Skip to content

Getting ready for the Big One

December 21, 2021

Everyone ready for lockdown then? If the British government can finally decide which way is up, that seems to be where we’re heading. The good news is that in this country we’ve had two (or is it three?) lockdowns so far, so we’re probably getting quite good at it. The bad news? Don’t go there – too many negatives to think about.

As for me, lockdown prep is more or less done. In anticipation of a visit from a couple of relatives yesterday, I tested negative yet again. We’re reasonably well stocked with lateral flow tests, even if the country isn’t. We have plenty of food. The freezer’s full. Once the turkey’s bought, that’s Christmas week sorted. We have a habit of wringing every last bit of goodness out of our seasonal fare, down to the turkey soup, stiffened with celery and potatoes by Day 7. With a bit of luck and an absence of greed we could last ten days on leftovers.

Just as important, I have my reading sorted. Two history books: Checkmate in Berlin by Giles Milton and Aftermath by Harald Jahner. Both cover the same era – Germany’s struggle to survive after World War 2, and the geopolitical re-alignments that took place with Berlin as the centre stage. Social history: British Summer Time Begins, by Ysenda Maxtone Graham. Cricket: Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket, by Stephen Fay and David Kynaston. River Kings, Cat Jarman’s history of the Vikings and their far-ranging influence. A primer on ancient Roman cookery, and Infamy, Jerry Toner’s study of the dark side of Roman morality. Three historical novels: Hurdy Gurdy, by Christopher Wilson, Cathedral by Ben Hopkins, and The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor. A couple of spy thrillers – Slough House by Mick Herron and Judas 82 by Charles Cumming – round off the list.

That lot, plus a backlog of unread books from earlier in the year, should keep me going for a few months. Unless, of course, I have another go at clearing out the crap in the garage, or start some other ghastly Project.

Exercise? We have fields and a lake at the back of the house, so plenty of time to discuss Omicron with the ducks and geese. We also have a cross-trainer which I’ll be cranking up as an alternative to golf if things get that desperate.

Things that might get in the way? Mass insurrection against new lockdown measures. World War 3 conjured up by Boris as a distraction from his current political troubles. So-called “Brexit Hard Man” MP Steve Baker (who looks as hard as the wobbly Charlotte Russe in my fridge) mounting a coup to prevent our Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Straightjacket from screwing up Brexit. And perhaps less likely, massive celebrations, including dancing, drinking and group hugs in the streets as England’s cricketers regain the Ashes by whupping the Aussies in the last three matches of the current series.

It’s more likely that the days of quiet contemplation and stoic resilience will return. Likewise, sincere or otherwise, a new wave of adulation for the National Health Service.

As in previous lockdowns, I’ll have to get used to watching the news on telly again. This time, I might also plan a few provocations. It’s too late to register my displeasure about the hideous Christmas decorations that adorn some of the houses in the neighbourhood by sneaking out at night and sabotaging their power supplies – all in the name of saving the planet (Santa Rebellion, anyone?). But it’s never too late to indulge in a spot of internet trolling. Even better, maybe I should try and create a few conspiracy theories and see how quickly they fly through the social media. Or possibly invent a new variant of Consequences in which existing theories are merged into one super-conspiracy. Except that QAnon got there first. Rats.

One way or another, when Boris Johnson appears on our screens in his usual verbally incontinent nodding-donkey mode, mangled analogies at the ready, to tell us that we must lock down again, I too will be ready. And if things get too bad, I shall also be ready for a spell of confinement in some secure institution at Her Majesty’s (or Priti Patel’s) Pleasure. It’ll just be a matter of which provocation I choose to achieve that result.

But let’s not forget one thing. Whatever mitigating measures we wearily take against COVID, nothing will stop the pandemic of ignorance, stupidity, bigotry and brain malfunction that’s causing even more pain and suffering than the virus. and for which no effective vaccination has yet been found.

That’s the really big one the scientists have been forecasting for donkey’s years. And we hardly even recognised it as such it when it arrived.

From → Books, History, Politics, Social, UK, USA

  1. Clarification, please.
    Is “Infamy” the “… primer on ancient Roman cookery…”?
    The sentence structure is confusing.

    • No, two separate books, hence the comma! The first book has the exciting title of Ancient Roman Cookery. The author’s name, Marco Gavio De Rubeis, is a collective pseudonym for a group of contributors. Looking at the index, it has some fascinating ingredients, but no dormice, I was disappointed to find. Sorry for the confusion, Denny.

      • Denny?
        So embarrassed you use a pseudonym?

        Thanks for the information. Have a number of friends who are interested in cooking.
        I’m only interested in eating, so I encourage their activities.

      • No, they deliberately chose the group name to reflect “two famous cooks, Marcus Gavius Apicius and Martino de Rubeis”. The book was published by a small Italian organisation that “carries out activities of publication and study about the history of theatre, music, food, and literature.” A very Italian set of interests. I hope it’s of interest to you friends, and that you ultimately enjoy the end product! S

      • Oh, dear. Missed it completely.
        Instead of “Debby” your previous reply was to “Denny”. However, it also looked like it could be the signature of the writer….
        in other words, yes, I got the message, and there would be no reason for you to be embarrassed at any rate. At this point in the lives of the world’s denizens, it’s a rare feat to be able to carry on a straight conversation, let alone one with someone as ready as I to made a very bad joke that can be easily misunderstood.
        Without sound to show affect, I’ll try in future to keep my bad jokes to myself.

        P.S. thanks for the additional information. Gives me something else to look up.

      • Sorry about that. Joke away – it’s Christmas, the season of bad jokes!

      • and I am a queen of such.

        Just ask my red-faced children.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: