On Saturday Julia walked to the shop again and rang to report that the panic-buying was getting worse. I have already reported on that.
On Monday I packed parcels, as usual, then returned home for lunch. We ate what could best be called a fusion lunch (corned beef hash and pasta bake) to empty the fridge and set off on holiday.
By this time my left hand, the one with the arthritic little finger, started to feel distinctly more arthritic.
We drove through Lincolnshire, reached Norfolk and stopped for coffee at at a roadside McDonald’s. It was there that we had a phone call from Julia’s brother to tell us that the government was banning all unnecessary travel and that hotels were to be closed to act as hospitals.
We made a phone call of our own, to establish that the Travelodge was still open. It was. Listening to the radio we established that the situation was advisory, rather than a Draconian clampdown (which would come later).
We decided that as we were most of the way there the rest of our journey fell into the “necessary” category.
By evening my hand was very swollen and all the fingers were impersonating bananas. I did wonder about getting my wedding ring cut off at one point, but it didn’t quite get bad enough. I had to have it done once after injuring my finger playing rugby with the kids and it’s a simple enough procedure if you know someone with the right tool. The only problem is cutting through the hallmarks, which is a nuisance but doesn’t really affect it in wear once you weld it back again.
We had quite a good time over the next few days, with chips at Aldeburgh, a family meal at Beefeater and Afternoon Tea at the Hatfield Hotel in Lowestoft. Unfortunately I can’t get the photos off the card, so that’s three Scone Chronicles you won’t be getting. The chips on the beach were great, the family meal was excellent and the afternoon tea had the best sandwiches I’ve had so far in the series. It also had sausage roll, a cheese straw, a cheese scone, onion chutney, a fruit scone and a lot of cake. In fact, we needed a doggy bag.
Aldeburgh and Southwold were busy. People are fleeing from London and living in their second homes. They obviously think that the fresh air will preserve them from illness.
On the final day (which was last Thursday, and technically makes this Nine Days I Wouldn’t Want Again) we stopped at the TESCO opposite the Travelodge. Julia offered to pop in for bread and milk while I sat in the car – she is a jewel amongst wives. She reported long queues, empty selves and bad-humoured queuing. There were lines to stand behind and a ban on cash – all the shops are using the crisis to make another attempt at driving cash out of use.
On the way back we stopped at a Garden Centre to meet my sister. In contrast to TESCO it was a good-natured place with full shelves and only about a dozen customers in the place. We had tea and cake and remarked that it really needed a tumbleweeed to add the final touch.
Social distancing had needed three days to take hold, but seemed to be working.
Of course, the Government was on its way to another panic by then…