I have to tell you that Mr B is somewhat deficient in what people are calling The Blitz Spirit. He is more akin to Private Whatsisname in “Dad’s Army” who faced every threat, real or imaginary, with the
agonised declaration: “We’re doomed! We’re doomed!”
I shouldn’t joke; I don’t know, after all, how well equipped I am myself
with the so-called spirit. Time will undoubtedly tell. At the moment I am determinedly (some might say, manically) cheerful but, as Mr B keeps telling me, gloomily, it is Early Days.
The best example of the Blitz Spirit in peacetime which I saw for myself was the day lightning struck our house and the house next door. Mr B was in the kitchen peeling potatoes (yes, he used to be extremely handy with a peeler) when
he heard a shriek from the living room which was me reacting to the TV appearing to blow up. We were extremely lucky in that there wasn’t too much damage - except that everything remotely connected to entertainment like the TV, the radio, the sound system,
was rendered impotent. This meant, I liked to tell friends when I was recounting our Shocking Experience, that we actually had to talk to each other to keep ourselves amused.
It turned out that we had been far luckier than our next door neighbour, Joyce, who arrived on our doorstep to tell us that her house had suffered a direct hit. Mr B, ever the Knight in Shining Armour, went back to her place, armed with a Trusty Torch.
What he saw was truly shocking (excuse the pun) - there was no power at all, and every electricity point had sprung out from the walls. There was no way, we told our neighbour, that she could sleep there. We had a cosy spare bedroom, we coaxed her, with a
bed so comfortable that we were perfectly happy to sleep in it ourselves when visitors requisitioned our own bed.
But Feisty Joyce grew up in the War Years and
was having none of it. She would simply go to bed, pull the blankets over her head, go to sleep - and deal with everything the following morning. Nothing would dissuade her; we spent the rest of the evening trying desperately to get in touch with her daughter,
reasoning (incorrectly as it turned out) that she would have more influence than we had had on her indomitable mother.
In a contrary way, it did teach me
a valuable lesson - that people don’t offer help unless they really want to give it and that it is far, far better to accept gracefully than to turn down their kindness. Which is, let me say, no reflection on dear Joyce who was an inspiration to me in
so many ways.
I am, therefore, trying to combine a strong element of the Blitz Spirit with grateful acceptance of the many offers of help I have received. We are
only a day into Social Isolation and I am already feeling satisfyingly close to my friends and neighbours. Albeit at a distance, you understand.
There are some
problems. When I tried to access Ocado’s website (other delivery companies may be similarly unavailable) I was told that I was number 3255 out of 8424 in the queue. Every time the page refreshed, my number in the queue stayed the same while the number
in the queue kept on climbing. Apparently I was not to refresh the page or close it, but to wait for an hour. Six hours later, the website disappeared from my screen altogether...
I am also, it seemed, somewhat distracted. Not at all my usual sharp-witted (sort of) self. I only realised this when I discovered that I had put the wrong addresses on the two greetings cards I had written. Had I not discovered my mistake, my great-nephew,
Ben, would have received an anniversary card to celebrate his twelfth birthday and I would have marked the fifteenth anniversary of Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her fella with a card depicting a number of super heroes.
I need to get a grip. I need to be more like Joyce...