I wake up at five — in the afternoon. I reach over in bed to my regular sleeping partner —no, not Xerxes the cat, but my iPhone — to see if there are any emails from friends checking if I’m still alive. Not a single one!
As the man who’s been eating out every night for 22 years since I got divorced ( I hit the jackpot — I don’t cook and I love eating in restaurants), when my lockdown life began I discovered a room in my house I never knew existed. Apparently it’s called a “kitchen”. On Day One of lockdown my first attempt at cooking didn’t gone too well.
“How can you mess up cornflakes?” asked my friend Howard.
“I don’t know. I read the instructions on the box. I think maybe I put on too much milk or not enough sugar,” I said.
Today I call Howard: “I’m going to attempt to roast a Chechen. How do I do it?”
“Don’t do it! It’s murder and that’s illegal. You don’t want to mess with the Chechens. I suggest you try a chicken instead.”
He tells me what to do.
Fifteen minutes later I video WhatsApp him. “I’ve been trying but I still can’t push the whole lemon and onion up it.”
“Let me see what you’re doing,” he says. I show him. “That’s the wrong end you idiot!”
I open the top cupboard in the kitchen to get some Rice Krispies for breakfast. I hear they’re easier to make than cornflakes.
The door falls off onto my head. Forget being killed by coronavirus, I almost got killed by my kitchen cupboard door. I can see the JC obituary: “Rosengard died during the Age of Coronavirus when a kitchen cupboard door fell onto his head as he was reaching for a box of Rice Crispies.”
l I try boiling an egg for breakfast and the smoke detector goes off. I climb onto a chair to turn it off with a large knife. I fall off the chair and the knife narrowly misses beheading Xerxes.
Kitchens are deathtraps. When this is all over I’m never setting foot in mine again. Restaurants of London — have no fear. I WILL BE BACK.
I’ve realised I have spent more time in my flat in the last 3 weeks than in the last 22 years.
“I’ve never eaten here before” I say to my daughter on the phone. “Dad, that’s just not true. You once had a takeaway Indian. I think it was about 15 years ago.”
l I’m woken up early by a text. My friend Stockholm Steve wants know if I’m alright: “You keeping safe and fit?”
I text back: “I run 50 miles a day, swim 100 lengths and lift 100kg weights — then I wake up and get out of bed.”
As regular readers of this column know, I’m a life insurance salesman. I’m suddenly the most popular man in London. Everyone’s trying to buy life insurance! They’re battering my door down.
The only thing is I’m frightened to open it in case they’ve got…
A sleep expert is saying on Radio 5 that people’s sleeping patterns have changed since lockdown. Really? I’m listening to Radio 5 at 3 am! He said people are reporting having strange dreams.
I go back to sleep and dream that I am stopped by a policeman on Westminster Bridge on my scooter at 3am. “What are you doing out at this time, sir?” “I’m on an emergency call-out, officer. I’m a life insurance salesman and I just got a call from a woman who says her husband has sneezed twice and she wants me to come immediately to sell him a £1m life insurance policy. I’m going to push the application form under the door.” “Go right ahead, Sir. Do you need a police escort?”
Saturday morning 3.05am
I dream that I am stopped on my scooter at 4am by a policeman, again on Westminster Bridge. “Where are you going, Sir?” “I’m delivering blood, officer. I’m a volunteer heading to St. Thomas’s Hospital.” “Where is the blood you’re delivering, Sir?” “I keep it inside my body for security reasons, officer. It keeps it nice and fresh.” “Of course, go right ahead, Sir. Do you need a police escort?”
Saturday 9.38 pm
I get a call from an old friend who I haven’t heard from for 20 years. I am very happy to hear from him. After a long chat we finish talking and say goodbye. He doesn’t disconnect and I hear him say to his wife, “I must have called him by accident”.