Fringe Box



Column: Life in Solitary

Published on: 7 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 23 Jul, 2020

By Tony Edwards

A light-hearted personal view of life during the coronavirus lockdown from a small study, somewhere in the Borough of Guildford…

Pointless post
My postman has just sprinted past my study window. He wears shorts all year, runs everywhere, and holds aloft each morning’s delivery like an Olympic torch.

This week’s pointless post has included a somewhat optimistic summer holiday brochure and an apology from my vitamin tablet supplier who seems to be running short of both vitamin C and B6. But pointless post of the week award must surely go to my energy supplier with an offer to send a chap round to my house to install a smart meter.

Virtually in a queue
Pointless and depressing as it may be, the morning post can be a welcome reminder of a world beyond my pristine front doorstep, on which Ocado now leaves its spasmodic grocery deliveries. But I was less than encouraged last evening to see that I was number 352,560 in Ocado’s “virtual” queue to log-on for one of its delivery slots, all of which had been snapped up by the time the “Book A Delivery” icon finally came into view.

But, hey, what’s a pointless two-hour wait when you’re in lockdown with nothing better to do? And there was nothing much on telly.

Recycled emails
The quality and content of my incoming emails has rapidly deteriorated since I was confined to barracks. Online video funnies which weren’t even funny the first time round, are now being recirculated with the much-misused tagline excuse “The Oldies Are Still The Best”. I’d like to officially confirm they’re not. They are simply old.

Love at my window
A lady blackbird has been launching herself at my study window for most of the day. This beak-bending ritual happens every spring when birds fall in love with their windowpane reflections and try to get together with new-found soulmates. In previous springs, it’s been a robin but I’m pleased to see more blackbirds in the garden after a few years of absence.

Esther’s literary advice
Silver Line campaigner Esther Rantzen has advised lonely, locked-down “oldies” to consider writing their memoirs to help pass the time. I’d go a stage further. Why not have a bash at penning a novel? As a novelist with four published works, I should warn would-be writers about PND, Post Novel Depression. That’s the feeling that can strike when you type the immortal words THE END and you say goodbye to the new friends you’ve created for your story.

Sports “non” news
The TV news is, of course, a rolling, never-ending, 24/7 report on the international effects of the virus. But I’m not sure why the main TV channels bother to report the so-called sports news when all the events are in lockdown and the “news” is that there’s no news for the foreseeable future. But sports reporters continue to take to the TV screen to report on all the many sporting events which are not going to happen. I’ve made a note in the diary not to watch Wimbledon which, I’m assured, won’t be happening either.

It never rains but …
It seems that one of the few business sectors which can still operate in the lockdown are lawn care specialists. Mine turned up, alone but fully functional, to scarify my lawn and give it its spring feed this week. But, after the wettest March on record, the ground is so hard and dry I’ve had to get out the sprinkler so the lawn feed will work.

Let them eat… er… caviar
While access to my  OCADO home-deliveries account was relatively easy today, my usual Volvic water has deleted from the availability list because it’s “too bulky” on the vans. And my favourite sourdough bread is in “short supply” for the moment or, as I call it, “no longer unavailable”.

But despite the shortage of bread and water, I was delighted to note that the sturgeon caviar at £45 a 28g tin is still available. Bubbly’s looking good too, especially the Perriet Jouette, Belle Epoque at a bargain price £118-95p.

So lockdown life goes on for this champagne isolationist.

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