Locked Down or Locked In?

Like Japanese soldiers found hiding on remote Pacific islands decades after the Second World War, unaware the hostilities had ended, I fear I may emerge from isolation months in the future to discover everyone else has been out and about, holidaying and having fun. Scenes on the news of crowded beaches and beauty spots and anti racism protests, leave many of us wondering if we have missed a miraculous and sudden end to the pandemic.

One of my earliest memories is looking out of our upstairs window at sunshine and blue skies and feeling shut in. Until I was nearly seven, by which time my parents had a toddler and baby to cope with as well, Mum and Dad rented what they called a flat, but was really the spacious two top floors of a large Victorian terraced house. A quick glance on Zoopla reveals you would pay over a million and a quarter for such a house in that road today. But Mum had to lean out the kitchen window to hang the washing on a pulley line, suspended high above the back garden of the ‘wicked old lady’ ( mum’s words ) who lived on the ground floor. She never offered to let me play in her garden. But I certainly wasn’t a prisoner; my parents were always taking me down by the river or to Kew Gardens, Marble Hill Park and Richmond Park for fresh air and exercise. I feel so sorry for children literally locked into cramped flats because of the virus. Most children in England will not now return to school till after the summer holidays. While many are having fun and never had so many walks and bike rides with their parents, some children are isolated indoors because of their health or underlying health conditions of someone in their family.

We adults may grumble and some people have found themselves in dire situations, but we are not sheltering in a basement in a war shattered city. For writers, bloggers, artists and gardeners it’s just another day at home, an endless succession of days at home, but it’s okay. Obviously I could not survive without BBC Radio, books, music, the internet, television and of course chocolate.

When we were having our medical dramas just before lockdown, there was another patient who seemed to be following Cyberspouse from ward to ward. He had no visitors because he had a frail wife at home and no family near. I knew this because I heard all his conversations to medical staff and on his mobile, but his greatest upset was not having anything to read and nobody seemed able to get him a newspaper. When any medical staff asked how he was he told them he was soo bored. He was reduced to doing origami with the paperwork they left behind. By the third ward I made sure I brought him a newspaper and he was overwhelmed with gratitude. Boredom can be a worse threat than a pandemic.

What things have been essential for your survival in isolation?

Silly Saturday – Not Going Out

Whether you are stuck in your twenty bedroom mansion with many acres of private grounds or alone in a tiny flat, there are some advantages to being in the majority of the population not allowed to go out. Remember that feeling when your mother believed it when you said you felt ill and you didn’t have to go to school? Recreate that inner freedom of spirit for yourself every morning.

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You don’t have to decide what to wear each day, even if you are still in your dressing gown when you put the bins out no one will be around to see you.
If you are a schoolchild you are taking part in the biggest social experiment ever; if your exasperated parents call you a rat they just mean it affectionately, you are a laboratory rat. Perhaps the experiment will prove that actually nobody needs to go to school. If you had no friends at school you are a winner, nobody has any friends at school now.

 

Parents, if you are one of those families that appeared in that documentary, Twenty Two Children and Another on the Way, you are laughing, now is your time, with a ready made school and team sports. As you could never afford to go out anyway with all those children, life goes on much the same.
Adults, you don’t have to go to work, or if you have to work from home you can do it in your pyjamas.
You don’t have to go out, you don’t have to go to that boring party, your in-laws’ wedding, that tedious conference, parents’ evening, to the cinema to see that ghastly film your partner wanted to see and you don’t have to go to the dentist.
You can watch television all day long, especially twenty four hour corona coverage.

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Tired of decision making? Remember waking up to sunny Saturdays and discussing how to make the most of a nice weekend? We must go somewhere, but where, a favourite place or somewhere new? A local walk or major expedition? Take a picnic or eat out? Shall we call Barbara and John and see if they want to meet up?

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Ironically you will get to know your neighbours better, even if you do have to yell from your balcony, over the fence or across the road. They are home all the time and the ones that tried to avoid you are pitifully grateful when you wave to them.
Your dog is happy, very happy, never lonely and five walks a day with each member of the family going on their allotted outing.
If you are an introvert this is your time. No one is going to tell you that getting out more would be good for you.

You will have plenty of time to catch up with all those ( my ) books you wanted to read.

 

What advantages have you found in your confinement to home?

Silly Saturday – New Year Unresolutions

By now you have probably broken most of your resolutions, but it’s never too late to repair them. Here is a handy guide to resolutions that you will never keep, to save you making them in the first place and resolutions impossible to break.

Daunting

  1. Finish my Work In Progress before I finish my Christmas chocolates.
  2. Finish reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
  3. Review the above book intelligently on Amazon and Goodreads.
  4. Read every blog by every blogger I follow.
  5. Sell more books.
  6. Think up lots of new meals to cook.
  7. Clear out every drawer in the house and recycle all twentieth century ‘what’s on leaflets’.
  8. Learn how to use ebay and empty all cupboards and the loft.
  9. Spend less time on social media.
  10. Sign every worthwhile petition going on line and write to my MP and all the world leaders about every important issue.
  11. Become the first Indie Author to trek alone to the North Pole and blog every day about my journey.
  12. Visit the dark side of the moon.
  13. Live without plastic.

 Undaunting

  1. Finish my Christmas chocolates before my WIP.
  2. Read Brief Answers to the Big Questions: the final book from Stephen Hawking – The world-famous cosmologist and bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe’s biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work. As it’s posthumous he may have found out the answers by now.
  3. Review the above book briefly on Amazon and Goodreads.
  4. Read and comment on at least one blog a week.
  5. Sell at least one book this year.
  6. Try cooking one new meal.
  7. Tidy up at least one drawer.
  8. Take that bag of stuff to the charity shop.
  9. Improve social media skills.
  10. Share at least one funny cartoon a day on Facebook.
  11. Go for a walk to a new coffee shop every week – blog about the experience.
  12. Visit that new Ikea.
  13. Remember to take my bag for life to the shops.

 

Sunday Salon – Recent Reviews

Two angels and a healer, an autobiography, a novelette and a novel; the three books I recently finished reading and reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads.

Or at least that was the plan, but for some reason Amazon would not accept my review of Angels Landing. I’m not sure why and won’t bore you with extracts from their ‘community help’. People have problems of all sorts with Amazon reviews, one of the reasons I decided to post  my book reviews on Tidalscribe.

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Angels Landing   by Christina Sandler

An autobiography inspiring on many levels, I gave it five stars on Goodreads

Sadly in the Twenty First Century we are too familiar with images of soldiers who have had limbs blown off, but stoically work hard at their rehabilitation with the support of others in the same situation. When we imagine what that would be like we probably have degrees of what we could bear, one limb lost is surely better than all, but most of us would no doubt make an awful fuss if we just lost a few fingers. People lose limbs in various ways, including through illness; Christina Sandler’s accident left her far removed from the instant medical response we see on hospital programmes.

On holiday in Australia, a car accident in a remote spot in the Northern Territory results in terrbile injuries. Christina’s recovery in the Darwin hospital took a long time because of the way her arm was lost, but it was excellent care, the staff at the hospital sound wonderful. The hospital became her world, though through her eyes we have glimpses of the life of the people of Darwin.
Back in England there was much more treatment needed, working up to the day she got her first artificial ‘pink Barbie hand’. This was still the eighties, artificial limbs have come a long way since then. Most of us would regard a serious accident as a good excuse to coast through life without too much being expected of us, but getting back to the teaching job she loved was not enough for Christina, she needed a new challenge, flying.
Looking up this book I see it was first published successfully in 2000 as a paperback and reviewers included one of her former pupils. A reminder that this is a true story. I would be so interested to know how life has been for her since that first solo flight.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angels-Landing-memoir-Christina-Sadler-ebook/dp/B077ZW34YK

 

 

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Where Angels Tread: a novelette

by Loretta Livingstone

4.0 out of 5 stars  A modern day fairy tale

By  Janet Gogerty  on 10 August 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A very different take on the homeless; most people walk by, but some stop to talk. This novelette tells the tale from each character’s point of view and some will surprise you. There is a happy ending and redemption, but not for all. This little book is rounded up with three delightful poems; from a creme egg to a rose.

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The Healer (Fraud or Miracle? Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars    Is everyone being decieved, including the reader?

By  Janet Gogerty  on 11 August 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

There is nothing straightforward about this novel, we may think we are following Erica’s journey towards enlightenment, but it is not as simple as that. Gradually we realise we are not sure who to believe, perhaps the final truth will come out in Book 3. What is intriguing is that it does not matter how real the illness or the cures are, it’s how they affect Erica and those around her. I don’t think I liked any of the characters and certainly would not have enjoyed working for Erica. In her ruthless world of work she is surprised that even one person cares when she is ill. When she tries to return there is no welcome, the company has moved on, former colleagues expected her to die and appear affronted that she turns up to announce she is fine. Her personal life fares little better, even without the complications of secrecy we realise that being given a second chance of life does not necessarily make anyone a better person. Erica knows no other way of life and doesn’t have the resources to recreate herself as a lover of nature and humanity; events and new revelations also conspire against her.

 

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To Free or not to Be

We all read books for free; library books, all those paperbacks people have passed on to you and if you have forked out fifty pence in the charity shop for your favourite author – your favourite author won’t be seeing a penny. I once went to a chat at the library by a noted local author; a strange coincidence occured a few days later and a hundred miles away when we were visiting a National Trust property. There was the usual  second hand bookshop in an interesting outbuilding. As I browsed, there on top of a pile of books on the makeshift counter was the very book the  noted author had been talking about. It cost me fifty pence…

Indie Authors wring their hands and discuss whether they should, or if it will be worth it to offer their book for free. The hope being that readers will be so enamoured they will buy other books by the writer, or more importantly, the reader will be so grateful they will write a glowing review. A week later some authors will be posting in chat forums or writing in their blogs in great distress because no one has written a review yet.

I am happy to accept a free offer, or a ’99 pence today only’ bargain if the book appeals to me and I will review it, because I try and review all the books I read. But by the time I pick a book out of my TBR collection on my Kindle I will have forgotten if it was free or what I paid for it. I just want to enjoy reading.

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A while back I came up with an idea brilliant in its simplicity, based on the premise that Indie Authors can do what they like, even if they have sold their soul to Amazon. To avoid technical stress I would not bother with free offers or prices going up and down. Come to my bookshop and I guarantee there will always be books you can buy for ninety nine pence. If you want to buy a paperback for your aunty who doesn’t have a Kindle they start at £5.99.

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If you want a novel try Quarter Acre Block. It is my best selling book, probably becaue it has always been 99p and readers know what to expect…

‘In the nineteen sixties many ‘ten pound pommies’ had never left England before and most expected never to return or see loved ones again. George Palmer saw Australia as a land of opportunities for his four children, his wife longed for warmth and space and their daughter’s ambition was to swim in the sea and own a dog. For migrant children it was a big adventure, for fathers the daunting challenge of finding work and providing for their family, but for the wives the loneliness of settling in a strange place.’

You can read the background to the story on my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-six-fiction-focus/

If you are brave enough to tackle my trilogy you can buy the first novel for 99p.

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If you enjoy short stories I have four collections.

Try Dark and Milk for 99p.

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If you would like free fiction there are always stories to be read on my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/

And look out for Friday Flash Fiction here at Tidalscribe.

Visit my Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

How do you choose which books to buy? How long is your TBR pile?