Coronavirus Diary 21 – Food parcels & emergency manouvres!

It’s 10 weeks now since I last earned a penny and couldn’t work due to the tube train incident which apart from the very odd trip out has been when my social isolation began in earnest.

I’ve been in receipt of a weekly food delivery from friends; at least what they can find that I can actually eat.  I’ve also had some  food parcels sent to me from kind people I’ve taken on tours, sometimes from several years ago.  This week even a money-gram arrived from a group of touring friends who label themselves as The Magnificent 7. (You can see several posts I wrote on the tour starting with   and search the tags or the linked stories for Scotland and you’ll likely see several more).  It’s good to know I make such a nice impact on peoples lives that they would do this.

Before I was diagnosed with my gluten and dairy issues, I could easily shop for food for a whole week for £10 or less.  I still can sometimes, a larger proportion of my grocery bills seem to be drinks.  Partly because I can’t really eat the foods I love and I’m often not that well to eat something substantial even when I want to.  Drinks offer me different flavours and enjoyments that others would get from food though they are proportionately more expensive.

On Wednesday morning I received a 1.1kg joint of Beef.  I’ve never seen so much beef before nor ever had that much in the house even when a boy.  I do really like meat; I just don’t eat it that much.  Not for any vegetarian issues; I perhaps bizarrely value plants similarly to animals and feel just as bad to eat a lettuce or even pluck a rose from the garden as to have some yummy meat.  It’s just that I’m not that much into food and when you cook for yourself it’s a bit of a an effort to go to the extravagance of making a nice meal.

When you come from a modest background, food is also one of the key ways of saving money too.  I remember my Grandma and Grandad often having friendly disputes when out shopping as Grandad would say it was a waste of money to pay 20 or 30 pence for a cup of tea in a Cafe when you can make you own for almost free.  I have to say I kind of agree with him and in the 20 years I worked in an office, didn’t once buy a fancy lunch but brought one from home.

I don’t think I even ate in a restaurant until my 20’s.  It just wasn’t something my family did and even now it is a treat to me rather than a part of my monthly or weekly routine.  At least it means I’m quite a good cook; I make all my food from scratch and can make everything from bread to wine to pies and incidentally the best pizza ever as well as obviously a great British roast.  Which I guess is handy as I muse the best way to enjoy my beef.

Unfortunately for me when I went to collect my food parcel on my front step after the deliveryman had gone, a man was walking on the pavement just a metre (3 feet) or so from me on his phone telling someone he was feeling so much better than before.  He wasn’t looking at me and we were outside and I faced the other way but the paranoid in me is counting out 5 days or so until I can nominally breathe a sigh of relief.  This all happened on Wednesday morning and I write this on Friday afternoon so if I wake up feeling well on Saturday and Sunday then that will be a relief.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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3 Responses to Coronavirus Diary 21 – Food parcels & emergency manouvres!

  1. Contractions of Fate says:

    I’m sure you’ll be OK, Stephen, as long as he didn’t cough in your face. But a little paranoia in these trying times can be helpful. Since my asthma attack I wash the containers of food deliveries and don’t drink directly out of bottles and cans. I wash them first and then use a freshly washed clean glass! I even wash my hands after opening letters. You never know who has touched them or licked them! And I wash my hands before AND after chopping, peeling, preparing, cutting and cooking, and before eating. I’m half expecting my hands to shrink!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you, so far so good. 24 hours more I guess before I’m officially past the peak incubation period. I am very similar to you, my hands are as rough as dinosaur skin! I wash anything fresh but even in any sort of packing that won’t go bad I leave for several days in the bag and then like you wash my hands before and after touching them. I also leave my mail for a few days and again wash my hands after opening it. There were some teenagers I saw on the news who were going round licking items on supermarket shelves. It’s jacket potato, beans and grated goats cheese today!


      • Contractions of Fate says:

        Yes, those idiots got busted and are going to jail! It’s like the imbeciles who rob someone, then show themselves and all their loot on Facebook! Primary contenders for the Darwin Award!

        Yep, microwaved “baked” potato for me, with beans! I actually like them µ-waved. It’s the fluffy interior I love, more even than a crispy skin. Spuds must be america’s greatest export, except maybe sweet potatoes!


        Liked by 1 person

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