The last three shops we’ve been able to get into had nothing left that was edible. Most supermarkets are occupied, and their inhabitants go to even greater lengths than Elaine to defend their stores. The last time we attempted to get near to a large Tesco we passed the gutted shells of burnt out cars. I’d just caught sight of the charred corpse in one of the wrecks when Sarah swerved suddenly and accelerated towards the exit as a gout of flame sprang up on the tarmac behind us. We don’t go near the larger shops now.
Last night we ate our penultimate tin of kidney beans with boiled nettles, and Sue suggested, again, giving up and going to the quarantine camp. At least they’d feed us, she said. At least they wouldn’t shoot at us for wanting to eat. The quarantine time period’s long past – perhaps families are allowed to stay together now. The question on my mind is, if the quarantine period’s over, where is everybody? You can drive for an hour on any road and see nobody. You’d think people would be leaving the cities, if they were free to do so.
We argued until past midnight, Sue pointing at maps and reading blog testimonies from various cities in the region, me pointing out how little those testimonies mean, Sarah unusually silent, lying on the bunkbed with her headphones turned up, chewing on her sleeves. I don’t want to lose the caravan and the car, and our independence. Sue feels we’ve gone beyond that now.
She said we can go to the city, or we could keep raiding until we get shot, or we can watch our daughter waste away on nettles and dandelion leaves.
I said that if we can hold on for autumn, there’ll be blackberries and hazelnuts and chestnuts to eat.
And she said, it’ll get colder, and darker, and we’ll get sicker. None of our attempts at snaring or trapping or fishing have had much success. There are a few mushrooms, roots and berries that I know for sure are safe, but it takes a more expert forager than me to actually find enough to live on for any amount of time. We’re almost out of iodine, too, and unlikely to find more. There’s nowhere else to raid within walking distance, and moving on means using the last of our fuel.
Sue stayed up searching the W4 and running down the power, and this morning told us that Chester’s called an amnesty on quarantine refusers. We could join them now, and be kept in isolation for 28 days before joining the general population. They say they’ve got basic industries running and they’re working farms in the surrounding area. They’ve got security, food and jobs. They need workers.
There was nothing else I could say.