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!

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