Sunday 12 April 2020

Journal of the Plague Year 2020 (Entry Seven: Fine Dining)

Entry Seven: Fine Dining

On Saturday and Sunday I became gripped with an insatiable urge to clean everything. Each book was taken off the shelf and individually dusted, each bookcase washed down, all my trinkets and knick-knacks polished. I even pulled my bed out to the other side of the room to tackle the dust down there. This urge was abetted by my landlord’s installation of a washing machine in the unrented flat next door to use as a laundry room during this whole corona period. All day and deep into the night I was washing and drying all the various sheets and bits and bobs I’ve had laying around. 

For a break, I took my clothe’s horse down to the front of the house along with a chair and a book. There I sat, slightly jutting out on the path, enjoying some of the first good sun this year, a year mostly defined by rain and storm. Normally I wouldn’t consider sitting out on the street like that but all normality be hanged.

Politically, this was the week that the Queen gave a very measured speech and PM Boris Johnson was moved into intensive care but whereas I had found myself raking through twitter and reading all the news possible, I began to feel that a cursory glance is enough. Certainly, headlines about mass graves do not foster an attitude of ‘resilient good humour’.

On Thursday I took my official government mandated walk™ through Gladstone Park. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, everything was glorious and wonderful. I was naughty, sat on the grass a long way away from anyone else and just sat. After a while sitting became laying and after a while laying became snoozing. Suddenly, this almighty roar woke me and I sat straight up. What was that terrible racket? It was a plane. I grew up next to Gatwick Airport, I should not be surprised by a plane but there was something so violent about the noise, so strange seeing it lumber through the sky after only a few weeks not seeing one.

My nap interrupted, I started walking back home, half skipping through the grass, picking up white dandelions to blow on and let fly. As I was gambolling around, I felt a deep and wonderful peace with the world, then I slipped on a dogshit and fell over. Luckily I didn’t fall into it and I only had one shoe to clean but it ended my reverie for the moment. I plodded home, trying to scrape my shoes and watched a jogger run past me in a rainbow unicorn onesie and snowboots.

On Thursday night, I had something a little special planned. People at school were having a video formal dinner, the idea being to have something to dress up for and feel like there was something to look forward to. There was even a proper invite.

I tried to cook something sort of posh, more than my usual stews and curries.

I also dressed in my velvet jacket and bow tie, even lit a candle.

For most of the first bottle of wine, things were genteel. Then they deteriorated. Somewhere before the half bottle of Drambuie I danced with a chair. There were chats about body part names, a woman from South Africa who said that corona was saving lives because the murder rate was brought down, something about pom bear porn - porn bears? There was also a chat about people spending less time washing after the loo because they were so washed the other times, and a comment that the weekly clap for the NHS was the wildest thing happening in High Wickham these days.

After that, I’m not totally sure. I managed to get home to my bed from my table but I’m not completely sure how.

We plan to do it again next week.

Entry One: A Cough in a Box (22.2.20 - 28.2.20)
(Coronavirus is a rumble among other stories but silly stories start early.)

Entry Two: Eat More Garlic (29.2.20 - 6.3.20) 
(A song and a wash, rising paranoia.)

Entry Three: A Guilty Sigh (7.3.20-13.3.20) 

(Confusion at school, a new variation on 'it' and a new chat up line.)

Entry Four: A Week as Schrödinger's cat (14.3.20-20.3.20) 

(A week at school where it's open, closed then repurposed as something else.)

Entry Five: Lego and Ice-cream (21.3.20-27.3.20)

(In which much of what we called life goes online.)

Entry Six: A Reverse Joker  (28.3.20-3.4.20)
(A trip to the supermarket in this new era.)

Entry Seven: Fine Dining (4.4.20 - 10.4.20)

(A posh dinner - ish.)

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