Face masks: Talking through them can be a bit tricky, I find – Bill Jamieson

A facemask-clad Bill Jamieson goes for a hospital appointment but discovers he is rather difficult to understand

Face masks can sometimes make conversations more difficult to understand, says Bill Jamieson (Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Lockdown relaxation was meant to encourage us to venture outdoors after months of confinement. But give us confidence?

How many of us feel relaxed and reassured by the obligatory wearing of masks in shops and public buildings?

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This week I had a hospital appointment and duly donned a facemask.

But the appointment almost got no further than the nurse at reception.

She was wearing a plastic head shield behind a glass screen – and could barely be seen behind the array of multiple NHS Covid-19 warnings and protocols.

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“Mphff wumpff shuss bumpfh!” I introduced myself, presenting my appointment letter she was unable to touch.

“Pardon?” came the reply.

“Rrumph wumff baffnn burrowff!” I loudly declared.

“I can’t hear! I need your name, date of birth, address, NHS number and purpose of the appointment.”

This, I feared, could take time – even with gestures.

Short of giving my personal details and nature of ailment loudly enough to be heard the length of the corridor, I tried again, doing my best to speak clearly.

More “Wumff phoss raffle harramph!” How she could hear anything was a miracle.

If the consultation with the doctor turned out to be anything like this I could go in with a boil and come out in a wheelchair.

“This should help, Mr Jamieson!”

“Wruff fuzz phossle gumff, thanks!”

Three times a day after meals, did you say? Don’t even dare to ask.

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