I think the word of the week – other than ‘coronavirus’ of course – is ‘unprecedented’; we are living in unprecedented times. Certainly I’ve never known anything like it – and I’ve been around for a few decades (I have three gorgeous little grandsons now!).
Theories abound about how it all started. Politicians and ‘experts’ put out terrifying predictions of how long it will last. None of us know when our lives will return to any kind of ‘normality’. And when we get there, I’m sure it will be a different ‘normal’. Things have to change; things will inevitably change. Our high streets, the places we like to travel to on holiday, will all be different. How different depends on how long it takes to stem the pandemic.
We all have to adapt in some way. I’m fortunate that I’ve worked from home as a freelance book editor for many years, so I’m used to it; set up for it. What I’ll miss is getting out and about and seeing people (I live alone). But I’m also fortunate that my work continues, while other people – the less well off on zero-hour contracts, working in hospitality, etc. – face no work at all for perhaps a long time. Others, unused to working from home, struggle to get used to it. Even the way we work will sometimes change. I’ve always liked to joke that I still get page proofs from publishers to check; printed on paper to which I add marks with my red (printer’s errors) and blue (author’s error) pens. Now I’m being asked to check proofs on-screen because editors aren’t in their offices, they’re at home with no printers to print out proofs and no post room to post them out. I’ve been editing on-screen for years so it’s not a big jump, though surprisingly different in ways perhaps only an editor would understand (no it’s not quite like reading a book on Kindle). But in all honesty it’s progress; we were on the way there anyway. We’ve just jumped ahead. But it’s not like that for everyone.
While I long for my life as I knew it to come back, and it’s awful worrying about family and friends and where this ‘new life’ is headed, I’ve been amazed at the love and kindness that’s sprung up around communities. My newish neighbour, Ana, who I’ve barely got to know yet, texted last night to ask if I was OK and let her know if she could do anything. People really do seem to be helping and looking out for each other. Friends and family are phoning and talking to each other rather than relying on email or text for communication. And I applaud those small businesses, whose very survival is at risk, who are working hard to do things differently and keep their business going.
One such is my long-time favourite – Corto Italian Deli. I’ve written about it many times. It’s a smallish deli in Twickenham’s prettiest street – Church Street – where you can buy the best Italian food products you’ll find anywhere, stop for a coffee made the true Italian way, or have lunch. Sometimes I’m in there surrounded by Italians; have even seen people pop in for a quick espresso which they down quickly, Italian style, at the counter, then bid a ‘ciao‘ as they rush out again. Platters of Italian meats and cheese are cut freshly straight on to serving dishes. There are wonderful salads, ciabatta or focaccia sandwiches, and always three or four freshly made hot dishes – dishes they really do make themselves – offering things like homemade soup, lasagna, melanzane parmigiana.
I often meet friends for lunch there; we’ve had lots of family lunches at Corto – even birthday lunches! Sometimes I pop in to buy a few things and stop for a coffee. But of course there’s no more popping at the moment … not for a while.
So how delighted I was when I saw that Romina had posted on their Facebook page yesterday that they would now deliver food, and they plan to soon offer an evening meal delivery service.
As you can see from the photos below, there’s a lot of lovely food here, from dried pasta, risotto rice, jars of sauces, fresh cheeses and meats, olive oil … well the list goes on. And particularly wonderful if you love Italian food like me! (The 5 photos below are Romina’s and the one of the shop above.)
My first order was delivered by Romina on her Vespa this evening (photo at top). I love these amazing Italian sausages from Siena that she regularly stocks. They’re so meaty and taste fantastic. I plan to make a sausage pasta sauce and will freeze extra portions.
I’m addicted to these fabulous cantuccini – the best I’ve found anywhere – and my whole family are addicted to the taralli! Even the little grandsons ask for taralli.
As you can see from the photo at the top, I just ordered what I’d normally buy in the shop. We can all help each other by not over-buying. What I did was promise Romina I’d put in an order each week. This is a time to help each other and, where we’re able, we need to support our local businesses as much as we can.
You can call Romina at Corto Italian Deli on 020 8892 9013.
Keep safe and healthy!