Fri 3 Apr 2020: the virtual pub

Thank all the non-existent gods that this plague didn’t happen 20 years ago, for today we have video conferencing!

We had a virtual pub quiz at work. You may remember me talking about running one for people in my neighbourhood a coupla weeks ago, but that didn’t happen because not enough people seemed to be interested. That’s taught me a useful lesson, one that I’ve muttered a lot about in the past but I guess it didn’t sink in. That lesson is that just because people are like you in one respect – such as they live near you – doesn’t mean that you’re going to do anything with them or will even like them. The work pub quiz however – we share more in common than I do with people who just by an accident of geography live near me. It went well. These days our communities are not limited by space, and to a certain degree are not limited by time.

Later in the evening I joined a “Virtual Pub” run by The Whisky Exchange. While it was blatantly a marketing event (sorry Billy if you’re reading this) it was a fantastic marketing event. AAAAA++++++++, would be marketed at again, as people say on Ebay. Billy, the moderator, did a great job of directing chat, it was bloody good fun, I’ll do it again. And the marketing worked too, I’m about to place an order for a bottle that was mentioned several times.

Thu 2 Apr 2020: respect the postman

My lunch time stroll today was taken up by delivering cards along three local streets so that people are aware of the food bank – both of the services on offer (not just food parcels, but doing shopping for people in quarantine too), and also that they want more volunteers. I now have much more respect for the local postman.

According to Google Maps, my route was just 1.4 miles, but taking into account all the traipsing up and down paths to front doors it was more like 2.5 according to my pedometer. The distance isn’t the problem – I covered over 150 households in that distance, and without putting much effort in I can easily do 3 miles in an hour for hour after hour after hour, so a postman can too. But modern letter boxes are really bloody annoying. The springs holding them closed are quite stiff and then the draft excluder that is built in to most of them is too, so stuffing a bit of card through them is far fiddlier than I would like it to be, and so putting things through them is slow. Combine that with all the sharp changes of direction, fiddling with the latch on gates and so on, and there’s no way that a postie can do 3mph. I did 2.5 miles in an hour and a quarter.

On the other hand, I think that all the changes of direction instead of just going straight to “cruising speed” for the duration made for better exercise.

Only got yelled at once for delivering what the recipient assumed was junk mail.

Wed 1 Apr 2020: alcohol and drugs

Depending on which source you read, alcohol sales in supermarkets and the like have been up between 20 and 60% over the last couple of weeks. Not entirely surprising considering that we can’t go to the pub any more.

I’ve got through as much wine since retreating to the Plague Bunker as I do in a normal year (about half of it went into cooking, which I’m doing more of as I can’t eat out and am also home for lunch as well as dinner) and am also beginning to make a dent in the spirits collection. The first week saw me finish a bottle of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s 16 yr old cask strength Glenlivet; the second a bottle of their 16 yr old cask strength Nikka from Japan. And this evening I cracked open a bottle of “Classic Cask” 17 yr old bourbon. Distilled in 1985, bottled in 2002, gathered dust until 2020. It’s bloody lovely, and looking it up online it turns out that I could have sold the unopened bottle for a thousand Yankee-dollars. I didn’t pay anything like that for it, probably no more than 50 quid. But considering that I’m also barely touching beer, I’m not actually drinking significantly more than normal, which is good.

I took a well-needed break from a frustrating problem at work by taking a delivery job with the food bank in the afternoon. They wanted someone with a car to pick some drugs up at the pharmacy and deliver them to someone who was staying at home. Looking on the map it was about a 3¾ mile round trip, so I did it on foot and felt much better for it when I got home. I’ve also picked up some cards from the food bank to deliver to people around some of the nearby streets so that they know that the service exists.