Every day it steps up to a different level; there are forces at work out there beyond our knowing. The forces that were previously misty and distant – working in the background and pulling the strings – they’re closer now. They’re on the streets of the smallest towns and they’re face to face with people whose only training for this sort of thing is through the university of Netflix or Amazon Prime. They’re buying up all of the toilet rolls.
Seriously, I went to Aldi for toilet rolls an couple of hours ago and there were none. The shelves were empty where there should have been a collection of ply and scent and package size. The kitchen rolls were still there in number – things aren’t quite there yet. And also: Lidl’s over the road; there’s a budget warehouse next door to it and a convenience store next to that. No toilet roll in any of them. It is getting serious.
I asked the girl at the till if she thought that maybe people had started using more all of a sudden. She didn’t laugh and that’s ok. I don’t know what sort of a day she’s had. I also realise that I’m one of the people panic buying toilet roll, except that my panic comes from the fact that we have no toilet roll in the house. If we don’t manage to stock up tomorrow I will have to start stealing rolls from school.
They’ve bought new software and are giving out laptops to all staff. The software will let us teachers let all of our students into our homes and ensure that the school fees still get paid; that the education continues. I suppose a couple of hundred laptops is small beer compared to the cost of unpaid fees.
Trump has shut the border to the US; Ireland is closing schools, just like Portugal and numerous other countries around the world. The UK has more cases now that the Wuhan epicentre had when it was locked-down. Still, we keep it cool; we do the right thing at the right time. It is infuriatingly British but probably the most sensible option. Time will tell on that.
The world seems smaller; the country tighter. For once there is an issue that binds us; there is a common concern that we all share. It is so different to the Brexit trauma of the previous few years that pulled us in all sorts of directions. As a nation; as a world, we can pull together and each do our bit. We will come through it at the other end and compare notes; mourn the losses; tell the stories and remember that when it really comes down to it, we are quite good.