Covid-19 Quarantine. Week Nine. Still Alive – Marie Cooper

Actor’s Covid-19 Quarantine – Week Nine – Still Alive

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Congratulations to everyone who has made it thus far, through to week 9 of the British Hunger Games. We can go out now… more than once. Not just for exercise, we can sit down now too.  You do need to keep up the social distancing though. Although, anyone in Norwich at the moment will know that it’s better to just stay indoors still, because those that are out and about no longer seem to give a **** and are sharing their Covids all over the show. Will week 10 be ‘Return of the Covid’? Stay tuned….

Quarantine Day 57

Monday 18 May 2020

As I’ve not been doing my daily walk, let alone multiple daily walks, I made up for it today by walking to Scotland and back. Well, Whitlingham via Trowse, which is almost as far. 23,776 steps (9.88 miles) to be exact. Which is incidentally more steps than sonface, because my little legs have to go ten to the dozen just to walk the same distance.

Found an entrance to a wood I’ve never been in before. There were no signs up to say the name of the wood or who it belonged to. But there were also no signs to say we couldn’t go in either, so took a wander. Felt slightly nervous about that decision a little later, when there was a shotgun shell sitting by one of the trees.

But the path looked well-worn and I doubt I could be mistaken for a deer as they don’t tend to hum ‘Memories’ at volume, talk to nettles and shout ‘Oooooh my God, that tree is awesome!’ at every tree they find awesome, which in this particular wood of British deciduous trees, was many times.

There were oodles of massive dead trees, both standing and fallen, which I find as incredible, if not more so, than live ones. I tried to take piccies, but the photos do no justice whatsoever to the awesomeness. Some fallen trees were so huge, that a photo couldn’t fit the trunk and all of the fallen parts in.

One live tree did spookily look as if he were as curious looking down at me, as I was looking up at him, which was a little disturbing when I looked back at the photo without the sun in my eyes. There were some people wandering on the path behind us, so I figured it must be okay for us to be there too. They couldn’t be hunters. If they were, they were as **** at being hunters as I am at being a deer.

Wandered to the viaduct and took piccies under the A47. Wandered off the track a bit to unchartered paths of discovery, heard only in dark whispers by the fisherfolk of Narfuk. My curiosity rewarded by the savagery of nettles. Spotted a Knapple pineapple and a little yellow man on the way back.

Walked past a lady at the lake who sounded so posh, I lol’d. I haven’t heard that posh an accent off of the stage. If I had heard her speak on stage, I would have said she was overacting.

Felt sorry for the swans on the lake. Figured my shopping tribulations paled into insignificance when compared to having to stick your bum up into the air, to counterbalance sticking your face under water and grubbing about for… for… whatever it is swans eat.

The wander home was like walking with lead legs and as if someone had added little insoles of pain into my trainers. So much for trainers being comfy. Not after almost ten miles they are not. Definitely having a ‘sitting on my bum writing stuff’ day tomorrow.

Quarantine Day 58

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Got up super early to write. Got buggerall done. My characters and I are at the stage where we are fighting to be in control. This morning my antagonist was winning. Found out more about the manipulative little shyster, though, so that’s good. But the tangent he took me on, also gave him an excuse for being such an A-hole in the story, so, not so good.

I need to print out a draft to read and scribble on, but the prospect is terrifying. It’s a squillion pages long now.

Listened to the cut and paste daily government update. Oooh… We can actually see the slides now. It’s only taken nine weeks to get someone tech savvy enough to set it up for them. Big lack of Boris still. In a fridge again, I assume.

No, I don’t want to move down to level three. I want to carry on making valiant and heroic sacrifices for the sake of my country. I haven’t sown my carrots or beetroot yet. And I still have to stain the floorboards under the shelf that I didn’t have time to get to in the before-times. And I still need to finish this damned play.

There is absolutely no need to return me to my normal way of life anytime soon. I will only shout abuse at customers if they even come within two me-lengths anyway. Which isn’t far, but is further than two meters, I’ll have you know. I will save the NHS single-handedly if I have to. Just keep me supplied in wine and bacon and I will be no trouble to anyone. I didn’t get much farther through the update though, to be honest, 15 mins and that was pretty much my attention span done.

Had a fight with my laptop before bed and hence late update. A foolish thing to do. Takes so long to win, I always lose in the long run… in this case, sleep. Never, ever believe a piece of software when it says, ‘This may take a few minutes’. Technology works to a different timescale to us mere meaty mortals. A timescale that is variable, depending on how annoyed you are at the system. Don’t let it smell your sense of urgency. It feeds on fear. Tomorrow is going to be a sleepy one.

Quarantine Day 59

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Woke up early for London Writers Salon, for a sleepy hour of writing. Loving it, even though it’s a struggle to wake up. There’s always such an amazing variety of writers Zooming together, people writing all sorts of things, from their Phd thesis, blog posts, Morning Pages, novels, poems, scripts, articles, presentations and emails. There was even a guy this morning who was writing from a boat, on a canal, somewhere in Bath.

They provide a prompt in the form of a thought-provoking quote every morning too, just in case people want to freewrite. Glad they did not ask how I did in the ‘How did that go for you’ post-zoom lottery.  I wrote an incredibly dire poem and finished a blog post.

Then a thought-provoking 2-hour writing class with Margaret Johnson. Always a good session and lovely group. Very supportive, inspirational and well run. No one is left out or overshadowed. Everyone gets to share their opinions and writing.

Afterwards, went for a long, exploratory stroll with sonface (18,069 steps, 7.3 miles) to Belmore Plantations. Was hoping to spot deer. It was quiet, but the new growth is dense. We could have been walking past hundred of the little things, hiding in the undergrowth and we wouldn’t have seen them. Like an impossible ‘Where’s Wally’, where everything is green and brown.

The ground was immensely sticky, which did not help. Not sticky, stick-ey. Also, covered in crunchy leaves. Not prime stealth medium.  Saddens me that the deers increasing invisibility has coincided with the definite rise in traffic since last week. Nature is once more being squashed back inside the small cracks between humanity.

It was beautiful nonetheless. The rhododendrons were blooming lovely. And was totally surprised to come across a large pond. Part of the wood had lots of little fairy doors at the bottom of trees, which was cute. Must have been put there recently as they were only made of card. I thought I had taken a photo of one, but camera says ‘no’. It may be magic, or it may be that I was too excited by tiny doors to concentrate on pressing buttons.

Mousehold, which we crossed on the way, was contrastingly horrible, heaving with people, as if it were a busy bank holiday weekend. Complete with Ice cream van serving from its beforetimes spot by the side of the field. Little voice inside me was screaming that it wanted ice cream. Big voice said, no, I prefer my 99s without Covid sprinkles.

Did the evening writing salon and banged out three pages of dialogue, a skeleton of the scene that has been haunting me since Monday. In spite of catface trying to sprawl his furry breeches all over my notebook. Wednesday writing Triad complete.

Quarantine Day 60

Thursday 21 May 2020

Catastrophic decline in my income with just 80% of furlouged, low-pay, paye job and 100% of my self-employment income instantly gone, no support from gov… I’m a not-in-this-together, left-behind, crack-faller… that means nothing to the feckers who have just awarded themselves an extra 10k of public money, on top of their existing pay, plus existing work-from-home expenses.

Whereas I haven’t even claimed for the percentage of lecky, internet, phone etc that I use for my biz, working from home. I could have. But I’m not a penny pinching ****!

Yet the local council have decided, as I am receiving considerably less pay than I was… Then I should pay considerably more council tax and get less housing benefit. Wtaf. Makes no ****ing sense what. So. Ever. I calmly, if somewhat erratically, emailed to ask them to explain. Because there is no logic to it… Well, none that makes any sense to me… And I’m not exactly lacking in the brainmeats. Although tbh, I am a bit gin-ified right now.

Urgh! An awfully whiny update. But it is shamelessly honest and it is what it is. My day has been marred and I would like to throw  a sharknado,  Godziilla, 28 days later zombie herd, Cthulhu , the funny, giant alligator in the lake and Vogon construction fleet at the world. But I will leave it with the universe and karma. I’m going to bed before the clapping seals push me over the edge.

Normal, happy service, with appropriate social distancing, and less sweariness, will resume as soon as possible.

Quarantine Day 61

Friday 22 May 2020

After a brief wobble yesterday, forgetting that the universe usually sees me right, I bowed reverently to karma to deal with yesterday’s jam. A good Morning Pages sesh this morning didn’t hurt none, either. Yes, I know that’s double-negative. It’s so wrong but it feels so right. And, if I know, and I’m doing it because it feels good, then that’s okay.

Squish finished the book she was reading, Whilst talking about it, she made me lol to discover that she has already discovered the widely-know, grown-up phenomenon, of the ‘book is better than the film’.

We were talking and, because I waffled on, squish forgot what she had been intending on saying. Nice listening skills… I feel her pain. But what really made me laugh was that, when she couldn’t recall what she was talking about, she blamed it on brain squirrels having placed the memory on a shelf somewhere whilst I was talking, and they couldn’t find it again. Squish has totally stolen my brain squirrels.

Squish did her first Writer’s Salon today *proud nanny*. She was the youngest person there. The organisers noticed and asked her what she intended on working on. She didn’t know but ended up writing four pages of poetry in the first half hour, putting my hour’s effort to shame. In my defence, I had an occasional purry catface trying to make his bed on top of my writing.

Squish was incredibly excited and enthused to be zooming with all the other writers, that I had to warn her that waving, when writing time had started might be a little off-putting to the other people, if they were looking.

In her poem a couple of characters meet a man who takes them to his house and gives them fish to eat. I said to Squish, “What? Accepting food off a stranger?”. She said, “It’s okay, he’s not evil”. I asked her “how do you know?” And she replied. “uh… because I’m writing it”.

I’ve been up for every morning Writing Salon, bar one this week, I think. Plus, the mid-week and Friday session. Now that I’ve got myself into a fairly consistent writing habit, I’ve printed out my play draft and I have a plan of work… Yes, you heard that right… I actually have a schedule and a plan…ish.

Quarantine Day 62

Saturday 23 May 2020

If Coronapocolypse has taught me anything, it’s when I say I don’t dress up for other people, it’s all just for me, that is a lie, because for the last 9 weeks, the only time I have worn anything other than jeans and T-shirt or my pyjamas, was on Dress like a Pirate Friday.

Edit: That’s a lie too, just remembered I wore shorts… once.

There was a twitterstorm over Cummings and goings. Or rather Cummings going where he shouldn’t, when he shouldn’t, whilst expecting everyone else to follow the rules. I haven’t had a chance to have a proper look yet. To be honest, I’m finding it difficult to give many ****s about all that stuff at the mo.

Put my Coronapocolypse quest rake to good use today, finally. Squish was full of beans that I let her sow seeds in the garden. She’s convinced now, that should we be unable to go the shops again, we can live on what we grow. I did try to explain, it was going to take some weeks for stuff to grown (if at all in my garden because the idle neighbours don’t cut back their shrubbery and blot out the sun), but she said she didn’t mind.

I convinced her to try Cauliflower cheese today. By assuring her that almost anything tastes better with cheese. She likes it and now wants me to cook it again. Intrigued, she asked what else tastes good with cheese?
So I said… pineapple.
‘ohhh I haven’t tried that’.
Yes, it’s especially good on a disc of bready like stuff…
Like a sandwich?
Nooo, a bit rounder and thinner and crispier… with a bit of tomato.
Nannyyyyyy! That’s a pizza. I hate pineapple on pizza.

We did the Book Hive ‘Page Against the Machine’ this afternoon. Obviously, it hasn’t been running since Coronageddon kicked off, but this was a special weekend session, from home, in collaboration with City of Literature and National Centre for Writing. Squish started reading James and the Giant Peach at the beginning, and by the time we finished, it looked like she was almost halfway through the book already. Now she wants to come to the Book Hive with me when things are less virus-ey.

Trying to rush this a bit, as Squish wants to wake up at stupid ‘o’clock again for writing time. Not sure if she really wants to write at 8am, or whether it’s because if she wakes up before daddy is there to make breakfast, Nanny always has bacon.

Forgot to watch the second half of Sound of Music this Afternoon. Not sure we will get time to see it now as ‘The Shows Must Go On’ musicals tend to be taken off in 24 – 48 hours. Squish didn’t remind me though. I hope I didn’t put her off that one. I kept yodelling at her, and she most definitely wasn’t impressed with my yodel-ey-eeeeeeeeees.

Quarantine Day 63

Sunday 24 May 2020

With all this Coronapocolypse crap, being inside almost all of the time, and having to constantly move around the house to avoid being wedged between a wall to wall, noisy neighbours sandwich, it dawned on me today that I have actually made other rooms more homely, just through having to spend more time in them.

The back room is no longer just a wide corridor to the kitchen, whitegoods overflow, and cycle park, with my table in it. Before Coronageddon, it had really become just a means to get to the kitchen and therefore just a wide corridor, that tapered into the ‘actual corridor-esque’ kitchen – because someone thought it was a grrrreat idea that terrace houses should have kitchens the size of a mole hole.

Now, the room between rooms is a proper writing/study space. I’ve had time to hang memories on my wall. I have time to keep it tidy and clean, where I never really got the time before. Home used to be somewhere I barely had time to eat, poop, bathe and sleep before I had to go out and do things I didn’t want to do all over again…With a nice room at the front to make it look as if I gave a ****… Now it’s home again.

Well, it would be if it was detached. Or had 100 acres between me and the neighbours, but baby steps. Maybe next global disaster, when the zombies actually turn up.

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