Anti-social distancing

Ok, I admit it, I haven’t spent every single day since Lockdown started in my pyjamas, watching TV and eating chocolate. I have actually got a little voluntary job. My Mum lives in a retirement village where 91 elderly residents are in total lockdown for 3 months.

As a result, there are a lot of folks who need food shopping doing and prescriptions collecting. I am that person. This means that most days I have to extract myself from my leisurewear and brave the outside world.

Rules Of Social Distancing

I have been known to queue outside Sainsbury’s three times in one day. What strikes me most about this is how differently people interpret the whole ‘social distancing’ concept. Hours and hours of standing in supermarket carparks, with a trolley, has actually made me one of the world’s leading specialists on this topic. On the whole people can be divided into three groups:

  • The ‘I don’t give a toss about all this’ Group

These are generally males, under the age of 25. They stand as close as they can to you, so you can feel their breathe on your neck, they usually come in gangs, wear baseball caps and pyjama bottoms, and play with their mobile phones incessantly

  • The ‘I am aware and doing the right thing’ Group

These have bothered to get fully dressed. The women have a little touch of lip gloss and mascara on, as this supermarket trip is a ‘big day out’, and they studiously keep to the 2 metre rule, whilst clutching their selection of sturdy shopping bags and a neat shopping list

  • The ‘Come anywhere near me and I will kill you before COVID’ Group

These are usually 60+ women, with pearl earrings, who have not let their grey hair grown out, they probably play bridge in normal circumstances, and are wearing full PPE. If you get within 6 metres of them, or merely sniff in their direction, you will probably get a look to kill. However, it is difficult to make out what their facial features are doing underneath the ski googles and face masks.  

Once you have finally made it into the store and are elated to find yourself in the fruit and veg aisle, Group 1 handle every carrot and tomato before selecting, whereas Group 3 wait until there is absolutely NO ONE else in the vicinity, before dashing to grab produce only in pre-packed bags.

Supermarket Trolley Dash

Should you meet one of this Group head on, you must either reverse your supermarket trolley and go down the next aisle, or sprint past, with your face turned to the side, whilst shouting ‘Sorry! Sorry!’ Anything less apologetic would mean that you would never be able to a join a bridge club (or WI) within a 50-mile radius of here.  

One thing I have noticed about shopping for old people is that they all eat the same things; digestive biscuits, tinned mackerel and marmalade. At least it has solved my lifelong question of ‘who actually eats tinned mackerel?’

Last week one lady also specified ‘9 soft toilet rolls – peach colour please.’ This dear clearly has no idea what is going on in the outside world. I have seen stabbings over a 4-pack of Tesco Value Toilet Tissue. Probably my most exciting shop was for Elsa who requested ‘two 1 litre bottles of Jameson Whisky and a large pack of salted peanuts.’ Now that is an oldie who knows how to survive lockdown… 





Follow me on Instagram at @hownotohaveamidlifecrisis


  1. Jacqueline Jones Reply

    hahaha! your blogs are so funny because they are so true!!!

  2. Ken Harris Reply

    Ah! Jayne but you forgot to mention the check out cricket team behind the screens. It begins with ‘Are you ready?’ And then (1) the fast bowler- you need your wicket keeping gloves for a catch before it flies passed your ear and into the store car park (2) the off spinner- you think you’ve got it but it veers passed your hand over to the opposite side of where you are standing (3) the Yorker- yes I have it but no it slides under my hand and I hear the motionless thud behind (4) the googli- perhaps I had better stop at that point and leave the store (having, of course, paid with the requisite card) keeping my instructed anti-social distance from all and sundry.

  3. Spot on but I won’t admit to which category I fit! Well done, keep them coming 🙂

  4. Brilliant, as always! What an amazing job you’re doing too Jayne. BTW, if you’re in the vicinity, wondered if you might pick me up a jar of marmalade, some digestives and, oh go on then, some tinned mackerel. xx

  5. Thanks Karen. Is that on top of the Chardonnay, blueberries and smoked salmon I normally get for you? J xx

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