11 April 2020. No flour to be got from anywhere. The flour mills are working overtime to keep up with demand. Everyone has turned to baking. A lot of questions floating around on Twitter and Face Book from friends working out how to cook sourdough bread. No-one can get yeast. The BBC Good Food recipe for banana bread is now their all-time most viewed article. I guess everyone is desperately working out how to use up all the bananas they bought. Bananas have a lot of potassium, right? Definitely good for the immune system. Or something similar. I bought many more than usual myself. Bananas with custard. Bananas with yoghurt. Bananas in fruit salad. If we had any bread it would be nana sandwiches – I remember those so well!
Odd, really, that we have a lot of WW2 analogies and comparisons floating around. Even Gardeners’ World yesterday had a ‘Dig for Victory’ theme going. And yet the lack of bananas was synonymous with all the shortages and rationing of WW2.
And friends who aren’t baking for victory have all turned to sewing. Calls across the country for people to set to and make scrubs and masks for the NHS. The shortage of PPE is a recurring theme in the news, in the questions at the daily government briefing. There does seem to be a belief among journalists that equipment can be magicked out of thin air by any government worth its salt and that failure to do so makes them complicit in every death of a key worker. But all these things need time, supply chains and raw materials. Our Design Engineering dept have been making masks for a local GP practice, but had to pause for a few days to source more plastic sheets. The GP practice in Faringdon are now kitted out with multi-coloured patch-work scrubs after a friend who runs a quilting business made her stash of materials available to anyone with a sewing machine.
Everywhere craft skills are being revived and coming into their own. A real up-side to the lock-down.
This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone, particularly members of Radley College community, to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.
© Clare Sargent