Greetings fellow self isolators ! And also greetings to those who aren’t, I guess. No point curtailing my possible readership !!
I’m 2 days into my 8th week of only leaving the house for my one allowed exercise walk as I’m kinda in the lesser vulnerable category for both my age and health issues. I started before the official lockdown rules were announced here in the UK as I’m nothing if not a semi professional hypochondriac so at the first hint that I might be in danger, I pulled up the drawbridge at “chez Mac” and become even more of a hermit than usual.
For the first few weeks my lovely neighbours, who always went supermarket shopping, let me add a few basic items to their shopping lists….you know, bread, milk, eggs, butter, chocolate, Amaretto…..the usual necessities ! I felt guilty doing this, so last week I finally took the plunge and became a member of the online grocery shopping fraternity, something I’d resisted over the years as I actually enjoyed going to supermarkets, if only to meet and talk with complete strangers to perk up my social life. Judging by the number of startled customers and staff I encountered, I doubt this was always reciprocated.
Now you’ve more chance of hearing Donald Trump saying something intelligent than getting a home delivery slot these days so I plumped for the “click & collect” option instead and when my lovely neighbours did the same thing and agreed to pick up my order too, we were off and running, Different days, but still, off and running.
So last week we all broke our virgin online ordering status, me on Tuesday and them on Wednesday and it worked a treat. In case any reader is not familiar with the process, as, initially we were, let me explain.
I went onto the supermarket site of choice, in our case Tesco as it’s closest, and registered for online shopping. Simples. Then I picked the “click & collect” option and picked a time slot for collecting my order at the store. These are 2 hr slots throughout the day and there are usually plenty available, although sometimes it shows none are available for 3 weeks and when you check the next day, loads are. Not sure how that happens but that’s been my experience so far.
After picking my time slot, it came up immediately as “BOOKED” for me and for the next 2 hrs I can generate my order which, as you’d expect, initially took a while to do as I had to search for lots of items. Subsequent orders will be easier as I’ll have favourites set up and can even recall previous order items.
So, now on the screen I saw my order building up and, frighteningly, the £££££ amount building up as well. By the end of the 2 hr “shopping” period I had to have completed my order and moved on to the confirmation and payment section or everything I’d done would have timed out and been lost. Having remortgaged my house and sold a kidney to pay for the order, I was now golden and had been sent my order number and itemised order details via email and I could sit back and chill.
Now for the good part.
An order over £25 incurs no charge for this service and as you can imagine, that’s not a hard limit to achieve, even for a single person.
Any time up to almost midnight before the order date, I can go back in and update it with more items or delete any I’ve had second thoughts about. This is VERY useful on several levels, one being that sometimes when creating the initial order, a product may not be available. A day or so later, after checking, it can often become available and I can then add it to the order.
The price generated is only an estimate as items like fruit & veg need to be weighed at picking time in the store but if last week was anything to go by, it was only a few pence out and as you pay by credit card, the final cost at picking time is what you actually pay as they have the card image. A bit like your bill when you leave a hotel, having emptied the mini bar and (accidentally) watched one of THOSE movies at bed time !
Then, on the day and within the 2 hr slot I’d chosen, I would drive to the supermarket and in an area of the car park set aside for the facility, I’d show a member of staff my order number and it would arrive all bagged up from where it was stored a few hours earlier in the relevant ambient, chilled or frozen section of the store or warehouse. I’m not sure where. It would get loaded into my car so no interaction takes place (not sure if this is only during the virus period) and off home I’d go.
Of course when I say I, I mean my lovely neighbour(s).
This week we’ve upped our game and got more organised. We’ve managed to get the same slot on the same day (Wed) and so both orders can be picked up together and should be easy to separate back here as they’ll be in different bags. The limit on the number of “click & collect” items is 80 which is more than enough for me but might be tight for a family. Of course I can take up any slack if my neighbours reach their 80 limit as after all, we’re all in this together, as the celebrities like to remind us, ad nauseam.
The fact they’re telling us this from their luxury Californian homes probably doesn’t go down too well if you’re hearing about it in a rented high rise flat in a dodgy inner city location.
But hey, bless them anyway, eh ? Right, on to something different……..
We had a gloriously warm and sunny April here in God’s wet room, as the UK is usually termed most of the time. No rain at all and usually not a cloud in the clear blue sky. This made being in lockdown particularly frustrating for most people and especially for those living in the aforementioned inner city high rise flats with no real access to even a garden. Hard to get much exercise in a balcony flower box and if on the 15th floor, a bit dangerous too !
Living as I do in my luxury North Leeds home, I’ve been able to stroll around my extensive Capability Brown designed garden and despite furloughing most of the staff, this lockdown hasn’t impacted me that much in terms of getting out and about whilst remaining within my property.
Ok I can’t even keep a straight face typing that !
But I was able to go out most days (we’re allowed one exercise walk per day as long as it’s local – no driving to a nice location miles away and then walking) when the weather was so good and racked up daily 3 or 4 mile walks at 3mph to keep up my Olympian levels of fitness. Currently the weather has returned to normal, wet and cold, and so, as I’m fortunate enough to have a treadmill and static exercise bike at home (bought decades ago after my CABG surgery), I use them instead.
Again, looking at my personal and fortunate situation, I’ve been retired for 18 years and thankfully don’t have any job or income issues. Yes my savings have taken a huge hit and may take years, if ever, to recover but that’s hardly a worry compared to what many are going through. I can’t even imagine the stress levels across the world right now and sometimes when I look at the statistics about total cases/deaths caused by the virus and compare them to cases/deaths from seasonal flu, I wonder if it’s all been an over reaction.
This is from a flu article on the WHO web site………
Illnesses range from mild to severe and even death. Hospitalization and death occur mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths.
In industrialized countries most deaths associated with influenza occur among people age 65 or older. Epidemics can result in high levels of worker/school absenteeism and productivity losses. Clinics and hospitals can be overwhelmed during peak illness periods.
Sound familiar ?
Currently the worldwide statistics for the virus are 3.6 million cases and 249,000 deaths.
Remarkably similar and yet did many of us even know about the flu figures before this ? I didn’t. Yes we can be inoculated against flu which may make us believe we are safe but it’s not guaranteed and it’s not available to everyone, worldwide.
Just something to think about, in a rare moment of seriousness for me.
Right, I think that’s enough for my first post for months and from when I said I’d like to post more going forward. Yeah that didn’t work out too well, did it ?
Time to get back to tv watching, surfing the internet, cleaning the house (yeah right), walking and, oh yes, adding some more chocolate to my Wednesday grocery order.
Remember, stay safe, obey your countries’ social distancing rules, eat lots of comfort foods and no pilates in your high rise flower boxes.
Oh and if you do want to take up some sport for exercise during these desperate times………