What’s the weirdest thing you ordered over the internet during the lockdown?
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Cornwall Life editor Carol Burns ponders unicorns, jam donuts and life after lockdown
In my lockdown ordering frenzy guilt, I chatted to my affable delivery person while taking delivery of my most recent essentials (elderflower eye gel and a skater dress) and he agreed they were busy. Ever the investigative journalist I plugged him for more information and in particular what was the weirdest thing he had delivered? A unicorn, he answered. To which my husband asked: what kind of unicorn? A fake one I hope.
With shops now reopening and a steady calm stream of shoppers keen to rediscover the joys of 3D retail, I am finding it hard to give up on my internet habits. Concerns for staff worried over their contact with hundreds of people a day with plastic screens for protection makes me wonder if I really do need to go out. But then if we don’t shop the high street might disappear as shops struggle to make up for lost profit. And then there is the ever-present fear of financial meltdown which makes those absolutely essential purchases (see above) could end of costing significantly more than I paid for them. And of course, just because I am buying online, doesn’t mitigate any of the above. The risk - and those at risk - is simply hidden. It occurs to me that in a pandemic there is only mitigation, currently no cure.
Another consideration is what to do with all that time? Like many of us on lockdown I have turned my spare time to new things – gardening: the flower seeds I sowed at the start of the lockdown have burst into colour in time for its relaxation. And it has been a time to rediscover old loves. Baking has stayed with me since I worked at Sainsbury’s as a 16-year-old student in their cream room – a small tiled cupboard hidden away from the heat of the bakery where the cakes are made. Here a machine whisked double cream by the gallon before emerging Mr Whippy style into disposable icing bags, huge pots of melted chocolate sat ready for a seemingly endless row of choux pastry to be dipped.
And then there was the donut machine. Donuts would come out of the fryer straight into a vat of sugar where they would be plucked two at a time and injected with strawberry (never raspberry) jam at great speed (demand for these little beauties was always high). The machine had its own settings of how many grams per donut (nine), but there was much fun to be had, in the name of research you understand, in seeing how many grams a donut could take (my record was 44g).
At home, the quantities are significantly smaller, the facilities a little more rudimentary and the skills a little rusty, but still the strawberry jam dribbles down the chin of my family with equal joy.
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