My friend had food poisoning. Now she’s got a digital thermometer as well. I woke up to a worried message from her mum. I grabbed the thermometer at Boots and rushed it over in the car.


I left it on top of her post box and rang her. Then I took her dog for a walk after encouraging him to walk the distance between us.

It’s easy to assume you’ve got the ‘rona. The symptoms are pretty universal. Looking down the list the ones that seem most persistent are the cough and the temperature. The strange taste and smell change is the decider as that’s rare in other illnesses and pretty common for the one we are all thinking about.

For me, with 20/20 hindsight, that’s the clincher for the nasty “flu” I had after driving the guys who had just arrived from Italy in early March. I couldn’t smell. Only for about two days. But combined with constant cough and general misery I think and hope I had this thing lightly in early March when I shut the doors for three weeks and lived off pesto, sweetcorn and Fray Bentos whilst wishing I was dead and rehearsing / performing The Tempest on Zoom with Creation and Big Telly, draped in a serpent, muting myself sometimes in scenes to do a bout of coughing, lucky that ‘rona didn’t choose to fuck me up and try to kill me as she does with some people.

Since I was in the area, I rang Tristan and as it happened he needed to get a lift back towards mine to start a half day, so I picked him up and we ended up on The Northcote road at lunchtime. He’s refurbishing a house that isn’t his and being paid money to do it. I’m thinking about refurbishing my flat and hoping I can find a way to afford it. Hell, I might try and employ him on a vastly cut rate to help get this shit done.

We went for lunch. We both have expensive tastes. We found a Thai place. It was going to be takeaway. The waiter got fed up of overhearing me prevaricate about price : “Hang on maybe I’ll just get the soup, it’s only lunchtime and I’ve got food at home.” He interjected: “The government “eat out to help out” scheme doesn’t apply to takeaway – only to dining in. “What’s that?” “50% off your bill up to £10.” “And I have to apply to get that?” “No we take it off here.”

We ate in. Tristan sent his curry back to heat up because it was definitely genuinely cold. It was struck off the bill, so we ended up paying a couple of quid each for a very tasty lunch with a generous tip. Lovely for those of us that can afford to eat out. Shit for anybody who can’t. Well, technically I can’t but I’m an optimist.

A judicious restaurant lunch for one this month is the same price as a Boots meal deal. And for seven quid you can get a three course meal.

If I book any work away from home I’m googling  the nearest decent eaterie. August though. Slow month? Let’s see.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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