The strangest thing about the lockdown is not people ram-raiding supermarkets, or queuing at 2 metre intervals, or the quiet streets. For me, what it is, every night when I take my dog for a walk, is I’m passed by two or three buses while I’m out.
And they’re all empty.
Each and every bus is absolutely empty. I’m guessing there’ll be driver, though they’re usually past before I can check to see, but there are no passengers. They swish past, not stopping, because there’s no one waiting at the bus stops either.
I like it.
There’s something dreamlike about these empty buses passing by, driving no-one to nowhere, and doing it strictly to timetable. They’re like the muggle versions of the Knight Bus from Harry Potter. Seeing these buses zwish by with their empty seats and all their lights blazing is like something from the sort of dream you have when you’re unwell.
In my writing den I have the following:
I think that, essentially, I’m equipped for the next couple of months.
Via a visitor I came across a translated version of my website – see image of my story titles in Arabic.
One of the things about being an independent writer is that I don’t always see the ragged edge. If you have editors and copy-editors and a team of readers, one or more of them will usually spot some glaring error in the text. They’ll query narrative dead-ends and point out non-sequiturs.
I don’t have that luxury (and to be fair when I’ve worked with publishers and editors they haven’t always spotted what turn out to be glaring errors in my work), so I have to trust my own judgement. And accept that my work will contains errors.
But it’s worth it, because I get to write what I want to write. I am veering more towards genre work of late, but if I decide to change course, I can, and will. Of course, my income from writing isn’t anywhere close to that of the most commercially successful writers, but then it probably wouldn’t be even if I had a team behind me, so I won’t cry over that puddle of milk; I’m where I want to be; I’m where my creative impulse has sent me.
The freedom to follow my muse, and the acceptance that I’m not perfect, is a powerful combination.
It’s half-nine on a Sunday morning and I find myself watching Jumanji 2. I’m looking forward to a day of reading, writing, chilling, turning the clocks forward, and sorting screws in the shed. And Jumanji 2, of course.
The excitement is overwhelming.
I find myself sitting watching a 20-minute YT film featuring a bearded bloke talking about Jerry Cans. Worse, or better still, depending on your point of view, I find myself engrossed.
It turns out that people first used to buy petrol in 2 gallon cans at a chemists. Or, for you Americans, they bought gas at the drug store. Petrol pumps didn’t arrive ’til the 1920s.
I suspect I’m going stir-crazy.
Writing a lot though, so that’s a plus.
So it’s Spring, and tonight as I sleep the clock will leap forward bring us into British Summer Time, meaning it doesn’t officially become dark until after half-seven tomorrow night.
But on the other hand we’ve got the plague, and tonight as I walked my pooch, it rained hailstones, even though it’s almost April. What next, frogs? Locusts?
A gang of scrotes ram-raided my local Sainsbury’s on Thursday night, but by this morning it was open again with a temporary wooden door. People were queuing calmly and keeping the required 2m distance. Everyone was pleasant, chatting, and there was no sign of panic buying or anything – milk, bread and eggs were in abundance on the shelves.
The scrotes who ram-raided the store managed to steal about £2-300 worth of alcohol. They also did the same with another Sainsbury’s three miles away.
So, say £500 worth of alcohol.
The damage they did to two store fronts and a stolen Subaru Forrester was probably close to £50,000. Maybe more.
Thieves gonna thieve.
The mood amongst those quiet, sensible, civilised shoppers, regarding said thieves was somewhere between public caning and a rope strung from a lamppost. I suspect the coronavirus may quicken the end of the current 50-year liberal experiment. Being pleasant to unpleasant people is not necessarily a cure-all.
This lockdown feels like what it must be like to be rich and idle. There’s food in the cupboards, there’s power on the grid (touch wood), everything needed is provided and there’s plenty of time in the day in which to mooch about.
But unlike the lifestyles of the rich and famous, there’s no-one about. There’s no gaggle. There’s no one recording everything to broadcast on Channel 5. I wonder what it’s like on FB? I might go over there and look.
No traffic either. It’s quiet. I did see a bus last night: it was empty. I take my pooch out every evening and there are usually lots of people with dogs for him to bark at. Not at the moment.
I do like it.
The streets of my home town. Friday night. 9pm.
Took my dog for a walk last night at about 9pm and the streets were almost deserted. There was a light fog coming off the sea, and the odd car driving by.
My local pub, the Blue Bell, was eerily empty, only the lights behind the counter showing. I don’t think, in our entire history, pubs have ever been fully closed down. During the war there was a pub about a half mile from here that was destroyed by bombs. People were inside during the raid, drinking, and some of them were killed, but no one thought of closing all the pubs.
The Blue Bell, looking in from outside, closed for over a week now.