Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Thirty Two

There are so many questions about the grippe reborn and how we are to stop his infernal designs, and so many conflicting answers that I thought it might be useful to collect what is actually known here for the benefit of all. Above all in this time of dismay, we must not surrender to rumour and doubt, for that is what allows the dread lord to flourish. To ensure we do not we need facts, for they shine a light into the darkest places.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Thirty One

My head aches and it feels as though I haven’t slept. But the sun is shining today and I am listening to John Lee Hooker.

In the deeper parts of the Lost Quarter there are places where people have gathered for generations to celebrate or simply to linger and while away the hours. Places away from watchful eyes, though how far away is open to debate. For if I know of such places and my elders as well, and their elders too, then it seems more likely that these are not places hidden from view, but rather places where some choose to look away.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Thirty

The thirtieth day of quarantine brings more snow. It is a miserable day, wet and chilly, though at least the snow is not accumulating in any great amount. It feels as though this is how it began, though I know that isn’t true. Hopefully this is not how it ends as well.

Last night was restless and uneasy, my mind filled with dreams that started me awake. Images bloomed and faded, slipping from my grasp and leaving only the haunted emotions they engendered. I awoke in the morning feeling as though I was mourning something, though I have no idea what.

There is something so strange about all of this. Perhaps the oddest aspect is that it never ceases being strange. At no point does it seem normal, even as it becomes the tedious norm.

Yesterday I saw the first green tendrils from the plants I started emerging from the soil. A few tiny shoots, fragile things coming into this world, hopefully to bloom someday.

Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Nine

Snow again, mixed with rain, and a sky so grey it seems empty.

The tedium of the moment has truly set in now as we approach a month of quarantine with truly no end in sight. The news is the same every day, for all the world suffers from the depredations of the dread lord, and each day begins to feel the same as well. There is nothing to distinguish them but the weather and that is bleak. Snow again.

With the boredom comes a restlessness that sits deep in the bones. Even the activities we have taken on to stave off that boredom have become tedious in their own right. A chore to be completed each day. And there is no end in sight to any of this, even with our recent successes against the grippe. We know he will marshal his powers, find our weakest points and strike there again.

Yet the quarantine presses upon my thoughts, placing a ceiling on them like the grey sky above, so that I am only looking straight ahead at the footsteps right in front of me. The next day, with snow again, and a sky so grey it seems empty.

Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Eight

Hoss did not see the gander again after his initial encounter, nor did Bess chance upon him when she strayed from their nest to eat. He had taken it upon himself to warn her about him, though he couldn’t say why exactly. The gander had seemingly been very friendly, yet Hoss had the distinct feeling that it was a false bonhomie and he had no real interest in Hoss except as a means to an end.

And what end was that? Ensuring the river was ours. Who was included in that, Hoss wondered? He suspected it wouldn’t be he and Bess, for there had been a certain disdain in the gander’s voice when he noted that they were not from around here.

There was one thing which he did agree with the gander on and that was that it would be devastating if the humans were to return in their normal force. There was plenty of room for all geese, and everyone else for that matter, upon the river and its environs, so long as the humans didn’t come back.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Seven

What is a recipe? A collection of ingredients and instructions. What could be simpler? And yet from that comes wonders.

Confusion as well. For many recipes handed down from father to son, mother to daughter, contain annotations, revisions, substitutions, and almost philosophical musings. Sometimes in a single recipe there are contrary ingredients and instructions, as though some great schism in the faith had opened up. Caution and prudence are necessary on such occasions for the way forward is a battleground filled with unexploded ordinance just waiting for to trip you up.

In the end though there is only one way to know which aspects to follow and that is to try and see the results for yourself. Here is a recipe for biscuits that has survived such wars, crossed oceans of time and space, and continues to delight.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Six

I return to the page with a recipe for biscuits, as promised. But first a brief history of hardtack through the ages.

All armies, whether travelling by land or water, require feeding. A certain degree of living off the bounty of the conquered land is expected, but that is variable and dependent on the season and so rations of some measure are always required. Spoilage of food is the constant scourge or any camp cook. And so biscuits came about, a concoction of flour and water baked until hard as a rock so that it wouldn’t spoil. That made it easy to carry and also provided a handy projectile if one was desperate. The Egyptian navy had dhourra cake and the Romans had buccellum, and later civilizations all followed suit, crafting granite breads that could only be eaten by softening them in tea or under some gravy.  

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Five

In these troubled times we are seeking comfort wherever we can find it. So many of us have turned to baking and cooking and that is not a surprise. It grounds us, to work on something with our hands and see this collection of mere ingredients transmogrified into something unimaginable. What could be more satisfying.

In the spirit of the moment I thought I would share an ancient recipe that has been passed down through my family for generations. I am speaking of a recipe for biscuits, that hardy companion of soldiers and labourers. It is a nearly foolproof procedure. I say nearly because my grandfather made some that even the dog wouldn’t eat, though he was a notably peculiar animal.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Four

Calamity doesn’t sleep in the Lost Quarter, or anywhere. We are awakened by sirens approaching, moaning through the night, groaning to a crescendo. When we arise to investigate we see them gathering to the east, huddled around an apartment block.

It is a mean looking place, chicken wire guarding the entrance to its parking lot. Often there are people lurking near the entrance when we pass by, even in these times of quarantine and letters of transit. They eye us skeptically as we pass, as we do them, taking care to keep our distance.

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Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Twenty Three

The morning comes with sunshine at last, after days of miserable gloom, glaring down upon yesterday’s freshly fallen snow. It looks as though it will not last long under that stern gaze. One can only hope for I have had enough of winter. I tire even of writing of its eternal returns.

Our present moment will not end so soon we are told. The grippe has powers not seen in generations and he has marshalled them well, striking everywhere at once, overwhelming nations both great and small. The Lost Quarter will not be spared and we must be prepared for that and all that will follow. The current defensive measures, the quarantines, the letters of transit, all must persist.

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