Last night the prime minister did a broadcast telling us all to stay indoors except for shopping, exercise (once a day) and essential work. As no-one is clear what essential work is and as no-one wants to get sacked from their first ever jobs, George and Paulina are still going to work in their respective offices which are still very much open for business. The rest of the family, me Nick and Harry are staying indoors in various places .
Harry came home from uni last Friday as they closed it down for the foreseeable. His first year as a biomedical sciences student ended abruptly and without warning. There will be no exams and the year will be marked by assessments which he continues to work on. Loads of his possessions are still in his halls as he planned to go back next week and pick them up and see his girlfriend, but with this new lock down in action he wont be able to. I feel so sorry for him, having to stay in like billy no mates at the age of nineteen. I was chatting online with one of my friends last night who I met when we were at uni together at a similar age, and she said how it would have killed her to be socially distanced at nineteen. I thought back and agreed whole-heatedly. Social distancing doesn’t bother me now but teenagers are such herd creatures. Still – metaphorical death is not the same as actual death and since that’s what Harry risks by going out, both for himself and others, he’s is mostly (except for running round the village by way of exercise) staying in.
I’ve now been shielding myself up in my writing shed for a week, so yesterday’s announcement didn’t change anything for me and I’m starting to get used to this new normal. Mother’s day was weird though. Nice pressies but no dinner together and no visiting. George bought me a pair of harem pants that fit perfectly and which I’m wearing now and Harry bought me a bottle of gin. I had one last night even though it was a school night (well a night formerly known as a school night so that’s all right then) and fell asleep quite easily. When I first started sleeping up here the night noises made me jittery and jumpy but now I quite like them and its been so cold and clear I’ve been doing a bit of star gazing before I drop off
On the writing front I’ve started two new extremely weird flash fictions which have allowed me to channel my disquiet into something positive. I’m planning to sub them to Molotov Cocktail and Reflex Fiction.
In a world BC (before coronavirus), I wrote a blog detailing some good writing news that I couldn’t divulge which I said I’d mention in the next blog and then didn’t because of – well the pandemic so here it is…I’ve been shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize at Comma Press! The winner was going to be announced at a ceremony at The Northern Short Story Festival where we were all to read an extract from our stories at a theatre in Leeds on May 30th but as that’s been cancelled, it’ll now be done on-line instead. So watch this space! Here’s the link to the announcement https://www.facebook.com/commapressmcr/photos/a.1583467751889275/2613135238922516/?type=3&theater and (above) the photo that went with it.
Also good news writing wise is this – the publication of Ellipsis 7 in which I have a sad and strange wee story. If you’d like to buy a copy you can do so by following this link http://www.ellipsiszine.com/seven/
Right – back to where I started, at the top of this blog – things I have learned from my first week self shielding
1) I was very lucky to have gone to Sweden earlier this year and the memories have been wonderful to linger over
2) You are never alone with pets, even in the teeniest space
3) Social media is brilliant
4) The writing community is brilliant
5) Writing is the best therapy for me even in the darkest of times
6) On-line Tai Chi is the way forward
7) I am super fortunate to live where I do and know the people I know
8) March is not a warm month
9) I am so weird it shows even in my candles (observe phantom hand that melted into existence the night before last)
10) This pandemic will come to an end one day. Its just a matter of battening down our hatches and staying in and safe. We can do this people.