The C-19 Diaries. Traybakes and Queuing Protocol.

Day 3

Slept great last night. Clearly limoncello just before bed is the way forward.

Woke up to a message from a friend, linking to a series of Tweets from Nick Heath, who – as a sports commentator – has taken to commentating on scenes in everyday life, and recording them in a series of short videos.

If you need your day brightened up… check them out here.

Mum included traybakes in yesterday’s mercy package. Chocolate-covered fudge squares. Disappointingly, my flat mate is off chocolate for Lent, so I am having to power through them myself. Two down, eight to go. I am confident of hitting the target by lunchtime.

It feels like everybody is online, all the time, right now. I am usually someone who keeps on top of their notifications, emails, etc. But for the last week or so it feels like everybody I know has been emailing me, tagging me on Facebook and WhatsApping me all at the same time.

So if you’ve sent me a message via one of these platforms (or any other platform) recently and I seem to be ignoring it, please accept my apologies, I might not even have read it yet.

Didn’t manage to leave the house today. Didn’t so much as open the front door to a startled delivery person.

My flatmate did, though, and brought news of the Great Outdoors.

Morrisons, he reports, have brought in the queuing-with-enforced-2m-separation just to get in to the store. I witnessed this phenomenon yesterday, as I drove into Tesco. It’s what inspired me to drive straight back out again. People standing 2m apart down the side of the building. It’s a queue-jumper’s DREAM. 

I discovered this at my next port of call – Margiotta – when an old dear sailed straight up to the checkout at an oblique angle, before the kind checkout operator gently pointed out that I – the mildly disgruntled man standing against the far wall of the shop – was next in the queue.

But I’ve forgiven her. She probably had zero peripheral vision due to the vast array of apparel she had wrapped around her head, to ward off viruses, one assumes. She might even have been foreign, and unaware of how seriously we take queuing in this country.

The London Branch of the family have had a disturbing development. My sister-in-law accidentally drank some Turmeric-infused tea and has turned yellow. Or so says my sister, who can’t always be relied upon to relay turmeric-related information with a great deal of accuracy.

Sleep tight y’all.

Avoiding non-essential social contact

The pre-Coronavirus Diaries, continued


Life continued as normal today. Was at church morning and evening, where we sang songs about God’s goodness and love. Nobody sounded fearful, but it felt like there was an air of resignation that this would be our last ‘normal’ Sunday for a while.

My fellow tech team member tonight was George, whose self-isolation game is strong all year round. I hope he starts blogging with self-isolation tips for the masses.

Phoned mum in the evening. She stayed away from church tonight, on social-distancing grounds. On the upside, her forthcoming 80th birthday will see her receive an additional 25p per week in her pension. She is understandably over the moon about this and unsure of how to invest her new-found affluence.

Tomorrow I am theoretically up for jury service. But a phone-call this evening confirmed that I am not required to attend tomorrow. 24hrs stay of execution, at least.


In the whirl of coronavirus-related uncertainty I put on a clean pair of trousers this morning, but forgot to add a belt. However, it’s ok – it turns out that my trousers are self-tightening. Should be ok so long as I don’t stash too many tins of tuna in the pockets.

My trousers’ new-found self-tightening status may or may not be a result of me powering through the 90kg weight barrier recently. Smashed it, I did. Left it choking on my dust. I look forward to renewing acquaintances with 90kg on the way back down sometime in the future.

Just after I’d sent an email to my work teams saying largely “business as usual this Sunday” the PM, without checking with me first, holds a press conference and instructs us to avoid “non-essential” social gatherings.

So we’re into the next phase.

My Sister gets in touch on WhatsApp: 

“Y’all ok? Enough turmeric?”

Then she sends me a link to where I can buy a 25kg bag of it online. I am grateful.

Not required for jury duty tomorrow either. On reading the “Coronavirus Update” page on the Scottish Courts website, I am fairly sure that they consider the judicial system to be “essential” social contact. So I don’t think Coronavirus is going to help me here.


On reading my previous post (I originally wrote “last post”, but a slow trumpet sounded in my head and I realised that has other connotations), some pointed out to me that I visit the supermarket a LOT.

I confess I hadn’t thought about this. But, perhaps because I live very close to Morrison’s, and not that far from Sainsbury’s either, perhaps because I have very little freezer capacity, and perhaps also because I don’t plan very far ahead, I am probably in a supermarket at least every other day. So my regular supermarket visits are not a result of coronavirus-related panic, but rather just the outcome of a permanent state of semi-disorganised food planning.

Is this a single-person thing? Or just me? It may be just me.

Today is my usual day off. I am accustomed to spending Tuesdays without much in the way of social contact, and some Tuesdays I don’t really leave the house anyway(!) so today probably won’t feel all that different.

The pre-Coronavirus Diaries

Tuesday, 10 March

I catch the bus into town, to meet a friend for lunch. Suddenly I am aware of every surface I’m touching – the handrails up the stairs, the button you press to ask the bus to stop, everything.

Looking out the window; no-one is wearing face masks. I wonder how long it will be before they appear.

I’m down for jury service next week. What happens if I contract COVID-19 before then? Will they accept my call-off over the phone? It’s not like I can produce a doctor’s note – I can’t visit my GP to get one, and I can’t leave the house to deliver it.

Which makes me think that the chances of people calling in and crying off (legitimately or not) jury duty might be quite high… I suspect the courts may grind to a halt soon, for this reason, if not just because everything seems to be being cancelled at the moment.

I have slowed down on my Easter egg consumption a little. With all the panic buying at supermarkets I didn’t want to rush through my supplies of essentials.

Wednesday, 11 March

I pay a visit to Morrison’s. They’re playing INXS on the in-supermarket radio. They have a better class of playlist at Morrison’s than your average supermarket. I applaud this, although all in all I would prefer if they had my favourite marmalade brands in stock, as I can get good tunes from elsewhere. But they don’t. I consider writing to the management. 

I speak to my Sister on the phone, in the process reintroducing myself to voice calls, which are a long-forgotten friend, and limbering up for when I might be needing them on a daily basis.

“Have you got enough turmeric?” she asks, with a concerned note in her voice.

I hadn’t even thought about that.

But it’s all a little academic, as I need milk for my turmeric milk, and milk won’t last 14 days. Unless I was in America.

We discuss more prosaic matters, like toilet roll stockpiling. I discover that her household runs through two toilet rolls per day. TWO PER DAY. I am beyond flabbergasted. 

Here at OHFTC Towers, we are a much more toilet-toll efficient household. Perhaps we are not as regular.

My Sister reckons she keeps the cellar (which I like to think of as the Baileys Bunker) stocked up with enough of everything to keep the family going for at least four months, under normal circumstances. 

When I grow up, I want to be like my Sister.

Thursday, 12 March

I notice that the pile of pine nuts is getting a little low. And coffee. It might be time for another visit to Morrison’s. I don’t think there’s been a run on pine nuts just yet.

Friday, 13 March

I bump into a friend at Sainsbury’s. She is gazing at the handwash shelves, which are so depleted that her choice is restricted to Posh or Super Posh. I move on in search of more tins of tuna.

In the supermarket, and driving home, I see 5 people wearing face masks. All of them are Chinese/Oriental.

Here at OHFTC Towers we now have plenty of pine nuts and marmalade, easing concerns somewhat. We also have enough tinned tuna to sink a ship, and the usual amount of pasta, which should be enough.

Saturday, 14 March

My regular coffee shipment arrives. Hurrah. I pop back to Morrison’s, and stock up on cereal, which I rarely eat. But you never know. I avoid All-Bran, as I feel it might deplete the Toilet Roll Stockpile somewhat.

It all feels a little surreal. I think it’s because I don’t actually know anyone that has contracted the virus. If and when that happens, I suspect it will become a little more real.

I am avoiding making any meals with tuna, which rules out about 40% of my usual weekly menu, on the basis that if I have to self-isolate I don’t want to be bored of it before I even begin.

I discover, via the BBC website, that the Italians are dealing with their enforced captivity quite beautifully. I suggest to Nicola that, after a couple of gins, she could do the same thing in Polwarth. She is working on a playlist as we speak.

Stay tuned, and stay healthy!

Easter Eggs and the Coronavirus

Well, dear reader, Easter is upon us, and so it must be time for another blog update, and maybe another change of bed linen. 

Just the other day I was speaking to a regular blog reader (not you, the other one) who was complaining that it was difficult to maintain their status as a regular reader, given there wasn’t much in the way of regular reading on my blog, and how much more enriched their life would be if I was to post an update more frequently. I’m paraphrasing there slightly. 

I do apologise to both of you.

But back to Easter. I’m not sure exactly how close it is, but it can’t be far off, as I’m now on my third Easter egg. I began with a Rolo one, followed it up with a Kit Kat, and now I’m onto the Creme Egg. I’m aiming to keep up my current consumption rate of one full-size Easter egg per week, which is arguably a less traditional way to celebrate Lent, but I have a feeling it could catch on.

Although it’s fair to say it’s not normal for me to either set, or follow, trends. Usually I am swimming against the tide of popular culture. If you picture a poor-to-average swimmer doing a doggy paddle in a tsunami, you’ll pretty much have the idea. Except, perhaps, on those days when I decide to pay a visit to Ikea – on these days I seem to be fully aligned with the thinking of everyone else in Edinburgh. 

On my last visit there I was seduced by one of those oversized spherical light bulbs, with the glowing yellow filament. I brought it home and fitted it to the main light in my bedroom. On switching it on, I discovered it gives off about the same amount of light as one of those energy-saving lightbulbs before they’ve warmed up. Not terribly practical, really, and I can’t see a whole lot in there now, which means I have to rely a bit more on muscle memory for tasks like changing the bed linen, but I do feel pretty hipster.

The onward march of Coronavirus was all the talk in the office today. Having survived a ski trip to Northern Italy in January, I caught a cold on my return to the UK. Googling “symptoms of Coronavirus” momentarily brought cause for alarm, as I realised I was suffering from almost every single symptom listed , but on closer inspection I realised I had landed on the Daily Mail’s website, and I de-escalated the alarm accordingly.

I aim to stave off the virus with a health-conscious diet of plenty of turmeric milk and regular Easter eggs. I think that should just about do it.

Stay healthy, Britons, and don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly while singing “Happy Birthday” twice through. That should do the trick, apparently…