A beautiful day and our original plans changed (yet another cancellation, ho hum), saw us heading out to the Surrey countryside in search of a farm shop and a nice walk.
At the shop, the comfortably-off middle-classes (and me) were forming a nice, polite and orderly queue and I tried not to let the side down by shrieking with excitement when I spied eggs through the open door. Yes, EGGS, people! The real kind, not the seasonal (ie, all-year-round) chocolate ones – though I spotted those in there as well.
We were allowed in, one at a time, as soon as someone came out of the shop. There were probably about 20 people in there at any one time. I was impressed with the organisation. It appeared to be very well-stocked, with almost all the things the supermarkets had run out of, bar loo and kitchen rolls, which I wouldn’t expect to find in there, in any case. I mean, what kind of farm produces those?
After that, we drove up the road to Wisley – along with most of Surrey, it seemed. Obviously, this self-isolation lark isn’t working. We carefully hid the aforementioned eggs in the boot – even the affluent middle-classes have their limits when confronted with temptation beyond all endurance – and toyed with the idea of sticking a post-it note on the boot, saying something along the lines of: “No EGGS in here, we promise!” but decided it was probably a bit too much of a giveaway in the end.
Wisley was letting everyone in for free, and, while the cafes were all closed, mobile refreshment vans were dotted around the grounds and, again, people were queuing very politely, the requisite few feet apart. Bit tricky to implement when you have dogs and children, but I suppose they could always wait in the car…
The all-important loos were open; everyone washing their hands very slowly and carefully, lips moving to God-knows-what-privately-improvised tunes other than the officially-recommended “Happy Birthday.” I favour Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” myself, complete with sound effects. Everyone gives me a far wider berth than is strictly necessary, I’ve found.
Also open were the vitally-important gift/book shop and plant centre. In these frightening times, what better therapy can there be?
The glasshouse was closed, but we enjoyed our walk around the grounds, admiring the huge “Four Seasons” sculptures by American filmmaker and sculptor Philip Haas – a fixture at Wisley until September and well worth the trip.
And those eggs? We already had a few in the fridge back home, so decided to go all-out with the community spirit and swapped them with our next-door neighbour for some of her home-grown leeks and rhubarb. I’m getting to quite like this game…