This is the third part of Anne’s Story about Lockdown; the rush back from France, how to occupy yourself during Lockdown and now: Food. I’ve not been able to get a supermarket delivery for nine days but I hadn’t thought about cannibalism: sounds like a good idea. But Anne’s right, Lockdown does make you think about things in a different way. I’ve certainly rethought my priorities. My garden has taken on a whole new meaning.
Today’s choice of tea towel has been tricky once again. Maybe, it just has to be about food, Baked Beans as a last resort!
“But I think one of the real shared joys has been the sitting in the sunshine in the garden together, having a BBQ in the evening. Yes, even at the end March and beginning of April. The true outdoor people we are, Caravaners too; in Steve’s case, ex-Boy Scouter, with fond memories sleeping under a blanket under the stars on summer camps. I do, at times, think he thinks he’s Jesus, who was born in a stable. Often I get back into the house of a winter’s day and all the windows are flung open wide, it’s freezing. Meanwhile he’s sitting in a T-shirt, as he’s been working outside with a fleece on and once he’s inside he’s too hot.
We’ve sat, even on cold night, fleeces on, with the Chiminea burning brightly with dried twigs pruned from the garden. Of course, after washing lines are empty, no breeze and far enough down our long garden not to waft over people hedges to add to breathing problems. My Steve’s a real stickler for abiding to the rules of fire making, (not like one of our neighbours, who are burning their rubbish and plastic, midday near the house). Maybe they’ve heard Steve slamming the bedroom windows, and heard his loud tutting as he walks down the garden, or perhaps they’ve burnt all the rubbish, because it appears to have stopped now thankfully. Although, so have we, with the Chiminea since hubby heard this mentioned on the virus updates.
Well, back to the BBQ evenings, during our self isolation, and with leaving France so quickly, we realised the problem was I’d tried to be efficient, (this is not the norm) and ran the freezer down and cleared the fridge, before we went. It dawned on me, on the way back, we’d really not got much more food than that we hadn’t eaten in France and that I’d brought back with us. So now we had to be really frugal. The three sausages and two burgers became an issue. The third sausage needed to be divided equally into two, and not my husband’s idea of half. We’d just have to fill up on bake-in-the-oven bread, like we did when we were kids. That night it was obviously bothering me, how little food we had. I’d be positively saying “Oh, don’t worry. You can live for 3 weeks without food but only 3 days without water” I’d once heard it said. I’d recalled the story our Infant Teacher had told us, about a family whose plane had crashed in the jungle and had survived on toothpaste until they were found. Mind you ,we hadn’t got that much toothpaste either.
I’d gone to bed and dreamt of cannibalism, waking in a fright, would this be the future if we couldn’t get food? I shocked myself into thinking ‘Well I’d be ok for a while, but I didn’t fancy my husband’s chances with the recent weight loss I’d had’. Fortunately, we didn’t need to resort to that. I found a standard letter from our new next door neighbours posted through the door, saying if you are vunerable or self isolating to ring them. Ah, we were very touched by their kindness. I remember saying, ‘they must think we look more elderly than we are’. But my gosh, after five days, and food dwindling fast and people reporting supermarket shelves were empty, I felt very vulnerable. Finally, I found the letter, sank my pride and asked meekly if they possibly could, and if they had a chance, could they get us some bread or milk or meat or fruit, even if only one thing, as I realised products were limited to how many you could have and I didn’t want them to deny themselves. They were great about it; they said they worked next door to a big supermarket. They rang the door bell and scurried to the end of the drive, leaving a bag of food. Inside the bag were all the items.
I think all the emotions of the last few weeks, and the act of kindness, made me cry, with happiness, but maybe also the sort of feeling Robinsin Crusoe probably had when the ship came to rescue him from his island. I never expected to feel so overjoyed at the prospect of fresh bread and fresh milk after such a short time. Poor lad, he stood there aghast, he asked if he had got the right things; after all, they were new neighbours so he was unaware of my slightly ‘nutty’ nature. I just said “Thank you so much. You have made me a very happy woman and I will toss a bottle of wine and some money over the hedge” (gently on the grass of course).