Where I Am
“And the dead arose and appeared to many.”
Not actually an exact quote from the Bible, but you wouldn’t want to be trying to be too exact when dealing with that book; there are that many bootleg versions of it doing the rounds that you could probably find one in which the verse in question reads, “And the alive died and disappeared to few.” And that’s only taking the English versions into account; God knows what it says in the French versions! He would need to, by the way, as the French certainly don’t. But twas a favourite saying of the aul Ma [do you, by way of contrast, possess a young Ma as well? – Ed.] when one of us would arrive downstairs foraging for food in the early afternoon after a heavy session on the beer the night before. Another phrase she enjoyed, and had reason to employ regularly, unfortunately, when commenting on various lies from army colonels and politicians during The Troubles™, was the following gem: “Those people wouldn’t even know how to spell ‘truth’.”
The first phrase is appropriate today, though, with some sort of relaxation of lockdown happening in all constituent part of these Blighted Isles. Situated as I am betwixt and between a number of different jurisdictions, I have not yet decided which set of relaxed lockdown rules I will impose on myself (and on anyone else who comes near me) today. Should I go for Blustering Boris’ attempts at the whole hokey cokey approach to coming out of lockdown? That is, send your left leg to work, but keep your right leg at home; use public transport with your right arm, but drive your car with your left arm, that sort of thing. Or will I enter manfully (it’s the only option available to me – and to everyone else, apparently: has anyone, of either sex, ever been accused of doing something ‘womanfully’? Answers on a postcard, usual prizes, terms & conditions apply.) into the régime of the Gayshock and, as with the speed limits applied to my driving, exercise my constitutional right as an Irish citizen to enact the Mexican advice about coming out of my shed. I could maybe have a go later at following the Norn Iron advice, but I will have to wait for the first news bulletin of the day to see if Marlene has come up with a starting date yet for their five-point plan, which was not copied at all from the Mexicans, no way sir, sure some things are in a different order, sir, so no way is it a precursor to a reunited Ireland if that’s what you’re thinking, sir. Maybe I can do a mix n match of the whole lot of them? Or, alternatively, make up my own rules, as I own the land as far as I can see and can, therefore, do whatever the fruck I want on it.
Whatever I decide, it seems that I will have to pay a visit to a garden centre today. I have never before been in one of said centres in my life – I have, of course, been in the centre of my own garden, front and back, but not at the same time – but a close reading of all the available new regulations for easing lockdown leads to the inescapable conclusion that it is compulsory for everyone to turn up in one of them today. It would also appear that absence from same garden centres has been the greatest deprivation suffered by the majority of the population during the sixty days we have spent in social isolation. I don’t know, maybe it is a Protestant thing, but not going to a garden centre was way down on my list of deprivations caused by the Kerfuffle. I sorely missed, for example, the troupe of exotic dancers who would usually turn up to entertain us – well me, mostly – on a Friday night in the hacienda; a selected few would even stay overnight and partake of the Ulster Fry the following afternoon; and fine, healthy girls they were too, putting away the fadge and the bacon like there was no tomorrow while Part-Time Wife slaved away at the hob trying to satisfy those of their appetites that I had not satisfied the night before. Ah, those were the days. And soon will be again, God willing.
But, what exactly does one do at these mysterious garden centres? Especially if one already has two gardens and is not interested in purchasing a third (or a turd, if you are in Mexico). And is the wearing of wellies de rigueur or not whil(s)e(t) visiting them? The various administrations haven’t really thought it through, have they? If they are going to make attendance at garden centres compulsory as part of the … what do we call it now that ‘lockdown’ doesn’t fit anymore? ‘opendown’ wouldn’t do, as there are still restrictions in place. ‘ajardown’, anyone? … as part of the ajardown©, they should at least provide a user manual or an instructional video for what the Hell one is supposed to do at the garden centre when one gets there. I am using ‘one’ in the singular sense there, as I am presuming (and presumptious) that I cannot yet stick the complete household in the back of the Roller for a wee trip out of Isolationville, Arizona. (And a quick hello, in passing, obviously, to the USians, if they are still reading, and if they are still my cousins.)
I will let youse know how I get on when I do my civic duty and visit a garden centre some time today. But maybe it is a trick? If they want us all to turn up there at the same time in what seems like a flagrant breach of the social distancing rules we have all been (slightly) following for the past 60 days, is it just a ruse to spay us all with covidnovid when we get there in an attempt to bring about the herd immunity the blond thought would solve the pandemic? I’ll wear my waterproofs as well, and bring an umbrella, just in case.
The pictures? That’s just in case the girls have forgotten what the place looks like and get lost trying to get here on Friday night. A veritable flood of pent-up something fluid awaits them.