Here the ground is drying nicely (so much so that a few pleasant showers during the night would be welcome) but we can now see which ground has taken the worst hammer from the wet of winter. Looking round there’s a lot of field work going on. People spreading hull muck as if their lives depended on it, getting ready for some late ploughing.
Otherwise the world seems to have split. There are those working frantically to keep the show on the road and those who’re trapped and going slowly out of their minds. There can only be so many mindless Facebook games you can play before you start losing the will to live. I must admit I tend to smile and just say ‘Hi’ to people I see walking round our lanes. Anybody who has to cope with what they’re coping with has my entire sympathy.
It has occurred to me that one thing Boris has achieved by not using the law to lock people down and impose social isolation is that he has got people to buy into it. Those who don’t do what is expected are idiots to be pilloried on social media, not revolutionary heroes defying an over mighty state.
Yesterday was something of an event, in that our fortnight’s isolation came to an end and I got to go out and visit Tesco! My lady wife is slowly recovering from the virus, and if anybody does get it, be warned, the recovery is slow. If you get it, do not try to soldier on, and don’t whatever you do try to get back to work the moment you are feeling better. If you do that, experience indicates you’ll just get bad again.
I confess that I’m not an enthusiast for supermarket shopping but it has to be admitted that I was quite impressed. Outside the supermarket we all stood in a queue a fair distance apart. Then when we went in, it was one out, one in. In our local Tesco they’d not made it one way but customer numbers were kept so low nobody felt it a problem to pass people in an aisle. Also people were genuinely friendly and it was all pretty good humoured.
As we stood outside I was between a couple who might have been older than me and a gentleman who most definitely was. Also given there were no queues at the tills it took no longer than normal.
The lady in front of me turned round to me and commented, “I don’t think much of their pensioner’s hour for the elderly and infirm.”
Trying to be helpful I commented that it had been between 9am and 10am. To this she replied, “Yes but they wouldn’t let me in.”
The elderly gentleman behind me, with the courage of advancing years said, “Well you have to be a pensioner you know.”
To which she replied, “I am, I’m sixty-six.”
Now to be fair to the lady (and to the Tesco staff who refused her) she didn’t look it.
The old gentleman commented that if she wanted to pass as elderly in future she’d have to make an effort and try to look old.
She thought about this and suggested that she wear her Nora Batty stockings next time she went shopping.
But some people have had more surreal experiences than me. Talking to one chap, he had to take some sheep through to Kirkby Stephen. This involved him travelling on an entirely empty M6 motorway. Literally nobody else in sight.
Looking at comments made by various people, the sheep trade is very up and down (which is an improvement on just down.) It seems that the old problem of people in the abattoir sector struggling to cope with retailers who haven’t a clue what they want but want it yesterday but under no circumstances tomorrow.
Mind you, on the positive side I was talking to one butcher and he, although his shop had to shut to the public, is keeping going on deliveries and orders telephoned in. He’s seeing a lot of new faces among his customers. It hasn’t necessarily filled the gap left by the various pie shops and cake shops who used to buy off him, but he is hoping he’ll keep some of these customers when things blow over.
Finally on the home front, Billy the cat and Sal, The Border Collie in residence, continue to try and work on their relationship. Both seem to have come to the conclusion that the other isn’t essentially a problem and both are entirely happy in their roles. After all, Billy shows no inclination to chase cattle, whilst Sal did kill a token rat to prove it could be done, but seems happy to leave that side of things to Billy.
When it comes to causing trouble, Billy seems to have worked out that Sal is probably bigger and faster, so he sees no margin in upsetting her. Similarly Sal is not the sort of dog to provoke trouble. So as the world around them goes to Hell on a handcart with bored people reading too much Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction and searching for somebody to blame, these two entirely reasonable individuals seem to be happy enough to just sort of rub along.
If you’re just looking for a chance to get away from it all
Now available in paperback and as an ebook
As a reviewer commented, “Where to start with this review? First of all a health warning. Do not read this book when drinking coffee/beer/WHY. Neither is it a great notion to read somewhere sudden bursts of laughter could be seen as inappropriate.
I must confess upfront to being a fan of Jim Webster’s writing as he has a talent for making the most wildly inconsequential of observations seem matter of fact and perfectly believable. Any of the tales he weaves around the imaginary but utterly believable city of a port Nain are going to be chuckle worthy at the very least.
Therefore I approached the chronicles of Maljie’s varied and exotic life with great expectation.
I wasn’t disappointed.
In fact there were places where I actually howled with laughter.
Our heroine veers from situation to situation – rarely finishing without a profit. And some of her jobs are so silly and improbable. But you still keep reading and chuckling.
The ease with which Jim, in the guise of Tallis Steelyard (poet, visionary and unreliable witness) pilots this rickety craft through the shoals of Maljie’s life is exemplary.
But don’t just take my word for it. Read for yourself. But don’t forget the health warning.”