Helen’s Thoughts on Lockdown: April 2020


“We’re all in this together” offered an opportunity to anyone who wanted to take up the challenge and put their thoughts on ‘paper’.  People have done this in many different ways: diaries, poems, ongoing commentary, one-off observational pieces, often comedic.  There are some very talented writers around, of all ages.  There is something quite therapeutic about putting your thoughts down, concretising them.  If you write the piece, I will provide the tea towel, was the deal on offer.  I should be able to find something appropriate from my collection of 1250.  If you read Helen’s story, you can see there are many links I could make: starting with Prunes (no tea towel), supermarkets (no tea towels), OXO (no tea towels), tinned fruit (no tea towel) but I came to the last sentence and there is KitKat.  That’s my tea towel.

I met Helen at Creative Writing.  She has been published in magazines; I just blog away.  I love her comedic style and I hope you do too.

“I realised today that I had used the term ‘social isolation’ incorrectly in that you can’t go shopping if you are ‘social isolating’.  Could you change it for ‘Lockdown’?  I haven’t quite got the hang of definitions yet”  Helen emailed me, so I did just that and changed the word in the first line.  But Helen raises an important point: there will be a raft of new words that appear in the dictionary next year that relate to Coronavirus, maybe we need to start creating them.


“As we fight off the boredom of ‘Lockdown’, a trip to the supermarket becomes an exciting event. ‘Which one shall we try today?’ Tesco is reliable although the queues are daunting. Asda is less reliable but you get round much quicker. Usually this means you haven’t bought much.

In these days of ‘make do and stop moaning’, Ill shop anywhere. The real surprise is Farm Foods. Nobody I knew shopped there so I didnt. I admit it, I was a supermarket snob. Farm Foods doesnt have queues but it does have freezer cabinets full of food. I was never a fan of frozen meat but Covid 19 changes your priorities. Ill eat anything now.

I was always suspicious of the latest foodie fad, like grinding your own spices, but it didnt stop me from buying Jamie Olivers pestle and mortar. It was not a success and I soon reverted to ready-made sauces. Scarcity rather than common sense means the rest of the world is catching up with me. The BBC Food website reassures readers that if they’re struggling to get the ingredients to make home-made pesto, there’s no shame in buying a jar and you only need a spoonful or two. Furthermore, they must not fret over using shop bought bouillon powder when they can’t make their own chicken stock. They’ve evidently never heard of OXO cubes.

Many foods vanished from the shelves when panic buying began. Bread, flour, eggs but mostly these have returned. I can’t find dried yeast anywhere but who am I kidding? Even with all the time in the world, I’m not going to bake my own bread when I can get a loaf of Hovis.

Tinned fruit disappeared for a while but not prunes. Whichever supermarket you went into, tinned prunes were always available. With peaches and fruit cocktail missing from the shelf, prunes had only each other for company. If there were twenty tins there one week, the same twenty were there the next. Perhaps they weren’t the same twenty. Perhaps they all vanished in one bulk buy and were replaced with another batch.

You would think this would be the ideal time to sort out one’s delicate nether region problems. Social isolation, home-working and the close vicinity of the shower lend themselves to an unexpected opportunity to purge.

Evidently, the BBC hasn’t considered the possibility so I offer this advice. There’s absolutely no shame in buying a tin of prunes. Serve with crème fraiche and a few chopped walnuts if you have them. Alternatively, a tin of evaporated milk and crumbled Kit Kat will do the job.”

Helen Baron

Thank you Helen, you’ve made my day!!

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