Diary of a quarantined hack

Monday: Woke with a throbbing pain in a big toe. Gout. ‘Uhhhh. This is not good’ I tell Fifi, curled up beside me. Pooch gives me a look that says ‘man up, you big girl’s blouse. Pain’s good. It’s nature’s way of saying you’re not dead’

I extract a pellet of Compy Supreme lodged between my butt cheeks. Fifi really must learn to stop bringing her dinner into bed.

I begin scouring religious websites in search of material for my Freethinker blog. Find an item about a half-witted priest – he looks all of 12 – warning people not to ‘idolise’ the NHS. He wants folk to tell MPs that churches must reopen in the midst of the pandemic.
I take my blood pressure. Much higher normal. Reports like these enrage me.

Glance into the mirror before I leave home in search of a pharmacy for gout medication. With a mask and dark glasses, I look like the Invisible Man. Must search online for a sexier protective mask, preferably one crafted in black leather.

Nearest pharmacy shut, so I have to embark on a marathon trek to find one that’s open. Limp home 90 minutes later after clocking up 6,666 steps. Not used to wearing boots. Feet are torturing me.

Tuesday: Gout’s eased. Work for eight hours then go online in search of a fashionable mask. No luck. All the cute ones are designed for kids. But I find one site that suggests that post-lockdown, millions will continue wearing face coverings, and fashion houses are gearing up to meet the demand. One company that makes chic protective scarves like the one pictured by Polish company Lekko.

Wednesday: What joy! Discover that six Miracle of Peru seeds planted on April 7 have sprouted. Years ago I rescued a half-dead plant placed near a dumpster. I nurtured it back to life. It gave thanks by producing shed-loads of seeds, and each summer we’ve been enjoying the fragrant flowers its offspring have been producing.

Thursday: Make my first cottage pie in years. Husband Marcus’ eyes light up. ‘Proper nosh for a change,’ he exclaims, and wolfs down a huge helping. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t serve him Compy Supreme on other days.

Friday: The coin-like lithium batteries that power my Internet banking card reader have given up the ghost. Have no idea where to buy replacements during the lockdown. While I can get around the problem by entering a variety of passwords and codes to access my account, I won’t be able to turn on the TV if the batteries in the remote die.

Saturday: Boredom drives me to tidy up my toolbox. I heft the electric drill and wonder whether anything in the apartment demands a hole. I resist the temptation to hold it against my skull to end my quarantine misery.

Sunday: Discover a book I haven’t read in years. ‘The Atheist’s Bible’ which has a quote from burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee that’s particularly apt during this pandemic:
‘Praying is like a rocking chair – it’ll give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.’

The world would be a saner place if we had more people like her.



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Written by

Barry Duke


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