The importance of buying treacle. (A trivial blog for serious people)

Covid-19 shopping trips

I had gone to the shops to buy treacle. After discovering that the fruit loaf recipe I published here recently really does taste better with this optional ingredient I just had to get some. It is quite pale and not as sticky without it.

Imagine me, mind focused on treacle walking through people preparing for Armageddon and panic buying everything in sight.

It was a few days ago but I started to notice that the tins of peas, ravioli and in fact any tins were being removed from the shelves. The space where ‘instant mash potato’ used to be was especially empty. A flash of that old TV advert for Cadbury’s Smash came into my mind and I thought this really is like the ‘aliens’ have either landed or are due to land any time.

Happiness is a warm fruit loaf

Surprisingly no one else was buying treacle so I was quite safe. It was the toilet rolls, tinned goods and pasta that they were after. I went back a few days later to see that the same people who had bought all the toilet roll had moved on to kitchen roll. More worryingly they were also buying up flour, sugar and eggs. I started to get worried that my home baked fruit loaf habit was not sustainable during this outbreak.

This kind of shopping behaviour is unsustainable and is ultimately self defeating. It only leads to the imposition of restrictions and potentially rationing. Herd behaviour comes with herd immunity apparently. Toilet paper was where it started and no one can really say what connection there is between Covid-19 and keeping your bum clean. Now many older people unable to push and shove to grab that last packet will find themselves without a basic household essential

We are already self isolated

Try telling an older person who has suffered from years of social isolation to self isolate and they look at you as if you are mad. ‘I already am son!’

Social distancing can be broken down to keeping a physical distance but maintaining social solidarity. We need both if we are to avoid the experience of mental anguish, loneliness and fear. Advice for people who suffer from fear and anxiety during this current health crisis includes not to spend too much time looking at media coverage.

A leading charity has made some suggestions and yes baking fruit loaf is on the list! Here’s some advice from the Anxiety UK staff team (many of whom have their own personal experience of anxiety) –

  • Download some podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to
  • Watch that box set on Netflix if you have time on your hands
  • Having boxes of things prepared that can be done alone, things like arts and crafts, knitting, video games
  • Try some meditation, especially for those who’ve never tried it
  • Baking (Fruit Loaf!)
  • Learning a new hobby, something like origami or other simple craft tasks
  • Education (via online links)
  • Skyping friends and Facetime calls
  • Cooking
  • Mindfulness
  • Exercise bike
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Knitting and other crafts
  • DIY
  • Gardening

All great ideas to keep active and busy.

Finally it’s important to try not to panic; strategies such as cutting down on watching the news can be helpful. Remember to look at things factually and remember that useful phrase ‘this too shall pass’.

Isolation and the carer’s dilemma

If you care for someone and they really depend on you the panic buying of others is the least of your worries ( although it is still irritating)

What if I get sick? What if I can’t visit and bring shopping and just have a chat? As the week has unfolded I have slowly realised the immensity of this and it probably now means I can no longer do what I have always done in terms of regular visits to my housebound Father. I may end up just meeting him on the doorstep a few metres apart to chat and swap shopping lists and instructions and soon even that may change to on-line shopping deliveries if they are still available.

The idea that you could kill your own parent by trying to care for them is mind blowing and the tormenting thing is that this virus may not show symptoms in me for days. I could be thinking everything is fine. But you still have to care and provide food and basic contact. Many older people do not have anyone to worry about them sadly.

All the young dudes carry the news

Younger people and more tech savvy oldies have some solutions to some of this. Many of the 900+ Covid-19 mutual aid groups that have sprung up are going to depend on a range of digital platforms to communicate with volunteers and people requiring support and solidarity. Facebook, WhatsApp are maybe more familiar but Zoom was a new one on me and sounds quite useful as its an app to enable video-conferencing over smart phones.The net worth of the Zoom founder Eric Yuan has gone up by $2 billion because of social distancing……………..every cloud, every cloud.

Stay happy and stay safe

We have to try to survive the best way we can by adjusting our behaviour to try to avoid this bastard virus. Our thoughts often turn to the negative side because we absorb the fear and confusing messages of the mass media. It is important to hear clear understandable instructions that is in our health’s best interests but not some of the less responsible reporting that gets ‘leaked’ to the press. If you have underlying health conditions and you are a carer it really does look like the ‘lucky white heather’ may not work much longer.

#Survival playlists

Many people have friends on-line that they have never even met. Who will post messages about them if they pass away from this cyber space we all occupy? Will they just fade away from our digital meeting places like so many ghosts. This is why in case I do not survive I intend to prepare a survival playlist to celebrate my own demise in advance. I am quite well now but I have prepared an example. (This means I get to do it twice!)

If I survive I will celebrate even more. So it is a win, win, win scenario. I limited myself to 20 songs which was hard. Why not give it a try and let us all hope we all survive to enjoy good music and bake more fruit loaf with treacle!

Heaven  Talking Heads

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Superstition Stevie Wonder

Santana Black Magic Woman

Steely Dan. Bodhisattva 

T.Rex .Get in On

The Specials. A message to you Rudy

The Upsetter. Return of D’jango

The Beatles.  A day in the life

The Ramones.  Swallow my pride

Buzzcocks  Ever fallen in love 

Blondie  Atomic remix 

The Doors. Road house blues

David Bowie. Moonage daydream

The Clash. White Man in Hammersmith Palais 

The Undertones. Teenage kicks

Mott the Hoople. All the Young Dudes

Velvet underground Rock and Roll

Madness. Forever young

Kraftwerk.  Neon lights

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2 replies »


    We appear to have a shared taste in music.
    Some years ago when I was very ill and stuck inside, unable to move from the sofa – one of my strategies, was to ‘go for walks’ in my head. These were the walks that Me and Mike and Ben-The-Dog used to go on. I also went to parties that I’d been to, and concerts, and re-ran conversations that I’d had. I tried to remember as much detail as possible – who I was with, what we were wearing – one of them was a Mott The Hoople concert in about 1973, so what we wore mattered a lot, at the time!
    Who needs TV, when you’ve got T Rex?

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