We just checked our Tesco delivery order due tomorrow. About half the items were “unavailable” including odd things like lemonade. Is the factory struck down with coronavirus, has the import of fruit stopped for the same reason or are people stock piling lemonade ? I think we should be told. But, for good or ill, we tried adding a few items which seemed to adhere satisfactorily so now we wait and see. And wonder if we have to wash or sanitise (somehow) all the items once they have been left. I have never tried washing a packet of bread rolls. Perhaps plastic will come into its own during this epidemic.
I have started reading – or to be more accurate – re-reading “The Box of Delights” by John Masefield. I remember that I first heard of this when it was performed or read on Children’s Hour, so that’s going back a bit, and I was enchanted. I was also enchanted by the music which topped and tailed it, but I cannot now say what that was although I definitely knew at one time because part of the educational value of Children’s Hour was that such a piece of music would get talked about and explained so that you knew both the title and the composer. A consultation with Wikipedia discloses that it was produced on the programme in 1943, 1948, and 1955. In 1943 I would have been 10 years old, 1948 – 15, and 1955 – 22. My guess is that it must have been 1943 or 1948 as I had left home by 1955. The music was apparently “The Carol Symphony” by Victor Hely Hutchinson – a well known name in those far off days. At that time I had never heard of C. S. Lewis, and so not of “Narnia”, but looking back I can see that there are similarities between them in the fantasy element, and I was reading recently about George MacDonald a much older fantasy writer. I am sure that I read his tale, “At The Back of The North Wind” once, because John Ruskin apparently liked it, but I can remember very little about it now.
I have also today acquired “To War with Whitaker – The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly, 1939 – 45″ which was written about in the current edition of “Slightly Foxed” and sounded good. And waiting in the wings, so to speak, are three volumes of “A History of Britain” by Simon Schama which I spotted in “Reading Lasses” in Wigtown but omitted to buy. I messaged them and they very kindly put them on one side for me. I posted a cheque to them and then we had one of those named storms with very strong winds. Since the A75 to Newton Stewart runs alongside Wigtown Bay for much of its length we deemed it wisest to stay at home until it abated – which took a week. Then we went and collected the books and had a good feed in their café and met the lovely reading lasses again (they really are lovely). I confess to making great use of abebooks.co.uk and was greatly upset to learn that it is owned by Amazon that bane of the book world. But, as with all things Amazon, Mr Bezos has grabbed the monopoly and we have little choice – and Bezos’ empire or not, it also works well and is cheap. So we have to go with the flow.