January 4th - STOP PRESS
Government Introduced Lockdown - Lessons Move Online
With Immediate Effect
03.04.20 – Darrell Priestley
Hunkered down at the homestead, happily honing this hopeful homily to hubris. And with luck, that’s got the need to aliterate out of my system for the remainder of this blog. This is the day we have been waiting for, and simultaneously the day we have been dreading. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet, but one day early last week I succeeded against all odds in claiming an elusive delivery slot with Asda. Not much will get you one; they laughed when I told them my dad was friends with one of the founder’s, Peter Asquith (true, but irrelevent). Only a quirk of fate, a happy accident, put me at the front of the queue just as a couple of delivery slots were released. You have never seen me move so fast!
And it’s not just Asda. Hours each week go into a black hole, staring at the little man sauntering across the screen (come on little guy, pick up the pace, why don’t you?) This morning, I zoomed in to watch his legs moving, like he had all the time in the world; which I suppose now he does. It’s just that, in the middle of pandemic, that kind of nonchallance just winds me up. Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Tesco, you can’t even snag a click-and-collect slot. And then, when you see a grocery delivery van driving down the road you find yourself rushing to the window, wondering who was that lucky customer, who do they know in high places, where do they live and how on earth did they ever get so lucky?
Chatting with one of our student’s mums yesterday, she confirmed what I had long suspected; they have regular weekly deliveries. While I feel a reassuring satisfaction that someone at least got their ducks in a row before the world veered off it’s axis, there is much consternation that we didn’t put something like that in place back when we had the chance. My wife Eileen likes her routine, which is not the same as saying she enjoys supermarket shopping, but she was always resistant to disrupting a weekly routine by which we have lived for so long. I suspect grocery shopping will reshape itself for many of us after lockdown, with a regular small scheduled delivery, if only to preserve a place in line against any future need.
So today, between 7.00 and 9.00, the delivery van will pull up and disgorge everything we could have two of (let’s hope that doesn’t also include brussels sprouts?), which sounds like cause for happiness and revelry, but amidst the triumph there is also angst, because since that fateful day when we secured this slot, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of another, despite checking in the wee small hours almost every night.
But at least the supermarkets will have a very good year, (unlike the travel industry or the garden centres). Earlier this week I was delighted to hear that Morrisons, a very ethical business whose policy is to quietly support foodbanks year round, has commited to produce an additional £10,000,000 worth of it’s own brand foods to further help them at this time. This news made me glow. Then yesterday Morrisons announced it is to treble it’s annual bonus this year to all it’s 43,000 hardworking staff. They deserve it. I have never appreciated them so much.