Last night we celebrated another lockdown birthday in the house as my eldest turned 17. As no-one from outside our household was allowed to join us as they normally do, a couple of grandparents linked up by video for the cake and the obligatory tuneless rendition of Happy Birthday (without washing our hands). The double-height sour cream chocolate cake with a marble icing centre looked like a giant Oreo biscuit and the 17 candles were getting a little low by the time we had found suitable camera angles and lighting, and roughly the right pitch for the song.SCHEDULE A CALL
We’ve got a novelty cake slice that says ‘Have Your Cake and Eat It’ written on it, and whilst that sentiment seemed appropriate for last night’s festivities, it probably isn’t one that would be good for us to live by right now.
The original lockdown in the spring and early summer helped a lot of us realise what is important and what is not. Toilet roll was high on that first list, as was yeast and flour. Apparently when the English are not allowed out we like to bake a lot of bread. We also walked a lot to burn off those extra refined carbs. Like an overgrown new year's resolution, many of us also decided that our lifestyles were in need of change; we would read more and drink less, be more active and spend less time on social media, make do with what we have and buy less of what we don’t need. We may have lost a bit of that vision recently and as Lockdown 2.0 kicks in we have a chance to re-assess again.
Alongside the new restrictions comes the issue of Christmas shopping. It has been pointed out that the closing of high street shops and the request that we all cosy up to the radiator for 4 weeks plays directly into the hands of the big online retailers, particularly that amazing, extra large one with the huge warehouses, that gives you free, next day delivery for just about anything you could want. It’s just too easy to use that store because it does it so well. And it does it from your phone. Want a copy of Free Willy on Blue Ray to watch tomorrow night? No problem, just swipe right and the big whale is on his way. Need a new outfit to wear in again? Press the Buy Now button and the oversized jogging bottoms will be left in your blue recycling bin sometime on Thursday. The deliver guy will even take a photo of the them for you.
The problem is that if we don’t put a little effort into looking elsewhere for what we might be after, there might not be much of a high street to come back to. We should try to ‘think global, act local’. Look out for the smaller stores that make their own stuff, the companies that give back, or trade as fairly as possible, or even do one for one. Go to the butchers or the bakers. And if you can find a candlestick maker then well done - three of a kind beats a pair!
Of course we have the right to do what we want but it’s not always beneficial. Maybe we can’t have our cake, and eat it. We can however, have our bread and toast it because the bless-ed yeast makers have probably got their act together by now.
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