Saturday 25 April 2020

Expensive Potatoes

It is Day 30 of Covid-19 lock-down in New Zealand.

After assessing the sky and forecasting a bit of rain, I decided to walk only ten minutes in one direction from home, return to our mailbox, then walk ten minutes in the other direction and return to mailbox and then, as the rain did not happen, I walked the first route again.

So, I passed by our sasanqua camelia hedge four times. The pink and white flowers are just coming out and smell so nice.  I also said "Hello"' four times to the goat that chomps the grass next door.

Then I got a text from a friend - I won't say who - suggesting that, for her own mental health and mine - I go to her house and we sit together on her porch and drink coffee. Instantly, my mind was obsessed completely with the vision of a real latte from her Italian espresso machine. Made from freshly ground beans and velvety steamed milk...

A porch is outside, right? And we could sit more than the required 2 metres apart in our wicker-chairs. Why shouldn't we sneak in a blissful sunny half-hour catching up on each-other's little bubbled world?  We had, after all, both definitely seen more than enough of our husbands. Were we not entitled to a lock-down latte?

Her conscience and mine had an almighty tug-of-war with our caffeine addiction and the latter lost out to common sense. That's not to say that the decision wasn't painful. So close to sipping a heavenly latte accompanied by a dark-chocolate ginger truffle... to having a good-old close and yet so far-too-wicked.

You see, Te Puke has just had a confirmed case of Covid-19. An unknown person is now in isolation and all his/her contacts are being tested too. The virus has crept into our midst!  We must therefore stick to the lock-down rules even more diligently than ever.

Imagine our mug-shots splashed across all the media with savage reports of how this friend and I, double-handedly, managed to devastate the entire kiwifruit industry by drinking coffee! Jeopardise millions of dollars worth of exports.  We'd be reviled and despised by the whole community. Sent to prison with just a scratchy blanket to sleep under and no Coss to keep me warm.  I could see myself sitting forlorn and humiliated in the corner of my cell, accusatory fingers pointing at me from all directions.

Oh, slay me dead, right now!

So, instead of bolting my bubble, I baked a double-batch of Anzac cookies with which to surprise and delight our neighbours tomorrow. I did everything the recipe said - the right amount of rolled oats and coconut - the bubble and froth of baking soda in warm golden syrup and butter - but they turned out sh...ocking.

Not burned. Not ugly. Just a foul baking-soda after-taste.

Coss was too busy at his computer to hear my moans. He had woes of his own as many of his online-students had not even started their lock-down assignments and others were diligent but impossible to understand during question-time due to accents from India, China and Talktooquickistan.

Feeling a tad neglected I sat with a cup of tea and just happened to glance at a shopping docket from my last trip to the supermarket.

What's this? Why did I get charged for Agria potatoes there and then again underneath for something  else that says potato? I hadn't purchased potatoes for anyone else than day. So why the $6.50 charge?  I put on my $2.50 glasses, stared at the long list and finally figured I had paid for a jute potato bag.

Now, I am very happy to pay for a jute potato bag if I purchase a jute potato bag but the jute potato bag was my own from home. To avoid using plastic, To help save the planet.

I recalled how the mistake must have happened. With Covid-19 rules, we shoppers have to pack all our own groceries back into the trolley after paying so I was skipping back and forth between unloading and loading when the shop-assistant must have asked me, "You are buying that bag?" to which I relied, "Yes", thinking she said, " Is that your own bag?"

 No point demanding a refund.  Twas but a mistake. No one's fault.

Rip up the docket!

Thankful for neighbours I don't need to impress with Anzac cookies. Even the sparrows weren't impressed by them and, crazy as it sounds, looked like they were waddling around with tummy aches all afternoon. Only one could fly away.

Thankful for potatoes and a jute bag in which to put them.

Over and out. Actually no, let's re-phrase that in lock-down lingo:

Over and IN!


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