Wednesday 27 January 2021

The Wee Things

As you can see, Lainy is unaffected by lockdown and having a fabulous time on the beach the other morning. In fact, she seems such a happy dog that she cheers me up no end. She has stalwart common sense, a trait that I like to think Moll passed on to her. She has also got Moll's greediness but is way more affectionate, and at the moment, there's nothing like a cuddle.

Over the last week or so I've become increasingly insular. This happened at first in Lockdown One, and didn't last long, I seem to remember. It's been brought on by fear of infection, of course, and the worry that some people don't keep their distance when walking. Covid has spread paranoia among most of us, and it's not pleasant. But it is necessary, or I feel it to be.

For someone who's usually very sociable, I am finding my own company to be enough. Admittedly I have a lot of stuff to keep my brain busy: sending out Book One to agents, writing Book Two (which is pure escapsim, I love it) and also trying to find non-Covid related grants for our business. So in the weekdays I am busy. I have a structure to my days which I find essential. Get up, walk Lainy, at my desk, work then walk her again at around 3pm. Maybe more writing later. French on Wednesday nights via Skype. Book group via Zoom. Phone calls to my Mum and friends in the evenings.

Yesterday Lainy and I went out in the drizzle. I was tired: I'd finished another chapter of Novel Two and it was muggy weather but I don't mind that. We decided to strike out along a footpath I hadn't tried before, and that led over big, open fields, muddy of course but it lifted my spirits no end. Nestled in among the ivy we found an old Lister engine, one that I knew a friend would love as a money making opportunity (?). (I sent a picture - he got excited as I thought he might.) The walk was pleasant: we met few people and I didn't want to talk, preferred my own company and that of Lainy. As we drove away, at the end of the road was a stall selling organic eggs - 6 for £1. That really cheered me up.

And later, the only good bit of news on Radio Four was that in an attempt to cull the grey squirrel population, hazelnut spread is being used, laced with contraception.

That really made my day.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Brave New Year

For some reason my computer has decided not to unload pictures from the last month so apologies if you've seen that one already.

Well, 2021. Not the start to the year we all hoped for, is it? But here we all are, in lockdown and hoping for a better life ahead with vaccines being rolled out. My mum has had both hers, but of course I'm not able to see her for a while, so in the meantime I keep ringing her and sending her books.

I've been paralysed with fear over the rising cases. By the time we went into lockdown I was a jibbering wreck and the first week was just horrible. I couldn't watch the news nor could I listen to it on the radio or I would get terrible anxiety. I know there's the argument that we all have a responsibility to know what's going on, but I think we do, don't we? (And if not, how the hell have you avoided it?) So I would just say, if you can't deal with it, don't. It won't make any difference to ignore the news for a week, or two, as long as you behave sensibly and stay home when you should.

As we settle into week two, I thank god that cases are coming down here. And for the last two weeks, Lainy and I had a bit of online training which was a terrific distraction. It was her Christmas present as she just loves learning, so we had a Zoom session every Friday and throughout the week we had different exercises to do every day. And we had a Whatsapp group where we could exchange when things went horribly wrong (which of course they did) and where they went right - which they did as well.

As I said, it was a great way to break up the day. I'm used to working from home but I get a very stiff back if I don't get up and move around every 20 minutes or so, and this was good for us both. Plus we were both learning and keeping in touch with other dog owners. So I would thoroughly recommend it.

On the book front, I got two rejections from two agents last week, but sent the last novel straight out again. Then I got on with writing the current one which I'm really enjoying. I count myself exceptionally fortunate to a) have Lainy and b) to be able to write. It's kept me going.
One of the best pieces I've read recently was by Bel Mooney, who talks a lot of sense. She encouraged us all to cut down on our screen time, ditto social media and, as well as keeping safe, to KEEP STRONG.

So to everyone out there, keep writing if that is your wish. Keep walking and KEEP STRONG. We will get there...