We’ll look back and say ‘It seems so long ago’. Some will answer ‘It wasn’t so bad really’ and others will only see the darkest aspect of this moment. Of course, there will be a million and one questions never answered. And a million and one sorrows never settled.

Many offer kind words: others not so generous. But we will begin to see the real individual of the individual’s rise to the surface, past their mask called the persona. Wynn once said ‘In a crisis, men rise or sink to their true level’. I now know the meaning of the Welshman’s words. Known friends will be lost friends, unknown friends will be gained. Certainties discovered in the uncertainty. And for many, there will be a bonding: a closeness: to immediate neighbours: we’ll be bound in new friendship stronger than the finest welders ability. Because, if friendship and closeness are fused with words of gold and actions of steel: the bond cannot be broken by any future situation.

A washing machine breaks down! And something as simple as laundry becomes the difference between happiness and being uncomfortable. Ah! The neighbour is frail, she has no strength to twist the clothes; weak hands cannot wring the excess water. The following day a comment: ‘My clothes smell different – I love it’, and you realise a pension does not allow the extravagance of conditioner for the final rinse. Later ‘How soft my towels, thank you so much’ of course the softening effect of a tumble drier is unknown to a pensioner in fear of electricity bills.

Over the fence, a sausage and own made burger are passed from the searing barbecue. No danger of germs of death here. The food from the flame to plates. And now time for over the privet hedge (not private!) conversations. Did I mention my neighbour works for the Environmental Agency? I’ve learned about fracking and water pollution: and damage to our land far more sinister and caused by our own pollutions: plastic, chemicals poured down drains and cheap carwashes. Cripes! I’ve learned how ‘Round-Up’ works: from a none-bias scientist.

Have you noticed how the sun shines hotter and the sky is brighter? Even in a few days, the ozone hole is closing. For some reason, I see many more little sparrows, robins, blackbirds: and they seem happier: did I tell you we saw a green-woodpecker last week? How amazing is that? 

I’ve read about making growing boxes out of pallets. And do you know grandma? When I can obtain the pallets, I’ll be sawing wood to make six boxes, the right number to place on land at the bottom of the garden. An area which would never have been cleared this year: Another opportunity.

Overheads! A week ago, I sat down and listed every penny of outgoings. I have to thank this moment for saving me £105 per month in stale standing orders and odds and sods never used. That’s £1200 year, and in ten years, the crisis will mean an extra £10000 in my savings account! Yep! I have already set up the standing order. Now think if I’d run through my accounts before! Ten years earlier, that would be another ten-grand. And don’t dare say: ‘You’ll be back on them again’. I’ve earmarked a few more changes on my earthly level.

Essentials! My friend cannot buy lotto. When he asked for his gambling fix, he’s chastised with: ‘You can only buy important goods! You’ll have to buy an essential before you can buy the lotto’. Well, read this Miss Pratt shopkeeper: My answer would be: ‘And your shop is no longer essential to my larder or wine cellar sweetheart – goodnight forever’. Those who profiteer from the crisis are nothing more than WW2 black-marketeers: Bastards, every last one. And to the self-righteous who knocked him for travelling to his local shop. My observation is: Alcohol, tobacco, sweets, East Enders, The football league, custard, cakes, chocolate and 1000001 other items ain’t essential. You better be sure, there is a long, long way to go before this situation fights the last garrison, friends are soon lost to opinion.

My essentials are food: the more simple and well priced the better, and gas, electric, water. My luxuries are Guinness, pipe tobacco and carbolic soap I can live without the these, that’s the way of it. But i’d ask ‘Is this excess’?

Already I see the question: ‘What are you going to change when this is over?’ From my perspective, there is nothing to change. One certainty is: I will have learned a great deal and burned plenty of deadwood. So far, so good, and it been a series of good lessons so far.


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