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Life In The Slow Lane

Many years ago a quirky acquaintance, who’d a penchant for mixing metaphors/idioms, was heard to declare that “You’re only ever ten feet from the nearest hat.” An inadvertently humorous take on the correct adage, which states the ten foot differential was from a rat; not an item of millinery.

In my middle-age, though, this eccentric misquoting of the adage does bear some basis in fact. These days, I’ve several items of headwear whose presence is required to keep GJ Strachan’s ever thinning bonce warm. Along with the requirement to cover my unruly follicles which I’m unable to have trimmed due to COVID-19 induced lockdown. The latter a topic I touched upon in my narrative The One With The Yeti.

Yours truly’s headwear, collected since hair follicles commenced a hastier departure de ma tete, including several caps, beanie hats and a straw trilby. A fact that’ll no doubt aid your slumber….. The opening sentence of this paragraph my entry for 2020’s award of Prose Most Likely To Induce Narcolepsy…… Get voting folks; after you’ve woken back up of course…… There’s no rush!

As I perch in my dining room with French doors ajar, I’m being treated to wonderfully melodic birdsong from blackbirds nesting in the clematis enveloping the back fence. Their bequeathal a beautiful lament; which I’m reliably informed is also available in most back gardens.

Occasionally, I see the adult birds pop out from the climbing plant which affords them stealth from neighbourhood predators. While operating overtly, interspersed with several protective surveys of their environment, they peck heartily for lawn residing worms.

Yesterday, during one of their protective glances, they spotted me at the door watching them, leading to their hasty retreat to destination clematis. I’d like to think this hasty fleeing was resultant from normal self-preservation responses ordinarily utilised by garden birds when humans are in their vicinity…… As opposed to the avian spotting me warning his partner “Quick, Strachan’s there!….. Let’s get off sharpish before he tells us that bloody tedious anecdote about the hats he owns!!”

If the reason for their hot-winged escape was the latter, I’m gonna start charging the little sods rent for squatting in my garden!….. On reflection, though, in addition to obvious communication issues between landlord and tenant, as they could only remunerate yours truly with worms, twigs, and moss, I’ll strike that plan.


As of this morning, statistics show COVID-19 has taken the lives of around 75,000 people around the globe. While some of the countries affected by the pathogen are seeing early signs of cases and fatalities peaking in their nations, we in the UK are still on the upward curve towards impact pinnacle.

This dreadful loss of life, along with the stoicism, courage and determination of our carers is truly humbling. Personally, I feel utterly helpless and wish yours truly could undertake something tangible to contribute to the effort; instead of playing the metaphorical role of spurned conscript whose flat feet keep him at home.

Consequently, I feel almost guilty not being as badly impacted as many unfortunate individuals during this partial lockdown. This diminishing of impact a result of having opportunity to carry out productive minor projects.

Additionally, I’ve been able to attain fresh air and exercise while undertaking garden maintenance; occasionally walking to a small reasonably well-stocked store for further physical benefit. My time also filled by being afforded several hours a day to journal our tainted existence under COVID-19’s wrath.

Anyhow, it’s time I brought this essay a conclusion. I’m unsure as yet how I’m gonna fill my time this afternoon, however as my mum’s got the Gtech on charge, I suspect one of the tasks will be vacuuming.

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