Lockdown Unlocked – A blog from a social distance by Thomas Willshire #15 Masks

Upon hearing the news that it is to become mandatory to wear masks in shops and other public spaces I felt quite smug. I have a mask, you see. A soft, unobtrusive covering which Polly made for me on her sewing machine. Sadly, the machine broke while she was making herself one which is unfortunate but, I’m sure you’ll agree, ultimately her problem. She’s making do by holding Fergal to her face which is as adorable as it is impractical.

I’ve had a couple of negative mask experiences so far. After playing tennis recently I foolishly opted to catch the bus home and sat in considerable discomfort for an hour and twenty minutes. The mask became so saturated with my sweat I almost drowned. Occasionally I had to lift the thing up just to wring it out and the social shame was almost as bad as the gulps of sweat I was imbibing. On another occasion (this time aboard a train) I’d clearly gone without shaving for too long as my mask kept attaching itself to my stubble. You wouldn’t have thought something like that could prove too bothersome, but it felt like I’d attached a cup of hornets to my face. Again, as I shifted the mask around for relief, I could feel the carriage’s eyes on me. “Oh! Please! Fidget away, murderer! God forbid my shielding Grandmother prevent you from scratching your chin!”.

My mask is machine washable (thanks to Polly) and normally does the job without any irritation at all. I’m perfectly happy to wear it whenever and wherever it may be deemed appropriate. I’ve read some statistics and they suggest masks significantly help diminish the spread of the virus so I’m totally on board. I reserve the right to moan, however. Let’s not pretend they’re a pleasure to don so we can make people who struggle with them feel bad. They’re a nuisance but a necessary one.

I should have worn a mask a bit more during full lockdown. Especially while I was eating dinner or pouring booze down my neck. I did another little bit of filming last Friday and when I watched the rushes I was horrified at how corpulent I’ve become. I’m currently above my personal ideal weight by about a stone at the moment. I mentioned in an earlier post that I turned to food during lockdown. I framed my day around meals and my gut has definitely fallen foul of that methodology. The drinking hasn’t helped either. I haven’t been getting soused every night but I’ve been treating myself more than I should. Food and drink has brought me huge comfort over recent months and whilst I’m far from ashamed I’ve decided it’s time to make some changes.

I’ve had great success with weight loss in the past by committing to a ketogenic diet. I won’t bore you with specifics but essentially it’s about only eating greens, fat and proteins. Carbohydrates become the enemy and for two to four weeks I’m happy living with that distinction. I would start the diet immediately, but I’ve got various little trips lined up over the coming weeks and I’ll be buggered if I’m ruining holidays by turning my nose up at beer and other lovely things. It looks like I’m going to be barrelling around a while yet but come the middle of August, you watch, I’ll be constipated to fuck and dropping weight like a champ. To bastardise a Sarah Silverman joke, I don’t care if you think I’m healthy, I just want you to think I’m thin!

Act Three still awaits my attention. I’ve started to think of it as a football waiting for me on a penalty spot. There’s no goalkeeper, so absolutely nothing is stopping me from hoofing the ball into the net apart from the crippling fear I’ll miss. Maybe if I have a glass of wine…


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