Matthew Steeples highlights three things that are keeping him going through coronavirus lockdown living (aside from not running out of gin)
Having found myself ensconced in East Anglia for five weeks now –never did I imagine myself staying in a rural place so long – and having not actually got into a car or visited a town in that period, I busy my days reading, writing and walking a bit. It’s been especially strange not to physically see friends and I can’t say I’ve fathomed ‘House Party,’ but my telephone device has certainly seen more Bob Hoskins-esque “It’s Good To Talk” action than ever before.
Whilst most people will tell you Netflix has been their best source of entertainment during this period and I will most certainly join them in commending ‘binge watching’ Ozark, I’ve found time to do things that I’ve always put-off such as clear out my iPhone’s address book and chuck out paperwork I’m never going to actually get round to dealing with. It’s been a time to read and reflect and an opportunity to listen to music a little more often and here follows a few other ‘lockdown discoveries’ of mine that you might find useful:
Nobody would imagine that Patsy and Edina’s favourite shop, Harvey Nichols, would be the bargain food and drink store of the lockdown, but given they don’t charge for next-day delivery wherever you are in the UK and there’s no minimum spend, here is an unbeatable service. Unlike some greedy online booze retailers (some of whom have actually increased their prices and introduced preposterously high delivery charges to coincide with us all being stuck at home), you can get a bottle of the heather-hinted, 43% ABV Edinburgh Gin for just £32, a jar of highly addictive ginger and chilli jam for £3.95 or an utterly delicious asparagus and shrimp risotto that feeds two for just £5.95. Add half a glass of white wine and Bob’s Your Uncle and Fanny’s Your Aunt.
Podcasts and Radio Plays
I’ve become addicted to true crime podcasts such as Murder Mile (in spite of the most recent one I listened to being about the appalling murder of my late friend Robert Troyan in Mount Street Mayfair in 2013) in the last weeks. An especially gritty and somewhat grim example is The Clearing, an eight-episode serialisation based on the crimes of the American serial killer Ed Edwards (AKA ‘Wayne’ Edwards) that has been lauded by the Guardian as “an immense achievement.”
Equally gripping, if you haven’t heard it already (I’m listening to it for a second time), is BBC Radio 4’s rerun of GF Newman’s The Corrupted. Featuring a fictional dodgy MP interacting with real political figures from the past including Margaret Thatcher and Douglas Hurd, here is something for political geeks to get their teeth into before the ‘B-word’ again raises its ugly head once coronavirus fades into the background.
‘The Quiz’ on Facebook
Some of us were already playing before orders to stay indoors arrived, but the ‘Quiz Planet’ app on Facebook has proved a charming way to interact with friends from near and afar. Some of the questions do border on the inane and others have induced a Major Charles Ingram-esque cough on my part, but if you want to while away the hours, do sign up and if you want someone to thrash, try challenging me.
And Then… What’s Next?
Most of all, of course, what will really keep you going through all this is this: A day will soon come when you’ll again be eating, drinking and being merry with your nearest and dearest at your very favourite establishment. Whether you fancy fish and chips or a bottle of Chablis (or both), it’ll come and it’ll come not a moment too soon.
For now, do heed the words of the late Mr Hoskins: “What men call chatter, really does matter. It’s about being a friend. Having the time to listen. It’s what makes the world goes round.” Call a friend or, if you’re not a technophobe like me, ‘give’ them a Zoom.