The Lockdown Diaries 15: Baked Beans At Dawn


So there was that.

Yuk. Do me a favour, don’t get any kind of cancer, especially this one, it’s really horrible. I’m here, though, now managing the healing process. I just had my first FEB (Full English Breakfast) in three months (right, minus sausage). 

I’ve broken the law every day since Lockdown began on March 23rd because you can’t shield at home and travel to hospitals at the same time. Now come more rules for high-risk patients, but I can’t tell if they allow for trips to castles for the purpose of checking your eyesight.

Dominic Cummings’ excuse for breaking the law remains as ludicrous as the perjury politician Jonathan Aitken committed in court that led him from Eton to Belmarsh Prison and eventually to the priesthood, Catholicism being the natural extension of a rich fantasy life. Why do those who consider themselves superior to us Proles always feel the need to over-explain their lies? ‘Trusty sword of justice’, my arse. (This paragraph made need some unravelling for overseas readers. I’m sure some kind commenter will help).

The endless texts, emails and letters that pop in from the HM Government advice centre on COVID-19 are now beyond anyone’s interest or comprehension. My latest ones include outdated advice, contradictory suggestions and irrelevant notes. The new barriers in our hospital’s supermarket are about three feet high. I am over six feet tall, so if I stood on the line they suggest I could cough over the cashier.

Italy, never the most practical of nations, has come up with elegant plastic boxes to put around sunbathers. They’ll never make it as far as the beach. If they do, after 24 hours they’ll have been smashed, defaced, stolen or rented out by one of the many colourful branches of the mafia that infest that country, news having already come in this week that the mafia has been working with corrupt city officials to take over supplies of PPE.

In London exaggerated politeness is reaching early Victorian levels, which suggests what we suspected all along – that ordinary people are more timid than the government, and that it’s the press that places exaggerated importance on anti-vaxxers and G5 scaremongers* to the detriment of those who quietly and sensibly do the right thing.

I’ve developed my own approach to recovery; I improve my therapy by reading, researching and adding empirical evidence to logic. It takes thought and organisation but you really can improve on the advice of the ‘one size fits all’ brochures they’ll chuck at you. Why suffer 24 hours a day if you can suffer for pre-arranged periods and experience long stretches of relief? I’m not ‘fighting’ cancer; it’s not a battle, just an endurance test.

To think it all through you need a clear mind, and to clear the mind you need to be calm, and to be calm it helps to read a book. So at 3:30 each morning I’m on my terrace sofa with some early breakfast and my Kindle, calibrating its light as an Arabic sky passes from indigo to hesperidian, this being the time of year when London gets just four hours of night.

Nothing is connecting in my head well enough to return to longform writing. There are just unconnected paragraphs that read inelegantly and don’t quite make sense, which leaves me stuck at the level of ‘Girl on a Train’. Some form of brain training may help.

It now appears that my Cancer Bombshell, which exploded on the first day of the Lockdown, will now terminate on the last day of the Lockdown, June 15. It seems appropriate for a fiction writer to admit that you really couldn’t make it up.

There’ll be one more Lockdown Diary entry toward the end of the week, then let’s draw a line under it. There are more interesting subjects to explore.

*A shopkeeper serving the Spouse had a stack of G-5 warning leaflets on his counter, explaining that the new phone masts have been causing his customers to suffer blinding migraines. The Spouse pointed out that they haven’t been turned on yet.


28 comments on “The Lockdown Diaries 15: Baked Beans At Dawn”

  1. Peter Dixon says:

    For new readers or folks from other countries than the mighty Empire (hope this helps Chris);

    Little Dom’s mate, BoJo The White Faced Clown, was in hospital with Something Nasty.

    Little Dom caught it too – who would have thought it since they spent hours together plotting and stuff?

    Little Dom suddenly realised that he had no friends within 70 miles so he drove himself and his family to Durham, where it turned out he had no friends either. Mr Plod did f**k all because nobody (least of all Bojo or Little Dom) had really told him what to do.

    Dom went blind and packed his (ill) wife and (in need of an interview from Social Services) child into his car and drove for 50 miles to a magic castle until he could see again. After that he drove back to the safety of London, (where he should have stayed all the time), only to discover that his list of friends were being sucked into a black hole and he had several thousands of anti-friends, including that MILF newsperson on the BBC.

    Bojo had several problems to sort out – he was still recovering from the Nasty Thing that he didn’t believe in, one of his several brides/ concubines had given birth and the joy that he expected to spread throughout the Kingdom didn’t seem to be appreciated. Serfs refused to roll over for any other reason than to die, often in care homes.

    Bojo agreed to let Little Dom have a press conference in his posh (paid for by The People) garden as long as he didn’t bring any of his friends (as if). Little Dom spent his time talking twaddle and evading the many points that he was too (yawn) tired to give to plebs.

    Afterwards Bojo had less friends and Little Dom had something like two million anti-matter friends trying to find out whether they could drive into the next ring of Dante’s Inferno under lockdown.

    Then we had some very sunny days so everyone was happy again; they could do absolutely anything they wanted because Little Dom had said they could, because it wasn’t actually the Law, it was just a sort of suggestion for people who read red-top newspapers.

    Will the adults ever be allowed to take back the Magic Toybox?

  2. brooke says:

    Hurrah! You and Spouse are up and about, casting your usual ironic view upon the City.

    While you were resting, my city has been locked down for a different reason–protests against police violence (George Floyd death) became “riots.” of course DT has something to say and the national guard is here now. As you say,…” the press that places exaggerated importance…” The damage is much less than looting and debris after the home team won at Superbowl.

    Envious of your balcony….. but not your breakfast. Are those squiggles brown sauce?

  3. Andrew Holme says:

    Those eggs look perfect. Well done, Chef!

  4. Jeffrey Prior says:

    Baked beans on a full English?

    What next…hash browns?

  5. Brian Evans says:

    I am so glad things are improving for you and your better half.

    Don’t get me wrong, but I find baked beans a bit too heavy for the full English. I prefer them on toast with a cut-up uncooked tomato. Sausages, too are optional. For me it’s bacon, one egg, fried bread, cooked tomatoes and mushrooms. I also like a half slice of plain whit bread as well.

  6. Cornelia Appleyard says:

    I’m in favour of beans on a full English, but sausage is also required, I think.
    I’m still trying to work out what that purple flower is.

    Brooke – the lunchtime news here showed a BBC cameraman being knocked over by a policeman with a riot shield.
    I can’t imagine how anyone thinks kneeling on another person’s neck until they stop breathing is acceptable behaviour.
    Stay safe.

  7. Dave Young says:

    Our government has abandoned us – thank goodness for communities

    Just seen ‘Classic Dom’ enjoying a pint with Elvis down here on Hastings seafront, possibly…

  8. Continue to recover, read and research and it’s good to have you back after the weekend.

    You do know there’s a wide selection of beans, in cans and boxes, available in most supermarkets. Just about all of them are way better than the popular, but dreadful ones in sugary tomato sauce produced in 57,000 varieties, everyone the same.

    Now, let’s make some new rules to keep the plebs out of my bald headed, beady eyed life.

  9. Jo W says:

    Hey Chris, I hope that brown sauce is HP?
    That and the beans would be the only things I could eat, but, not at sparrows’ cough. Only good strong mugs of builders ( strong enough for bringing people out of a coma) will do.
    Hoping that you are both looking after each other and that there is only good news to come.

  10. Martin Tolley says:

    I think we may have had this conversation before but… FEB isn’t FEB without a portion of black pudding.
    As to Dom – he may be stupid, but perhaps he’s not daft. Recently published minutes of the Sage meeting on 23 March express concern that Covid-19 case numbers in London “could exceed NHS capacity within the next 10 days” amid “a worldwide shortage of reagents, platforms and equipment”. On 27 March Dom heads castlewards… Just saying.

  11. Brian Evans says:

    Oooh-Dave Young, could you please run out and get Elvis’s autograph please. Don’t forget to be 2 metres away when you thrust the autograph book in his face.

  12. Simon Procter says:

    It is common knowledge that G-5 masts cause much worse symptoms when not turned on due to their homeopathic effect.

  13. brooke says:

    Cornelia, thanks for your note. Will try to do as you advise.
    Very funny, Peter D. Peter T: I bet that’s exactly what the Dom said!

  14. Mike says:

    Really happy to see you back. It’s not the same without you.

  15. Roger says:

    Welcome back!
    The great advantage of the lockdown is getting up at dawn.

  16. eggsy says:

    Very good, Simon P. Those masts also play hob with the feng shui.
    Point of order, Mr Chairman. The Reverend Aitken is CofE. Well, he is married (and divorced…hmm, keeping those sacraments).
    Over in the US, I’m sure that the violence is just people taking a leaf out of Dom’s book (the one with big letters and small words) and “exercising their common sense”.
    Glad to see that despite twenty years of paramilitarisation that _some_ US cops (even some NG commanders) understand hearts and minds. Not all of them are eager to break skulls. Not nearly enough though…
    And a new development, well over a hundred attacks on the press. Nothing to do with POTUS’s tweets I’m sure…
    Oh, and Mr Fowler, stop worrying about us web-loiterers and concentrate on recuperation!

  17. Ian Luck says:

    Glad you’re able to enjoy a fry up. Where did all this utter bollocks about 5G signals start? No, wait, let me guess… It was that useless f***er, Trump (the word was ‘fucker’ for all you listening at home), wasn’t it. Even if it wasn’t, I’m still blaming him, the steaming piece of ordure he is.
    In the absence of a barber, I have cultivated an impressive pair of ‘Mutton Chops’, or, if of a more offensive state of mind, ‘Bugger Grips’. A picture, sent to a friend, elicited the reply that I looked a bit like Victorian scientist, Francis Galton. Polymath. A bit overkeen on the idea of Eugenics, for my taste, but he did get funding to do two years research in Africa. That research was… Measuring Native ladies’ bottoms. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

  18. SimonB says:

    Eamon Holmes certainly didn’t help the 5G cause.

    And if you ever fancy opening a cafe I’ll be lining up for an all day brekkie.

  19. Lyn Jackson says:

    Glad you are up and about again Chris. The strangest advice from our Govt was to cough and sneeze into our elbow,
    but then to touch elbows with a friend instead of a hug..

  20. Helen Martin says:

    So glad you’re feeling some better. Hope things continue to improve. Spring is here, the roses are in bloom, and things are still pretty quiet. It’s all good. All the very best to you both from the two of us.

  21. Eleanor Massey says:

    Very sad to learn of your illness, Christopher, but very pleased to hear you are feeling better and eating a Full English Breakfast. Please take care of yourself.
    Thoughts with you. Stay well,
    Eleanor Massey

  22. Jan says:

    That looks like a lovely breakfast. Hope you keep feeling better best Jan.

  23. Sarah Ward says:

    Good news you’re reaching the end of your treatment and enjoying a cooked breakfast. Looking forward to future posts and other writing. Best wishes, Sarah

  24. Liz Thompson says:

    As we’ve barely got 4G here, I don’t think I’ll worry about my chronic migraine getting any worse. Glad you’re able to eat filling and decent food again.
    I used to take feverfew for the migraine (it didn’t help), but modern medicine has. Maybe the effective imigran injections I now have could help with 5G? Not sure if it’s the masts that would need the injection, or the conspiracy theorists.

  25. Diane Englot says:

    I have never loved reading the word “recovery” more than right now.

  26. Andrea Yang says:

    Jealous of your breakfast and wishing you the best!

  27. Ed DesCamp says:

    I’m slow, but I eventually get there. Just finished “England’s Finest” and saw your comment about a friend (?) who didn’t understand why you were still writing mysteries because “they’re all the same”. Obviously,he either hasn’t read your B&M novels, or didn’t understand what he read.
    Glad you’re doing better. Here’s to a strong recovery.

  28. Nelle Stokes says:

    I am so glad to read that you are recovering. Not a big breakfast eater, personally, but the next time you are in the US it would be my pleasure to treat you to a great bagel and a schmear!

    Over here in NY it is surreal, heart-breaking, and frightening. Our government is absolutely bonkers, and I genuinely fear for the country. Your continued improvement gives me hope in the good things of the world.

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