Note from Iain: This article has nothing to do with West Ham, but it’s a good read and maybe it’s a good way to let off steam about what we’re all going through at the moment.
I would like to hear how other West Hammers are doing during the lockdown, but here’s my experience.
I have dragged myself from the sofa to my computer to write this. Does this count as my daily exercise?
The only activities I am able to contemplate and in the correct order are going to the toilet, sleeping and eating. I have been reduced to a human version of the Venus Fly Trap, except, for the time being, I am more mobile. Crisps and chocolates act as my prey.
Sleeping comes easily to me, as, all you have to do is think of nothing, which is pretty much what I have been reduced to all day, except, of course, when I am logging in to the Sainsburys website to see if they have delivery slots available.
I try to avoid watching live television, as all channels seem intent on describing to me the different ways I am going to die. A headache. A cough. Difficulty breathing. Pneumonia. Oxygen. A ventilator. Death.
I’ve been watching some series on Netflix, a company which is now worth more than the British economy. 7 seasons of Homeland took me a week to watch. It’s about some nutty American girl who goes round the world, saving everyone she meets, including the American president two or three times. Her co-star is a British actor pretending to be American who plays the part of a patriotic terrorist.
Then came Madmen, which stars a man so handsome that his clients and women fall madly in love with instantly, apart, of course, from his wife. She is a bit naïve, because she believes his story, when he comes home in the morning, that he has been working all night.There is a girl who flits across the screen with a huge bust. There is an incredible amount of alcohol and cigarettes consumed and I’ve taken to making all the cocktails they mention, such as Harvey Wallbangers, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Sidecars etc, so most of the time I am off my head when I am watching it.
We’ve been taking the car to drive to the forest to go for a walk, although we are afraid we shall be stopped by the police and dragged out of the car, whilst one policeman trains a sub machine gun on us. I let my wife drive, as during lockdown, I have forgotten to drive and I’ll take a refresher course when lockdown ends.
My son suggested we start to grow vegetables in the garden, so I have dug up all the roses and planted peas, swedes and potatoes. I’m not sure I did the right thing as I just planted some frozen peas in the ground. As you can tell, I haven’t a clue what I am doing, but intend to learn by experience, just as they must have done in the Stone Age.They certainly had a lot more skills then than I have now. I’d like to plant a cherry tree, but I think the lockdown will end before I get any fruit.
We have been trying not to panic buy, although every room in the house is crammed with boxes of toilet rolls. I estimate we have enough supply for a hundred years. As I am over seventy, I have registered with Sainsburys as vulnerable, which is the only category of people they will deliver to. However, when I log on, there are no delivery slots available. Damn those vulnerable people.
I’m trying to think of all the good things that are happening during the lockdown. Knife crime seems to have dropped to zero and you don’t hear about county line gangs, whatever that was. Rape and sexual crime figures are down to zero. This is fortunate, as the police can direct all their attention to preventing people from sunbathing. My psychological health has improved in one area, as I don’t have to watch West Ham losing most weeks. Nobody is dying in car crashes and plane crashes. Jon Snow has stopped going to Syria. Harry and Meghan are locked down in Los Angeles. Parliament is suspended. Brexit won’t happen, as there is no longer a European Union and it is every man for himself. The Beckhams are in their own special kind of lockdown – sometimes here, sometimes there, you see them everywhere.
The best form of entertainment is watching a Donald Trump press conference. I have never seen an idiot with such self-confidence. They should name a mental disease after him – the Trump complex. He’ll be the only President whose term will bring the best ever economy and the worst ever economy. However, it’s highly likely he will be re-elected in November, as Democrats will be afraid to go to the polls, whereas the Republicans do not believe in social distancing. Joe Biden also seems to be losing brain cells month by month, so , if he is elected, the Americans would have replaced a President with paranoia with one with alzheimers.
In Britain, we are led by leaders, who are so incompetent, they were amongst the first to catch the virus. I believe the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer also got their dose of the virus, so why should we believe a word they say. They parade three zombies out every evening to tell us what is happening and what is not going to happen. They come out with brilliant inventions like a green badge saying ‘Care’. I’m not sure if this will ward off the virus , as there is a shortage of PPE.
Instead of the football results, I listen to the number of deaths. We are in some sort of race with other countries and I’m quite excited, as many say, we are going to win. As most young people aren’t going to be affected, I’d let anyone under 50 end their lockdown and let the rest of the population to go out at their own risk. Let’s face it, it’s the health professionals who are probably spreading the virus more than anyone else. They’re doing shifts without proper protection and then going home on the Underground, which is still packed.
My family and I have tried Zoom a couple of times. What seems to happen is you log on and then spend half an hour saying ‘Can you hear me?’ and ‘Turn on your audio.’ It is a shame people have forgotten how clear phone calls were on a landline. Now, when a chap from the Philippines calls on the landline and tells me he is from BT or Microsoft, I keep him engaged in conversation for as long as I can to preserve social contact. I also keep getting emails from Nigeria telling me that they want to transfer a billion pounds to me, but I reply that, unfortunately, I have no way of going out and spending it at the moment.
I’m reading a novel called, the Mandibles and it’s so prescient that the author, Lionel Shriver, must have come from the future. By the way, the author is a woman and she changed her name from Margaret to Lionel, which definitely proves she is from the future where all names will be gender neutral. By the way, she’s not LGBT. Also, I’m trawling my way through Wolf Hall, where references are made to the sweating sickness, which seems similar to coronavirus except you die more quickly. You have bacon and eggs for breakfast, feeling OK and then you drop down dead at lunchtime So, Hilary (also a unisex name) Mantel must also be from the future and her style of writing English proves it. Anyway, it’s a joyful book where you either die of plague or having your head cut off Otherwise, I’ve just finished a 900 page book ,my son and daughter-in-law gave me, called Stalingrad – another happy read.
We live in a modern household, which means we all eat differently and at different times. I try to creep into the kitchen, but my wife has the hearing of a Golden Retriever. I am told I am useless at washing up. I may scrub a pan until all the non-stick surface has been rubbed off, but my wife will still find a small, unsatisfactory spot. She tells me just to leave everything , but being obstreperous, I still try to clean up. That’s life! One minute they are telling you to clean up, then you are told to leave everything.
I can mostly tell what day of the week it is. I know it is Wednesday, because the gardener comes (we keep our social distance) and I know it’s Friday, because they come to collect the bins. At other times, I can make a haphazard guess, but it won’t be long before I’ll be lucky if I can tell you what month it is. What’s the name of the Prime Minister? I remember it was some chap with crazy blonde hair, but he seems to have disappeared.
Anyway, you all keep well. By the time this ends, I would have forgotten the rules of football, so thank goodness for VAR.