Lockdown 2, writing news and Christmas…

Here we are then – just about to come out of lockdown 2 with a mix of optimism and trepidation. Hopefully good news on the Covid-19 vaccine front but not before the prospect of a few tough winter months ahead.

The odds of a hard lockdown 3 immediately after Christmas? That’s down to how we all take care over the festive period but if we’ve learned anything since March, it is best not to rule anything in or out.

Still, for those of us who love the festive period, there is something to look forward to. Even if it isn’t going to be the same for family get togethers and social gatherings, we can still enjoy the decorations, celebratory food and drink. Then there is the prospect of a brand new year ahead with the hope that it has to be better than 2020. Let’s face it, most of us will be glad to see the back of this one.

If you had told us this time last year that we would be in the midst of a world pandemic, wearing masks and being locked down for months, it would have felt like something from one of those dystopian novels. Yet here we are and already the ‘old world’ seems a long way off.

Many of my friends in the world of TV production and live entertainment are struggling, not qualifying for furlough because they are freelance or self employed. Nearly three million people have fallen through the net and still don’t know when (or even if) they will be able to return to their jobs, a huge waste of talent and training. Hopefully in the longer term there will be such a pent up demand for live performances, theatre and events that most will be able to go back to the careers they love.

Meantime, this has still been a busy year for me despite the lockdowns. As someone who works largely from home, not much has changed there. Already I’ve been doing more factual writing, including an essay contribution for a book which is coming out in the New Year alongside various magazine features/review pieces. I’ve also collaborated with a company called Butterfly Boxes on a bespoke gift box with a book which is aimed at carers and care related workers across the board.

The latest short story collection book ‘Shorts and Thoughts’ is included in the box, along with various other goodies. Here’s a photo and a link for anyone who wants to send a gift to a care worker they know, whether it is for Christmas, a birthday, or just a thank you, while helping to raise some money for the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust charity – swbt.org. Covid-19 has shown us just how important our frontline social work and care sector workers really are, something we shouldn’t forget as we begin to emerge from this world wide health crisis. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/903972491/social-worker-benevolent-trust-box?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1

My book of choice this time is Alastair Campbell’s ‘Living Better’ which deals with his own struggles with mental health. Alastair was best known for his role as former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesperson and strategist. While working in this high pressure environment, he was – and still is – living with severe depression, which he says at the start of the book led him to consider ending his own life. A bad ‘almost’ as he puts it.

He talks candidly about the effects on his family, friends and on his own everyday life which continues to this day. If there is one overall message it is not to feel ashamed or to remain silent. In the end he sought professional help, learning to understand his depression, what the triggers are, and crucially, how to live a better life with it.

Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the book is uplifting and informative, with some wry humour thrown in. There is also an insightful chapter from his partner Fiona about how to live with someone who has depression. Then there is the story of a Jam Jar but you’ll have to read the book to find out about that!

Finally, as we emerge from this latest lockdown there will be a chance to take our Motor Home out for another spin. Having spent most of this year with the MoHo parked up on the driveway, we are looking forward to hitting the open road again even if we keep the travel to within Cornwall. Afterall, there are worse places to live – just ask Bonnie dog! (Rocking that Cornish tartan bandana). Photo thanks to Russ Ahearne @hamiltonahearne photography.

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