I would have liked to say that Lockdown lingers but linger would, it would be fair to say, be the incorrect word to employ or should I say utilise. Either way, it is a given to Writers or those of us like me (Wannabe Writers) that words need to work on the page, blog or speech where they appear, whether written or spoken out loud, and do their magic as powerfully, precisely and with as much punch as possible. I am pretty certain or as sure as I can be that, at least for now that most of us are far from reluctant to see lockdown come to an end so ‘linger’ is not appropriate. For how long lockdown continues remains to be seen, by us the masses, and decided by those in the know who compared to the masses ‘Us’ are the few. It is a certainty, I think, that come to an end it will but what will life be like on the other side of this crisis that has unceremoniously thrown us all together, pretty much on the same side as it were.
People have been forced to take life at a slower pace (well, maybe apart from the runners who are still running here, there and everywhere weaving in and out of those of us who are wandering along aimlessly not in any hurry or not aimlessly but still in no hurry, while keeping an eye on our social distancing of course). We have all or maybe most of us, not really had much choice but to slow down and become snails in a smaller world, occupying our shells as best as we can.
Listening a little to the radio yesterday, I heard that no one can buy any flour, eggs, or other home baking items. The day before when I took over from my sister to care for our mum (something we do on a rotation system as she is a vulnerable person), my sister mentioned that she had been unable to purchase plain flour. To check it out I went to the shop to see if I could find any to buy for her. I joined the queue for half an hour or so, which was fine as the sun was shining and the weather undeniably warm. We British are experts at queueing. My turn to enter the store came round quickly enough I guess. My husband has queued for much longer at times in the rain, so I am not complaining. Paying attention to the arrows on the floor, and the lines denoting how much distance to maintain, I eventually got to the home baking aisle. Unfortunately, just as my sister and the radio had said, the shelves were bare. Not a packet of flour to be seen nor even a single egg nor much else in fact. Strangely enough, the bread shelves in the neighbouring aisle were brimming and plenty to be had if you opted for shop bought.
So I ask, as possibly do numerous others ‘Where has all the flour gone?’
In those early weeks of lockdown, not really so long ago in the grand scheme of things if you think about it (though it seems like a lifetime ago now as we head towards the middle of the year); yes, in those weeks back towards the beginning of this horrendous crisis it was the toilet rolls, the cleaning products and the pasta that were flying fast off the shelves. Toilet roll for the first time ever was a newsworthy item. We were more concerned with the wiping of our derriere than we were with food. Though of course that did not last. It was not long before all the fruit and veg were being cleared too! For a while obtaining toilet roll continued to be a bone of contention. How times change from one moment to the next.
Things have calmed down now, and the panic buying during the earlier part of this ‘pig’ of a pandemic (I like Pigs and mean no disrespect to these omnivorous animals) has largely lost the momentum it had earlier on. So now, we can wipe our backsides, eat Italian and get our five a day if we so choose.
But I repeat, ‘Where has all the flour gone?’
It sounds a bit like the line of a song but is n’t yet, unless someone like the fabulously funny Matt Lucas gets all creative and composes a follow up to ‘Thank You Baked Potato’, which if you have not heard it look it up as it is truly funny, while at the same time raising money for our wonderful NHS and encouraging thorough hand hygiene. Getting back to the flour; it seems everyone has suddenly become a baker, cake maker and King or Queen of the kitchen. Everyone wants to be a Mary Berry, a Jamie Oliver or a Nigella Lawson. This fascination with food is not new. Food is a big deal! You only have to scroll through social networking platforms to see how popular a topic it is, and with everyone being confined under lockdown people are busying themselves in the kitchen making all manner of wonderfully delectable culinary delights. In the main, cakes and home made bread seem to be the order of the day. So at least now we know where all the flour has gone. The British and not British public (we live in a culturally diverse society) have donned their aprons and are getting creative in the kitchen. When all is said and done, which it nearly is as I need to get something to eat as all this talk of cakes is making me hungry; people slowing down, spending time baking, making, mending, decorating and creating and spending quality time with their families is a good thing.
I wonder what life will be like after the lockdown, the social distancing, the queueing, food shortages and restrictions? I wonder if we will learn the lessons that are presenting themselves in this larger than life scenario? Will we remember to be grateful for the small things, the big things and of course each other? Will we continue to be good neighbours, better parents, and better all round humans beings after all this becomes just a memory?
I hope so! Stay well, stay safe and just for now continue to stay home and if you are out and about, in the words of Sting (Popstar for those who are not familiar), ‘Don’t stand so close to me’ , not yet anyway.
© Liola Lee 2020
Just writing away a bit of time this afternoon. As I sat at my keyboard, I did not really know what I was going to write, if anything (that happens sometimes…alot), so just went with whatever came to mind. It’s certainly no masterpiece but it at least gets my writing muscle exercising a little, and my brain into gear. The image is of my birthday cake last year captured on my iPhone (made for me by my lovely talented friend Elaine). This time last year we were travelling back from beautiful Somerset in the West Country and stopped by my friend’s house in the lovely village of Croscombe. We were treated to a delicious lunch and then I was presented with this lovely and truly delicious work of art.