Well it is now three weeks since I tried my Great Escape only to get stopped in my tracks at Frankfurt by the Germans. A bit like what happened in 1944 but at least the Germans didn’t stop me from getting home on this occasion, in fact they made damned sure I did.
I am trying my best to follow the edicts of Boris and, as much as I can, avoid contact with the human race. Life continues to be varied but I do find it a tad sad that the highlight of my week is a trip to Sainsbury’s and, if I am very lucky, I can go via Boots and this is coming from the biggest officinaphobe the world has ever seen.
It is good to see though that people in the supermarkets continue to be nice and polite – sometimes through gritted teeth it has to be said. You can just imagine them praying for the end of the lockdown so they can return to their usual Neanderthal ways but for the moment all is good in the land of closed pubs and curry-houses.
There is no problem with the shelves being empty anymore. Obviously, most people now have enough toilet-paper to keep them going until next the apocalypse and the food aisles are brimming with produce; well all were but one place in Sainsbury’s this morning anyway. If you wanted sausages and fried eggs for your breakfast tomorrow you were buggered I am afraid. I can only imagine someone is making a giant omelette for some reason and will, hopefully, donate it to those who need it. If they do not then may they choke on a load of cracked eggshells!
A friend commented on the fact I sent him a message at midday Thai time. Once he had worked out that the UK is now on British Summer Time (BST) and not Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) he calmed down a bit. However, he was still worried for me as most people know not to talk to me until I have consumed at least one coffee and the chances of me being up at six o’clock in the morning in Pattaya are about the same as me getting back to Thailand before the end of the month.
Nonetheless, I do find myself getting up at what, in usual circumstances, would be extraordinary hours. It is normally then that the automaton clicks in, i.e. sit on the ‘throne’ for a while reading the latest news or diving into my Asterix collection, this is followed by the usual ritual of shaving, showering, dressing and getting ready for work.
This has now gone by the wayside. First of all went the day clothes regime and then the shaving – my wife now thinks I look like Hagrid from Harry Potter. Which I think is slightly unfair to poor old Hagrid as he is definitely more hirsute up top.
I am now contemplating whether or not I can get away with not showering every day. I have no-one to offend unless some poor misguided person comes to the door. One whiff of me would certainly send them on their way. I am still debating this one.
As for the ‘throne’ I am sure that part of the regime will stay – certainly tomorrow anyway as I plan a chicken vindaloo for tonight. That reminds me, I must put the toilet paper in the freezer…
It is after my morning ablutions that I then start to plan my day and this is where things go awry. Plan what? There is nothing to plan. Yes, I do respond to emails – rather more quickly than I do when I am in Thailand as it happens – and other forms of social media but I still refuse to do Facebook or TwitTwatTwot or whatever it is called.
Despite these actions, even now, I get bombarded with things via LINE and WhatsApp. To get away from this, I try the television. Not a wise choice, if it is not someone telling me to donate money every month to help some poor, helpless donkey it is someone telling me that help is available if I need it but I should always obey social distancing.
And if that is not enough then there are numerous adverts stating that supplements are the only thing that will save me from every disease known to mankind. Now, I know I didn’t exactly excel in my Chemistry O-levels but why in God’s name does anyone want to throw magnesium down my throat? The last time I had anything to do with the damn stuff it burned with a bright white flame and I nearly caused the school laboratory to blow up…and they want me to eat it!
It is almost as bad as the commercial promoting turmeric saying it is vital for my bodily balance. Well stuff that, I get all the turmeric I need in my curries thank you very much and they taste a lot better than some bloody tablet I can tell you.
Despite my loathing for social media and most forms of communication that do not involve a handshake and saying “Cheers” over a glass of something alcoholic, a friend of mine has got me onto Zoom. Now, before COVID-19 came along, the only time I associated this word with anything was when I wanted a close-up of something on my camera. Henceforth, it means I can talk to people and they can see me too. In fact, it has almost become a necessity of life and I am astonished Amnesty is not demanding it for everyone.
I have yet to work out how to set up a meeting but even I can click on the invitation that has been sent through. It is nice to chew the fat with mates and talk the usual gonads one does over a pint but I am told that a pint of port is not really acceptable. I am not sure I understand this as I am not in the same room as them and so cannot offend them too much. Maybe it is the pronunciation of such complicated words as ‘he’, ‘she’ ‘it’ and ‘they’ after an hour or so. We will be doing it again tomorrow afternoon so I shall report back and see if the above cogitations are correct.
As I mentioned in Part 2 of this diatribe, I am astonished at the amount of runners I am seeing on the pavements of Berkshire at the moment. I am delighted to report, bored as I am at certain times of the day, I have not stooped to this degrading form of using up time. I was worried that my friend, Ian, may have some sort of exercise machine in his flat. I should have known better – silly me! He is as good and reliable as ever and despite an epic search of his apartment I could turn up nothing more energy-sapping than a knife sharpener. I am even happier to announce that he only has one knife!
After all this running around – metaphorically it must be said, I find myself tired out and have to sit down with a Gin & Tonic. Initially, I was eager to try all the different kinds of tonics they have over here but have reverted to tradition and can state here and now there really is nothing more refreshing than a Tanqueray gin and Schweppes tonic (not the low fat rubbish mind!) with a twist of lemon.
I used to watch the news over here but am immediately depressed as the argument goes on interminably as to what will happen over the coming months. Either Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College fame, will get a sainthood or he will be sent straight to Hell with the order of “Don’t pass Go”! I do not know which but, if certain people in the UK have their way, I suspect it will be the latter.
Everyone is throwing so many facts, supposed truths and charts around, it reminds me of Mark Twain’s comment about “Lies, damned lies and statistics”. Nobody knows who or what to believe. It is all so confusing that I will just have to have another G&T to try and make any sense of it at all.