During lockdown I found myself looking forward to the weekly shop. Suddenly, a visit to the supermarket had become a little trip out or a wee sojourn if you prefer.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was furloughed and I decided to make use of the period of unwanted freedom by reading as many of the books as possible that had already languished for too long up on the shelves un-opened. And I mean no offence Mr Joyce and Mr Pynchon and I don’t regret the time and effort I put into reading your mighty tomes but occasionally I needed a break, to take a walk and to clear my head.
I built a fence and new gate at the bottom of the garden. I tidied and re-painted the spare bedroom and the kitchen and the dining room and the side porch. But Wednesday afternoons were special. I was actually allowed to get in the car and drive somewhere else. Of course, during the first lockdown it was all a bit stricter, wasn’t it? And the supermarkets preferred that we shop alone if possible and so Christine and I took it in turns, although I started to tag along just for the ride. You can’t imagine the scintillating conversations we shared as we drove along:
‘Wonder if they’ve got toilet rolls. Hope we can get some baked beans, see if they’ve got any of those nice veggie sausages we used to like. Shall we get some sandwiches and eat them in the car before heading back?’
When we got there, I would sit and watch Christine as she queued and after she disappeared into the store I listened to the radio or got out and wandered around the car park. But it wasn’t until we were actually allowed to go in together that it started to feel like a proper outing. And I know that Christine and I are not alone in this because some friends of ours, or I should say now ex-friends, admitted that they began venturing further and further afield and shopping at random supermarkets. Stores they had never visited before. We were shocked by this revelation and decided they were bad people, flouting the rules and breaking supermarket protocol. When, after restrictions were lifted and they rang to see if we fancied going out for a curry, we politely declined. I mean, I was all for eating out in order to help out but not with Dominic and Mary.