So here we are in the midst of lockdown 3. I would like to say ‘coming towards the end of,’ but that may or may not be stretching the cautious optimism and light at the end of the tunnel metaphors I have been using for the last few weeks, a bit far. Either way, no two ways about it, this lockdown has
pretty damn rubbish. It’s been shit! It was always going to be a tough one compared with the previous lockdowns. The first was almost exciting, as we ventured into a previously unknown experience. A strong community spirit largely abound and good summery weather certainly helped. Lockdown 2 had a temporary feel about it and we had Christmas to look forward to, initially it seemed with minimum restrictions if only on a temporary basis. Then for many, Christmas was cancelled. OK, severely restricted. But it also came with the knowledge that we were heading into lockdown 3. Short days and terrible weather only emphasised the situation. A brief respite was provided as the rain was replaced by snow, giving us a temporary holiday atmosphere. I love snow, especially when I am not driving in it. I love the way it transforms everything almost magically. I celebrated by forfeiting one lunch-break to demonstrate my snowman-making skills. Such a shame my granddaughter was not around to witness my artistic creativity.
We try our best to keep ourselves active, although walking past our motorhome, Arthur, sat forlornly at the side of the road, is a little sad. We always said hello though, ‘we’ll be off soon Arthur!’
Putting lockdown negatives to one side for now, there are plenty of positives. Firstly my relationship with my wife, Heather. Yes we have had the occasional tetchy moment or two, but they have been few and far between. As mentioned in previous posts, we both appreciate the good position we are in compared with others, and in tough times infrequently remind ourselves of this. A (largely) similar sense of humour has also helped. It’s probably no exaggeration to say, having got through this, I am confident we can get through anything.
Football. Love it or hate it, football is our national sport and it is one huge community. From grass-roots clubs up to the obscene-amounts-of-money-consuming elite clubs, it is a community, for many a way of life. This season, with Leeds at last promoted back to the Premiership, is a special season. Special but frustrating as we cannot be in the ground to watch. But, with every game an absolute spectacle, some victorious, some drubbings, we are a team with many new fans. Many fans new second favourite team. Football provides joy and despair, thankfully for Leeds fans this season more of the former, for all fans it gives focus and hope.
Thirdly but definitely not least, writing. A creative writing course I took with the wonderful Gill Lambert at the Swarthmore Centre two years ago reignited my creativity. During lockdown 1 I took the additional time to start writing a novel. I was quite pleased with my initial scribblings but it went on hold as we temporarily escaped captivity and travelling, I started blogging. Meeting Gill did not only get me writing again, it introduced me to a whole community of writers. Wanting to get my novel going again, in January I signed up for a writing group hosted by Gill’s partner, published poet and novelist Mark Connors. What a great move this proved to be. Each Saturday morning, through the wonder of Zoom, we each show and read a thousand words of our WIPs (Work In Process.) Mark, myself and the other six writers provide feedback. All are very different yet wonderful writers, the work being written is so varied and yet all so superb. The feedback is brilliant and so stimulating. It is also very focusing, as it generally provides a minimum one thousand words per week to our books.
On and On!
Whilst out on a walk shortly before the PM was due to announce the lockdown exit roadmap, I exclaimed a need to be out more, and, to be out socialising. That night with a great deal more hope than forward planning, I went on-line and booked the following Saturday at our local and once-oft-frequented Italian restaurant. Then I reserved four nights over Easter at the Howgill Lodge motorhome site we so enjoyed in the Yorkshire Dales late last year. Both bookings were right hand mouse click, left hand straw grasp, but they made me feel better.
Obviously the Italian trip did not happen this time, neither will the Easter break. We have though had our booking moved on just one week, and we have booked another four breaks of varying length. Hopefully, much to look forward to. Arthur’s not going to know what’s hit him!