Exeter, Devon UK • May 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment Tales From Lockdown

Tales From Lockdown

Richard Ainslie describes his own experience with lockdown and the unique problems it has presented his family
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Tales From Lockdown

Image; Pixabay

Richard Ainslie describes his own experience with lockdown and the unique problems it has presented his family

In a single sentence, I can describe perfectly the lockdown insanity that my household has reached: my mum has started bulk-buying soil. Sitting on my front lawn, in a huge Hippo bag, is a metric tonne of earth. What could a family of four with a medium-sized lawn and two small vegetable patches possibly employ this earth for? There are no carrots so arrogant, no artichokes so demanding, no earth-worm so up itself that they could possibly demand a whole tonne of soil. It sits in full view of my bedroom window like the ghost at the feast and I am tormented late at night by thinking what to do with it. We could toast it at 200 degrees and serve it en croute with a salsa verde? We could sell it to local murderers to help with body disposal? My brother is advocating for dumping the whole lot on the neighbour’s car just to be rid of it, but I think that two months of stale air and simmering resentment might be getting the best of him. So now it just sits there, like the kid in the corner of the school disco, eating all the Wotsits because nobody will dance with him.

Think for a second how insane it is to buy soil. We humans, who only crawled out from the evolutionary swamp around a hundred thousand years ago, are now paying each other with plastic banknotes to move dirt from one point on the planet to another. And it’s not like we have a soil machine that can turn concrete, steel and children’s wishes into top quality topsoil. There has to be a tract of land somewhere in the world getting scraped down to bedrock in order to feed the demand. I’m not sure my conscience can survive much longer with this soil on my hands. It might be the quarantine-imposed lack of vitamin D speaking, but I feel like the ancient mariner with the albatross hanging around my neck. Except, instead of an albatross, it is one thousand kilograms of planet earth’s dandruff in all of its deep, dark terror.

“The terror of the mundane.

The word mundane comes from the Latin word munduswhich means ‘the earth’. The word itself will tell you that there is nothing more awful in its everydayness than pure earth. Perhaps I need to have a final showdown, a final battle with this big bag of dirt, or, perhaps, I just need to get out of the house more often.

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