Pandemic diary 53: Romance at the supermarket

Sainsbury's Selly Oak superstore – long queues but moving fast – about 15 mins to the ride.

Every two weeks or so I've been doing the 'big shop' for an 84-year-old family friend with vascular dementia. I phone him on his mobile and we inventory what is left in his fridge and what the use-by dates are on the items. Today I also talked him through how to use his washing machine, which he's had for years but never used because he prefers the laundrette (now closed).

Anyhow there was the longest Covid shopping queue I've yet been in – at 3pm on a Friday afternoon. It took about 15-20 mins to get to the front and I have to say, 90% of people were 'staying alert' but the other 10%… they were totally oblivious to the markings on the ground as they chatted away in the queue. Also, what happened to shopping alone?

Along the shop frontage I heard some very loud squawking, which turned out the be the mating call of the crow. Up above was a male crow, ducking and bowing and beak-to-beak kissing with a female. It was quite the noisy display. These two had the whole supermarket ledge to themselves but she was sitting, and not running away as females often do, so I wondered if there were maybe babies under there. If you shop at Sainso's Selly Oak, look out and tell me if you can see baby crowlets in the next few weeks? [Btw the Blue tit webcam shows that the babies are now all feathered up – see here – although over on jackdaw cam a tawny owl ate all the jackdaw babies and that's how I learned a new word: predation. Brutal!)

It was nice to see a bit of romance at the supermarket, though.

Crow romance: I love you, now go get me some worms.

Inside the shoppers were surprisingly well spaced out, much better than two weeks ago when there were no queues outside but it was like human bumper cars inside. Even the tills had no queues. It felt sort of safe, apart from some ten-percenters hogging the aisles and reaching over you to get their halloumi.

When I dropped off the groceries, my friend had washed and dried his sheets, so that's a big achievement day. I've printed out instructions for him to follow so he can do it again next week. It's never too late to learn new tech.


To the Really Awesome Coffee guy, Phil, in South Brum, who brought me my first latte in two months, with a lemon meringue muffin, via his mobile coffee van. It smelled heavenly and was a 'reward' for work done last week (see goals/reward tip).

And also thanks to Hazel in Perth for the memories – we've both decided we need a bit more silliness in out lives after a follow-up Zoom call, in which we revisited our easy listening covers band project 'The Pleasure Valley Tiara Girls' and our 'Project Ross Project', which ended up becoming a six-page magazine feature and a lead cover story in Minx magazine. Hazel was the kind of flatmate who, when you have a ridiculous wine-fuelled Friday night idea, encourages you to carry it out and also helps you plan it.

Latte and a muffin because you're worth it.

In Pete news, he's now about 20 hours in to this Edward Gorey 'Cat fancy' jigsaw, which looks a lot like a 1970s nylon bedspread my parents used to have.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

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