Photo credit: Nambian47 on Visualhunt.com / CC BY


My daughter is home from university at the moment.  She would be in any case at this time of year, as it is the Easter vacation. This time of course it is different and she came down early just as the University was deciding to suspend lectures for time indeterminate, sine die as we used to say before Latinisms fell out of favour. I drove up with my son (glad he came- we couldn’t have carried it all without him) and we packed her stuff in the car and came back via a motorway surprisingly peaceful to navigate. We made one pit stop which was like a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Vacant, staring individuals shambled aimlessly around an almost deserted car park and inside there was one food outlet open. People were observing ‘social distancing’ even before it had become a thing, staring at each other in dread as they moved in a weird Brownian motion about the concourse. We didn’t stay long at the best little mortuary in Worcestershire and decided to try for a meal at another services further along. They made the first one look lively. Everything was shut, and this was well before the Government mandated shutdowns.

Eventually we found one that was open for takeout food only. So we took it out and then realised the guys due to shut the motorway at eight o’clock for roadworks had jumped the gun by nearly an hour and we had to drive back a junction to get round them. Thank guys. Helpful.

We got back home with cold food for my wife and considerable irritation for all concerned.

I suppose on reflection it was good training for what was to follow.

My daughter brought something else back with her, no, not Covid-19, but another virus: ‘Dalgona Coffee’. This is a South Korean recipe for a coffee drink and should you wish to know more or make it yourself I can suggest you start your quest here with the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/dalonga_coffee_20606

Being over the age where viral internet fads have any traction, this one had passed me by. Now I have ‘helped’ make it for her I am eternally grateful that age has inoculated me against such folly. Whisk instant coffee, sugar and hot water together until it is a frothy cream and spoon over hot or cold (as desired) milk and spend the next fifteen minutes wiping goop off your upper lip as you try and drink the milk through the goop. As one enthusiast says – it’s like an upside down Cappuccino. But I don’t want my cappuccino to be inverted; I like it as it is.

So what has all this got to do with writing? Probably not a lot, except that hiding away tapping on a keyboard is one way I can avoid all the whisking, frothing, spooning and washing up afterwards that this particular viral infection entails. My writing productivity has increased dramatically since I learned how to make a ‘Dalgona Coffee’ and, more importantly, learned how to avoid making it.

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