• neil

Day 85 (10 June): Ode to Joy

I see from today’s Guardian that the U.K. retailer ‘Selfridges’ seeks to offer customers a ‘joyful experience’ as stores reopen.

It is an idea. They want to stand out from the crowd and offer something a little different as people emerge from behind the settee. But speaking as a man, I cannot see how any shopping experience could ever be described as ‘joyful’. I would be happier with ’short’ or 'not at all'. I suppose, however, that their marketing department knows what it is doing, and if that is the case, other shops should think of following their lead, but they will have to be a bit more imaginative now that Selfridges has cornered all the ‘joy.’

Being a helpful sort of chap, and out of a desire to do my bit to kick-start the economy and help out the slower retailers, I have spent the morning seeking for available adjectives, but I could only find a few. I think most of them are still staying home. Should you be interested in a fluffy, blobby, minty, pickled, shaggy, rotund, erotic, boring, outrageous, hysterical, fertile or grotesque retail experience please get in touch.

Selfridges is planning on offering personal after-hours shopping trips and entertainment for those queuing outside .

If you are not convinced that queuing outside on a rainy day watching Coco the Clown constitutes unadulterated joy, you might consider taking the adjectives boring, outrageous and grotesque with you to give them some air.

Shopping does not merit a place anywhere near the top of my to do list as we edge towards greater freedoms. I am most looking forward to the simple joys of going for a swim in the sea, having friends round for a barbecue or sipping a cold beer on a sunny café terrace. Beyond that? Being somewhere near the Med appeals. Lavender, warm breezes and small town markets; picnics in the garrigue and evenings with friends round a table under the stars.

Perhaps one thing we have learned from confinement is that the link between buying stuff and joy was always tenuous at best.

Road to Joy

As some of you perhaps know, I had planned on walking from Cluny in Burgundy to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia this Spring. The epidemic put a stop to that.

Now that my love life has run head first into a brick wall I would like to think I could restart this project in the Autumn. Unfortunately, until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, sleeping in crowded albuergues with twenty or thirty others is not sound policy. But I dearly wish to be doing something challenging now.

In March I set up a camino blog which I shall bring up to date and reactivate should I be able to set off. I’ll let you know in plenty of time so that you can find an excuse not to follow my progress.

Today’s Guest writer: Alfie

Please will somebody get me out of here. I’ve been locked down with him for weeks and every one of your weeks is seven weeks for me. I have nothing to look forward to. At least he can look forward to sex at some time; probably, possibly, conceivably. He had me speyed and I lost all interest in that kind of thing. And because of that I got a little heavier - so he put me on a diet. 250 grams of kibble is the highlight of my day - no entrée, no dessert and no wine.

He thinks he’s being nice because he takes me running with him in the woods but he doesn’t stop to pee on trees or even to sniff dogs’ bottoms. I am expected to keep up with him but he doesn’t record my times on his running app. And in the evenings he reads IN HIS HEAD. Never a “What would you like me to read to you Alfie?” How on earth does he expect me to learn anything and improve my lot if he denies me knowledge. Really, if I didn’t need him to open those big vacuum sealed food sacks I think I’d just leg it down the road.

This has been hard for me. I don’t mean emotionally. You try typing with claws and no glasses.


Have a very warm and cosy evening!



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