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Laura Craik on our Scotch egg moments, a pleasant surprise vaccination and the great sofa affordability gap

W hen Sir Winston Churchill was made chancellor of the exchequer in November 1924, it was his Damascene moment, sparking a belief in free enterprise that would define his political career. When Boris Johnson went cycling seven miles from his home in January 2021, it was his Scotch egg moment, sparking outrage that he’d seemingly bent the very same rules his government had imposed on everyone else.

Occurring shortly after two women were fined by police for strolling in a park five miles from where they lived, the Prime Minister’s actions were baffling. It’s not as though Boris went cycling in secret: he did it on a Sunday afternoon, in the Olympic Park, surrounded by his security. He must have known he’d be seen, but presumably didn’t care. Maybe he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. If the person preaching England’s lockdown rules doesn’t understand them, what hope is there for the rest of us?

As I type, stricter rules are being threatened, among them curbing takeaways, closing nurseries and banning exercise with a friend. Nobody wants to lose any more liberties but these three seem particularly important to maintain.

Anyone who has had to buy, cook and clean up three meals a day, three times a day, seven days a week for the past 10 months while holding down a day job will know that a lamb rogan josh is all that stands between them and a meltdown. As is the opportunity to have their toddler taken off their hands for a few hours, or spending time with a friend.

“Rules aren’t meant
to be broken, but when you’re feeling broken, too, they’re all the harder to adhere to”

The truth is, we’ve all had our Scotch egg moments over the past 303 days; those guilty occasions when we’ve bent the rules in our attempts to cope with restrictions. Sometimes, it’s to suit ourselves. Sometimes, it’s to save ourselves.

Rules aren’t meant to be broken, but when you’re feeling broken, too, they’re all the harder to adhere to. Are we as broken as a nurse coming off a 16-hour shift in a Covid-19 ward? Probably not. If you can, stay home, save lives. And if you can’t, be careful.

A shot in the arm

My 87-year-old mother was vaccinated on Saturday in a move that was as much of a surprise to her as it was to me, given all the doom-mongering. ‘I got the Astra Zeneca one,’ she said, proudly.

‘The same as the Queen and Joan Collins.’ I don’t think anyone with aged parents is fully aware of how worried they are about them: it’s too much to hold in your head, and so you bury it. Where do they go, these feelings? Dunno. But I do know I’m looking forward to dancing them all out of my system one day. Until then, there’s @JodieHarsh’s ‘Post-Pan Party Inspo’ on Instagram, and the knowledge that every jab takes us one step closer to being Bianca Jagger riding into Studio 54 on a white stallion.

We've come sofa

Current status: wandering disconsolately around my house depressed at how shabby it looks, while feeling guilty because I realise I’m lucky to have a roof over my head. Is there a word for that? Ah yes: nobber.

Anyway, this nobber wants a new sofa. Everyone wants a new sofa. There is only one problem. Since you bought your last sofa in 1992, there has been a price surge and a sofa costs £1,500. You go on eBay. They all look like they hail from Pat Butcher’s living room. You go on Gumtree. They all look like they belong in a minicab office. You go to ikea.com. Too studenty. Loaf.com. Too pricey. Made.com, and there it is: the Scott, sofa of dreams, in petrol blue velvet. For £1,799. You go to johnlewis.com and buy a new cushion instead.

7 September

Publication date of Sally Rooney’s new novel. Which we will definitely be reading on a beach. Already looking forward to the TV adaptation.


Release date pushed back yet again to November. At this rate, we’ll all be dead before we get a chance to watch the latest Bond.