Peter Moore: Discovering an Aladdin’s cave while staying at home

Dr Peter Moore

Dr Peter Moore - Credit: Archant

How would Aladdin cope with the lockdown? Would the police helicopter fly alongside his magic carpet and ask: 'Is you journey really necessary?'

Singing 'It's A Whole New World' would become entirely appropriate although social distancing from Princess Jasmine on a flying carpet might prove difficult. He could sort out all the 'stuff' in the cave but would he put the lamp on eBay before he had discovered the genie?

Just like Aladdin without the magic this awful pandemic is giving me a chance to sort out 'stuff.' With over thirty years of 'stuff' and continually being sidetracked I am not getting very far.

My first major success was sorting out the garage. OK, not the whole garage just the corner full of ancient bottles of cheap wine bought during holidays in France over the years.

I have never been a wine connoisseur. In French supermarkets I just looked for wines which were cheap and had a nice picture of a chateaux on the label. I have now discovered that a qualified sommelier has slightly wider criteria.

Most of the wines needed to be drunk in six mois but since I never passed O-level French I kept them for years. Some were almost drinkable but most had more vinegar than I would put on my poisson et frites.

I also found a bottle of special millennium ale, but it did not specify which millennium.

Most Read

Although well past its 'best before' date there was a note under the date saying '... we are obliged to state a best before date .. like a fine wine of whisky this mellow golden ale will improve with age for many more years.'

It had aged far better than my ancient French wines.

Rummaging through the attic I found my mother's school certificate exam papers from 1937.

I have no idea how she performed but by 1940 she was working at Bletchley Park so, presumably, did better than I managed when I tried to answer the questions.

The history paper asked detailed questions about King Stephen and Henry I but, unlike today's history lessons, there was not a single question on World War Two.

I am incredibly lucky with a garden and within easy walking distance to some beautiful South Devon countryside.

I have even dusted off my camera and tried to take pictures of birds in my garden.

I now have numerous pictures of sparrows and pigeons, none of which would win the wildlife photographer of the year competition.

They have been eating the fat balls faster than I can hang them up.

Are they now at risk of a raised cholesterol? Should I hang up some statins?

I found some poo in the garden which, I think, might be from a badger.

I Googled 'badger poo' to see if I was right but now I'm worried that I'll be inundated with emails saying 'if you're interested in badger poo you might also like to look at fox poo'.

Indoors, I have dusted off my old guitar.

I was given a Buddy Holly song book and I am determined to manage the opening riff from 'That'll Be The Day' but, as one friend said 'That'll be the day'.

I can still remember the four chords I played when I was in a group at school; and we were a group.

The word 'band' applied to the Salvation Army or the Grimethorpe Colliery.

The guitar is also one of the reasons I failed my A-levels the first time.

Today, we must all think of others and so I don't plug in my amplifier.

However long we stay at home I am unlikely to sort out any 'stuff' but staying at home is not too bad as long as we all keep well.

Even if I had a magic carpet I could only fly around the garden.