Splendid Isolation

BY JIM WEBSTER

Whatever humanity is up to, the seasons continue to roll forward. The contractor arrived to put on the nitrogen. He made far less mark than I thought he would, the last few days have dried out our higher land nicely. Sal supervised him from a safe distance. Mind you that is as close as I got to him because the foot-trimmer was coming to give a few dairy cows a quick pedicure. So the rest of the morning was spent helping put the ladies down the race. It’s probably a similar process to convincing some patients that they really need to get into the MRI scanner, but doubtless with less shouting. Other than that things have been fine, and things are starting to look up a bit.

Mind you I had to nip into town yesterday and as I was there, I thought I should go into Tesco. All I had been told to get was a tub of mixed herbs. Easily done, I walked breezily through the chaos and past the empty shelves. (All the pasta shelf had on was a notice which could be briefly paraphrased as, ‘Come on, just grow up.’)

After paying I headed towards the gents – only to wash my hands. As I was about to go in there was this wild electronic beeping and of course I spun round to see what I’d set off. Behind me there was a lass who works at Tesco who apologised and explained it was her fault. She was putting a new soap dispenser in the Ladies’ and they now have to have the electronic sales tags on them to deter people from stealing them!

I said something appropriate and she explained that they’d had the police in twice that day. Once when people were fighting over the biscuits, and a second time when somebody wanted to buy far more baked beans than he was allowed, and he threatened the cashier with assault.

I suggested they just nail offenders upside-down at the front of the store as a warning to others. She thought it was an excellent idea and promised to raise it with the manager who she felt would look favourably upon it.

One thing that has struck me. This emergency is at times the exact opposite of Foot & Mouth. Back then we were utterly screwed and struggling to cope in the countryside, whilst the urban population merely had a few restrictions on things like footpath use that most of them never noticed. This time, we’re self-isolated because that’s what agriculture is like anyway, and in some urban settings civilisation is collapsing even as I write. The barbarians aren’t at the gates, they’re in Tesco pillaging the shelves for toilet paper.

Ah well, keep well.

Jim Webster farms at the bottom end of South Cumbria. Jim was encouraged to collect together into a book some blog posts he’d written because of their insight into Cumbrian farming and rural life (rain, sheep, quadbikes and dogs) It’s available here. 

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