OUT IN THE FIELD: Annemarie Field’s look at life in Eastbourne over the last seven days including shops bolstering prices for toilet rolls and hand sanitisers

It’s a funny old world. This time last week and rather tongue in cheek, I joked about stockpiling bottles of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and giant chocolate buttons. This week I am doubtful as to where our next pack of toilet rolls is coming from or where I can find a bag of tagliatelle. A trip to the ‘big’ Tesco at the weekend and I, along with other shoppers, stared in disbelief at the empty shelves where non-perishables should’ve been – not even a can of Baked Beans in sight. ‘It’s just like Christmas Eve but with no fun bit at the end,’ said one man, gesturing to where the pasta sauces and rice should’ve been. The world has officially gone mad, I thought. It’s at times like this everyone pulls together and gets into the ‘wartime spirit’. Or it should be. But my in-box has been full of people disgusted at some smaller retailers charging £1 for a single loo roll or £8 for a travel-size bottle of hand sanitiser. People looking to make a quick buck out of other people’s needs. There are so many groups of poorly and vulnerable people whose needs are greater than ours and I know the vast majority of decent right-minded thinking folk will step up to the plate and keep an eye on their neighbour. One sector in particular which is going to be hit very hard is charities. Scores of fundraising events have been cancelled and charity shops will no doubt have to close in the coming days. With little or no money coming in, some charities will be unable to offer their valuable services – at a time when more people will be feeling isolated. But as people work from home and avoid social contact in coffee shops, wouldn’t it be wonderful if they are saving a pound or two on rail and bus fares, perhaps they might consider donating that money online. And if you are giving up the daily cup of coffee, perhaps that £2.50 could be diverted to one of our wonderful charities? Just a thought.

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 4:42 pm
A lady in Eastbourne wearing a face mask and gloves returns to her home with her shopping (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-155540001

I know it’s hard being a teenager and I really do feel for those Year 11 pupils who found out this week they would be having their last day at school some weeks earlier than they expected and worst of all, they wouldn’t be able to sit their GCSEs. That might sound attractive to some but the vast majority of teenagers are genuinely upset at the news. No final days of having their shirts signed, saying goodbye to their friends and teaching staff. Everything they have worked so hard for over the last few years is up in the air. Even the July prom has been put on hold. And just when my Little Princess – along with many others of her peers – had found the dream dress, booked the hair, nails, spray tan, make up, transport and all the shenanigans that go along with leaving secondary school. Look further than that and what about our hotel industry with many having to close their doors to elderly holidaymakers which has always been the mainstay of the industry in Eastbourne during the winter months. And then there’s the staff, the shops that supply goods. The list is endless. It really is the most bizarre time of our history.

Whatever you are doing in the coming week, look out for people around you. And stay safe.

McDonalds drive through in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-110942008