The C-19 Diaries. Essential Shopping and Disco Dancing.

Day 23

My mum turned 80 today. My Sister and I had arranged for a hamper from a nice Edinburgh deli to be delivered. She seemed pleased with the contents. The nice man from the deli had described them to me over the phone. I recognised roughly one word in three, and by this I knew that mum would like it.

I sat in my car outside her house and joined a family Zoom call to sing her Happy Birthday. She also passed some cake out the window to me, which felt borderline illegal, but I took it and ate it while sitting on the wall.

Day 30

Many of my friends seem to be succumbing to the current fad of cultivating their own sourdough cultures with the aim of ultimately making bread.

I don’t quite know how to break it to them that someone seems to have got there first. It’s actually quite easy to just walk into a supermarket and buy a loaf of sourdough bread. I just did – at Morrison’s. I feel they will crushed to discover this, so haven’t had the courage to bring it up.

Day 39

Nicola and Disco Dave organised an actual disco over Zoom tonight. I became somewhat reluctantly involved as the technical director, which then by default meant I became the DJ. As a result I had to download a considerable number of tunes onto my laptop which would – under normal circumstances – never have been considered for inclusion into my music library. I am still actively seeking software which cleanses microchips from the corruption they have been exposed to.

One of the tunes on the playlist was Tragedy. I assumed they were looking for the Bee Gees’ version. It turns out that it had to be Steps. I was apoplectic about this, but my hands were tied by my contractual agreement. Steps it was, alongside S-Club and various other non-bands. Not even an Atomic Kitten track in sight.

Day 43

Mum coerced me to do some shopping for her. She “needed” some items from Waitrose. On pointing out to her that this might not be considered “essential shopping”, she quite deliberately played the “vulnerable persons” card. What could I do?

I consoled myself with the knowledge that I might find myself in a better class of queue outside. The sort of people that the Rector’s Administrator would associate with.

As it turned out, when one enters this particular Waitrose via the lifts from the car park, one bypasses the queue and the Supermarket Bouncers completely. Who knew? I proceeded guiltily into the fruit and veg section, and duly found myself in aisles stacked with products with unfamiliar-sounding names. Like “tomatoes” and “flour”. Except there was no flour. Seems like everyone’s baking these days.

Later, I went for a run again. Achtung Baby is the album spinning on my turntables – both real and virtual – this week. It brings back a hazy memory whirl of sixth form schooldays, my friend Raymond, who became obsessed with U2 around this time, and the excitement of newly-possible drives up to Belfast to buy records and books. The sound of Achtung Baby was such a departure compared to U2’s previous two releases – the inordinately successful Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, which has always felt like a non-album stopgap to me.

Anyway.

As I labour, gasping for breath, up the cruel gradient of Holyrood Park, I have Achtung Baby in my ears.

“Is it getting better?” asks Bono, gently.

No, Bono, it’s really not.

“Or do you feel the same?”

Yes, Bono, I do. I still feel out of shape and desperately unfit.

And I miss people.

The C-19 Diaries. The Haircut and the Run.

Day 15

The day finally arrived. I was so scared that I unearthed the instructions and read them cover to cover. They look like they’ve been Google-translated direct from the original Korean.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of guidance on offer beyond a basic suggestion that one applies the clippers to the hair, (once one has determined the length of hair of the pet in question), and chosen an appropriate guard.

That’s about it. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

I decide not to shave my face. That way, by this evening, there’s a chance that at least some of my head will have some evenly-distributed hair growth.

As it turns out, the results are more impressive than I dared hope for. I hope you’re not all too disappointed. Disco Dave has warned me that I would definitely miss bits, and would become suddenly aware of some tufty patches in the days ahead. I can feel no such tuftiness. I feel flushed with my success.

I actually considered doing some press-ups and sit-ups today, but just as I was about to spring into action – in the nick of time, one might say – my back began to hurt, so I cancelled the home workout, to be on the safe side.

Instead, I went for a run.

Looking back, the logic of this decision continues to elude me. I haven’t been for a run for approximately three years.

Around 20 minutes into the “run”, just as I was transitioning gently out of the walking-warm-up phase, a lady, with what I can only describe as a slow and somewhat ungainly running style, ran past me. I felt confident of reeling her in without too much trouble before long. Not that it’s a race, you understand.

Minutes later, after swerving several times to maintain the requisite 2m of airspace between myself and oncoming pedestrians, I noticed that she was, actually, quite far off in the distance. Almost out of sight, in fact.

Then she stopped to take some photos. Ha. As she took the time to snap some pics of the bright yellow gorse, even taking some close-ups, I sped past, in my quite athletic running style.

Moments later, she shot past me again. I began to revise my judgement of her running style, and speed.

Made it home in one piece.

My flatmate goes for a run every day. After today’s experience I think I’ll settle for one run per nationwide lockdown.

Hair Update: Shorn. Evenly and beautifully.

Day 16 – Day 21

Too tired to blog. See Day 15.

Day 22

Went for a run again.

If anything, this time it felt even harder. There was a breeze blowing, which I am confident was a lot to do with it. But really, isn’t this supposed to get easier with practice?

It feels like I’ve been shot in the calves. Both of them, but from particularly close range in the left.

I am somewhat chagrined to report that I have noticed undeniable tuftiness on my head. Just to the left and slightly rear of the crown. Perhaps in other places too, I couldn’t possibly say.

Oh, well. Maybe home-haircutting improves with practice too.

Tonight, for dinner, I am going to have that Northern Irish classic dish: lasagne con potatoes. 

Molto bene, so it is.

Stay safe everyone.

Hair Update: Tufty.