16/05/2020

isolation: today we should have been

I cannot let today pass by without a reflection. 

Last night (15 May) we three should have fetched up in Rochefort and today (16 May) even as I tap this out, we SHOULD HAVE BEEN proceeding via various coastal excursions and deviations to Lorient. Why, I even published the plan, didn't I?  — ever ready to assuage the thirst my public experience as they try to catch up with the machinations of the Melling-Smith consortium. No? Oh well, as I forgot this was what we planned to do on our way back to Blightey:



But you won't need me to point out that this progression has not been fulfilled in any way whatsoever, as you, dear reader are, no doubt, in what has come to be styled as social isolation, as the Coronavirus ravages the land. As of this morning, the official death toll in this country alone got to well over 34 000 (put in today's number here, I can't keep pace with it) — while the true figure is likely to be much higher. There is no comfort to be had in the confusion and ineptitude of the government which is almost entirely without the wit or skill to meet the challenge this pandemic presents, so that the motherland is second only to the USA in lives wasted, lost and thrown away. And they have Trump. It is a very dark time both here and across the world. The UK got it very wrong, it did not have to be this way (Hong Kong fatalities? 4. That's four). One need look no further than the buffoon running the show and his evil puppet-master, to see we was screwed from the off. But enough of that. What about The Mellin-Sniffs?

What has replaced our now almost usual spring expedition to Sablet might be represented as very much of a 'best of a bad job scenario'. But it has been a rather unchallenging and not at all unpleasant experience from a personal point of view. Tempered of course by the ongoing and increasingly stressful lack of access to the son-and-heir, offset though it is by the wonder of the age, Facetime, upon which we exchange news opinion and quite a lot of jokes. We were in the habit of doing this weekly but it has been positive for us all to up the contact by 100%. Also, our calm and satisfaction are inevitably tainted by the distressing national news coverage and our shouts and oaths aimed notionally at either television or radio, when we have the stamina to update on the epic that has replaced just about every other situation in the world.

Mme Melling and self, used to self-isolation as an inevitable norm here at Bullsmead Towers, have just tightened up our act. We have secured supermarket deliveries by dint of having once asked for a delivery to Helford Passage or somewhere else when taking a holiday down there in Cornwall (supermarkets have long memories) and being also considered to be in what HM Govt. has decided is a vulnerable group (because of our longevity, vintage, sell-by-date).

So that was sorted. Add in the local butcher being prepared to put himself out on our behalf (as well as the other handful of Cheldon inmates) and deliver, ditto the local Post Office and stores. All this means we have not had to go and get anything whatsoever. We've been able to concentrate on getting the garden straight, decorating the living room, under blue clear skies striding across the empty fields (until the stock came to graze it), basking in the atypically warm and dry April, eating well, mostly sleeping well, enjoying our diminishing wine stock . . . and so on. We've not been here to see the garden take on the new season's look for a few years, so it has been a particular pleasure. The bluebells! Superb apple blossom. And add in the return of the migrants, the warblers et al. Peace. Calm. Quiet. Dawn chorus.

Confirmation from our Irish compatriots, up at Terrace Towers for the duration, that all is well at 1RdeFB also has helped to assure us that any worry about what is going on at the neglected Sablet residence is unnecessary (and pointless), as all is pretty much as it should be. They've been in, checked around . . . bless 'em. E mails from the homeowners uphill of the Sablet gaff also report all is well and offer us a watching brief. Good neighbours!

Our only excursions outside the estate then (excepting the potters round the uphill field edges) have been to The Grove at Kings Nympton —closed of course as a public house— but offering takeaway fish and chips, provided under rigorous sanitary precautions and by appointment only.
A pleasurable excursion: easy to achieve when one is retired and in receipt of a modest but adequate pension (we are amongst the least demanding of folk, our expectations are modest, our realisations similar… good job!). We are conscious of our good fortune and positive situation.

Oh yes. Let me not forget the 'we-are-all-in-this-together' front lawn jolly of a week ago when the core of Cheldon, all twelve of us, safe distanced from one another on the lawns in front of The Barton for a protracted chat with drinks (self supplying).

Could do with haircuts, mind. The motors both need servicing (and this will be our first foray proper back into the outside world -- to get one done next week).

Need some liquorice toffee. Maybe a little more gin?

Need to see in person the son-and-heir. This last, badly. Mme Melling is noting the saga as it plays out for us in a blog with a strictly limited circulation. The F&C snap is her work, I was too busy applying the malt V. and sodium chloride, to my portion.

Nothing more to say then, really. So far, for all three of us, so good. Son-and-heir in Bath, us here. Not the account of our discoveries and bons petits d√©jeuners I had expected to be rolling out. Still getting good breakfasts here at the homestead, of course . . .

bacon… eggs… sausages… mm
mushrooms… tomatoes… mmmm
not everyday FGS! Just on occasion… Quite a lot of pancakes, aussi.