Storm Diary 44 – Black Death

Storm Diary 44 – Sat 18th April 2020

Sore throat in morning – again. Starting to think I really do have the milder symptoms of Coronavirus. Yesterday’s pangs of the digestive system not so bad.

Tragically, the pangs returned on cue, when Hubby and Eldest Sprog suggested going for one of their mega-long walks. They went. I stayed in. Middle and Youngest Sprogs stayed in, as always.

Got stuck into the rest of Dorothy Wrenn’s ‘Shrewsbury & Shrophire’. Fantastic read. Very pleased to find out that my mid 17th century female ancestors of Wem ‘put on military cloaks and joined the men on the walls’ fending off the attempted recapture of their town by the Parliamentarian, Lord Capel. Always knew I descended from fine stock. Used to love that game called ‘British Bulldogs’ – was always a fabulous opportunity to get aggressive with one’s enemies. And being a redhead, as with all gingers, I had lots of foes to fend off. Shame about today’s Health & Safety Laws!

It’s not so great, however, to travel further back in time and read about the Black Death pandemic of 1381; it killed a third of Shropshire’s population. Enough of my ancestors survived that one (including, my Great-Something-Grandfather, Humphrey Kynaston the Highwayman of Nesscliffe) to guarantee my own arrival on this planet, so if it’s a case of survival of the fittest, I hope it’s a sign that my living relatives, and myself, of course, can survive the current Coronavirus crisis. Just so long as I don’t end up hiding out in my cave long enough for some undeserving passer-by to fall prey to my hunger. And, no, Humphrey was not a cannibal, but he did enjoy robbing the rich to feed the poor, i.e. himself.

By the time the walkers return, I have finished devouring the county of Shropshire. Middle and Youngest Sprog are still ensconced in their respective bedrooms, heavily involved in really important things like YouTube videos and rap battles. And I have a momentary thought about getting one up on the idle, by going for a jog-walk. No, I’m too ill. I still have a sore throat, and my stomach pangs have made a second comeback.

Time for seconds. I pick up Edmund Vales ‘Shropshire’ and go for gold. But barely have I finished the first chapter, before I become distracted by Mary Webb’s novel ‘The Golden Arrow’. Reading about young lovers courting amidst the mountainous terrains of the Stiperstones and The Long Mynd is, to my frame of mind, just as healthy as a daily dose of exercise.

And who knows what I might catch from any of the kissing gates in my locale of Suffolk? If I climb over a gate, I will inevitably have to park my bottom on it, in order to swing my ageing legs over to the other side. My bottom does not wish to carry Covid-19 back into my home and onto my settee.

I do, therefore, remain in the hills of Shropshire, have a cup of tea, and carry on with tending my flock of sheep. A cloven hoof appears to have ‘fut-rot’ (p.150, Webb).

By Jay Cool, The Silly-Savvy Salopian in Suffolk

UK Coronavirus-related deaths in last 24 hours: 888

Published by The Silly-Savvy Salopian

Freelance writer and descendant of the cave dweller and outlaw, Humphrey Kynaston. Banished from Shropshire for my eccentricity, I have made my home in Suffolk. I write poetry, short stories, travel journals, comedy gig reviews and non-fiction articles. My wish is to write my way back into the heart of my birth land. All writing commissions (and free holidays in Shropshire!) considered.

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