Fogy or FOGO?

Amongst the British public, apparently, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has been replaced by FOGO (Fear of Going Out). Little by little they have been easing the restrictions that kept us locked down for months. In the past few days there has been quite a rush to ease this and ease that. Basically, now, almost everything is open, almost everybody can go almost anywhere and almost nobody understands where they can go, how close to anybody else they can stand, whether they can get on an aeroplane, when they need to wear a mask, etc etc. Basically, nobody has the energy to untangle it all, so they are just doing what they think.

I suppose I’m one of those Old, or New, Fogos.  Technically shielding – the strictest of all the lockdowns – will be suspended from August the first. Which means it might be reapplied if everyone starts dying again – as no doubt they will – but possibly on a regional ‘whack-a-mole’ basis, as the PM puts it. Meanwhile I could in theory now “bubble” with – I forget how many friends, relatives or households, whether outdoors or indoors, whether two metres apart or one. Since I have actually no friends, relatives or households within “bubbling” distance, and since I wouldn’t be “bubbling” even if hypothetical Loved Ones were to ask me to – I don’t really need to have memorised the details.

I have decided I’m Not Going Out until such time as there is a vaccine and I, and everyone else has had one. I can’t see how the situation has changed. The virus is still there, un-mutated, un-modified etc, and I still have my “underlying health condition”. I thought about it and decided I would rather die of the “underlying, etc, etc” than this virus, since the virus I have at least something of a choice about. I don’t want to go into hospital and be unconscious and gasping on some awful machine for weeks. I’d rather fade away gently, over years, and at a totally unpredictable rate. Besides, the cats require their two-legged Tin Opener. They have given me a stern talking to – Cats Come First, Mummy.

I have decided to live in the 1950s for a bit. I found a set of six “Miss Reads” on eBay, and they arrived from Cornwall this morning. There are hundreds (well, slight exaggeration – an awful lot) of Miss Read’s chronicling the uneventful life of two villages and a village schoolmistress. I remember them from years back. Comfort Reading. I intend to gradually munch my way through Miss Read, one second-hand paperback at a time – yet another pointless-but-pleasurable project. I have taped up a list on one of the kitchen cupboards, and am crossing them off as I go, to avoid duplicate purchases.

The above is a picture of a scarf – you didn’t know that, did you? – and I have been working on it it, in between all my other half-finished and largely pointless craft projects, for weeks. It is going to be 63″ long. I am starting to use up all the odds and ends in my “stash” – or rather “stashes” since I’ve got both a wool one and a fabric one. I feel a bit silly sitting indoors in a heatwave – curtains closed against the searing heat – knitting a thick woolly scarf of enormous and unnecessary length whilst binge-watching gaelic-language portrait-painting and farmhouse cookery programmes on i-Player, but somebody’s got to do it.

Until just now I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do with the scarf, once finished. Could I sell it on eBay – use the proceeds to purchase a few more Miss Reads? I was in the middle of washing up when inspiration struck – Canadian sister. It would pad out the Christmas present, and weighing relatively little would not incur too much postage. What better place for a giant, multicoloured scarf than Canada? Or, as they say in the top half of Scotland – something that sounds like a-Hannada.

I did start trying to teach myself Scottish Gaelic before, but gave up. It was too much for me – the way the spelling, the sound and the meaning of a word were totally unrelated, and furthermore, all had a tendency to shift and mutate according to what sort of grammatical state you happened to have stumbled into. But this time I seem to have got over my fury at the un-Englishness of it all. I am delighted to learn that a rabbit is a rabad, pronounced something like – rebbich! – with lots of spit. Except when it’s a coineanaich, pronounced conyanyocccchhh. Probably.

Well, you’ve got to keep busy somehow.

Haven’t you, George?



6 thoughts on “Fogy or FOGO?

  1. I remember the Miss Read books with great pleasure…pure comfort reading. And then I was thinking – not a good idea – how would she cope with the new gender bending sex education for infants while demonstrating a use for bananas unthought of in her day to older children….would she faint into the arms of the vicar or would she, good upright soul that she was, have carried out the curriculum…
    This nonsense has to end soon…I don’t think a jab will do any good at all, so we will carry on keeping away from people – as normal.
    Will your parcels of carrots no longer arrive when shielding ends?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Carrot Express will cease to call at my house at that point. Just as I found someone who wanted all those tins of tomato soup, too.

      I am noticing Miss Read, though still comforting, did have some slightly odd attitudes, but then the one I am reading (Village Diary) was published in 1957.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, I’ve been learning Welsh since lockdown started! Been using Duolingo which doesn’t even begin to explain why a word suddenly morphs to another form – just marks me wrong! That aside, though, I’m really enjoying it.
    I do go out but have to select my times. The whole nation (or that part of it not being ridiculous on Bournemouth beach) descends on my street thinking, “Hey, let’s go and climb Glastonbury Tor.” at weekends or when the weather is nice, so I hunt for scenic walks without the day trippers. Not easy to find.
    I think soon I’ll be able to go on train trips, but still can get to an airport, as only essential travel by bus or train is permitted – I think…
    Can’t be bothered to work it out. I’ve got used to being at home now.
    Enjoyed your post immensely.
    Jan x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jan. I’ve had several goes at Duolinguo, though not for Welsh. I did find it difficult, not having questions like that answered. It brought out my stubborn streak. For the Gaelic I’ve found a brightly coloured Collins children’s book (age 7 – 11) and a free learn Gaelic website with 60 lessons you just work your way through, plus those little cards you can write on.

      I’ve got used to staying at home too. People have just gone mad, partying like it’s 1999. By the time the euphoria has worn off we’ll be into the second wave. Ah well, there are too many of us anyway.

      Lin xx


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