Posts

Choices

Thursday 15th July 2021 15:10

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about choices.

The removal of all legal restrictions and formal recommendations here in England with regard to masks, social distancing, working from home, etc has led me to take time to seriously consider what my own choices will be moving forward; and at the same time to try not to dwell on how many people won’t even pause to consider that they have important choices to make.

The actions of our government in lifting all restrictions while the number of cases of the virus continue to rocket, are increasingly being widely condemned as “disastrous”, “potentially catastrophic”, “irresponsible”, “plain crazy!”, etc.. Topping them all in today’s headlines is the belief that our government is embarking on, “…a dangerous and unethical experiment”; a view backed by a growing number of highly regarded medical and scientific professionals across the globe, voiced in an open letter to the medical publication The Lancet.

Needless to say, the lifting of all restrictions is going ahead next Monday, 19th July anyway.

The confirmation this Monday was, eventually, tempered with (frankly ridiculous, given the context) pleas to everyone to “take personal responsibility” and to actually continue doing most of the things that the government are telling us we don’t need to do any more.

Leaving people to make a choice that could either save, or cost, someone else’s life, based on mixed messages, shows the most shameful and disgraceful lack of leadership and governance. The “responsibility” now falls on each individual, while those voted into office to lead and govern have washed their hands of the people they were voted in to serve. 

The government are saying they are making all of us responsible more than ever for making “the right” choices. More important though is what they’re careful not to say: that they are now putting us all at the mercy of other people’s choices.

I will try not to say any more regarding my feelings about that, and try to stop myself sinking into utter, disgusted despair for the way we have – every last man woman and child of us – been abandoned by the government. And I will try, instead, to focus on the three choices that I believe we all have, and endeavour to make the right one.

One choice that I have, but many don’t, is to hide away again; to avoid, as far as possible, all contact with others. To very definitely NOT look upon Monday as the much heralded “Freedom Day!”, but to, entirely as a personal choice now (ie with no government backing or support whatsoever, and possibly less now even from friends and family), go back into a self imposed lockdown. For those who can make this choice it gives the best chance of keeping ourselves (and everyone else, a point I’ll expand on in a moment) as safe as possible. This choice brings with it, for our individual sanity, the necessity to also accept that what will be will be out in the wider world.

The second option is to choose to go out but continue to use face masks, and to socially distance, wash or sanitise our hands, etc etc. In this respect though, far from being able to ease off such practices, we must ‘up our game’, particularly with regard to face masks. On the understanding that many other people won’t now be wearing one to protect us, it will be necessary to rely only on the highest grade that offer protection to the wearer as well as to other people; thin ‘paper’ or washable fabric masks, while protecting others, offer very little or no protection to the wearer, and in this new society where it’s “every man for himself” they’ll be rendered, in many situations and ironically, pretty pointless.

All those people not wearing masks will be like someone who chooses not to take a waterproof jacket with them on a rainy day walk with you, because they know they can bully you into taking yours off and handing it to them. You take the sensible precaution, and yet you’re the one that ends up soaked.

With this second option too comes the need to accept that it’s now a question of “probable” not “possible” that we will catch the virus – certainly if we become lax with the protections and if cases surge as they’re predicted to. Hopefully we’ll be protected by the vaccine sufficiently to avoid severe symptoms, hospitalisation and death, but always remembering that the vaccine carries no guarantees…

Nevertheless this second option will sound a sensible compromise, I’ve no doubt, to many – maybe most – people, but there are two caveats that need adding, and they are very very important. 

If we catch the virus we may be fine ourselves (remember, no-one has ever claimed that to be a guarantee, and of course then there’s long-covid), but we run the risk of also transmitting it. In some ways, the less severe our own symptoms, the more likely we are to be spreading it without even knowing we have it. Whilst many people – particularly many vulnerable people – have been vaccinated and therefore have a reasonable hope of a good degree of protection from serious illness etc, for some people, for reasons of underlying health issues, medication, or otherwise, the vaccine, assuming they’ve not been prevented from getting it at all, will offer little or no protection. Those people now will have no enforced restrictions to protect them. Many will not be able to take option 1 and just stay shielding. On the 19th July the world for them will become a far far scarier and certainly a more dangerous place than it’s been even for the last 18 months.

The second caveat, and one that requires very careful consideration for even the most selfish among us, is that by raising the probability of catching (and spreading, whoever it is to) the virus ourselves, we risk being directly responsible for giving the virus the opportunity and the means to mutate; and the potential for that mutation to be more – or heaven forbid, totally – resistant to the vaccine, is high.

It is pretty simple to grasp that if the virus mutates to a variant that the vaccine doesn’t protect against, we are all back in deep doo doo!

The third option of course is to throw our masks away on Monday 19th July, and spend the next weeks hugging strangers and partying the nights away, simply on the grounds that “the government have said we can”; every man for himself indeed. I would take a bet that the people who make this choice are the same ones you’ll find huddling together and yelling their displeasure loudly on “anti-lockdown” marches later in the year, when all hell breaks loose again.

Which choice will I make? I would love to get out and about just a little bit now. There are people I would love to see, hugs I am missing more than words can say. Feeling fairly confident that I won’t get seriously ill if (when) I catch it, the second option is therefore oh so tempting. I may venture out a little, FFP3 valved mask on, disposable gloves, brass door opener, and 70% alcohol sanitiser in my bag. But I can’t shut out of my mind the thought of those who I will encounter who may not only make fun of my choice, but actually take enjoyment from attempting to break through my defences. And if I do then find I’m carrying the virus, then what of those who I will almost surely infect along the way. Strangers who have no choice but to continue working in shops and the like, with no protection offered by their employers or the public. Maybe with a vulnerable child at home…

So in all likelihood it will be a continuation of the past sixteen months for me. I have my routines, the difficulties are only going to start when those I rely on or live among – delivery drivers and neighbours for example – start to ridicule my choice, and even think it amusing to try to put me at risk; and if I’m told that I now MUST take any job regardless of how ‘risky’ I may perceive it to be. Well I shall have to build better barriers and deal with living on thin air when the time comes.

One final choice I absolutely have to make now though, for my own survival mentally, is to do my utmost to accept that this is MY choice, and to not be dismayed or to despair at the choices of others.

That’s the hardest one.

How Some Guys In Silicon Valley Can Ruin Your Day

Tuesday 9th March 2021 09:00

Wow, talk about adding insult to injury.

For reasons known only to itself, Apple completely removed the delightful and useful Bedtime feature from its clock app in iPadOS 14. On iPhones it’s been moved to the Health app… but the Health app doesn’t exist on an iPad.

Now, no-one could be more surprised than me that the realisation of this, upon waking to a harsh alarm and not my lovely gentle bedtime waking music the morning after updating to iPadOS 14, COMPLETELY RUINED MY WHOLE DAY!

It may be a measure of how it only takes a little thing at the moment, but I was one seriously cross and grumpy sourpuss for the whole day. Pretty silly in this time of very real hardships and catastrophic losses I know, but I can only tell it like it is.

I’m over the worst of it now, and no longer prowling around my house, muttering obscenities aimed at the developers at Apple, but…

…to be greeted this morning by a pop up in the pitifully depleted Clock app, suggesting that I CAN still have all that Bedtime gave me, I simply need to go to the Sleep feature in the Health app – that’s the Health app THAT DOESN’T EXIST ON THE IPAD (and no, tapping on that cruelly teasing little “Set Up Sleep” link does absolutely sweet F.A.) – come on guys! Really?! 😤🤬

A Reminder To Look From The Other Side

Thursday 4th March 2021 12 noon

A friend of mine has a saying, attributed to a former colleague of ours: “Moi: pillock!”.

Well my friends…

…Moi: PILLOCK!

For many months now the sign in the photo, or one very similar, has been clamped to the decorative iron trellis beside the conifers that shield the tiny area that I refer to as my ‘back’ garden. The notice faces out towards the road, about four feet up from the ground, and is clearly visible from the pavement. The idea is that it will easily catch the eye of delivery drivers, and they will follow the instruction I believed it is giving, and deliver the parcels for number 20 to the black table nearby, as indicated by the arrow.

Over the past months I’ve been repeatedly baffled and bewildered, and more than a tad vociferous (thankfully only to myself, not to the drivers concerned), to watch time and time again as delivery folk took a few steps towards the table, read the notice studiously, and walked away, package still in hand, looking around for – what?!

“Can you not read?!”, I yelled at them, blessedly unheard from behind closed windows, and eventually I came to the conclusion that in fact, that must be it. They were probably foreign workers (doing I must add, a wonderful and incredibly valuable job in these rather dangerous times) who don’t speak/read English. 

My nagging doubt that they could carry out their deliveries without being able to read ANY English, was quietened by the thought that maybe with sat nav technology, this could actually be possible. I accepted I must make a point of only ordering goods where I could specify a delivery day, and then keep a watchful eye.

Now, perhaps I should reiterate here, I wrote and placed the notice, or its identically worded forerunner, many many months ago. This morning, as the dawn light slowly spread across my tiny bit of the world, and I sat in my beach chair on the Pimms Patio with my flask of tea, and for at least the hundredth time over those months my gaze settled on the notice, it hit me: “Moi, Pillock!”.

Those wonderful, diligent, dedicated delivery drivers weren’t the idiots; I was! I – who has never been able to master any language other than the one I was taught from birth – have been wrongly accusing these good people who are making a go of it in a foreign land, of being unable to read what I believed to be a simple clear instruction; when in fact they’ve followed it to the letter.

As the dawn broke this morning, I found myself looking at my little sign with the eyes of someone whose mother tongue is probably a lot more logical than mine, and I realised that those wonderful, good, obedient delivery folk had done exactly what I’d asked them to, and had indeed left “No… deliveries here…” but had walked away looking around for the black table elsewhere!

Looking at the notice as if for the first time through open eyes, it was suddenly absolutely plain that their only failing, if indeed it can be regarded as such, is that they haven’t been taught every ridiculous quirk of the Englishman’s use of his (or her) own language!

I wonder that it’s only occurring to me now, after almost 63 years on this planet, to question why in blue blazes do we use “No” as a short form for “number”. There’s no “o” in the word number! (OK, I’m guessing probably latin or somesuch is to blame? The word “numerO” seems likely to be compliant in this madness somehow; but really..!)

Now I feel more than a little stupid, and quite ashamed at my snap judgement of others. Ah me, how often do we look at a situation convinced that our view of it is the right one, the only one? Sigh. I feel I’ve been taught a very humbling lesson this morning, and I hope I will remember it from now on. 

First of all though, I’ve a new sign to make.

Big Day

Monday 1st March 2021 21:00

New month. Gorgeous Spring weather. Big day…

Got my invitation for the vaccine (WooohHoooooo 🥳!), and I’ve been tentatively planning ahead for when we can all gather again (a few months yet I know, but you gotta have a goal, right 😊).

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been focussing all my efforts on the idea of community spaces to encourage everyone to simply get together and draw, that I shelved when the pandemic hit.

I’m in the process of negotiating for a small amount of ‘new enterprise’ funding to help with setting up a community interest company, and it all now officially has a new name – Doodle Inn.

Last week I designed and built a new website: doodleinn.co.uk. And today, on the first anniversary of 61 Not Out launching on Patreon, I’ve launched Doodle Inn there too (patreon.com/doodleinn), with the idea of holding some virtual Doodle Inns while we’re all still isolated, just to get the word out.

It feels really, really good to be ‘doing’ again!

Better days are just around the corner 🤗.

I’ll Tak The High Road, The Joy Of Early Rising & The Benefit Of Barricades

Sunday 14th November 2020 3pm

Yesterday’s offering of Scottish properties under £150k from Right Move included this detached bungalow in the small historic NE town of Tain.

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-99870161.html

Looking past the current old folks home decor it has pretty much everything. There’s loads of storage, a large open plan “lounge dining room” with a real fire, and two decent size bedrooms (it’s listed as three bedrooms, but one is accessed from the sitting room so that would be my studio methinks, it even has a wash basin to clean my brushes 😊🎨). The kitchen is a reasonable size, especially as there’s another tiny utility ‘room’ for a washing machine with space to hang washing to dry. There’s also access into the large garage without having to go out in the weather. The front garden sets the bungalow back and slightly raised up from the road (not quite as quiet as I’d like, but not an ‘A’ road), and the rest of the garden wraps round, with lawns and some seating area.

I was liking it before I realised that it’s about five minutes’ walk from the sea! It’s on the market for offers over £130,000, half of what I could reasonably hope to get for my tiny one-bed quarterback. Here, or down on the south coast where I grew up, a bungalow like this would be £550,000, even £600,000.

Wrong time. But oh it gives me so much hope.

(As an aside, and too big for me, ha ha, the huge gracious and utterly gorgeous characterful 4-bedroomed house next door was for sale too, back in February, for ‘only’ £460,000. Around here it would be between £1.5 to £2million!)

https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detailMatching.html?prop=82603007&sale=551556&country=scotland

Sigh. 

A quieter way of life, small communities, and vastly better value for money are drawing my thoughts towards Scotland. If I could take a huge pair of scissors and cut out my home and garden and deposit them, well pretty much anywhere else, I would, but alas of course that’s just a dream. I’m accepting that life here has changed completely and Scotland, I think, is a chance to put some money by for the future, and find some peace.

Meanwhile the virus still rages, increasing in prevalence here by the day, and I still stay home. Eight months and counting.

With the exception of the last couple of very wet and windy days, I’m continuing my habit (since the end of July) of sitting outside at around 6am to watch the dawn arriving, with a flask of tea and wrapped in increasing numbers of snuggly warm layers. It really has been my saviour, along with my garden generally. A little robin usually comes to say hello at some point now, and there’s always something – bees, tiny intrepid acrobatic slugs, small snails that look like mint humbugs, a whole community of really really minute snails who roam aimlessly over the front of the bike shed, and the sky, which of course is always changing, and often quite beautiful.

I usually sit out there for about an hour, and have realised that stepping out before 6.30am is advisable, because by 7.30 the rest of the street is beginning to emerge and the atmosphere has completely changed. But at 6, or ideally even before, it’s a quite beautiful, peaceful world. 

If it’s raining persistently and heavily I sit in the open doorway of The Big Shed, but it lacks the wide expanse of sky so is definitely second best. I’d like to construct some form of shelter over the “Pimms Patio” out of strong but clear polythene (so I can still see the sky). It would need to be quick to put up but able to stand the wind; employing the side of the car roof bars and the bike shed as attachment points with poles and guys on the house side is one possibility, but I’ve still to settle on the design.

If it’s been drizzly but not windy, I have sat under my clip on sunshade brolly, which is fairly rainproof too. The problem with that though is that it’s not big enough, so my knees and the back of the chair get wet!

As well as dawn watching, I want to be able to sit outside often through the winter, so I’m in the process of attaching a weatherproof back to a snuggly fleece throw. I was trying to justify buying some heavy waterproof canvas until I found an unused winter cover for a large round outdoor table. Having unpicked it I have enough – by chance, almost exactly – to protect the back of the whole throw and I can wrap that round me, and with my wide brim rain hat will be fairly well protected (and lovely and snug) if it’s a bit drizzly or damp. As well as rain though it will protect the throw from the chance that the many birds flying over may deposit little gifts on me! I feel I’m on borrowed time for that happening.

Before the weather became too wet, I painted three new expanding trellis panels to add along and above the low hedge at the front – the best option I could think of/afford (paid for with money from my lovely friends on Patreon) to try to screen me from the ‘builders yard’ opposite. They are far from ideal, but do help. Sadly they may prove too fragile for the persistent strong SW winds we’re getting, and I neither am able to, nor want to, permanently concrete the posts into the ground, so on days like today I’m a nervous wreck expecting them to collapse with every gust of wind. I hadn’t finished painting the posts before the weather changed, so the panels were (supposedly temporarily) attached with cable ties; as the wind strengthened I added more and more cable ties, and having used almost a whole packet, they are probably now going to stay as they are until the spring, with over long and unpainted posts.

It will come as no surprise if, even impermanent as the ‘fencing’ is, ‘someone’ again reports me to the council, but it would be nice to think that in the current climate they – the council I mean, not the ‘someone’ – have more important things to focus on.

As the ghastliness from across the road continues, I fully intend to strengthen the barricades and sit this out in my own private world if at all possible. Intrusions both audible and visual are sadly inevitable, but I’m still going to have windows open through the winter, and sit outside when it’s dry. I’ve been screening any gaps that would leave me visible, either to passers by or unpleasant neighbours, and plugging myself into pleasant podcasts and audio books with earphones to complete the ‘shielding’, or my version of it.

What a sad isolated time we find ourselves in. I am increasingly at the mercy of the unpleasant family opposite, and they being out and about have the ear of many who choose to accept what they’re told, turning a blind eye to the bullies’ antics, which get increasingly dangerous to other people. Heaven knows over 70 million Americans have proved in recent days that the crowd will always follow the bullies, imagining that’s where the power is and that they’ll be kept safe that way; it’s a dangerous illusion to be under, and in the long run it may sadly be their undoing. But I accept it’s a fact of life and for now, in my tiny part of the world, I feel very much on my own.

I hope my friends, you’re able to keep going and are carrying on with some good things and ignoring, as far as possible, all the crap that’s around. Thanks so much for being there.

Not Helping…

Tuesday 14th July 2020 16:59

Some of the little b******s who roam our estate and the beautiful woodland between us and the canal, and who among other things have a propensity for setting fires (one recently in the woods required several fire trucks).

Although I’m posting this on Friday, this was Tuesday late afternoon. These three – particularly the one hurling the missile at my house – are the ones I watched setting fire to the litter bin at the end of the road some weeks ago. Their latest game is to pick up pocketfuls of some sort of small hard unripe fruit, presumably fallen from someone’s overhanging tree nearby, and hurl them at houses as they lollop past.

On Tuesday I was very lucky that this one – aimed at my open front door (you can’t hear clearly, but what was shouted between them was “Hey, that front door’s open…!”) – missed to the right of the doorway, ricocheting off the brick wall, and not the other side where it would have smashed the window. Also extremely lucky that little Jessie wasn’t in any of her usual spots either just inside the door or on the patio or bench.

At the moment it’s so easy to think I’m being paranoid and even wonder if I’m just making up the threats that are becoming daily occurrences here. When the outcome is minor I find I react with little more than weariness now, as I did to this (I was sitting out of sight but very close by, and merely called out wearily, “Oh aren’t you the clever little boy. Dear oh dear.”). But I’m all too aware that luck can’t always be relied upon to be on my side.

The thought of having to replace a window pane – especially one which would need immediate action being on view, big enough to climb through, right beside the front door and only a few feet from the pavement – sent shivers through me, for the cost that I can’t afford, and the necessary intrusion by workmen.

And so the search for a way of screening the front boundary to at least twice its current height with whatever I have already in the way of material goes on.

Trying To Keep Going and A Shed Full Of Food

Thursday 16th July 2020 21:00

It’s been a chilly grey sort of day mostly, but at about three the sun came out, and I settled in my favourite spot tucked away in the ‘back’ garden, with my notebook and timer. A bit of (rather late!) morning page brain dumping, and now here I am musing on where I go from here. Not literally go – I still haven’t ventured more than a few yards from my front door; four months and counting. But where do I go with my life.

Woah, deep stuff! Well, I suppose so, but not necessarily. More practical than deep at this point. The virus situation as I see it, while we may be in a lull at the moment, is inevitably going to get worse again. People here generally seem to be thinking and behaving as if it’s all gone away – which of course is just what it needs to spread again! And a resurgence in the not too distant future, even if it’s not until the winter, is absolutely inevitable. Nothing I can do about that but keep myself safe, and accept I won’t be making any (barring emergencies) trips out in the world for some considerable time to come. So I really do now need to up my game working on something – or several somethings – from home.

I’ve been utterly preoccupied for almost the whole time of this largely self imposed lockdown, on staying as safe as I can, on keeping bang up to date with the science and the facts of the pandemic, and latterly on preparing for what might come next as best I can (ie building up stocks of essentials, not so much because I think things will become unavailable again – although I think it’s a real possibility – but more because I think deliveries will be hard to come by once more as we head into another surge and it gets dangerous out there again). So The Big Shed is filling up nicely with all manner of essentials, and I’m able to ease off worrying too much about not having anything to eat. I have masks of various kinds in case I need to go anywhere that demands the wearing of one (although of them all, I still find my old substantial diy dust mask the most comfortable, sadly now probably more likely to exacerbate my asthma with the ingrained dust, than protect me from anything). I also have a little solid brass ‘dolphin’ on a retractable cord that I can use to press buttons and open doors. And plenty of 70% alcohol hand gel.

So in a practical sense, I’m well on the way to being prepared for another six months of self sufficiency.

Now I need to work on my mental health.

That isn’t so good.

I have to be honest with you, I haven’t been doing so well mentally. I’ve been utterly dismayed by the selfish irresponsible behaviour that seems to have come to the fore, globally, but also very much in my immediate surroundings, and deeply disappointed and saddened by a few people who I’ve thought of as friends, who’ve also behaved with stupidity, and a dangerous irresponsible selfishness that I would never have attributed to them.

And I’ve listened to myself ranting and raving, begging other friends who think it’s enough to “follow the government guidelines”, to be careful, to stay safe, to understand the risks! And I’ve tried not to be hurt when one by one they’ve stopped calling. I understand: they don’t want to hear about my fears. When they ask how I am they don’t want to know

I’ve felt more aware as the weeks have gone by of having to get through this completely on my own, and I’ve felt afraid every waking moment of every single day (and have dreamt of being afraid every night).

I know for me, the virus is still as deadly as it’s always been. It may be less prevalent just at the moment, but it only takes one contact with it. So I’m staying put for the foreseeable. Which makes the question of making a living an even tougher one. And I’ve put it to one side for far too long now.

So thinking cap firmly back on again then.

Garden story planning. How can I tweak Drawing4Health to be something other than the thing it was centred around being – ie to not be about free public gatherings to draw and swop materials together? What other possibilities are there? Can I bear to go back to IT stuff? Try to put simple tech skills teaching online? Aaargh, it really isn’t what I want these last working years to be about. I’ve done it. It was fantastically well timed back in the nineties for me. It gave me the means to run my own business, and made me a good living. But I’m way behind on my knowledge, and I just don’t care enough to use all my time trying to keep up to date now. It’s who I was. It’s not who I am now. But can I afford that cop out?

Last weekend I finally accepted that the cost of keeping my computer training business website out there just wasn’t justified. The local classes were long gone, and teaching people one-to-one in their own homes isn’t going to be viable again now. So I let it expire when the hosting and various versions of the domain came up for renewal, and I waved goodbye to The Reluctant Mouse and all the fun things I’d done with it. And then I let most of the small spaces domains go too. It means a saving of about £200 all told over a year. That’s a good few weeks’ groceries. My stomach will be grateful.

Somehow I have to move on. I have to do this utterly alone. No-one’s going to wave a magic wand. No-one is going to feed me. I’ve had 45 years of practice; how hard can it be? To just. Keep. Going.

Tomorrow the forecast is for more sunshine than we’ve had for a few days, so maybe I will find some inspiration sitting in my garden; maybe that “Got it!” moment will arrive. Maybe I’ll ring the doc, see if I can get some tablets to take away the gloom, and the loneliness. Maybe I’ll find ‘me’ again, and get through 24 hours without tears rolling down my cheeks for no reason.

Or maybe I’ll just concentrate on surviving again. Day 130. And order some more supplies…

A Late Late Night, Wine, Music and The Company Of Writers

Friday 26th June 2020 00:25

OK, well, first off: a huge thank you to my friend Melissa Wiley, who is running 2-hour work sessions for her Patreon folk at the moment. Lissa is in Portland, Oregon, on the west coast of the US, so her mid-afternoon sessions are very late night for me, but I’ve been hoping to join one for a while, and today presented the perfect opportunity.

It’s been the hottest day here in the UK. Mid 30’s. Far too hot for me to do anything but hide away indoors and wait for the (slightly) cooler evening. And that, it turns out, has signalled a bit of a turning point.

Now I have to admit here that this turning point has been very slightly fuelled by alcohol. Only a couple of small glasses of wine, but nowadays I’m not drinking at all, quite simply because I can’t afford to. Truly. Food or wine, and – now I know this might not be everyone’s choice 😄 – food has to win. Because funds are very, very low. But! I had a birthday last week, and dear friends gave me wine, so this evening I have enjoyed a couple of glasses, sat outside in the slightly cooler air, with music playing in my ear… and life, for the first time in many weeks, didn’t feel bad.

And for the first time in many weeks I found I didn’t want to write about the crisis we’re all in. I didn’t even want to think about it; at all. Wine and music were breaking through the dense fog and lifting it; and the setting sun, the jungle that is my garden at the moment, the swifts swooping and soaring in the sky – all of them worked to lift my mood. It was like a door being thrown open that I didn’t even know was there and for that moment the world felt like it used to.

I think for a moment I contemplated changing my decision to opt for food over wine, but I recognised the truth that I wouldn’t be getting any work done if I did that. And this, suddenly, was about getting some work done.

I’ve been ‘indoors’ for over 100 days. And in all that time I’ve really been unable to do anything. It’s as if I’ve been asleep for 100 days, it really is. 100 days might as well be 1 day; or 1,000. I don’t know if I can move on from that, but this evening – music and wine and this very important late late work session in the company of other writers – this feels good. This feels like tomorrow has arrived. This feels like watching the sunrise on a beautiful new day.