21, revs his off-road bike minutes before he fatally attacked peacemaker

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moment one punch killer 21 revs his off road bike minutes before he fatally attacked peacemaker

This is the moment a killer revs his off-road bike just minutes before he fatally attacked a peacemaker who asked him to stop dangerously riding in front of children.  

James Rowley, 21, was this week jailed for nine years having brutally assaulted Joe Higgins, 41, in front of horrified youngsters in Coventry after he was spotted tearing across grassland on a stolen scrambler on March 17.

The victim had approached the biker menace and ‘politely’ asked him to stop his nuisance riding over fears for the safety of young children playing outside.

James Rowley, 21, pictured, brutally attacked Joe Higgins, 41, in front of horrified youngsters after he was spotted tearing across grassland on a stolen scrambler on March 17

James Rowley, 21, pictured, brutally attacked Joe Higgins, 41, in front of horrified youngsters after he was spotted tearing across grassland on a stolen scrambler on March 17

The victim, pictured, had approached the biker menace and 'politely' asked him to stop his nuisance riding over fears for the safety of young children playing outside

The victim, pictured, had approached the biker menace and ‘politely’ asked him to stop his nuisance riding over fears for the safety of young children playing outside

But Rowley proceeded to rev the bike’s engine – with the spinning wheels showering Mr Higgins with dirt – before he floored the care manager with a single punch.

Mr Higgins, who had just returned home from celebrating St Patrick’s Day, suffered a serious head injury and died the following day in hospital.

Following the attack, Rowley picked up the victim’s St Patrick’s Day hat ‘as a trophy’ and was spotted dancing around while wearing it in the street.

The former warehouse worker was then heard laughing and he sped away on the bike from the scene in Jubilee Crescent, Coventry.

Rowley handed himself in to West Midlands Police on March 20 after detectives launched a murder enquiry.

He originally claimed Mr Higgins approached in an aggressive manner shouting ‘I’m gonna do you’ and suggested he only threw a punch in self-defence.

And in police interview he described himself as a dad and the ‘softest, nicest guy you ever come across’.

However, witnesses earlier described seeing Rowley, of Radford, Coventry, speeding through residential streets, jumping red lights and mounting pavements.

At one point he got into a heated argument with a motorist after nearly causing a crash at traffic lights.

Rowley also has a record of violence – including assaulting his own mum when he was 14 where he grabbed her by the throat, slapped her and later told police ‘she needs a bullet between her eyes’.

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Witnesses earlier described seeing Rowley, of Radford, Coventry, speeding through residential streets, jumping red lights and mounting pavements

At one point he got into a heated argument with a motorist after nearly causing a crash at traffic lights

At one point he got into a heated argument with a motorist after nearly causing a crash at traffic lights

Mobile phone footage of James Rowley doing donuts on the grass before being confronted

Mobile phone footage of James Rowley doing donuts on the grass before being confronted

CCTV and social media footage also showed him dangerously running through red lights, loudly revving his engine and performing ‘donuts’ on a piece of grassland.

Rowley later changed his account in the face of damning evidence and went on to admit manslaughter and dangerous driving.

He was jailed for nine years at Warwick Crown Court on Monday.

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough described Mr Higgins’ death as tragic and senseless following the case.

He said: ‘Joe grew up in the area and didn’t like people disrespecting his community.

‘Witnesses describe him approaching Rowley politely; he wanted to convey his concerns for the danger he posed to people.

‘Some witnesses described seeing Rowley laughing and dancing in the victim’s hat after the fatal punch.

‘Rowley’s violence was witnessed by several children in the street.

‘He lay low for two days before handing himself in. The judge said he spent the time ‘planning the lies he was to tell the police in interview’.

‘But we had already gathered testimonies from independent witnesses, plus seized CCTV and social media video showing Rowley’s dangerous riding and the assault.

‘My sympathies remain with Mr Higgins’ friends and family.’

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French veterans attack plans for ‘immersive’ memorial park on the Normandy coast

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french veterans attack plans for immersive memorial park on the normandy coast

French veterans who landed at the beach on D-Day have expressed their anger at an ‘immersive’ memorial that will offer live re-enactments to guests.  

Hubert Faure, 106, and Léon Gautier, 97, echoed public outcry as they criticised the proposed tourist attraction in Normandy as a commercialised spectacle.

The Homage to the Heroes memorial, which was initially announced in January, is set open in time for the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion in 2024.

The creators of the project are currently searching for a 35-hectare site near the historical beaches which could accommodate 600,000 visitors per year. 

It is thought that they will introduce mobile grandstands on rails to transport spectators through re-enacted battle scenes.

Hubert Faure

Léon Gautier

French veterans Hubert Faure, 106, and Léon Gautier, 97, echoed public outcry as they criticised the proposed tourist attraction in Normandy as a ‘Disney-type’ spectacle

Gautier and Faure were former soldiers of the Kieffer commando which served in the Second World War under Captain Philippe Keiffer of the Free French Navy.

It was the only uniformed French soldier unit to participate in the embarkment with the allies on June 6, 1944, during which almost 10,000 soldiers were killed or injured.

Gautier previously told AFP: ‘I am against the project.’

An appeal against the memorial, published in Le Monde, has since been signed by 154 descendants of those in the Kieffer commando.  

The families said that they were ‘deeply shocked’ by the commercial proposal on the site where thousands gave their lives in the battle against Nazi occupation.

It said: ‘The memory [of the historical event] cannot in any case be shared in a way that is dramatic, festive or commercial.’

‘This runs against the message transmitted by our fathers and grandfathers when they showed great modesty and solemnity when talking about the fighting. 

‘Their message never sought to make us “relive” these events.’  

The Homage to the Heroes memorial is set to be opened in time for the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion in 2024. Pictured: Troops take positions on Sword Beach after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches in north-western France on D-Day on June 6, 1944

The Homage to the Heroes memorial is set to be opened in time for the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion in 2024. Pictured: Troops take positions on Sword Beach after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches in north-western France on D-Day on June 6, 1944

Hervé Morin, president of Normandy and a former defence minister, is set to open the park if it is given the go ahead.

He joined other MPs and local authorities who dismissed the criticism of the proposed attracted as uninformed. 

‘There has never been any question of a theme park. We have taken all the necessary precautions to guarantee the ethical dimension,’ he said according to The Times.

Mr Morian had initially estimated that the attraction would cost €100million (£92million) but promoters have predicted it will be much lower and argued that it will boost the economy as well as creating new jobs in the area. 

The project – proposed by television producer Stéphane Gateau, musical producer Roberto Ciurleo, and promoter Régis Lefèbvre – also has the support of British military historian Sir Antony Beevor. 

Mr Lefèbvre denied the experience would be a ‘theme park’ and said: ‘It will be a 50-minute living documentary mixing archive imagery, immersive techniques and living paintings.’  

He added that there will be ‘no carousels’ and ‘no commercial areas’, although an onsite shop is planned ‘as in all museums’.

Every year an average of five million tourists visit the Normandy battlefields.  

The elite bands of brothers who were the first troops into Normandy on D-Day

Operation Overlord saw some 156,000 Allied troops landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

It is thought as many as 4,400 were killed in an operation Winston Churchill described as ‘undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place’.

The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6.30am.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. 

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. 

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing. Some 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved.

The landings took place along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

The assault was chaotic with boats arriving at the wrong point and others getting into difficulties in the water.

Destruction in the northern French town of Carentan after the invasion in June 1944

Destruction in the northern French town of Carentan after the invasion in June 1944

Troops managed only to gain a small foothold on the beach – but they built on their initial breakthrough in the coming days and a harbour was opened at Omaha.

They met strong resistance from the German forces who were stationed at strongpoints along the coastline.

Approximately 10,000 allies were injured or killed, inlcuding 6,603 American, of which 2,499 were fatal.

Between 4,000 and 9,000 German troops were killed – and it proved the pivotal moment of the war, in the allied forces’ favour.

The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944

The first wave of troops from the US Army takes cover under the fire of Nazi guns in 1944

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