Hmmm…husband and I live 5 minutes walk from a major supermarket. We haven’t done a big weekly shop for about 2 decades….we go in every few days..and we aren’t expecting that to change. Proximity to Sainsburys means we don’t go for on-line deliveries either…just yet. This evening husband sent me out..[he has never sent me out]..husband sent me out to replenish our gin, tonic and wine supplies which had dwindled to zero. We drink very little…but I thought it best to re-stock…and I thought to combine this shopping trip with a session in the shop’s photo-booth, as my passport needs renewing. Now I KNOW everyone’s passport photo looks awful…everyone’s. But I look like Myra Hindley. Myra Hindley is a 1960s child serial killer. Actually I really don’t look like her…but I just don’t want to meet the person in the resultant photos on a dark night…no sirree.
Yes, I know it’s late Friday evening before a weekend…but I was not expecting the toilet roll aisle to look like this:
Stark gaps on the bread counter, egg counter and canned goods were also apparent. And I now know for definite what British people survive on: it’s Italian food…the pasta and jars of tomato sauce were entirely missing…I tried not to panic. We don’t eat much pasta and we make our own sauce…but…you know….panic is…viral. We have a herd mentality (if not immunity). Still, I restrained myself. Here are my panic buys:
When we were ill as children, we loved Lucozade. I haven’t had Lucozade for about 40 years….it’s a comfort thing I think. I picked up the bread flour and walked to the near- empty egg counter where there were 6 boxes of ‘blue’ eggs left. I’ve no idea what blue eggs are, I said to the lady next to me…she said she was going to take some. I said there’s no bread you know…but I’ve got some bread flour…ooo…she said…better go and get some. Can you bake bread? I asked. No she said. Neither can I, I said. Well…she said…this is stuff we should all know. The time has come to take a step back..and re-learn some basics. She’s right I thought… I hope I’ve got some yeast somewhere.
Did anyone see the Lehman Brothers trilogy? It’s one of the best plays I’ve seen in years. Fabulously staged, directed and acted by 3 fantastic actors (in London at any rate). I think it was Henry Lehman who always looked for the opportunities inherent in all disasters…so maybe…I’ll buy some supermarket shares while there’s a bit of a stock-market slump. I’m not making light of our predicament, the media are much, much better than I am at scaring us all to death…so I’ll let them get on with it.
Incidently….the instruction to wash hands frequently got me thinking about the different attitudes to hygiene between regular Brits and Americans. Americans are definitely more fastidious about hygiene. I remember a New York fruit-stall holder, who, to aid opening up his brown paper bags, would quickly run his fingers over half a cut lemon… .you will never see a market stallholder do that here….a finger on the tip of the tongue will do fine. Maybe less so now. My mother is pretty OCD re hygiene, so I’ve carried hand sanitiser for some time now. Wash your hands folks. 20 seconds. Hot water. Do it. Now.