There’s a number of people I have met because of the plague. Pre-plague, there were regulars I would greet on my way into Farnham, give cheery good mornings to in Starbucks and Nero’s and generally see most days. Since the plague struck I still see people but it’s as if there’s been a swap. The ones I now say hello to are different.
One of the new people was a young mother. Whenever I saw her, early in the plague restrictions, she was smiling and happy, pushing her stroller belying the fact that there was a deadly virus surrounding all of us. She was always ready with a smile and a hello. I don’t know her name so I’m going to call her The Sunshine Mum.
Then I stopped seeing her. I hadn’t seen the Sunshine Mum for ages then one day, in Castle Street, I saw her coming towards me with another young mother.
Obviously I smiled and said hello, while she did likewise. I said I was worried when I hadn’t seen her. She said she’d been feeling poorly but would be back to walking soon.
Soon was a long time coming. I still haven’t seen her. Until today, that is.
I was walking along Long Garden Walk when, coming towards me, I saw her with a man who I assume is her partner with her son on his shoulders. The Sunshine Mum was clearly pregnant.
She smiled, said hello and then explained that the reason she’d not been walking was because she’d been unwell with her pregnancy. When I’d seen her in Castle Street, she knew she was pregnant but she hadn’t told her friend (the other mother) so couldn’t say anything.
It was shortly after we’d parted that I realised how much I suffer from routine. Because I do the same thing day in day out, I assume other people do as well. So, when I don’t see someone I figure something terrible must have happened. If anything, it’s my adherence to routine that’s the problem.
To change things up a little, I walked down to West Street by a different route today.
Harts Yard is where the Tindle Newspaper offices are. They used to print the paper in the building straight ahead in the photo. I can only imagine that it used to be a hive of activity. These days it’s a quiet little walk though to West Street.
I had to visit Boots and Smith’s today so, rather than retrace my steps, I had to go via the Borough, coughing and choking from the traffic. Oh, how I remember the glory that was Lockdown when the air was breathable and traffic non-existent. Still, I managed and eventually arrived home dragging my full trolley behind me.
In the true tradition of routine, and it being a Friday, I set to work.
It’s hard to imagine but I appear to be closing in on the end of the Epsom and Ewell memorials. By the end of the day I had a mere 17 people left.
Today, this happened
The Terang Express reported today in 1914 that, at a meeting of the Colac Dairying Company of Victoria, a Mr Osbourne declared that Australia was passing through a ‘serious crisis’. The war, he claimed, was going to put a heavy strain on the availability of dairy products, especially butter.
It was not just the consumer he was talking about but also the producer. It was getting to the point where they couldn’t ship Australian butter anywhere because ships were otherwise engaged. Also, given the number of young men who had left for the war, there were few workers left to produce then cart things around. Mr Osbourne was clearly unaware of women at this point.
Mr Osbourne’s speech was all a bit doom and gloom but, in retrospect, he was clearly 100% correct given the rationing that very quickly descended over the planet. Though he was utterly wrong about there being no workers.
Also, today in 1887, Thomas Simms was christened in St Andrews Parish Church, Ancoats, Manchester. He died of his wounds in Epsom on 17 October 1914, an early victim of the First World War. It’s unlikely he ever tasted Australian butter.