woman wearing a white mask leaning against a fence at dusk
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

I don’t know about you but life has been a bit surreal these last couple of days. As Coronavirus cases increase, so does the sense of impending doom. On Thursday in particular as we waited for the announcement coming out of the Cobra meeting, our office felt like that bit in Titanic just before the ship hits the iceberg, or the moment before the ship breaks in two. You know something is going to happen; you don’t know when or what or how but there is a shift in the atmosphere, I think the term is ‘pregnant with expectation’. As it happens, nothing has actually changed, and no one knows yet whether that’s a good or bad thing. As with most things with this government you’re not sure whether their choice to delay the implementation of more stringent measures is the right thing (which is entirely possible) or if they are catastrophically incompetent.

Living in a state of such uncertainty is not comfortable, is it? Most of us are pretty worried even as we try to rationalise our fear by trying to ‘put things into perspective’. I’ve seen the list on Facebook, ranking all the other terrible things that people are constantly dying of, with Covid-19 towards the bottom of the page, cosily nestled between Leishmaniasis (yeah, me neither) and yellow fever. Yep, I feel so cheered up right now, knowing we’ve just added a new item to the top 20 death menu!

All things considered, I’m doing pretty well. My phobia is more directly linked to vomiting bugs so I’m not experiencing high levels of anxiety, just the normal kind for the occasion, not great but better than nearly passing out. I’m not too worried for myself or the children – or indeed Badgerman whose immune system, strengthened by years spent in the midst of dirty teenagers, pretty much guarantees he will get to look after us all should we catch the virus.

If you’ve clicked on the post thinking I was going to tell you how to plan for the apocalypse, I’m sorry to disappoint. I have not been bulk-buying for the end of the world, neither will I start bulk-buying now. It is a terrible selfish idea, so don’t do it. My existing Brexit stockpile however, a small affair I’ve been working on for the last few months in preparation for the worse case scenario of no-deal/end of transition without a working EU trade deal, has showed itself to be a nice bit of foresight, but not quite foresighted enough. Not least because, up to the 31st January just gone, we were well on the way to building a nice little fort of toilet paper around the bog. However, since that date, we have slowly but surely wiped our way through it because I thought it wouldn’t be needed for another few months. Oh the irony.

This said, should things quickly escalate further, aside from having to hunt for the early leaves of spring to wipe our butts, we will be able to keep going at home for a while thanks to the B-Stockpile. We have enough rice, pasta, tinned chopped tomatoes and olive oil to last a few weeks. It’s a sad coincidence but the Covid-19 crisis has been quite informative on this, giving us an insight into the products that might disappear fastest from our supermarkets should the worst come to pass. Aside from the overnight disappearance of all toilet paper, hand-wash and soap, people in my area have also panic bought painkillers, dry pasta (but not pasta sauce) and, to my surprise, antipasti. I never thought tinned sun-dried tomatoes, peppers and artichokes would be the first to go. They are not on my emergency food list, in fact I can’t even picture what kind of emergency list needs antipasti on it “Darling please don’t forget the tinned peppers, you know the tapenade doesn’t taste right without them! I’ve seen the neighbours’ underground bunker and they have a whole shelf for the caviar“. With that in mind, when the threat of contamination subsides and the shops return to normal, I’ll restart the Brexit stockpiling (one extra item in every shop, not bulk-buying – never bulk-buying!) and in addition to starting again with the toilet paper pile, I’m also planning to add salt and flour to the list so we can make our own bread and pizza dough.

You may think it’s all a big over-reaction, and it may be. I know I’d rather play it safe and find myself mid-January 2021 with too many tins of lentils rather than face the alternative. I’m not planning for the end of the world but I am prepping for a few weeks’ disruption. If the current situation has made you rethink your Brexit plan but you don’t know where to start, fear not! Wait until the current health crisis abates then think again. And you don’t have to work it out yourself, thankfully clever people have done it already, like Jack Monroe’s Brexit stockpile post, it covers all the basics and more.