Fringe Box



Life in Solitary: Are You an Ignoranus?

Published on: 22 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 24 Jan, 2021

Tony Edwards

The Lockdown Diary of Tony Edwards

Logical Lockdown Lingo

I’ve got a new word for our ever-expanding lockdown language.

Ignoranus – one who is a bit of an arse for not wearing a face mask.

And if your day is already becoming a bit of a “blursday”  (that’s when you’re not too sure what day it is) here are a few other “Lockdown Lingo” suggestions to throw into your word pool:

Locktails can lead to a Goutbreak

Zumped – Breaking-up with someone on a video chat.
Spendemic – Over-Spending on line during lockdown.
Coffer – One who coughs too close to others.
Coffee – One upon whom another coughs.
Intaxicated – Euphoria at getting a government subsidy during lockdown – then realising it’s your money they’re handing out.
Maskerade – Assisting someone to put on their face mask.
Locktails – Drinks served at any hour during lockdown.
Goutbreak – The result of too many locktails.
Quentin Quarintino – One who thinks their home-made videos are hugely entertaining.
Doom Scrolling – Looking for good news in the avalanche of Covid up-dates.

A Special Day for Hugging

You may have missed it but yesterday (January 21) was “World Hugging Day” – the specially designated day when we are all encouraged to give everyone else an enormous hug.  It was first introduced 35 years ago in 1986 by an American called Kevin Zabourney and immediately caught on in the USA, quickly spreading to the UK, Australia and parts of northern Europe.  It must be the only annual celebration which is technically illegal at the moment but you might like to make a note in your diary for next year’s special hugs day.

Plague Precautions

There’s a scene in the 1959 big screen epic Ben Hur – on TV over Christmas – where our hero, Charlton Heston, leaves some food outside the “Cave of the Lepers” before making a hasty retreat to avoid contact.

The Ocado delivery man did exactly the same thing this week after gingerly placing the grocery bags on my doorstep.  Gone were all the asides about the local traffic, Donald Trump, and the weather, and there were none of the usual witty remarks about Covid either.

I guess we may all have to get used to being treated as lepers until the vaccine is fully rolled-out.

Testing Times

Getting a driving licence must seem a long way off for many 17-year-olds who are currently prevented from taking a driving test, or even having professional driving lessons, under the latest lockdown restrictions.

I vividly remember my own impatience to get behind the wheel back in the day and so confident was I that I’d pass first time, I’d already bought my first car in time for the test.

Me in my first car – with the doors shut

A “qualified driver” accompanied me in my red 1940’s  MG TA sports car on the big day but I was totally unprepared for the delicate lady of advancing years, dressed flimsily in lace and smelling of lavender, who clambered, unsteadily, into the passenger seat and announced that she would be testing me today. (Think Mary Poppins’ older sister, without the umbrella and hat.)

She waved a rolled-up Woman’s Realm magazine in my general direction with the warning that I was to stop, immediately, if she slapped it on the dashboard and all went well until the passenger door flew open as I over-enthusiastically swung the car into a roundabout near Wembley Stadium.  Car seat belts had only recently been invented and my open-topped MG certainly didn’t have them so I grabbed Ms Poppins senior’s left arm and screeched to a halt.

She quickly slammed her door shut, took a small mirror from her handbag, prodded her hair with long, slim fingers and, finally, instructed me to drive on.  I don’t remember much more about that far-off day other than her apology for failing to shut the passenger door properly and the announcement that I’d passed my test.

She said something about being impressed by my reactions in an emergency so I decided not to mention that the doors regularly flew open on 1940’s MG sports cars when cornering; happened all the time so I was used to it.  I later discovered she was a successful rally driver, most often seen at the wheel of a souped-up Mini Cooper.

Facial Fuzz

If you’re bored with all the ‘repeats’ being regurgitated on TV during Lockdown, you might like to consider a quick-check method of establishing if the programme you’re about to watch was a pre or post-Covid production.   It won’t work every time, but if the programme features the likes of  David Tennant, Michael Sheen, David Mitchell, Lee Mack, Richard Osman, George Alegiah, and most of the male cast of ‘Corrie’ and ‘Eastenders’, for example, they’ll appear clean-shaved in pre-Covid productions and bearded after.   So the bearded versions are likely to be more current, even if the facial fuzz look is fast becoming a tad ‘last year’.

1920’s fashion – already back in style

Post-pandemic Partying

The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, which claimed one-third of the world’s population, finally came to an end two years later in 1920,  when the western world celebrated with what became known as the “Roaring Twenties”.  This natural reversal from lockdown to rave-up will almost certainly be repeated 100 years later as the world recovers from the Covid-19 bug with a second “Roaring Twenties” style post-pandemic period of partying.  And, incredibly, 1920’s flapper fashion is already back in vogue, so start practising your Charleston and Black Bottom.

Unlucky Nimbers

The number 13 has been synonymous with bad luck since we first became superstitious about black cats, ladders, and cracks in the pavement.  The “Devil’s Number” 666 is said to be another numerical disaster for those who believe in such things.  But to these two long-standing omens of menace, we should now, perhaps, add 2020.  It’s a number none of us will readily forget or forgive.

Mind Your Language – 2021

TV and radio humour may be somewhat restrained in future, thanks to the new definition of so-called “hate speech” by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom.  Under the new rules, nobody is allowed to say anything which might spread, incite, promote, or justify hatred based on intolerance on the grounds of (and I quote) “disability, ethnicity, social origin, sex, gender, gender reassignment, nationality, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, colour, genetic features, language, political or any other opinions, membership of a national minority, property, birth, or age”.

Ofcom gets tough on jokes

So, a typical 2021-style joke might go something like this:  A politically correct English person, an Irish person, and a Scots person walk into a bar and politely wait for something funny to happen which doesn’t involve their nationality, gender, religion, politics, language, genetic features, sexual orientation or age. But they are immediately asked to leave as the bar’s been closed under lockdown restrictions and they are each given a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking “stay-at-home” legislation.

Frank Carson and Bernard Manning will be turning in their graves while comedian Jim Davidson may have to re-think his entire stand-up routine.

The Discerning Virus

The new lockdown rules seem to suggest this new Covid variant must be a pretty clever bug if it can spot the difference between nursery and primary school children. It apparently presents a very real threat for two golfers playing a round together but, curiously, will steer clear of a couple taking a casual stroll across the same golf course.  And while you’ve nothing to fear if you nip out for some exercise just once a day, you’d better beware if you exercise twice in the same day.  I guess it’s a bit like “third light” – that old bug will have you in its sights by your second outing.  But I’m beginning to wonder if our leaders are “following the science” or the science fiction.

Siege Conditions

The window cleaner turned-up at the beginning of the week so I knew we were in for some heavy rain; it always chucks it down within an hour or two of his departure, and this week was no exception. Then the man from the lawn care company dropped by to spray something on the grass which, he says, will hold back an invasion of moss.

Massed ranks of mushrooms

Moss adores soggy, wet lawns, apparently, so the past few months have been ideal for an all-out moss attack.  It’s even growing on my roof, which presents a double whammy as the crows peck at the moss and crack the tiles so they’ll probably need replacing by spring.  Meanwhile, the wettest of winters has encouraged an evil-looking fungus to take up residence under the conifer hedges, supported by massed ranks of toadstools which have suddenly sprung up, like a battalion of soldiers, either side of the drive.  And, ever-present and out there somewhere, lurking in the shadows, are two or three new variants of the Covid virus, waiting to pounce the minute I open the front door.

If an Englishman’s home is his castle, then it’s fair to say my castle is currently under siege.  And the forecast is yet more rain so the weeds will have a head start on the spring flowers.

Take a Deep Breath

It’s amazing how a pandemic can reveal superpowers in some individuals.  The woman in front of me in the queue at the pharmacy was challenged for not wearing a face mask.

“I don’t need to,” she announced with an air of supreme confidence.

“Why not?” asked the pharmacist.

“Because I can hold my breath for quite a long time so I don’t breathe very much,” she said.

To her credit, the pharmacist didn’t pursue the argument and simply gave her customer the option of putting on a mask or leaving the queue. She left the queue with a huge sigh, muttering something about Big Brother and 1984.

Appointment Postponed

I decided to cancel my planned medical procedure last week, following news of yet more variants of the Coronavirus and rapidly rising infection rates.  It seemed like the safest thing to do in the circumstances but I felt slightly guilty about wasting my consultant’s valuable time.  Then, this week,  I discovered that he’d cancelled all his procedures after testing positive for Covid.  I’m pleased to say he seems to be shaking it off without too much trouble and we plan to re-schedule our appointment –  after we’ve both had the vaccine.

Friends and Neighbours

I’d take money that if Boris Johnson announced he was planning to introduce new Covid legislation next Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon would criticise the plan but promptly propose something very similar for Scotland – to be introduced next Tuesday. And it’s not much better with the Welsh who seem intent on proving that they’re one step ahead of Westminster when it comes to decision-making.

Last week, in what looks like petty revenge for Brexit, Dutch customs officers confiscated the sandwiches of UK truckers because they contained “undeclared British foodstuffs”, bringing freight to a standstill.  We’re told we should love our neighbours and our enemies – probably because they are sometimes one and the same.

Delivery Days

I seem to have two types of day during the new lockdown – days when parcels arrive and days when they don’t.  But I’m beginning to wonder if I might, subconsciously, be ordering things from Amazon to catch a glimpse of a human being as the courier dumps my order on the doorstep so I’ve started to keep a list of scheduled arrivals.

I have a vague recollection of ordering a llama but it doesn’t seem to be on my list so I could be wrong about that. And, besides, there’s no room in the garden shed.

A special award for not behaving like an ignoranus

Sign of the Times

A top trophies and awards company emailed me this week with an update on their range of cups, plaques, medals and shields which now includes a special selection of ‘lockdown awards’.

The one that particularly caught my attention was a medal for wearing a face mask and not behaving like an Ignoranus.

Share This Post

Responses to Life in Solitary: Are You an Ignoranus?

  1. RWL Davies Reply

    January 25, 2021 at 6:27 am

    So, Tony Edwards doesn’t believe there are genuine exemptions to mask-wearing? Does he think we should wear masks everywhere? “The science” is ambivalent, to put it mildly, on the effectiveness of the masks currently in mass use.

    • Jules Cranwell Reply

      January 27, 2021 at 7:53 am

      I believe Mr Davies will find that Tony is in the majority, who feel safer if all wear a mask.

      • John Perkins Reply

        January 27, 2021 at 11:29 pm

        I’m sure Jules Cranwell is completely right in that the majority feel safer if everyone wears a mask. However, I feel it incumbent on him to prove his point rather the just claiming “everyone says so”.

  2. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 26, 2021 at 11:18 am

    I daresay there are some genuine cases where folk genuinely cannot wear a face covering, but my suspicion is that quite a few individuals are using the hidden disability exemption as an excuse to not wear a mask.

    Yesterday (Monday, Jan 25) I shopped at my regular supermarket and noticed a chap aged about 25 to 30 not wearing a face covering. He was wearing a sunflower lanyard to indicate a hidden disability. “Fair enough,” I thought.

    By chance, he left the store just ahead of me and immediately on leaving, lit up a cigarette and puffed away, which to me indicated that he clearly didn’t have any kind of respiratory problem (yet).

    To be absolutely frank, my view is that if you are so poorly, that wearing a bit of cloth over your face affects your breathing so badly that you can’t function, you probably shouldn’t be out and about and should be at home, “screening”.

    As for the effectiveness of the majority of masks in use, perhaps RWL Davies has not grasped the fact that the mask is to protect others, not the wearer. One only has to look on a frosty morning at the difference in the exhaled breath vapour cloud between a mask wearer and someone un-masked to see the positive effect of the mask.

  3. John Perkins Reply

    January 26, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    There are more reasons than one for not wearing a mask and not doing so should not be considered merely selfish. Some people must go out if only to feed themselves, but for whatever reason cannot or do not want to wear a mask. They are not evil and might be better thought of as less fortunate.

    Two small, though practical, reasons for avoiding masks are spectacles and hearing aids. These probably seem minor to those who don’t have them, but being unable to see because your glasses are misted up is a real problem. (Yes, I understand there are many ways to combat the problem, each of which is supposedly 100% effective.) The hearing aid problem is more subtle: in order to understand someone speaking through a mask, the aids are absolutely necessary, though afterwards, when taking of one’s own mask there is a tendency to eject one. Finding an expensive hearing aid on the floor is a good lesson, but not noticing is not so good. Like biting into an apple and finding half a maggot, discovery is too late to be of benefit.

    When masks were first made compulsory on public transport the reasons given were to protect the wearer from others and them from the wearer. Both are still the subject of much debate and research, though the former has been pretty much debunked. As for protecting others from the wearer, it seems likely there is some truth in it – but only at the cost of the wearer in worsening his or her own infection. I wonder how many people are actually that selfless.

    • Dave Middleton Reply

      January 27, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      Both I and my companion wear spectacles and fogging up is not a particular problem. Simply moving one’s spectacles forward a little, so they sit on top of the mask over one’s nose stops the fogging almost entirely.

      Likewise, a little care when removing a mask does away with the risk of popping one’s hearing aid out.

      Not wearing a mask simply because one, “doesn’t want to” is not a valid reason, it might be an offence and is, to my mind, entirely selfish. As for the wearing of a mask, “worsening his or her own infection” I doubt that is the case and even if it is, wearing one shows compassion and consideration for others.

  4. Harry Eve Reply

    January 29, 2021 at 10:13 am

    The fungi (nice photo by the way) look great but can be difficult to identify with certainty and I suggest that Tony Edwards should not be tempted to eat them. As a long-standing member of the Orpington Field Club I knew who to consult, and received a swift reply that this could be one of the Omphalina species. Details of the branch or log that they are on might help to narrow it down.

    It is a shame that a much-appreciated article, clearly intended to entertain, sparked some critical comment. However, I have to say that the Non-Governmental Organisation, Stop Mowing Intensive Lawns England, was not amused by the mention of spraying to remove moss.

    The Moss Appreciation Society of Kent also expressed concern. Mosses (there are many species) are a wonderful part of our biodiversity and create a mix of green shades that is far more beautiful and full of life than a traditional, sterile, lawn.

    Please join both organisations. We will all benefit.

    I look forward to the next episode.

  5. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 30, 2021 at 7:58 am

    Tony Edwards and Harry Eve can look forward to going on the stage as a double act, after lockdown.

    It’s important to have a chuckle in these dark times.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *