Day thingamabob: They’ve all slowed down!

I semi “self-isolated” all day, doing basic chores around the house, while the OH worked from home.  We took a break at lunch-time, to plant a big shrub a kind neighbour had given us. A very friendly moggy, who has yet to learn about social distancing, sauntered up the path and sat on the doorstep to observe proceedings. (More likely to observe, from close quarters, the goings-on in our hedge, as the birds like to nest in there every year.)

Much later on, after dark, we strolled up the road to collect a takeaway from our local Chinese restaurant. Our one “out” of the day. It was noticeable to us that the few cars we saw were all driving much slower than normal and we speculated on the reason for this. We came to the conclusion that people are terrified of having an accident for two reasons: it would bring them into close contact with whoever they have hit and it would take them to a hospital already over-run with patients, some undoubtedly with the virus.

Obviously, people should be terrified of having a car accident at all times (!) but, the way most of them seem to drive these days, this thought doesn’t appear to enter their heads. Every time we go out in our car, we witness extreme stupidity on the roads and marvel how we’re not witnesses to many more accidents than we actually see.  To help calm us down, we have made up a few “road rage” ditties but they are far too rude to repeat on here!

While we were pleased the restaurant was opening in these troubled times, and they were clearly very grateful for our custom, they seemed to be in a bit of a muddle with the orders and were cooking the takeaway ones first, while several of us hung around waiting. (We had already pre-booked our order over the phone.) Surely it would have made more sense, given the current rules, to have cooked our orders first, to get us all out of the place and away from each other?

When we turned up, there were two people waiting inside and the assistant asked us to wait outside, which we were happy to do, although it was quite cold. After about ten minutes of this, and after someone had finally left the restaurant with their order, we decided to go inside and wait – sitting away from the others, of course. This time, the assistant said nothing. Then two other people came in for their pre-booked orders and sat down, which made a bit of a mockery of the whole thing!

From my observations while out and about, it seems to me that people are getting confused.  Some shops we have been in are strict about keeping your distance, while in others, people are milling around quite close to each other. Also, some assistants in shops are wearing masks and gloves and others aren’t.

I have heard tales, this week, of people inviting friends round to sit in their gardens and of having workmen in their houses.  We are planning on having our house redecorated this year and our decorator wants to drive over here with our estimate but, lovely though it would be to see him, I have told him to put it in the post – after all, there’s no real rush for it. I have also heard that the police are clamping down on unnecessary car journeys, and even fining people, and I would hate for him to get into trouble over it.

We have retired friends who like to go out every Friday in their car, to visit somewhere new, and they are not able to do this atm, of course. I pointed out that, as there are no public toilets open anywhere, this would be a huge problem for them, in any case.  It’s also a huge problem for me! There has never been a more surefire way of keeping people like us from venturing out too far…

Our delivery from the butcher turned up. They didn’t want payment there and then, but rang us later in the day to take it over the phone instead.  We thought that was very trusting of them.

We have heard lots of tales of local hero businesses stepping in to help people out. Of course, they are all having to diversify to keep open, but many of them are going above and beyond what they need to do to survive.  It is heartening to hear.

On the other hand, we have also heard of certain places charging a lot more for their products, which is disgraceful, so, thanks to all the social media alerts, we, along with many others, will be boycotting them in the future.  It’s what’s known as Karma. Those old-fashioned sayings: “You reap what you sow” and: “Do as you would be done by” have never been more relevant.



Author: Hampton Caught

The rants and ramblings of an ex Deputy Fiction Editor of Woman's Weekly magazine.

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