Coronavirus… Lockdown Week 5 with Hastings Battleaxe

Week Five? You have to be kidding. It seems mad to say time goes so quickly, but days slip past one after another like sneaky squares of chocolate. The weather continues hot and dry with dazzling blue skies, the garden is tended and watered, much food continues to be eaten, alcohol imbibed – and I have even baked a cake. Despite empty Government assurances, the national situation doesn’t seem to change much. As Battleaxe and Philosopher have both been sorting our personal stuff, I hope we have not been influenced by the constant media banging on about vulnerable elderly…

Alexandra Park

Our lovely walks have carried on, and on a couple of days we have even got in the car and driven. We also walk for well over an hour. There! I have confessed our crimes at the outset. Come and get me, COVID cops. Honest, we only go to empty places, we don’t sit down, and we only drive short distances. For example yesterday we drove down to Alexandra Park. Sure, we can walk there but it is a very steep climb back home – we usually get the bus, but I am off buses at the moment. The park did have people, but it is such a big area it is easy to stay away from others.

Being Battleaxe, I do have two gripes. Firstly, dog owners who do not keep untrained dogs on leads. Those dogs go bumping and boring around, followed by their owners, shouting ineffectually, who then forget all about social distance… and secondly, runners who trample past without a second glance as they send everyone near them crashing into each other like skittles…

More park pictures

However, the highlight of our week (phew we need to get out more) was a trip to Winchelsea, for a cirular walk round to the Royal Military Canal. At the heronry, the inhabitants were busy refurbishing their nests.  We scarcely saw a living soul on the walk, just sheep.

Heron collecting branches for its nest

What cake? Banana bread. A few days ago, on one of my WhatsApp friends chat groups, we were asked to find the oldest edible item in our  kitchen cupboards. I think I won anyway with my spices – Ras El Hanout June 2008, Garam Masala July 2009, but I also unearthed baking powder Oct 2013, and SR flour May 2012.  What, you may well ask, was Battleaxe doing with those bakey things when she never uses them? Well, when we moved into this house, my shiny new kitchen brought on fleeting Grand Domestic Illusions… and also, joining the WI, I feared I’d have to bake – but of course never have. The flour and baking powder had never been opened.  Philosopher’s bulk buying urges include not only toilet rolls (see this post) but bananas, of which he is very fond. We have already had to give away one surplus bunch to the neighbours, and there were more, going brown… Well, I might have had the ingredients, but I lack womanly requisites like a loaf tin, and what even is baking parchment? I improvised and managed to produce a respectable cake, which is very tasty, despite it being the first cake I have baked in my married life.

When we moved down from Birmingham I sorted all my personal papers into archive boxes. When the boxes arrived here in 2012 after a stint in store, they went into the back of the understairs cupboard or the loft, and have never emerged since. In all, there were seven boxes.  Two have already been done in an earlier clearout, (see this post) and I am now going through the rest.  Philosopher has given me a two-drawer filing cabinet from his downstairs book room, which he has emptied in ths course of his clearing out, and I am boiling down the contents of the boxes to fit into that.

So, why is this going on?  Is it anything to do with the fact that we are now labelled as elderly?  Do we feel elderly? We read about people protesting about the lockdown who ask if it is right to destroy the economy to save the lives of oldsters who are going to die soon anyway. Granted, we are much better off than those still older than us in care homes, but the messages must still hit home. Up until a few weeks ago I would have classified myself as still having a lot to offer society, and a lot of life still to live, but now it does not seem so certain. We also hear idle talk about plans to let the rest of society resume, but make us older ones stay locked down for up to another year. Yes, good idea! Keep us out of the way and let the rest get on with their lives. Philosopher and I have agreed that we won’t do it. We’d rather risk death than be shut away.

Well, that’s gloomy.  Back to positive things to finish up with. For a couple of years we have had two bee houses on the front wall of the house. Nothing much seemed to happen with them, but this year they have been really busy. Turns out the male bees come out first, and hang round waiting for females to emerge. Then they mate, and the females lay their eggs in the canes and the cycle starts again.  I am hopeless at uploading videos. I think you have to click on this to see the bees…

IMG_3651

Quickly, from the clearing out… you know I had a vintage clothes shop in Birmingham? Retro Bizarre? Well, here is Batttleaxe at the end of one of our wildy extravagent but enjoyable catwalk shows at the Custard Factory, in 2004, with unknown young man who was the MC, and the very talented Ruth Bagnall, the shop manager and show designer. We had some great times!

4 Comments

  1. Val
    April 23, 2020 / 7:06 pm

    You’ve triggered a number of thoughts here, Stephanie, for some years now, I’ve been aware of a growing anger among the younger generation about ours, and I have a feeling this ‘let’s get on with our lives and keep the older generation locked away’ is another aspect of that. I too feel I have plenty still to offer. I still work and contribute, but I’m in that age group that’s close to high risk. Like you, I’d rather take my chances. I’d also resist going into hospital/ICU. It sounds like an awful experience. I’m glad you’ve had some lovely walks, though, so have we!

    • April 24, 2020 / 11:39 am

      Thanks Val.. glad to hear you are OK! Keep safe.

  2. Jill Fricker
    April 24, 2020 / 8:52 am

    I didn’t know you ran a vintage shop, Steph! And . . . ‘elderly’? You? Pah! See you for lunch as soon as we’re on the other side. Me and Roz’ll stand your bail if necessary . . . XXX

    • April 24, 2020 / 11:38 am

      Thanks Jill. You are right – ever young. See you soon!

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