The poetic side of me has stirred.
“My love is like a red red rose, That’s newly sprung in June” the opening couplet of a love song written by Roberts Burns is playing on repeat in my head.
Burns had a few good lines and a canny knack for rhymes but any romantic intentions from writing a love song must surely have been undermined by firstly expressing his love for a haggis. Knowing you will always play second fiddle to an oatmeal pudding doesn’t provide secure foundations for a loving long term relationship.
Despite suffering a panic attack and inadvertently calling her Lorraine on our first Zoom date my lockdown romance with Susie the Counsellor has bloomed like…well…like a newly sprung rose and we have already taken the first serious step in our lockdown relationship. We have used a daily household visit to meet up for a date in an outdoor space keeping a safe social distance.
In a sign of the pandemic times, the leisure pursuits open to us during Phase 1 of the Exit from Lockdown offered a very different dating experience. We decided against canoeing and angling locally and opted instead for a bike ride.
Reassuringly, some things stay the same. I was still faced with the traditional dating dilemma – what to wear. Fortunately, my cycling helmet covered, apart from a couple of longer tufts, my lockdown DIY haircut. Unfortunately, my Lycra cycling clothing didn’t quite stretch over my lockdown spread. In retrospect, wearing my King of the Mountains polka dot was not the best choice. Large red dots, I have learned, accentuate lockdown lumps.
I knew I was serious about Susie after a Zoom date playing my favourite board game. Love need not only be expressed poetically. Deep affection is conveyed as meaningfully by not throwing a tantrum after losing at Taxi! Board Game.
I might try poetry too. I’ve only ever felt strongly enough to write a poem for one other person:
Oh Lorraine, lovely Glaswegian girl
You bring warmth and beauty to my Sound Off World
Oh Lorraine, gracious Queen of Morning Telly
You are so pure I bet even your feet are not smelly
Yeah. I know. Better sticking to Sound Offs. Here’s my latest (cabbie-punter privilege applied):
“Where to, madam?”
“Fulham Road. Should only take a few minutes today. Help yourself to hand sanitiser and wipes.”
“All part of the service to keep my passengers safe.”
“A sign of the times unfortunately, like queueing at Supermarkets and canoeing on a first date.”
“No. I’ve not but it’s one of the few things you’re allowed to do when you meet somebody from another household. You could go angling as well.”
“Well, you’d look better in waders than I did in Red Polka dots.”
“On a cycling date. I thought my King of the Mountains jersey would send a statement.”
“Like Leo Di Caprio in Titanic. You know the scene, “King of the World” and Kate Winslet swooning.”
“Well, my thinking was I would reach the crest of a hill, spread my arms like Leo, shout “King of the Mountains” and Susie would swoon like Kate.”
“Not exactly. For a start Susie was first to the summit and by the time I reached the top I was so knackered I was more worried about a heart attack.”
“Haha. No, my attempt at a nudey drawing would have turned out worse than my cycling. I have written a poem though.”
“No chance. Susie should be the first to hear it if she’s still interested.”
“I’m worried, the sight of me in polka dots has put her off.”
“Maybe I would have before lockdown but when I was off the road I ended up watching too much morning telly and eating too many coco pops.”
“Well, I’m easing myself back into my routine but business is still quiet.”
“I hope so. Getting sport back on the telly is a start.”
“Oh yeah. I really missed sport on the box. I was like a wee kid at Christmas when the first EPL game was screened.”
“I tried Bundesliga. There was no romantic spark though. I did a runner at half-time in the first game.”
“It just felt soulless to me. Hearing players’ shouts echoing around empty stadiums, the thump of the ball being kicked and the swish of ball hitting the back of the net left me feeling empty. Without the noise and passion of the fans, the spectacle is diminished. I hope the football authorities and club owners now realise the importance of fans and start treating us with the respect we deserve. We bring the game to life. Football without fans is like a Sound Off without a punter.”
“Thanks, fair to say my Sound Offs are better than my poetry. Do you support a team?”
“Funny you should say that. My taxi sponsors, Taxi! Board Game, are launching a Chelsea edition. Look out for it in shops and online soon.”
“Yeah, what a player. I’m sure there will be a few questions about about him. I reckon Drogba is Chelsea’s greatest of the modern era. Here we are, Fulham Road. That’ll be £6.”