I’d had enough of Zoom – until I took a homemade sushi class

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At last, I have acquired a lockdown skill. Now I just need to work on the presentation

In 1994, or thereabouts, I was working the kind of hours that meant lunch was always eaten at my desk – and thanks to this, it was a period in my life that was very miserable. In the post-industrial wasteland around our office, there were no decent sandwich shops; the age of avocado on sourdough was still far in the future. But then, one day, the world turned on its axis. On this particular morning, the chief subeditor returned to her page proofs smugly bearing a bag from somewhere called Pret a Manger, out of which she produced a slim plastic box whose contents she proceeded to eat with small wooden chopsticks. The rest of us were agog. The dinky bottle of soy sauce! The little slices of pickled ginger! We were wasabi green with envy.

Fifteen years later, and everything has changed. Thanks to the pandemic, offices everywhere are eerily empty, and the once near-ubiquitous Pret a Manger is embarking on a drastic programme of retrenchment. Meanwhile, sushi is no longer even remotely exotic; there are certain children of my acquaintance who regard a (clammy, tasteless) supermarket California roll as only a slightly more unusual treat than they do a bag of Monster Munch. Most unlikely of all from my point of view, I’ve recently learned to make my own sushi – something of which I am, as I write, embarrassingly proud. (I know this because when I put pictures of my first efforts on WhatsApp, my dear but plain-speaking friend, A, responded with a prawn emoji and … a string of expletives.)

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Gym

Gym

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