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Lockdown Letters

'Thank you mother, for stockpiling soap - how did you know this was coming our way?'

In this special series, ‘Lockdown Letters' gives our readers at home and across the globe an opportunity to share their stories about how the coronavirus and the measures to tackle its spread are impacting their lives in these unprecedented times. Please contact stories@independent.ie

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Clean sweep: Susan Kennelly with her mother, Joan Cullen

Clean sweep: Susan Kennelly with her mother, Joan Cullen

Clean sweep: Susan Kennelly with her mother, Joan Cullen

This week in the news I discovered that, even in the midst of this crisis, we can still import mangos, melons and pineapples but it is very hard to get hand sanitiser. But the experts say soap and water is the best.

My mother, Joan Cullen, died last March and on her anniversary we each remembered her in our own way. She was a good age, 90-ish, and would have seen some pretty hard times as well as some very happy times. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy.

I cannot but think of her every day now during these really difficult times. I listened to the anniversary Mass on the radio and it reminded me of how radio was a big part of her day.

For some reason, the ironing in our house always coincided with ‘Mrs Dale’s Diary’. Mother was a big fan of this daily drama, having spent a number of years living and working in London and Birmingham. She never hesitated to tell stories of things that happened back in the day.

As well as soap on the radio she was a fan of soap for hand-washing and, because her sight was failing, she was very particular about this.

One day during her illness she sent me off on an errand, for soap. Mind you, she didn’t need soap but, anyway, off I went – it seems she liked to stockpile. Knowing how particular she was I think I visited at least six or seven chemists and I was nearly in a lather myself before I found the right one. Small, oval-shaped and white, exactly what she wanted.

Fast forward a few months after her death and I am now living in her house, and doing the big clean-out. I have reached the shed and this small brown press caught my attention. I swept away the cobwebs, opened it carefully and, guess what: soap, surface cleaner and hand sanitiser!

Thank you, mother. How did you know this was coming our way?

When this is all over I will never again pass those three-for-two offers, especially if there is soap and sanitiser involved.

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