Fortunately I worked with my writing students today, which meant a pleasant morning reading and marking up their stories. Their homework was to write about a plague, paying attention to their tone. Unsurprisingly, both of them chose a sorrowful tone. Oddly, they also chose to write about historic plagues, not the COVID-19 pandemic they're actually living through. One story was set in a small Italian village, and the other in an English village within a castle.
To my surprise, my boy pupil wrote a powerful love scene. His English hero's wife locks herself in a room when she discovers she has the plague, so that the hero doesn't get it. The hero bangs on the door, reluctant to allow her to die alone. She yells at him to go to his brother's house. "What will you do for food?" wails the husband. The response is that without food, she'll die more quickly and be out of her misery. The husband staggers out, overcome with grief and horror. It's really very good.
Sadly, when I told my pupil all this over Skype, he wrote "Worst Story Ever" at the top of his copy while his sister shrieked and hooted with laughter.
I sent them off with another writing challenge. I confess that I'm afraid that if I were to accept my own writing challenges, I wouldn't do as well as they do. That said, I make a super editor.
The other joy in the day was going for a walk along bike trails to Edinburgh's Wee Boulangerie. Unfortunately, the path was very heavily travelled by, and social-distancing was sometimes difficult. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and it was very pleasant to walk under the trees and look at Arthur's Seat and then the Salisbury Crags rise before us.
But before we really got started on this walk, we enjoyed a short detour to visit a neighbour. We espied him through his window making his lunch and then he popped out through his front door, preceded by cats both black and ginger, to bring his food scraps to the bin. Thus, we all had a nice chat before our friend went in to his lunch and we continued our walk to the Wee B.
Unfortunately the cashier at the Wee B had cleaned the cappuccino machine for the day, so we had to make do with frangipani tartlets and a milk bun. B.A. went to look at potential garden tables in Edinburgh Bargain Stores, and I did a quick sweep of the neighbourhood to look for cappuccino. Unfortunately all the hipster cafes were shut, and even Kilimanjero closed at 4. Starbucks was open, but I didn't want a cappuccino THAT badly.
After B.A. was dissuaded from buying an ugly new table, we took our Wee B treats to George Square and ate them while sitting on some steps, looking at the park. When we felt rested, we bought our groceries at the "student" Tesco and took the Rough Bus home.
It had been some time since we had been on the Rough Bus, but memories came roaring back when we heard the eldritch shriek of a young local lass behind us and listened to her cough. It was hard to tell if she was off her head on drugs, mentally ill or just a neighbourhood personality. She descended from the bus where we expected her to descend, to be offensively candid. However, one must admit that the young man with her was rather a dish.
Now I have hung up the laundry and B.A. is cooking tonight's locally-sourced sausages. The world is not so terrible after all---especially as I have not read, and will not read, the news.