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Friday 3 April 2020

'Rona rage

This end-of-March snow was an outrage.

We’ve had a snowy couple of weeks here, which has lent an ‘interesting’ new dimension to the whole self-isolation thing. We’ve been indoors for almost two weeks. No spending time in the garden. No popping to the supermarket. No eating out at the Etropole pizza restaurant (pretty much the only date we ever go on, unless we’re living it up in Sofia). No coffee with the neighbours. And, since we drank the last of it the other weekend, no wine.

Obviously we’re fine. We have our health. We have plenty of food still to work through in the pantry and freezer. We’ve have cider. It’s all good. Life isn’t even that different for us as we’re both home most of the time, and our general life policy is to isolate from the world. But clearly things are different because I’m finding it hard to concentrate for any real length of time and we’ve run out of onions.

So you’ll have to forgive the stream-of-consciousness nature of this post. The storytelling part of my brain has switched off and probably won’t blink back into life until I get some vitamin D. Lucky for you, the list-writing part of my brain is in overdrive at the moment. Hence, I give you my current list of ‘rona-related thoughts:

I don’t know about you, but we’re focusing in pretty hard on food at the moment. What to make for a tasty Friday lunch. What to batch-cook for workday lunches next week. The best ways to use up the veg in the freezer. Is it snack time yet? Maybe we should give soda bread another try… Food is (even more so than normal) the highlight of our day.

For readers back home who don’t know what’s going on in BG, the country is sort of on lockdown. Lockdown Lite, I’m calling it. All non-essential shops have been closed for weeks (but plenty of non-retail businesses/offices were open last time we went out). Intercity travel is supposedly banned (although judging by the second-homers who have decamped to the village and Sofians coming to visit family on weekends, it’s not being enforced strictly). Face masks were compulsory, then they weren’t, or something. But the two supermarkets we went to in March were very orderly and well stocked, so that’s good. We’re just doing our thing and staying indoors until we’re desperate for food.

Eating vegan-ish is coming in really handy right now. Soya milk lasts forever.

We made this butternut squash pasta bake the other weekend and it’s delicious. If you like garlic, give it a try. 

Why isn’t everyone in England wearing masks when they go out? I don’t believe the ‘masks aren’t effective’ line. If that’s the case, why are medical professionals and, I don’t know, the ENTIRE POPULATION OF CHINA wearing them? Cover your nose and mouth, for fuck’s sake, if only to stop you possibly spreading the virus when you’re asymptomatic, or to stop you touching your nose and mouth when you’re out. Save the surgical masks for people who really need them. Tie a scarf over your face. Or do what we’ve done and make masks from old leggings and pyjama bottoms. But wear something, anything over your face.

Turns out you can freeze sliced lemons, so you always have a stash in the freezer for G&Ts. Full disclosure: the peel goes a little, how to put it, weird and jellified as the lemon defrosts in your drink (zombie lemons, zombie lemons!) but it tastes just as good and is way better than running out of lemons. As soon as I can get my hands on some limes, I’ll be doing the same with them, thus ensuring an uninterrupted supply of daiquiris.

I’m really glad I bought loads of bottles of tonic and soda before Christmas, when stocking up for the winter, then tucked them in the corner of my office and forgot about them until last week.

The promise of the gardening year ahead is keeping us sane. We obsess over our indoor seedlings every day. Our houseplants are being lavished with attention. And hooray for the return of Gardeners’ World!

Not knowing when I’m next going to see my family and friends is distinctly unsettling. Is July feasible? August? SEPTEMBER?

Matt Hancock is writing off £13.4bn of historic NHS debt. Please can someone tell me to whom does the NHS, a government-controlled organisation, owe all this money? Does it owe it to the government (I guess so, since they’re the ones writing off the debt)? How does a government-controlled organisation owe money to the government in the first fucking place?

I knitted a dope bobble hat last week during a lengthy snow-induced power cut.

Living the lockdown dream in pyjamas and a homemade bobble hat.

I should knit more.

And now, since the sun is finally shining, we’re off to do some gardening. (And by ‘gardening’ I mean ‘wandering around the garden holding a glass of cider in one hand and pointing at weeds with the other’.)