It’s been a fruitful two days dans le jardin de la maison Strachan. Not only have I mowed both lawns, undertaken border work, along with jet blasting a patio, I’ve also learned the French translation of ‘in the garden at the Strachan home’. Each task was undertaken with Verve and Gusto. Well, apart from learning the smidgen of French, which I did after Verve and Gusto had gone home.

I find jet blasting the patio a highly cathartic garden maintenance exercise. Removing the ingrained detritus resultant from the seemingly endless winter rainfall, exposing a ‘good as new’ paving slab is surprisingly therapeutic. Using as a metaphor that every mark blasted from the slabs contained the COVID-19 virus, I experienced a raising in spirits similar to my first exposure to cheesecake.

Additionally, I’ve found the enjoyment levels go up a notch if you incorporate a good soaking of a family member during this work. A word of warning, though, never soak Verve and Gusto as they are right miserable so and so’s, who won’t find the funny side.

Not only did the patio receive a much needed spruce up, but so did its adjacent wall. This construction built by my late father in 1990, once again bearing the sandy hued aesthetics of Yorkshire stone. As opposed to the noir colouring of Whitby jet stone, which it bore at 9am when I inadvertently incinerated my breakfast toast. This a yarn I elaborate upon in the narrative Burnt.

With the aural accompaniment of the BBC News channel in the background, yours truly half listens to the latest updates of UK life under COVID-19’s wrath.

Dipping in and out of this broadcast as I endeavour to relay my locutions to paper, the broadcast provides virus contraction/death statistics, more governmental pleas for the populace to adhere to social distancing edicts, along with eta’s of a time the triffids are due to arrive.

The starkness of the coronavirus situation bringing to mind the hysteria and fear reflected in the first verse of Manchester band The Smiths’ 1987 anthem Panic. A tune which currently repeat plays on my cranial jukebox.

These lyrics not penned with the agenda of highlighting life within a crisis torn world or UK. However, they were inspired by the horrific Chernobyl disaster. Legend has it, according to Wiki, that Marr and Morrissey were inspired to write the refrain after listening to BBC Radio 1 when a news report announced the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Straight afterwards, BBC disc jockey Steve Wright played the song “I’m Your Man” by pop duo Wham!  Allegedly, hearing about Chernobyl, then, seconds later, being exposed to the upbeat ‘I’m Your Man'” rankled with certain members of The Smiths.

Marr subsequently stated that the account was exaggerated, although the band later commissioned a T-shirt featuring Wright’s portrait and the phrase “Hang the DJ!

Footnote – DJ Steve Wright is not nicknamed ‘Two wrongs’, as in the adage ‘Two wrongs don’t make a wright!’

The Morrissey/Johnny Marr collaboration commences with the lyrics;-

Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?
The leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself
Hopes may rise on the grasmere
But honey pie, you’re not safe here
So you run down
To the safety of the town
But there’s panic on the streets of Carlisle
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
I wonder to myself.