Here in Scotland we are now approaching month 3 of lockdown in an effort to thwart the spread of Covid-19, a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) at the end of January 2020 and by 11 March, 2020, it was declared a pandemic. It wasn't until 23 March, 2020 that Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally announced the lockdown of UK - or at least his verion of a lockdown. Since then, many announcements have been made, a recent one being that there is a lifting of some restrictions in an effort to begin getting UK back to normality. However, Mr Johnson seems to forget to emphasise the fact that he is speaking for England only. Here in Scotland, our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made it clear that lockdown remains firmly in place, other than a slight expansion on the public's right to exercise safely. There also seems to be a lack of mention by any Government for agriculture, with next to no mention of farmers. They are who actually produce the food that we eat - they matter!
Moving swiftly on... what about the bananas?
Frugaldom is shutdown but with 10 ponies, some ducks and hens to be cared for, plus all the horticultural aspects to the project, it still needs to be tended every day. This is a fulltime job. We don't have supermarkets, train stations, vast crowds or public transport around us and we don't have staff. Normally, we have volunteers, plus our weekend guests enjoying their frugal breaks! This year, so far, we welcomed our first visitors during the final weekend of February / beginning of March. They had a lovely weekend of chatting, exploring Frugaldom and grooming foals. We halted proceedings as soon as the pandemic was announced. But I digress... back to the bananas
Frugal living is a complete lifestyle of minimising waste in every area. Wastefulness just does not fit in with the ethos of frugality, nor does wanton spending on unneccessary 'stuff', but what about food? All around us we are spoiled for choice. But with lockdown, came panic buying and shortages of things like toilet paper, pasta, rice, flour and an assortment of basic essentials - even compost, as people flocked to start new gardens. It took a few weeks to iron out the problems of panic buying but it was finally brought under control, although compost still remains like black gold about here. I haven't been shopping this year, aside from visiting the village store or the agricultural merchants (which also has restrictions and cannot source compost). The village store sells bananas and a few apples and oranges: this is about the extent of the fruit selection, along wih occasional tomatoes. The fresh vegetable choice extends to potatoes, onions, carrots and mushrooms but this week they had some beetroot. Everything has increased in price and even more plastic packaging has been introduced.
This morning, I woke early and got up to make a cup of tea, tea that we can't grow at Frugaldom. I looked at the pack of teabags and the jar of instant coffee alongside it, thinking how lucky we are to have such luxuries, neither of which can be grown here at Frugaldom, or even locally. I should be drinking home grown herbal tea. Then I picked up a banana and marvelled at it. How incredible is it that a perennial herb, which is what a banana plant is, can produce such delicious fruits - grown thousands of miles away in warmer climes, picked and packed, flown in planes, hauled in lorries, unpacked, sorted, weighed, packaged, transported through massive distribution networks, unloaded, reloaded, redistributed to shops and supermarkets throughout the country, packed on shelves for customers, like me, to buy... and all because we like the taste and we have the money to buy them.
And I had the audacity to wonder at a price increase for something that still costs mere pennies - shame on me!