Lockdown Blog Days 19 and 20

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April 2020

Someone is doing well out of this. Scammers, are finding ways to profit from people’s fears. But there are legitimate businesses who, I’m sure, are more than happy for this pandemic to continue.

Chief among those are the supermarkets. With all other shops closed, we’re forced to buy from these giants. And whilst they assure us they are doing everything they can to keep the country supplied with the essentials, they are also managing to continue to stock treats and non-essentials too.

Amazon, surely, are doing extraordinarily well on the back of the current situation. The behemoth already sucks trade away from the high street, but now, with shops unable to trade where are people going for, much needed, retail therapy?

There might be a economic downturn as we emerge from the lockdown. But I do wonder who else has profited most from lockdown?

Lockdown Blog Day 18

Friday, 10th April 2020

Good Friday

Bank holidays and religious holidays used to provide a respite from the daily grind. Today, however, I almost completely forgot it was Good Friday.

In fact, I’m only slightly ashamed to admit, I did forget it was Good Friday as I turned up at the Post Office today. (Yes – it was essential, I run my own business and need supplies.)

And that made me sad. Not sad that I’d wasted the journey. Sad that the day, normally celebrated and enjoyed by those of faith and those of none, had completely passed us by because of the situation we’re now in.

Admittedly, there were a larger number of people out on their bikes as I cycled into town. Perhaps there were a few more people walking in the sunshine, but it wasn’t the normal bank holiday feel.

But, I mused on the way back, perhaps, of all the holidays for Covid-19 to ruin, Easter is the better one. How would we be feeling, or coping, if this had hit us at Christmastime? The Easter Bunny can keep a responsible distance whilst working, but Father Christmas? That’s a minefield for spreading the virus!

I suppose, this Easter, we should be grateful for small mercies!

Lockdown Blog Day 17

Thursday, 9th April 2020

During this lockdown period, we’ve seen many examples, some celebrities and some ‘ordinary’ people making the use of the time to create content, for free, for others to enjoy. Joe Wicks’ fitness videos is just one of the many examples that spring to mind. It cannot be said that these are bad things, especially as they are continuing their output for free, allowing those that are struggling with the restrictions a chance to escape.

What I cannot understand, however, is the amount of advertising that has suddenly appeared as a result of the coronavirus. I’m not talking about the public information videos put out by the government but I am talking about the sudden flurry of companies that have created bespoke adverts as a result about the situation.

Most of the big supermarkets have created adverts, designed, on the face of it, to give information about how to shop safely. But the branding is all there. Some have clearly used library footage, spliced together with a voiceover. Others, however, have created brand new videos, recorded very recently.

It’s not just supermarkets, either. I’ve seen other companies changing and creating adverts in response to the lockdown and that makes me very uncomfortable. Again, under the guise of helping or informing, but still powerfully branded and, ultimately, designed to improve their image, using the Covid-19 situation to do that.

We’re in a time of great uncertainty, but it would appear that some people are seeing this as an opportunity to continue pumping out their capitalist messages.

Lockdown Blog Day 16

Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Things I genuinely miss:

  • Libraries. Books, books, books and more books.
  • My local independent bookshop (I’m new in town, but they are the friendliest booksellers in the world!)
  • Getting on a train to somewhere, doing something cultural and coming home again
  • The feeling of being outside of my house without feeling guilty

Things I genuinely will not miss:

  • Pretending “we’re all in this together”
  • Crossing the road because someone else is on the pavement coming towards me
  • Talking to strangers just because we’re laughing about “social-distancing”
  • The phrases “social-distancing” and “self-isolating”

Lockdown Blog Day 15

Tuesday, 7th April 2020

I’m going to admit something now. Something that, as a writer, I don’t like to admit.

OK, here goes.

I have absolutely nothing to add.

You may have guessed that, based on the late hour this blog was posted!

When I started this blog, I did think that I would be adding to the great history of this pandemic. It was purely an exercise in recording for myself what I believed was going to be a moment unlike any that my generation have ever seen. Or any generation, for that matter.

I have quipped and mused and had some thoughts about the lockdown.

But today? Nothing.

I’ve worked, which is good. I still have a job, just. I’ve stepped into the garden, briefly. I’ve emptied the bins. But in terms of the lockdown? I have absolutely nothing to add. Is another voice, shouting into the wind really necessary? Do we have too many voices shouting today? Perhaps, sometimes, writers need to say nothing, to make the words they do say mean something.  

Lockdown Blog Day 14

Monday, 6th April 2020

Yesterday, I posted a rather pathetic list of all the things I want to do when this is over. But there is a more pressing thing that I will want to do when this is all over.

Get a haircut!

No manuscript, no matter how appalling, is going to get me to pull out all of my hair!

That got me thinking. When we all come out of this situation, the world is going to want a haircut. And a takeaway. And a visit to the pub. And a restaurant. And that will be where we begin to put this world back together again. Unlike recessions we’ve experienced before, money is being put into the pockets of the workers. Who will spend it as soon as they can.

And so the small businesses will fare the best. And they’ll go to middle-sized suppliers, and then finally the big businesses will get their share. We will put the financial world back together again. But we won’t start with the banks. We’ll start with the hairdresser, the gardener, the window-cleaner and the handyman.

And pay an editor too!

Lockdown Blog Days 12 and 13

Saturday, 4th and Sunday, 5th April

It seems inevitable, so I’d better get this blog post out of the way!

When we come out of lockdown I will…

  • Take up singing lessons and join a choir
  • Pick up a new musical instrument
  • Take more photographs
  • Cycle further, harder, faster
  • See more shows (musicals, plays, comedy, anything…)
  • Go to more art galleries
  • Actually pay buskers
  • Learn to paint

Lockdown Blog Day 11

Friday, 3rd April 2020

The current situation has produced a whole new vocabulary. Some words are new, some have been brought out of retirement to be used in these uncertain times.

Coronavirus. A generic term for a virus that causes repertory infections. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/coronavirus

Covid-19 The virus, officially called Sars-CoV-2, causes the disease Covid-19. But that’s not important right now. What is, is that it’s causing all this inconvenience. For those, like me, that are interested in the styling of Covid-19 (not the hair and the jacket – those are hideous), I’m using the Guardian’s style: https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c

Self-isolation. Not really a word until these times when we all know what it means. Putting oneself into a state of isolation to avoid passing on Covid-19 to any other person, or to avoid catching it from someone else.

Social distancing. Again, not really a phrase we ever used until we did use it. The art of keeping a distance away from another person in order to reduce the chances of contracting Covid-19. Generally, a two-metre distance is advised, although there is talk of that increasing.

Furlough. A period of time where a worker is allowed to be absent. In these times, it is used to reflect the government’s policy of social distancing and self-isolation measures. Employees are being ‘furloughed’, with their salaries paid directly by the state. Its origins are from 1631, but we’re now finding a use for this word!

I am not furloughed however! I’m pleased to say that today, I started work with a new indie author!

Lockdown Blog Day 10

Thursday, 2nd April 2020

If I was a better person, I would be spending the time in lockdown do something wonderful like reading or podcasting or crafting. Instead, I’m not. True, I’m working my socks off, moving from business contracts to focus on (my real editing passion) fiction works. But, I can’t help but feel that I’m somewhat wasting my time in lockdown.

I do wonder how we will all emerge from this experience. Will we have, as a collective, used this experience to better ourselves? Or will we quickly drop back into our old ways? Will we, as I suspect, soon forget this ever happened and only reminders, like children missing GCSE results, be a way of remembering that was the year that was.

On a lighter note, I’m running short on salted liquorice. This sounds disgusting, I realise. But after I was introduced to it in Finland, I now can’t get enough of the stuff. My local independent sweet shop stocks some amazing salted liquorice, but, I’m now rationing myself. #firstworldproblems! Indeed.

Lockdown Blog: Day 9

Wednesday, 1st April 2020

April Fool’s Day somehow didn’t seem to be very funny this year. I always look forward to Google’s April Fool’s Day prank but that was pulled this year. Shame, as we could probably to with a bit of a laugh this year.

I spent the day reconnecting with music, especially my keyboard, as my left hand seems to have forgotten what to do at times. Flute and fife seem playable, just a bit rusty when it comes to tinkling ivories. If the lockdown continues for longer I shall be a virtual virtuoso.

With the uncertainty comes a lack of income for me. I’ve tried reaching out with free chapter edits, and I’ve done a few, but, so far, that has not turned into any actually work yet. It’s early days, admittedly, but hopefully soon someone will become an actual client! I’m not sure I can keep this up forever.