Tony Allen: And finally... Idle hands

Apr 19 | 2020

This morning I walked down into town to buy Mrs Allen a birthday card. I guess this will be the last time I’ll be making this journey for some time, as I must now conform to current virus edicts.

Tony Allen: And finally...My walk was a lonely one with hardly a sole to be seen, of course in the town centre there were numbers of people hastening on their way in search of provisions, etc. But I must confess that it really made me understand why the word ‘surreal’ had been invented. The only thing that was missing from this scene was the sight of ubiquitous tumbleweed.

Now my intention was to write this piece without alluding in any way to the COVID-19 virus, as I’m sure you would really need blessed relief from the subject, but I couldn’t do this without appearing callous. But doesn’t it make you realise how our lives have become so self-centred? How we tend to make dramas out of even the most unimportant of things?

So the majority of us are going to have to exist mainly within the bounds of our own houses, although those of you with a garden can continue to potter if you want. But in essence we are reverting to a caveman like existence - caveperson doesn’t quite work – where we spend our life within our tribe and make occasional forays outside to find food. In essence, our world becomes our immediate surroundings and our immediate surroundings become our world.

So how to fill one’s time.

Now is maybe the perfect time to settle down and watch an old film. The only problem is that almost every film that has been made, even recently, no longer conforms to current critically acceptable standards. Films made even as little as five years ago are no longer available for this reason.

Perhaps something maybe as torturous as a jigsaw puzzle is the answer, especially a really big one if you get the picture. Mrs Allen would be great at this, but I’m not sure that I’ve got the patience. Why go to all of that trouble to cut it up in the first place? Oh, and by the way, when you’re doing a jigsaw puzzle and there’s a piece missing, why does it always have to be the last piece?

Maybe I should take up cookery? Males from my generation tend not to be very good at cookery so perhaps I should try to improve my technique. On the other hand, males from my son’s generation are excellent at cooking and seem to be able to do it whilst carrying on an involved conversation. I’ve tried very hard to acquire this skill but my efforts always seem to fail. How can I put it …?

You know when you’re young and you are given a present of modelling plasticine which consists of lots of different colours? During usage all of the colours gradually mix together and finally end up as one murky brown lump. Well that’s what happens with my cookery; I add this, and then I add that, and then I add a bit more of this and then finally I’m left with a murky brown mess. See what I mean? The family will tell me how much they like it but how, unfortunately, they are not very hungry and have you seen that crack in the ceiling that needs filling?

Reading is a great pastime but it doesn’t appeal to everyone. I absolutely love it, and imagination is a wonderful place to visit and the sources are endless. But not everybody enjoys reading ‘stories’, some are much happier with magazines or non-fiction and then again some are much happier watching the TV.

Making music is a wonderful way to pass time but it always works better with other people and, for a while, that’s not going to be possible. In a quiet moment I will often pick up my ukulele or my guitar and spend a few happy moments plucking away.

So I suppose that there are plenty of ways to fill my time and in addition I’ve noticed that there is a lady who I live with who is quite good fun to be with; even though she has just mentioned that, if I’ve got time on my hands, the inside of the windows need to be cleaned. No big deal, she says, but I know full well that this will be playing on my mind until the moment I make a start - and I’ve already got so much that I’ve planned to do!