Kat’s plans for the trip to India were in full swing. Her list of travel essentials was growing daily, and her online shopping kept her busy and away from the TV news. But Bill watched the daily reports of the increasing impact of COVID-19 with concern. He shared his concerns with Kat, but she wasn’t listening. “Bill, that’s in China. We’re going to India” was all Kat would say as she turned her attention back to her preparations.
All the guidebooks warned of the dreaded “Delhi Belly”. Kat bought up big on Imodium, small packs of tissues and hand sanitiser. But those things were not as much fun to collect as the travel journal, travel pillow, travel size toiletries, packing cubes, a suitcase cover so she’ll recognise her luggage at the airport, a jewellery organiser, picnic rug, a travel door alarm, pegless washing line, travel iron and luggage scale.
Her planned wardrobe for the Indian climate was growing as well. Oh this was fun! She couldn’t wait to get away. But increasingly, her friends were telling her what she did not want to hear. Travel plans right now were not a good idea.
Meanwhile, Bill could see the writing on the wall. Their trip of a lifetime would not go ahead. He checked their travel insurance and it was confusing, especially since the coronavirus was just declared a pandemic. The next steps were unclear.
Being a man of vision, he knew that there was one kind of insurance that he could get right now. Toilet paper. He made a special trip to the supermarket and stocked up on several large packs of the stuff. It filled the entire boot and back seat of the car. Unfortunately, once he got home with his haul, there was no space in the house to store it. Hm, he’d work on that after a hard conversation with his wife.
“Kat, we need to talk. This trip is not going ahead. We’re all in big trouble and we’ll soon be in lockdown, maybe for months. We need to get ready. I’m serious. No mucking around. We need to make sure we have enough supplies to survive.”
Kat can see he means it but is not one bit concerned. She’s sure there’s enough food in the fridge, freezer and pantry for them to get by. She leads Bill to the kitchen to proudly show just how ready she is. The freezer is full of meat, packaged meals and frozen bananas. Bill takes a few ice-encrusted packs from the freezer and checks the date. “Kat, these sausages are from 2015! And I don’t even know what this lump of stuff is.”
The pantry was next. The bottom shelf seemed to contain things they were currently using. Open cereal packets, some crackers, tins of their new favourite soup. One shelf held a box full of baked beans in ham sauce, another box held 24 cans of fruit salad. Bill doesn’t like baked beans and he couldn’t face canned fruit salad since his mother served it at every meal during his childhood. The other shelves in the pantry contained stuff he didn’t recall every needing or using – truffle oil, peach nectar, Soda Stream flavourings (they had no Soda Stream machine), dried pigs ears and cat litter.
Bill sighed deeply. “Kat, this stuff isn’t going to feed us during a lockdown. We need nutritious balanced meals that aren’t going to kill us. Remember the time you gave Bruce that old pudding at Christmas? We can’t survive coronavirus only to succumb to food poisoning. I’m going to go through this pantry and create an inventory of what we have and what we need.”
“And speaking of that,” he went on, “I have a load of toilet paper in the car and I need some place to put it. You’ll have to clear out the spare room.”
“What do you mean? How much toilet paper did you buy?” She couldn’t believe her eyes when he took her to the car. “After all the things you’ve said about me bulk buying! After all the times you told me off for hanging on to stuff! Bill, you’re overreacting. And I am not getting rid of anything from the spare room. It all cost good money. What do you need all those rolls for anyway?”
“You’re not hearing me, Kat. We can’t wipe our bums on old copies of National Geographic!”
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here…