Hello … hello? Is that you?

My elderly neighbour is on the line. Her voice carries a chord of concern.

I just don’t know how everyone will cope,” she says, “How long is this going to last, do you think?” 

Mary is worried about the coronavirus crisis that is gripping the world. She also needs some eggs and butter, any kind of cheese I can find, and some digestives. 

Oh, and a tin of pilchards, please.


For the dog.” Mary explains, “I suppose I do spoil him, but he enjoys them and I simply scrape off the tomato sauce.” 

I never knew (not being a dog person) that pilchards are a dog’s idea of a treat. Nor do I expect them to be so hard to track down.

Panic buying for canines as well as for eggs (found in the fifth supermarket – but still no pilchards, with or without tomato sauce). 

coronavirus, eggs, food, panic buying, humanity

I call Mary to let her know I’ve left her shopping on her doorstep. She can’t hear me above the excited barks of her dog (Harry).

Mary issues a sharp “Shut up!” to the dog as she turfs him in the garden. A door slams, and she’s back on the phone, ready to listen. I tell her about the pichard problem.

Oh dear, never mind,” chuckles Mary, “It was worth a try!” 

coronavirus, dog food, food, panic buying, humanity
Pilchards the next morning – one solitary tin on a supermarket shelf. Harry will be happy.