On my morning walk, I find comfort in ordinary things seen quickly, smelt quickly. Those ordinary things which before these last few weeks I did not notice. A gentle trace of coffee from the local coffee bar when a door swings open, a man sleeping contentedly on a park bench, torn paper blowing skywards like a dule of doves before a storm. How peaceful it all looks on a day like this. No, it can’t be possible that here in the UK, the NHS front line staff, the very people protecting us, are still not getting tested for the coronavirus. Promises that tests were being ramped on to 25,000 a day has not happened. I believe we are still at around 6,000. Consequently, hundreds of NHS staff have been self-isolating without knowing if it is safe for them to return to work.
The government claim that testing is being held up by a shortage of reagents when the Chemical Industries Association repudiates such a notion and claims there is no shortage of the relevant reagents. Who to believe?
It seems that many of our leaders, with some notable exceptions, are looking at the world thru the windows of an ambulance – you can see out, but not look in; unjust but for them most useful. The whispering of danger is here, all around us, and growing each day.
Then my face suddenly changes expression when out of the corner of my eye I notice the old man in his tweed cap and suit sitting on my stoop doing his crossword. I was so happy to see him. I didn’t think I would see him again. He looks up and laughs once. I was near enough ( but not so near) to catch sight of his red larynx. ‘ You’ll discover that you have far few friends that you imagine, far more than you knew.’ he said.
‘ Really?’ I replied not really paying attention to what he said. It’s only when I write it down that I think he is probably right.
He looked better and less angry too.
‘ I wonder if you could help me?’ he asked.
‘ Of course, ‘ I replied excited that we were actually going to converse.
‘ Would you be able to lend me a bath plug?’ he asked.
‘ A bath plug?!’
‘ I lost mine and can’t find a replacement. A bath has to be complete. There is nothing worse than a quick bath; it is after all one of the few simple luxuries left for us. I’ve been using a handkerchief which is not the most hygenic.’
‘ Of course. I’ll order one today.’ Not thinking for a moment his request was a little strange.
‘ A miracle!’ he said which spurred me on to tell him one of the first jokes I remember : ‘ A nun is trying to get two bottles of whiskey through the customs which she claims is holy water from Lourdes. ‘ But Sister, this is whiskey!’ the custom officer says. ‘ A miracle, a miracle!’ the nun exclaims.
‘ Very good. Must be off,’ the old man said and without another word marched away. Oh dear!
Anyway, I had a mission for the day. Not a particularly difficult one but a mission after all. I ordered a chrome plated plug from Amazon and received a promise it would arrive in the morning. I then spent the next hour worrying whether I had chosen the right size. Oh dear! Perhaps the rigour of isolation is beginning to set in.
So to cheer myself up, I decided to cut my hair or rather shave it off. I had never done it before and decided there isn’t a better time. I’m not going to tell your mum. I’m just going to present my new look. So if you are brought up in a single parent home, you will know why.