Just as our correspondents were starting to think that 2020 couldn't have dragged them any lower, the unwelcome double-whammy of blazing heatwave and a government-mandated diet regime hits home.
Our writers Rosie Paterson and James Fisher — who have both, one way or another, ended up alone for the duration — are sharing slices of their lives.
So far they’ve endured enormous pain, revealed the rules of cycling, shared tales of curious robins, video chat and little old ladies winching shopping through windows. You can catch up on all their columns here.
The BBC has a penchant for moving montages — set to the sort of film soundtrack-style music that’s guaranteed to make even the most emotionally repressed Brit blubber.
They reached peak moving montage in 2012, during the Olympics. Then came Boris—the trough—frolicking in his (large) garden, cute dog in tow, the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack tinkling away in the background, to declare war…on fat.
Apparently, we must all play our part in combating coronavirus by watching our weight. I’m tempted to invite the PM and his friends down to Devon to check out my quarantine snack store (pull your heads out of the gutter, it’s not a euphemism) to demonstrate how difficult this might be. Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t get much worse, they put us all on a diet.
I thought about the implications of this move as I tucked into my second packet of Jaffa Cakes that day.
Lockdown split us — more or less — into two even camps. The first camp built gyms in their garages and on bedroom floors; invested in new trainers and pounded pavements like their lives depended on it (spoiler alert: turns out their lives did depend on it and they were right all along).
The second camp built a larger wine rack; stockpiled sugary treats and settled down to a four month long Netflix marathon fuelled by anything that wasn’t green. I heard one friend equate the amount her family consumed at every lockdown meal to that on Christmas Day. Food has been the second camp’s constant companion — a sweetener to the big, bad and sour world.
The problem is (and I hate to admit this): the end isn’t really in sight. A second lockdown and winter looms and, if I continue in camp two, so does a new dress size. Maybe Boris has a point.
Tomorrow, I vow to stop eating ginger cake for breakfast, fish and chips for lunch and crumble for supper. I would start today, but I must remove temptation by eating the contents of the cupboards first.
Shadow dweller, shade lurker, human mould and the list goes on and on and on.
‘You don’t like the sun much do you James,’ they say, my friends, cackling as they bathe in unfiltered radiation, looking at me like I’m the idiot.
‘What are your plans this weekend, are you going to haunt the beach with your whiteness?’
Of course I’m not. I wouldn’t go to the beach in the first place, and the only thing worse than being hot with no shade, is to be all of those things but covered in sand.
So, naturally, the past week has been a joy for me, as I’ve re-entered a self imposed lockdown to avoid the death rays from the hydrogen engine in the sky. I’ve enjoyed having arguments about where, exactly, to place our park picnic ‘please, just a little bit of shade, I need it’. If they want to see my party trick of turning into 10 gallons of sweat contained in a t-shirt, well that’s on them.
There’s a certain amount of nuance required when enjoying the sun, which in my case, is little and often. 20 minutes in, followed by 20 minutes out. I’ve never been one who can just sit there, cooking away like prime gammon all day, sweating like a brie in a hot car.
London is a town that doesn’t respond well to heat. There’s rarely a breeze, none of the transport mechanisms appear to have even become mildly aware of the concept of air conditioning and everything, including the people, is sticky. Have you been on the Central Line during a heatwave? An abomination against God. A cylinder of sweat, suffering and pain that even the most unhinged villain would question the morality of using upon one of his victims.
Oh and we have the added bonus of a pandemic this year, which means that when those of us who live in boxes that reach 10 billion degrees in August decide to head to the park to cool off, we’re splashed on the front page of the Daily Whatever, and are promptly shamed for killing the elderly. Terrific fun all round.
There’s an easy solution to all of this, naturally. Ban the sun. Tell it to p&^% off back to whichever bit of space it came from. Remove it from our sky and replace it with a giant UV lamp taped to a zeppelin. Everyone would be happier then, most of all me.
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