In England, the lockdown is easing….officially. Unofficially it is dead in the water, but officially it is easing. Six people can meet in the park…or in the forecourt of a car showroom or at open air markets. Must have open air markets…how else are Toby and Fiona to sell the New Age crap they have been fabricating during the lockdown? Whether such a term includes car boot sales – more like Bob and Beryl selling the stuff they finally sorted twenty years after moving house – is open to question…as is just about everything – except for one firm stricture.
Meetings of two or more people indoors are forbidden. Strang verboten.
So bang goes the Socialist Workers Party meeting….two in a ‘phonebox is one too many.
So if you are having an – authorised – barbecue in the garden – for no more than six persons, all duly sanitising their hands, plates and probably the food – then in the name of all that is holy make sure that no one can meet whil trotting to the loo in the house.
A system of red and green lights? A door monitor? Tickets? A chemikarzie in the shrubbery?
Whatever your solution make sure you oberve it…because others are observing too. No, not observing the rules, but observing you observing the rules.
Not necessarily the police, though given the attitude of some Chief Constables it is a wonder the skies are not full of drones monitoring the new ‘freedom’ which you are ‘privileged’ to enjoy. You have invited your neighbours to the barbecue in your garden and all is going swimmingly…the pinot grigio is on intravenous drip and the salmonella chicken is strutting its stuff when someone drops in through the back gate to warn you that police drones are in the area. Seven people in your garden!
Immediately a voice from the heavens announces that groups of more than six are forbidden to associate…
‘Isolate by order of the Daleks – sorry, the Chief Constable…exterminate…exterminate…’
Better take shelter before it has you filmed, identified, fined and filed as a dissident…but whatever you do…do not go into the house!
Flee for the shelter of the gazebo, and try not to fall over the chemikarzie.
The police cannot be everywhere…but Neighbourhood Watch certainly can! The idea was to keep an eye out for potential crime problems, but the lockdown has led to the discovery that while the television might be boring, the goings on of the neighbours has more than compensated.
‘George! The woman at no 31 is out again with her dog!’
‘It isn’t her dog, Marjorie! It’s Shep, old Mac’s dog….he’s half blind and incontinent. Mac can’t get out with him anymore – his daughter used to walk it but she’s not allowed to come to see him.’
‘So that woman has appropriated a dog in order to leave the house! Three times today!’
‘It pees a lot…don’t you remember, Mac’s daughter had to replace the hall carpet?’
‘Well, she isn’t incontinent…or not in that sense!! I should report her to the police…’
As night falls and television programming leaves a lot to be desired, Marjorie is again at her upstairs window…
‘What is it, Marjorie?’
‘A car has pulled up outside no. 31!’
”That’s a surprise…never a parking space normally when you want one..’
‘A man has got out! I think it is that foreign looking one who was always hanging around there when her husband was out…before he left, that is…the husband, I mean, if he was a husband and not just some toy boy.’
‘For goodness’ sake, Marjorie he was forty if he was a day!’
‘That’s nothing now…and she could be any age under all that make up… Oh look! He’s going round the back!’
‘So that’s that…you can’t see anything…come and watch the Sewing Bee.’
Blast the Sewing Bee! I’ll ring Tessa…her house overlooks the back of no.31.’
‘Tessa? Marjorie here. Remember that foreigner who used to visit no 31 when her husband was out? Yes, him, with that pointy beard! Well, he’s here again and he’s gone round the back!…Yes, I can hold on until you get upstairs….ooh, there’s a light on in the back? Can you see any more? No…the blinds are down…I see…but it is clear that he is there? Thanks, Tessa…I’ll call the police.’
Thus it is that the lady at no.31 hears the repeater of the doorbell, and, unentwining her self from the gentleman with the pointy beard, goes to the front door, where she encounters two policemen.
They tell her that they have information that she is entertaining a person in her house, contrary to government guidelines.
‘No officer…your informant is mistaken. I am indeed entertaining a friend….in the gazebo in the garden. We are but two…unless you care to join us…..’