I once gave blood in France, in the town of Nancy in Lorraine, or was it two other women, I can’t remember. I was also sweating blood at the time, as part of a language course which required me to spend a year in France becoming fluent in its language. That was the theory, anyway. Rather than a tour of restaurants and vineyards.
I was attracted by the fact that the reward for my humantarian action would not be a tepid cup of tea and a digestive biscuit, but (you won’t believe this, I hardly believe it myself, and I was there) a choice of coffee, chocolate, or garlic sausage baguette (a kind of donor kebab) and a cup of red or rosé wine. Offered by waiters wielding corkscrews. Your good health, monsieur! I wondered how many pints of blood I could spare, and still have sufficient left for personal use.
If only all governments supplied those being vaccinated with sandwiches and a choice of beverage, the jab centres would have witnessed very few refusniks ignoring the call to arms. My only minor quibble would have concerned the absence of one or two white wines for the discerning jabee. Are we still allowed Chablis and Gewürztraminer in post-Brexit Britain? What about Douro Valley port? If not, what will we be left with, English Reserve Brut? Sounds like an aftershave.
Our pleasures in the post-corona world seem likely to diminish in number. Despite all protestations to the contrary from hopeful politicians, it may be some time before we are forming conga lines and parading through restaurants with party hats on — that didn’t come out quite right.
Stag nights might henceforth have fewer antlers in attendance, especially if they are held in Eastern European ‘hotspots’. Bored supermodels (are there any other kind?) may eat their way beyond most dress sizes, and dwindling sales will cause conglomerate fat cats to waste away inside their power suits.
Ballet dancers will twirl neurotically on pointed toes, rendered footsore by pointless pirouetting in empty theatres. Tennis players will kick their heels, soccer stars will kick each other’s. Petrol stations will mostly sit idle, like those who work in them, made superfluous by the new age of Stay Outside and Pay at the Pump.
Online shopping has conquered all, and made us revert to being cavemen. Cavewomen. Cave Children. Lonely bus drivers stare out at us, forlorn and depressed. It used to be claimed that if you sat for long enough in the foyer of Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo, you would eventually see everyone you knew come through its door. But how would you recognise them nowadays behind their various masks? Unless you were quarantined there for a fortnight, then some of the barmen might start to look familiar.