Coronavirus – Lockdown Week 4 – Hastings Battleaxe is losing track

It’s so easy for Hastings Battleaxe to lose track of time…. Easter came and went.  More gardening, more eating and drinking, more Facetime and Zoom, more gloomy news about our situation. As of today, the ‘official’ UK death rate is 13,828.   Our Prime Minister was resurrected from hospital on Easter Sunday, giving ample ammunition to conspiracy nutcases who say he wasn’t ill at all. Deaths in care homes are not even counted in the figure above, and are a national disgrace. But on a positive note, our walks have been wonderful…

Bluebells in the Country Park

What have been the highlights in Battleaxe world?  No more earnestly staring into the freezer as mentioned in the Week 1 post – it is so full of food I can scarcely get the door open. Not so much telling off Philosopher either… he started getting too shirty. I did a COVID alphabet for that first post – about the only creative thing I have done so far. I have not written a line of poetry… But don’t lets beat ourselves up about it.

The only business that seems to be thriving at the moment is Amazon.  Like most of the rest of the population, Battleaxe has had to succumb to buying things on line that would otherwise have been bought locally. I do think places like DIY stores could have been a bit more proactive about offering on-line service and delivery.  Philosopher wants to replace a couple of rotted decking planks. Can he get any? No. However, local businesses have been supported where possible. On Easter Sunday we ordered lunch to be delivered from local set-up The Beacon. We had expected Easter roast lamb but they sent chicken instead. It wasn’t bad but Battleaxe cooks a mean roast chicken herself at a fraction of the price. Sticky toffee pudding was good though.

We have also ordered stuff from any local garden centres that deliver. I suffer from over-ordering syndrome, like instead of ordering a 60 litre bag of multi-purpose compost, I ordered 6 x 60 litres… the poor geezer nearly killed himself tottering up the steps with it all, never mind risking his life to the virus.

Talking of businesses, that’s another disgrace. Only a tiny fraction of the business support loans that were so kindly promised by Rishi Sunak at the beginning of this crisis have actually been awarded. Why? Because the scheme is administered by the banks. Banks are insisting that anyone who applies for them goes through their normal procedure, which means that businesses are either ‘ineligible’, or the applications get bogged down in paperwork.  Here is an article about it.

We are getting used to our situation. I am no longer beset by fears of catching the virus (huh famous last words..) and Philosopher and I have got into some sort of routine. We have largely given up watching the government’s fatuous 5pm briefings. They are really, really annoying.  Johnson is still recuperating, so the ineffectual Raab is still nominally in charge.

Dominic Raab licks finger in press conference - despite constant ...
Don’t lick your finger, son.

Talking of conspiracy nutcases, what about these idiots burning down 5G masts. Apparently about 20 were torched over Easter. Still, at least we are not in America, listening to the manic ravings of Trump…

Talking of Americans, did I mention I started a Facebook Group for collectors of Italian 1950s spaghetti poodles and cats? It now has… wait for it… 14 members.  Here is the link to it. As you can imagine, most members are ladies from the US. Obviously, I don’t ask about their politics before I let them join, but at a cursory glance, strangely but fortunately, there seems to be a correlation between poodle collecting and a Democratic outlook… Phew. There is one member from Sweden, and two from the UK. All are women.  Philosopher asked me where the first International Spaghetti Poodle Fanciers Convention (SpagCon) will be held.  A moment of idle fantasy… It will just have to be America. At something like…. the Quality Inn, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Or maybe going up market, the Marriot, Des Moines… As the International President, I’d have to change my name… to something like Steffi-Fiona Gauntdent-Rhodes. (Hmph huffed Philosopher, leave me out of it.  OK, Grunt-Rhodski then).  Did I ever tell you that before I married Philosopher I asked my colleagues at work to create a new name for me? They produced an almost-anagram of Dent, Gaunt and Rhodes – Thunder-Dogens.  In hindsight, I wish I’d gone for it.  Anyway, here is my Easter picture for the group. Two of my cats…

Less of that. Went to Sainsburys this morning. The queuing system to get into the store is well organised, snaking round the car park in marked out lanes. It looks daunting but I only waited about 10 minutes, if that. It is a bit annoying though. You get panicked hanger-backers, who leave not two metres but ten between you and the next person. Then the careless over-close, who crush right up and have to be repelled with filthy looks. Then the good neighbours, who hold up the line while yakking on their phones: ‘How many potatoes? What variety? Big baking ones? Loose, or in a plastic bag? Anything else? What do you mean you don’t know! Just go and look in the cupboard while I’m waiting here…’  When you get into the store the stock is pretty reasonable. I use Smart Shop which means you just bleep stuff with a trigger, then go through a special check out with no people. When we get home there is a rigmarole of wiping every single purchase with an antiseptic wipe before it goes into the house.

But as I said above, the highlight has been our walks. The Country Park is looking exceptionally beautiful right now, with truly amazing flowers. We repeated a walk we did last week, round a place called the Dripping Well and up Brakey Bank. It was truly wonderful. Nature seems to be making a special effort right now – the birds are singing their hearts out, the air is fresh, clear and clean. Strolling along, you can almost forget the situation we find ourselves in – until other people (fortunately very few) appear, and you have to leap into the hedge to avoid getting close to them…

One strange thing we have noticed – buzzards circling above the house. We have seen as many as six, but Philosopher managed to photograph this one… I don’t know why they are coming. Maybe they are hungry, less roadkill due to less traffic. The gulls go beserk at the sight of a buzzard, wheeling and screaming at them.  Of course the gulls are now beginnning to nest. We don’t as yet know whether they will return to our roof… watch this space.





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