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Lockdown Lexicon

Lockdown Lexicon - thanks to the incredible Brian Patman!! 

An alphabetical journey through four months of Covid-19.  

PART ONE: A to I 

A is for Alcohol.  Oh yes it is.  When David Owen was Minister of State for Health, he described alcohol as “a social lubricant of the first order”.  04 July 2020 saw the re-opening of a third of pubs and bars in the country, enabling those who wished, to go and get socially lubricated.  

Does that mean we have all been abstemious during lockdown?  No lubricant necessary because we weren’t socialising?  Well, try telling that to VinChoirers! (see “V”)

In the US, where they don’t use the word “lockdown”, the drink one sips while connecting with friends via video-call in the evening is referred to as a quarantini.  Cheers!

 

B is for Baking.  Come on.  Own up!  Is it you who’s doing all the baking?  The supermarket shelves having been cleared of flour, Sainsbury’s has taken to having palettes full of enormous sacks of the white stuff placed in front of their abandoned deli counter.  A full palette is emptied in the first hour of business, when the “frail elderly” are the only customers.

Now, show me your muscles.  Ah, yes, I knew it – you are the phantom baker!!

 

C is for Contactless.  I haven’t had any cash in my wallet for four months.  The Queen and I were separated at birth, don’t ye know!

 

C is also for Clapping.  As I write, we’ve clapped to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.  For some weeks, we clapped on Thursday at 8.00 pm for NHS staff and all the other key workers who selflessly strive to keep us all safe and well.  A small gesture from us all, but an important one.

 

is also for Covidiot – you know, the person who comes out of nowhere and leans across in front of you to take something fromthe supermarket shelf.  As they do so, they turn and breathe “Excuse me!” in your face . . .

 

D is for Dog Walking. Nobody predicted that dog walking would be so popular!  

Stay home?  All day??  One short trip for exercise??  But dog owners can go out for a long walk at least twice a day with their mutts!  I want one too!!!

Our daughter’s dog was going loopy being locked down in a basement flat in London.  So she came to spend the rest of her lockdown in Sussex (the dog – not the daughter!).  

Regular exercise assured for us.  And a nice little income stream from renting her out to friends and neighbours for their fresh air and fun . . .

(Dear HMRC, that last sentence is not true!)

 

D is also for Durham.  “Stay home.  Protect the NHS.  Save lives.”  

Who knew that there was small print that could exempt you from the first part of that?

Rules, eh?  Don’t you just love their . . . flexibility?

 

E is for Exhibitionism.  “Record a video of yourself singing along to this week’s song.” Said Mark to VinChoir.  Little did he know that he was tapping into a deep vein of thespian fantasy.

Yes, many people were too shy to go public.  Others sent in a film of themselves jiggling to a music track in their kitchen, or in front of a bookcase/artwork/view of the Weald.

But some went the whole hog!  Myriad Elton John lookalikes for I’m Still Standing; nuns, monks, peacock feathers and Tigger (?!) for Adiemus;  coolie hats, machismo in lycra,singing dogs and NHS dancers for Put a Little Love in Your Heart . . .  Lockdown Luvvies Galore!  How wonderful!

 

F is for Fêtes and Festivals.  The staples of summer.  Town and village fêtes and festivals usually keep inChoir busy during the warm months.  There’s nothing quite like the buzz of singing in a large group, in the open air, to a crowd in festive mood.  From Arundel to the Scoop, Balcombe Village to the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells; how we miss them!  

It’s part of an overwhelmingly surreal dislocation of life as we know it.  As we have known it.  None of us could have predicted this.  None of us can make any assumptions about the future.

 

G is for Gardening.  Yes, it’s officially the new rock ‘n’ roll!  Young people who used to think that Monty Don was a peak in Snowdonia, that campanula was a cheese spread, or that a hoe was an object of derision to a gangsta rapper, are now proudly tending roses in the small patch outside their basement window, growing masses of vegetables and herbs in a vertical garden made from old palettes on a third floor balcony above a busy city street, and religiously tuning in to GQT on Radio 4, to find out what mulch Bob Flowerdew recommends for zantedeschia.

I hear that Sue Heppell’s fingers have turned a shade of green this year too.  What a wonderful world!

 

H is for Hair! Witnessing the growing lockdown angst of those who have some, has made the general absence of the stuff from the heads of the majority of male inChoir members look like a shrewd strategic decision.  Well done men!

 

I is for Indoors.  “Home is where I want to be . . .”   It’s only a snatch of the lyrics of This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads, but it sums up lockdown to me.  Such a sweet song.  Pick me up, turn me round, take me home.

But then, I am privileged.  Home has a garden, not a balcony on the 20th floor, looking down on a car park roof.  Home has the internet.  Home has a freezer and a fridge full of food.  Home has a loving, and much loved, partner.  Home is cleaner, tidier and better decorated than ever, thanks to lockdown.

Indoors can mean Heaven or Hell.  It’s the luck of the draw. 

Covid-19, despite what it’s taking away from us, is giving us the opportunity to reflect on how we want the world to be.  Reflect on how we may be able to help those less fortunate.  

Next time, let’s explore “K” for Kindness.

But only after we’ve considered “J” for Joe Wicks!