I wish that I could say that day 100 of lockdown was momentous in some way but there was little to differentiate it from the previous ninety-nine…apart from seeing several friends, instead of none as at the end of March.
In essence this was another day that didn’t go quite as planned… I was supposed to go swimming with Amanda at the reservoir this morning but I didn’t fall asleep ‘till 3 am last night, and my throat is still slightly swollen. This seems like a bad combination when plunging into cold water without a wet suit so I pulled a rain check on today’s outing. I feel bad it but I think was probably sensible, in the end.
When I finally awoke, I wrote in bed for three hours, until Jamie turned up mid-morning after dropping McNultypup off at the Royal Veterinary College for an operation on her eye. Given that all cafés, libraries, and public spaces are shut at the moment, and Jamie lives on the other side of London, I offered her my flat to wait whilst McNulty had her operation. And of course, it’s always nice to see a friend, after all these months of being starved of company.
Copy filed, and feeling better, I decided to hire a Zipcar to drive down to Gloucestershire this afternoon, leaving Jamie on the sofa, reading my copy of Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums.
Each time I get in a car I cannot believe the emptiness of the roads. Sometimes it can take up to 3 hours to get to Painswick from London, but today I did the journey in about two hours and 20 minutes.
Later on in the afternoon we went out into the kitchen garden. The garden is exploding with life at the moment; we stripped perfect redcurrants from the bushes in the fruit cages, and picked courgettes from under their spreading leaves just before they turned into far less appealing marrows.
I returned to London this evening with a carrier bag full of globe artichokes, tiny ones which I will slice in half and deep fry, and big heads to steaming whole and dip the petals in melted butter, or maybe a home-made hollandaise.
Because Zipcars give you a day’s hire if you book over 10 hours, I didn’t have to rush to return the car this evening. I decided to stop off at IKEA on the way back. I had tried to shop there on Saturday evening because traditionally that’s always been a great time to turn up. But not, it appears during a pandemic lockdown: I drove into the car park on the way back from my mother’s at 7 pm and there was still a socially distanced queue sneaking through the car park so I promptly drove the car around the roundabout and back out again onto the North Circular.
Exactly the same thing happened this evening. As I left at 8pm without having left the driving seat there were still cars streaming into the car park. I’ve never seen it this busy in the twenty years that I have shopped at that particular store.