Mid-Lockdown Mysteries

Toilet roll situation: still on same loo roll (you should know that I write these in arrears — or behind, as anyone who hasn’t been a debt counselor would probably say — which means I now have a comprehensive internal log of when I started each loo roll, so that I can give accurate information for the fictional time of writing, because this one was about last week, and now the loo roll situation is COMPLETELY different. By one roll. It’s actually quite stressful)

Pasta stocks: as per 

Plants still alive: all of them!

Mum’s Top Tip of the Day: This is not actually a top tip, but is more insight, but she hasn’t given me any direct advice that I can think of, so we’ll go with it. 

Discovered while creating the ‘Who said this on facebook 10 years ago’ quiz* that I have owned my swimming costume for 10 years. Quite alarmed by this (I have had the same swimming costume since I was <em>sixteen</em>. Wait, is that right? Just had to take the year of my birth off the actual date to try and work out how old I am. Anyway). Messaged my family to inform them of this discovery, which sparked off a bizarre oldest item of clothes competition.

Well, this is my mother’s cardigan. 

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-06 at 19.47.40

She has had it since 1974.

Betcha can’t beat that.

*Side note on the ‘who said this on facebook 10 years ago’ quiz. Firstly, DO IT, it’s hilarious. Secondly, although it may seem initially funny to comment on a friend’s 11 year old status about their cough saying ‘CORONAVIRUS :O’, this WILL make it show up on everyone’s news feed and give their ex who commented on this 11 years ago a notification. While this, again, may seem initially funny, it becomes less so when you inadvertently generate a lot of concern over that person’s welfare, and they end up getting a lot of messages of people asking about their health. Soz, pal.

General:

INTRODUCING: the coronavirus version of a gripping whodunnit. 

It is seven minutes after half past five. The milk is placed to the left of the doorstep (and also there are eggs). An attractive, intelligent and humble young woman exits her home and pauses. It is the middle of lockdown and she is going on her BJ sanctioned walk. She pauses. She hesitates as her gaze falls on the milk. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in the middle of a lockdown, must be in want of some milk. 

(Especially if she ran out of milk two days ago and recently posted as such in her wildly entertaining and critically exclaimed blog). 

She pauses. She smiles. She takes the milk (and eggs) inside and puts them in the fridge. She was feeling sad and a little intimidated of the prospect of a week’s annual leave sitting in her house alone (the one that was supposed to contain two weddings, a holiday to Malta with beloved besties and a hen do) and had spent the last fifteen minutes melancholy and dramatically hugging a pillow to her chest, before she had eschewed Idleness to embrace her future as Outdoorsy Type.™ 

The milk fills her being with joy.

The attractive, intelligent and humble woman embarks on her walk, full of renewed encouragement and contentment.

BUT WHODUNNIT?

(If you weren’t paying attention, that was a long way of writing I was having a bad day and found some milk and eggs on my doorstep and it cheered me up.)

(Also, we’re going back to first person now. Generally against changes of perspective halfway through a story because to me it’s basically lazy writing — hello, twilight?? You sucked a long time before you changed to Jacob’s point of view in that last book, but that is some seriously unacceptable literary decisions – but, this is a blog, and this is a pandemic; get over it)

Get home from walk and message colleague from work to ask if she is my milk deliver-er, as we’d had a conversation earlier that day in which I had said that I didn’t have any real milk, or indeed real coffee, so was now drinking instant l

coffee with mildly congealed cashew nut milk. She had made a joke about delivering milk but confirms that she is not responsible for my milky-goodness.

Which means, either:

  1. Milk is milkman milk, which means it’s entirely possible that this is not a gift, but accidental theft and this really belongs to a neighbour who is now bereft and Without Milk.
  2. This is a gift, from someone who knows that I am without milk, either from blog or other source 
  3. This is mana from heaven and milk has been provideth in my hour of need.

From the offset, the first seems more likely, and I do try and resolve instances of accidental theft in my life, which happen more than you might think.

Most recently, I took friend out for a birthday dinner because I’m not very good at birthdays and birthdays presents. I’m not necessarily giftsy so I’d generally offer the best gift of all — quality time with yours truly (and food). I am not very good at this either. 

This meal happened around mid January. Friend’s birthday in question was in May. Whoops.

Anyway, we had LOVELY meal where I ate approximately six times the amount of food that friend did. Even if I wasn’t picking up the tab, should probably have paid at least Seventy percent.

Friend drives me home. 

There’s a moment where we’re chatting on the drive when she say: “Why is there a Christmas tree on your front lawn?” (This is literally completely unrelated to the story I’m telling, it just happens to also be the day that someone fly-tipped a Christmas tree on my lawn. Only put three fake trees up this year and had missed chance to buy one; thought the benefit of this sub-par Christmas spirit was not have to work out how to dispose of Real Tree, as always sort it out too late for collection services, but no. Still wound up with this problem. I optimistically hoped it was the wind and that someone would take the tree, but they did not, and three weeks later I cut it up with my bread knife so I could put it in my garden waste bin. Housemate also broke my fake tree when we put it up, which led to hilariously wonky tree propped up by wall and the invention of the phrase ‘on a scale of one to our Christmas tree…’ which would usually be followed by one of us flopping like a dead fish. This means that one of my bin collections was entirely sad, broken up bits of Christmas tree. Anyway.)

I say: “That is a great question. I do not know why there is a Christmas tree on my front lawn.”

She says: “Is this your Christmas tree?”

I say: It is not my Christmas tree.”

Mutual laughter happens.

I say: “Happy birthday for eight months ago. Maybe next year I’ll be more on time.”

(Unlikely, but now I can blame coronavirus). 

Get my phone out to take picture of Christmas tree now on my front lawn. As I’m doing so, see a notification from my bank saying:

Card declined: please use chip and pin. 

I did not use a chip and pin. 

I have not paid for my friend’s eight month late birthday dinner.

No one has paid for the eight month late birthday dinner.

Whoops.

Enter the house laughing a lot. Tell the confused housemate that we have another Christmas tree and I have dined and dashed. She goes out to see Christmas tree and we now appoint a fly-tipped tree as the new bottom of the ‘Christmas tree’ scale. 

Call restaurant. (Look!!! Despite how much I hate phone calls I even try to CALL in incidents of accidental theft). Restaurant does not pick up. Eventually end up sending them a message on Facebook and explaining that it was an accident and I would really like to pay.  They reply within 20 mins and I set up bank transfer (should have done that before calling).

Restaurant is greatful, but last time I did this the restaurant gave me vouchers for free cocktails for my honesty. 

This time my only free gift is a Christmas tree. 

And now, months later, milk.

Point being—-  If the milk does in fact belong to a neighbour, I don’t want to be the person that deprives them of milk. I understand, intimately, what it is like to be without milk: I do not want that on my shoulders (for anyone else, it’s obviously already my own fault that I am without personal milk). In a technical sense, it would be the fault of the milkman, but we should be good to small businesses.

We still have street wide community WhatsApp set up to help people with coronavirus.

Message street community WhatsApp to ask if any of them ordered some milk and eggs from a milkman.

Haven’t ruled out option 2 (gift from human) and also  message likely gift bearers. Feel like I know more people who are the type to both have a milkman and deposit milk on doorstop of lonely social distancer than the average person, but get no positive ID.

Decided to leave it 24 hours for neighbour to claim milk and eggs.

Am then struck by insomnia, sleep zero hours, and decide that 12 hours is plenty.

Milk is delicious. It is whole milk, and creamy enough that it’s actually solid at the top. It takes like it came from an actual cow, but in a nice way. It is very milky, so make coffee extra strong (not a problem), and it is —- 

— beautiful. 

Halfway through the first cup of delicious milky coffee, am racked with guilt and look up milkmen to discover that they do not deliver to my postcode.

This means that:

  1. Milk is a milkmen mistake 
  2. Milk is a gift from someone who knows that I am without milk, either through blog post or through me telling everyone who I have spoken to about the hardship of having no milk and being unsure if this qualifies me for a trip Outside 
  3. Milk is divine intervention. The Lord God Almighty has manifested milk on my doorstep in my hour of need.

Problem is, neighbours have confirmed that although they have ordered no milk and eggs, one of them would like some eggs if there are any going spare.

I do, in fact, now have eggs going spare.

This extra six brings my egg total to thirteen eggs

I am one person. That’s <em> a lot </em> of eggs.

So, no worries, I can drop my neighbour round some eggs, but now have a moral dilemma because —-

My milkmen eggs are from a farm. If the milk is anything to go by, they are going to be delicious. In the nature of cheerful gift giving, I should give neighbour my nice eggs, but…. I want the nice eggs. 

In scenario number 1 — that these really belong to someone who has paid for them and have not gotten them — then I should definitely give the nice eggs to neighbour. There’s nothing wrong with my eggs and I have been blessed with the nice milk already, at someone else’s expense.

In scenario number 3, should also give away the nice eggs. If God has provided for my need (nice milk for my coffee) in such a miracle, then I am honor bound to provide for others needs in my hour of blessing.

But —-

If it’s a gift, that means someone wanted me to have the nice eggs, right? And it wouldn’t be honouring the gift properly to give them away. Like re-gifting a Christmas present on Boxing Day, or like how my brother in law told me and my sister off for drinking more than one bottle of the Tiny Wines that my parents shipped to us a night, because that ‘wasn’t your mum’s intention when she bought these for you.’ It’s not in the spirit of the thing.

Decided I must prove that these are gifts so I can keep nice eggs. 

As all crime (what’s the opposite of crime? un-crime?) writer’s know, your suspects must have: means, motive & opportunity.

MOTIVE:

Victim (me) has consumed all the milk and remains in good health and coronavirus free. Can therefore assume that the motive was not malice (unless milk WAS infected by coronavirus and the coughing / fever / shortness of breath I had WAS coronavirus, meaning this would be poisoned chalice had no affect??? If so, jokes on you). Very few people benefit from victim having coffee at the moment due to social distancing rules, as if coffee deficiencies result in unpleasantness individuals have the option of turning off video camera. 

Seems most likely that the motive is just that someone is very nice and wanted the vic to have milk.

OPPORTUNITY:

Estimated time of delivery is hard to establish. There is a 24 hour window between witnesses (me) viewing the crime scene (doorstop). HOWEVER, forensics indicates that the milk was still fine, so probably hadn’t been there that long. Milk appeared approximately six hours after victim posted blog post about not having milk. If this is where the perpetrator gained their insight, this means there is a six hour window in which the incident could have occurred. We can extrapolate, however, that the perp:

  • knew the victim’s particular milk needs and choose to exploit this need in the name of ‘doing something very nice for another’
  • Knew the victim’s address 
  • Could get to said address sometime within a six hour window
  • Victim is UNSURE about whether any vehicles were seen in the area that day, as she tends to have tunnel vision while working. 
  • Given this is a lockdown situation, we are either looking at someone who: was within a BJ sanctioned walk away from the scene of the gift; has a loose interpretation of the phrase ‘only leave the house if necessary’ or was in the area for another reason, such as commuting, buying groceries etc. 

MEANS: 

The provenance of the weapon (milk) in question is proving difficult to establish. We know that the milk could not have been delivered directly to the post code after our enquiries (googling the company), BUT the company in question only allows you to search one postcode. The investigating officer (me; no one else cares) has employed several methods of research in order to widen the field of interest, by using different devices and browsers to search the post code of likely subjects.

Investigating officers has used both regular and incognito browsing on phone, work laptop (during lunch; promise I’m a good employee) and regular laptop. All that we have been able to establish about the weapon in question, is that the nearest dispatch centre for this milk is in freaking Hull.

(Seriously, where did this milk come from??) 

HOWEVER, due to our understanding of the timeline of events, it seems likely that the individual utilised their own milk. This means perp is likely to have a milkman and drinks whole milk. 

PERP PROFILE:

We are asking the public to help with finding the perpetrator of this dastardly good deed. We have therefore released the following E-Fit.

IMG_1909
If this isn’t clear because the drawing is crap, the person is holding bottles of milk.

WARNING, THIS GOOD HEARTED CRIMINAL IS KNOWN TO:

  • Prey on the needs of others 
  • Drink delicious creamy whole milk 
  • Actually have faith that I would go for my walk every day, which is confidence in my stickability that I don’t feel I deserve 
  • Knows where I live 

BE VIGILANT.

(Thanks, Milk bringer. I really appreciated it. It was very kind and it made me very happy)

 

(I procrastinated on the decision for three days and then….. kept the farm eggs)

Top 5 things about lockdown:

  1. Personally, I think I’ve been getting a lot funnier since all this began. No one else has said this, just me, but given my audience is also just my plants and myself, we’ve got 25% increase in satisfaction rating.
  2. So little going on that I remembered to put out my garden waste bin!! This is 4-weekly on a different day to my actual bin day so I usually forget. I pay for this service, so it’s nice to get my money’s worth. Also, now there’s somewhere to put my dead plants when I eventually kill them. 
  3. Got into my bed on my lunch break yesterday, just cause. My bed is the best. Unsure why I have spent so much of the last few weeks not in my bed?? Literally, ‘not bed’ is the worst when juxtaposed against ‘bed’
  4. People are bored and kind enough to put things I need outside my front door 🙂 
  5. Can use coronavirus as a valid excuse for not getting anything done. Haven’t repainted the fence? Coronavirus, mate. Didn’t get that work done? You heard about that pandemic, didn’t you?? Behind on bible in a year? Just, you know, been really distracted by covid. 

Worst 5 things about lockdown:

  1. Due to prevalence of video chatting, spend SO MUCH MORE TIME LOOKING AT MY OWN FACE THAN NORMAL. I’m a like, two mins in the morning to get ready type. It’s like, roll out of bed, brush teeth, wash face, lipstick so it looks like I care; done. Intentional time looking in the mirror is the length of time it takes me to open lipstick and put it on. And now, there are hoursssss of my day where I can see this square of my face. I did not need to know what I looked like while thinking, or drinking coffee, or talking. Did not need this in my life.
  2. Low level guilt that I have yet to learn a new language/ instrument  or pair up my socks.
  3. Low level guilt for not contacting every single person I’ve ever met and asking them if they’re okay 
  4. Low level guilt for cancelling plans, when in theory have nothing to do, but in practically still sort of want to curl up on my sofa and not talk to anyone 
  5. Low level guilt about not giving away my nice eggs 

 

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