‘But where will we go?’
‘You mean ‘where would we go if it actually happened?’ That’s easy - the west of Ireland: the ancestral home at Cloonagh.’
‘But in a pandemic, silly, there’s no travel. How would we survive and feed the girls?’
‘Well, we’d have to stay put and slug it out with the neighbours while we’re all looting the Tesco metro in the village. We could then take the National Trust property up the road - they have allotments. They might just let us in - we are members after all...' ’
‘Typical! You’re just not taking me seriously.’
On some Saturday mornings, Maude tucks herself away with a novel from the library. This morning, it is a tale of a flu pandemic that is apocalyptic in scope.
‘We at least need an emergency food store in the garage with (write this down):
Everything you can get in tinned form
….that kind of thing…use your initiative.’
I reminded Maude that I already have a storage system in the garage – with all the basics covered.
One of my best boyhood friends was Polish. His parents had been refugees - shunted all over Eastern Europe and North Africa before arriving in Northern England. A win on the football pools had enabled them to set up their own business and live comfortably. Zbig’s dad, however, always maintained a garage store of essentials – an insecurity stayed with him and the memory of his garage store stayed with me. My thoughts were just moving on to memories of happy afternoons playing tennis on Zbig’s lawn when Maude persisted:
‘Listen to me - this is important . I’ll do a checklist for the emergency store. I’ll have it laminated by one of the support staff at work and you can keep it in the garage. Everybody has a siege store in America. ‘
‘Your mother has one in Ballymena. What calamity is she expecting.’
‘A power cut at Sainsbury’s’