Day Fourteen

Babe returns from NHS hour at Sainsbury’s, which begins at 7.30 am. No fist fighting in the pasta or loo roll aisles, mainly because there is no pasta or loo roll left in the northern hemisphere, except for in Jamie Oliver’s underground pantry.

Instead, for loo roll, we strip bark from the ash trees in the back garden and blossom from the pear trees, which have bloomed just in time. We come up with a new brand of pear to sell when this is all over: Pandemic Pears, with the tagline, perfect pears for when the loo roll is scarce!

We start looking into possible suppliers, other than our neighbour’s pear trees. If this thing explodes, we could run short very quickly.

Babe also confirms that the only things left to buy in the supermarket were things we don’t need like bicarbonate of soda, lime cordial, “Basics” pork pies and scourers.

Hear a scream. Pad into the front room to see Rhubarb clutching her foot and screaming, “Blood daddy, blood. A piece of glass cut me.”

I love the way kids bring inanimate objects to life, as though the glass were an evil baddy in a film, attacking her with itself.

She shoves her foot in my face and I see a tiny sliver of glass poking out and a drop of blood on the sole of her foot. Babe arrives and carries her off.

“Will I die daddy?” she calls back to me.

“No poppet, but your foot might drop off.”

Rhubarb howls.

Babe scowls at me.

“Sorry poppet, daddy made a poorly timed joke about unnecessary podiatric amputation.”

Rhubarb looks confused.

“No. Your foot won’t drop off. Mummy will fix it and you’ll be fine.”

Special chips in, “What if there’s more glass on the rug daddy?”

“Good point. I’ll get the vacuum cleaner.”

Every time I refer to a Hoover, I don’t call it a Hoover any more. It’s a vacuum cleaner, which is its proper name. But I didn’t know that until Dyson arrived on the scene.

Some people in the world of branding think this has had a terrible effect on Hoover sales. When a brand name becomes a verb, they say, the brand has become one with the language and culture. It’s the highest expression of brand value and success.

I say bullocks. It’s just a vacuum cleaner, or a Hoover. Tomato tomarto. I have never bought a Hoover. And I wouldn’t buy one just because it was called a Hoover, which is also the verb to hoover, which means to suck.

Take the Miele into the front room which, incidentally, is no longer called the lounge because we don’t lounge in it, we do PE with Joe Wicks and his colourful nipples in it.

Have a sudden realisation. Front room isn’t accurate either. Put forward a motion to Babe to rename the front room to be The Joe Wicks Boudoir.

She shakes her head and puts a plaster on Rhubarb’s foot.

I vacuum / hoover / suck the rug in the “front room” and try to copy what the lawnmowers do on football grounds. I alternate the direction of sucking and make neat rows where the fibres flow in opposite directions.

Feel proud. I have accomplished something today. It’s 15.56.

Rhubarb and Special run into the “front room” and spoil my work of art.

Feel reluctant to go on. Retreat to the bedroom and initiate fourteen minutes of melancholy for simpler times.