Lockdown – by Janet Brereton

Primrose Hill Short Story Entry

Lockdown, What does it even mean? It conjures up scenes in San Francisco when a hurricane is due. The locals apparently have these little cellar type rooms attached to their houses where they can descend in a hurry., batten down the hatches and lock themselves inside until it is safe to come out!

I think ‘Lock up” would have been more appropriate because that is what we have been. Locked up! I don’t mean in the sense of a prisoner in a cell. ……..Or do I?

Since all the various restrictions have been in place the highlight of the day has been going out masked with ‘surgical’ gloves looking for all the world as if I were about to perform heart surgery just to get my daily paper! Of course, on the plus side with mask, gloves and sun glasses there’s no need to worry about mascara and lipstick. Au natural is the order of the day! Locals are wearing coloured masks. There are black, patterned, blue and some with filters and even visors! Perhaps we should have a competition for the most interesting attractive mask. Maybe now would be a good time for bank robbers, assuming there is money in the banks! Can you imagine the news: “The Police are looking for bank robbers wearing blue surgical masks and gloves”. Well, that puts me in the running!

Don’t even get me started on the weekly shop, We all got used to sanitizing our trolleys and hands. It becomes the norm now. Why did Morrisons run out of flour? Their bread is baked freshly on the premises. Why would anyone want to go to all the trouble of baking bread when they can buy it freshly made? As for the initial shortage of toilet rolls, I couldn’t believe my eyes when a woman was pushing with difficulty a large trolley piled high with Andrex! I couldn’t resist turning to her in the queue, wearing one of my deadpan faces and asking her in a ‘concerned’ manner: “Does someone in your family have diarrhoea?” A few seconds elapsed before the startled woman replied “Well, no!”

Thank goodness for telephones and email otherwise I might have been cut off from the world!. It is amazing how we take it for granted seeing our friends and neighbours and when we are told we can’t, we feel like chastised children being admonished by our parents! The banter, the small talk, the disagreements and arguments are all missed. Even going for a

coffee with a friend at one of the many cafes in Primrose Hill would be have been considered a luxury.

As if being ‘holed up’ wasn’t enough, I refractured my spine! Ouch! Everything
was so difficult. My cat looked in amazement as I tried to place a bowl of food on the floor often missing and spilling the food! I came to dread Dustman day. The thought of trying to get bin bags and recycling to the top of my basement stairs was a marathon as I couldn’t carry anything heavy. It was not unknown for me to waylay a passerby walking their dog on their way to Primrose Hill and ask them to carry up the bags and bins for me! I could be seen holding the dog while the owner would be busy transporting the refuse! I made a lot of doggy friends as well as human ones. Luckily I am on the mend and have recollections as a five year old saying triumphantly “Mum, I can tie my own shoes!” Well I can now.

One day when feeling depressed hearing the news and the number of people dying from Covid 19 I decided to review my life and check my life insurance too. Suppose I died of Covid? Perhaps I should make a will. Now who should I leave my overdraft to? What kind of funeral would I like? People genuinely crying and missing me would be nice! Forget ‘A celebration of her life!’ This is a miserable time! Shall I have a carriage with black horses nodding their respect for me? What about a eulogy? What would they say about me? I once went to a funeral of a friend and one of the songs chosen was ‘Hallelujah’ by Alexandra Burke, Not exactly reverent but an improvement on one that I had heard used as the deceased favourite song “Smoke get in your eyes!” was played. This was at a cremation! What were they thinking? At my funeral would folk wear black or garish colours? I can’t bear the colour pink and I think I would come back and haunt anyone who wore pink! Woe betide anyone who buys a wreath made with the word: ‘Janet!’ I would cringe from inside my box with embarrassment! You know what? I don’t think I would like any of that. I would prefer just to be taken away and disposed of without any ceremony, preferably when I am dead, of course!

Well, on a lighter note I thumbed through the Sunday papers and browsed the holiday advertisements. When all this is over where shall I go? A secluded luxury villa in Tuscany with a vineyard, olive grove and swimming pool would be lovely. Or how about a cruise down the Nile? A Safari in Botwana sounds adventurous and I do like cats both domestic and wild. What about refreshing my French in Paris? I haven’t been there in years? I have always wanted to go on a gondola on the canals in Venice. No, I don’t think so. I think I will settle for a ‘Staycation’. Primrose Hill looks good at this time of year!

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