AT the time of writing – and no, madam, it is not shortly after closing time – I have not yet been to the supermarkets to do my weekly audit of the toilet rolls.

Appalling pictures in the public prints showed impossibly selfish individuals pushing huge trolleys piled high with bog roll, in advance of the much predicted Second Coming of Covid. Says it all about this Second Coming: presaged not by a hippie on a donkey but by a bog roll on a shopping trolley pushed by a donkey.

At the First Coming of Covid, I was caught out by the bog roll brigade. That’s me, always trailing at the rear of any mob. And “trailing at the rear” is the apposite expression. At that time, trusting naively that human nature in the sticks would be more civilised than in the mad cities, I had to make do with sandpaper for several weeks.

I’m not sure if it’ll come to that this time. New measures have been put in place but I’m not sure if they amount to a panic-inducing lockdown, as such. Let me be perfectly clear: I haven’t a scoobie what’s going on.

I’m not blaming anyone in power for this. Comedian Matt Lucas did a funny take-off of Bertie Johnson, the Prime Minister, telling us, inter alia, that the measures would vary according to a person’s height.

But which of us would make any less of a bags of things? You wouldn’t know what to do. Some of you – particularly in Klutzland: the internet – are like those fat folk in footer tops who shout at athletes on the pitch that they are lazy and slow.

My own confusion has not been helped by London papers calling England “the UK” and “Britain”, which they do relentlessly. We’ve had devolution for God knows how many years, and these utter dumbos are still at it. They’re almost preternaturally dense and they write for newspapers. Whoever heard of such a thing?

Shut it, you. The same articles would go on to talk about “England following Scotland” on something or other. Honestly, it drives me up the wall. Who’s the First Minister? Why doesn’t he address this important matter of Scotland’s position in the UK?

As far as I can make out, at least at the time of writing (it could well change again), gyms haven’t been affected by the latest measures, though there’s talk of limiting numbers (not sure if that applies to England, Scotland, Britain or Timbuktu). Our teeny wee gym has only been reopened for ten days, and I’ve been three times in that period.

Predictably enough, I had the place to myself each time. It saddens me that the sauna has not reopened.

It struck me the other day that the two main reasons I had for moving to my current locale – the excellent fish and chip shop and the village gym’s sauna – no longer obtained. The chip shop changed hands, and is now rubbish, and the sauna’s been closed ’cos of Covid.

When I lived in Edinburgh, you couldn’t go for a sauna, because few of them were actual saunas and, even among those “public” ones that were, you still weren’t safe. I often wondered what disturbing encounters Finns and Swedes visiting Edinburgh must have had just trying to have an innocent steam.

Mind you, they can’t even get a beer after 10pm now which is when they – being foreign – tend to start their nights out. Or is that in Iberia? Somewhere in the Third World, at any rate.

Ach, my knowledge of the world is lamentable. It’s almost as bad as my knowledge of Britain, a place that baffles me and leaves me in chronic pain from a sandpapered bottom.

Wheel nuts

HA, as it were, ha. Cyclists are being knocked off their bikes by even bigger poltroons on electric scooters. There’s now a hierarchy of two-wheeled egotistical narcissists.

As with everything else in Scotain at the moment, I’m not sure what the legal position is with these contraptions. As I understand it, they’re being trialled in Englandshire and, in at least one town, have subsequently been banned on safety grounds.

They’re not just, as with cyclists, proving to be a danger to pedestrians, motorists and dogs. Their lesser two-wheeled compadres are also being knocked over, particularly on canal paths and other greenways, which pedestrians long ago had to vacate after being forced off by bicyclists. A female cyclist nearly drowned in one incident.

The saving grace of the electric brigade is that they don’t dress up in obscene Lycra or wear shades so that they can look right edgy and hard for a bank clerk. However, they do tend to wear hoodies, which is the sign of a hoodlum.

I’m tempted to describe all two-wheeled vehicles as Satan’s transport, but I’ve always had a soft spot for motor-bikes. If it hadn’t been for my being forbidden to do so by various burdz over the years, I’d doubtless have had one at some point. Unlike bicycles, motor-bikes are for real men who pay road tax and, er, don’t let women boss them about.

Oldies up the pace

SHOCKING, but excellent, news erupted this week, with an announcement that old people were now walking 1mph faster than their counterparts did 30 years ago.

A study by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, attributed the increase to better nutrition, hygiene and healthcare.

The news has been welcomed by decent pavement users, who’ve often found themselves stuck behind a senior citizen not just doddering but staggering from side to side, always just blocking your way as you’re about to overtake on your electric scooter.

Whenever I’ve been unwillingly abroad, I’ve often found the local walking styles slovenly. I am not a busy man. I never have anywhere to go. But I like to get there swiftly, setting a brisk and efficient pace, fooling onlookers into thinking: ‘There goes an important man of action, possibly a newspaper columnist.’

Interestingly, or indeed otherwise, the study noted today’s old Finns being taller than their counterparts earlier last century. Finns, like the Dutch, never used to be tall. But they grew after they won their independence, just as the Dutch did as a result of eating cheese.

Scots, being dependent and eating mainly pies, remain relatively small.

Insure thing

LET you into a wee secret: ma hoose isnae insured. Ooh! It’s just temporary, I’m sure, and is on my to-do list, along with other fantasies such as “write novel with cyclist hero”, “buy boat”, and “brush teeth”.

The situation arose as my payments were increased by 25 per cent in the hope I wouldn’t notice or do anything about it. The usual rigmarole involves phoning them and getting a better offer, sometimes leaving you paying less rather than more. Weird.

But, this year, you were invited just to tell them online to shove it, which I did and, instead of trying to persuade me to stay, they said: “Oh, well. Cheerio.”

I’ll probably get a quote for “fire and theft”, even though the latter is academic round here. Previously, I was covered for buildings damage, which didn’t include the roof. Short of the walls being charged by a rhinoceros, I don’t know what else they envisaged.

In the meantime, I’m happy to report that insurance companies can no longer charge existing clients more than new ones. That was after a campaign by one of Britland’s excellent London-based newspapers.

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