Had a mild panic attack yesterday when, having posted a letter in a big, red, disease-ridden pillar box, I was subsequently unable to remember at what stage I washed my hands upon my return and was thus forced to swill down the entire house, including the simmering dinner, with disinfectant. It didn’t matter, I am a lousy cook and I quite liked the summery Zaflora overtones in the pasta. Unfortunately had to throw away the sauce as I had used tinned tomatoes and, on checking, I realised that the label did not specifically rule out the possibility of bat-related additives therein. Lesson learned. I searched through the cupboards and was shocked to find that hardly any of my tinned or packaged items offer any level of reassurance, viz. absence of bat contamination and so was forced to put them all in the bin, along with the clothes (lycra shorts and t-shirt which, quite frankly, were clearly designed for a quite differently proportioned wearer – also padded in all the wrong places) and gloves I was wearing at the time. For the time being I will rely on fresh fruit and vegetables only – after I have par-boiled them in bleach.
Also, no longer have Parmesan cheese in the house since I saw the state of a cow’s udder on a programme about Yorkshire vets. Felt it necessary to don the Marigold’s before touching the TV remote control again.
I am pleased to reflect that in most ways, life in these apocalyptic times, carries on pretty much as it always did. Indeed, I have learned much from the experience. Having shaved my entire body in order to reduce the virus-smuggling potential of my luxuriant villi, I have discovered that, unless I continue to decorticate at least twice a day, the little buggers re-emerge rejuvenated and I itch like a hayfever sufferer in a pollen factory. The resultant irritation, consequent upon using my age-old Bic without recourse to shaving cream which I find contains a large number of ingredients that, as far as I know, could carry coronavirus, has left me looking like a peeled plum. I have found that neither cold, nor warm water eases this irritation and that the only thing I am able to do in order to find relief, is to stand naked in the soft easterly breeze outside. I have learned that the screams of next door’s children are very piercing indeed, and that police constables become much less threatening once you are covered in a blanket.
I explained that, having taken the recent decision to divest myself of all man-made materials – particularly those that left me looking like an over-stuffed sausage – I was left with just the one hatchback linen body-suit which, since the lockdown, I have been unable to supplement. The constable suggested that in future I should remain in the house, with the curtains closed and the lights off whilst my clothing was in the wash. She also suggested Vaseline for razor-burn.
I have recently spent many hours ‘re-purposing’ my garden for vegetable production. To date, my horticultural experience has been limited to throwing bricks at Monty Don every time he appears on the television, but fired by the drive of necessity, I have taken to planting every available seed, in the hope of achieving edible results. I am very hopeful for the baked beans. I planted tomato seeds, onion seeds and carrot seeds. I found some Nigella Seeds in the spice cupboard and await signs of growth with great anticipation. In the meantime, I have attempted to gain sustenance from the leaves, berries and fungi I have been able to forage from the surrounding countryside, with varying degrees of success. I have discovered that a single elderberry can tread into every individual fibre of an eau-de-nil shagpile and that it is best to assume the prone position before consuming the mushrooms. Preferably in the bathroom. I also found it comforting to have about me, some reassuring facts on a large sheet of paper that I can turn to at times of stress: there is no man in the mirror, it is you; the bathroom tiles cannot talk and, even if they could, you do not have to obey them; it will all come out with bleach… The nurses at A&E have been most accommodating and, after my third visit in two days, presented me with my very own stomach-pump. A most touching gesture, I’m sure you will agree.
I have felt much calmer since I stopped getting news updates from Eammon Holmes’ twitter account.
To pass the lonely, isolation hours, I have decided to finish writing the novel which I started in 1987. It is a horror/sci-fi/detective/farce heavily dosed with reality and irony. I will update many of the references to Norman Tebbit and remove the irony before the final draft. In general, I am very happy with my use of language in the chapter and a half I have so far penned, although I would, ideally, like to up my comma-count. Also, I will have to tweak the plotline a little as it is almost entirely…Oh, what’s the word? Stolen.
I intend to go shopping in the village on Thursday as I do not have any means of going further afield without contravening government guidelines on travel and roller-skating. Unfortunately, the only shop currently open is the pet shop, but that’s ok as I quite like their muesli. I particularly like the guinea pig on the packaging. The biscuits are a little hard for me, although the tinned stew is fine, if a little ‘whaley’ for my taste. If the queue for the chemists is not too long, I might join that as my ointment should be ready by Friday.
So there we are, another week chalked off. A life in lockdown, as uneventful as everybody else. Keeping well is all about maintaining a sense of perspective and not letting our imaginations run away with us. Stay safe everybody.
Due to budgetary constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice – Anon
I like to think of myself as an optimist with a reality chaser. I know the glass is half full. I just want to know who the hell has been drinking out of it… – Bob Zany
Since I gave up hope, I feel so much better – John Osborne
Better times are just around the corner. I do not know which corner – Colin McQueen