Nuala McCann: It's life Waiting for Godot style now, the whole world scundered
Nobody wants to bake banana bread any more. The new disused rowing machine mocks me from the corner of the room. Dinner is to be got through, the sparkling water of life has gone flat
SCUNDERED… there' s no other word. Everyone in the whole wide world seems scundered.
“So, so scundered, maybe I ought to go out for another bloody walk,” says my friend.
This time last year there was a freshness about wearing crop circles on our handkerchief lawn as I chatted merrily to friends on the phone or listened to audio books from dusk to dawn and stuffed my face with jammy dodgers. The wages of sin are enormous elasticated joggers.
“Make 'em laugh,” my mother advised at the start of this pandemic. “We all need to laugh”. She didn't dream that she'd set sail into that distant sunset during the pandemic – but we make plans and God laughs.
Now, nobody wants to laugh any more. Nobody wants to bake banana bread any more. I'm not mad on haute cuisine either.
My fridge is full of the ingredients for creamy chorizo soup and pasta carbonara. But the notion has worn off. The new disused rowing machine mocks me from the corner of the room.
Dinner is to be got through, the sparkling water of life has gone flat. My bubble has burst.
On the subject of dinner, there's a family joke about when people ring just as you're put on your tea – what posh people call dinner – which in our case involves frozen fish in a sarcophagus of breadcrumbs and battered chicken nuggets.
So when I suddenly remember something extremely urgent – like what was the name of that face cream that takes 10 years off – I lift the phone at teatime and ring one of my sisters and she answers and sighs: “Soup again the day!” in a good Ballymena accent.
It was what some man used to say when his wife took a phone call from a friend just when she should have been busy putting the pan on for him… “Soup again the day!”
It's life Waiting for Godot style in these parts. Nothing to do but walk and eat and whine.
It seems like we're all off talking to dead people in graveyards too – telling them what they're missing in the tail end of this pandemic and asking them how come they're too busy swanking about heaven to step in and put an end to it.
As my mother used to say, “You've a face like you've just found a penny and lost a pound.”
My friend is so so scundered and is sounding off at such a rate that her angst is spilling over like a pot of boiling water on the stove and I'm falling off the sofa cackling loudly. It seems, as they say down home, that she can tholl no more.
People say it helps if you write down three reasons to be cheerful every day.
Ian Dury and the Blockheads comes to mind: “Elvis and Scotty, the days when I ain't spotty, sitting on the potty, curing small pox.”
And before I head off on a tour of YouTube to find Hit Me with Your Rhythm stick, Hit me, Hit me – I have to share a little thread that cheered me up on Twitter. It's about a particular very fancy umbrella shop in London. If you want a walking stick, they'll get your leg measurement so it's perfect.
One Nell Stevens was in there and made a joke about always losing umbrellas. The man behind the counter asked her: “What makes you think you are ready for an umbrella?”
Indeed – so she bought a foot umbrella out of spite and hasn't lost it, possibly because it has a foot as a handle and not a lot of people go for that.
Her tweet led to the most amusing thread on Twitter that day – try it, honestly, it had me falling off the sofa cackling again.
Somebody said they were looking at walking sticks in the umbrella shop, only to be told by the assistant: “That one's very expensive, you know”.
Somebody else said they wanted to buy an umbrella but it was a bit pricey and they went for the cheapest option possible.
“Oh sir,” the assistant told them, “That is a BEAST of an umbrella.”
I have to get to London soon to visit this shop because it has a whiff of Are You Being Served / Mr Benn and a shop in Diagon Alley.
“That's where I got my wand… err, umbrella!” someone else tweeted.
I wasted endless hours staying within my 10-mile lockdown limit, laughing raucously at the tweets. I'm still scundered but then, join the club.