cracking the code

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the slightly strange fact that during this lockdown my muse seems to have been liberated and I am writing again. Admittedly, I’m not writing a huge amount of poetry, but then, I don’t think I ever did write that much, and I’ve always accepted that poems can take years to evolve, so the fact that I have some jottings may mean that more poems will come in time.

There’s also prose, both creative and associated with my business. As I said yesterday, social distancing actually seems to have encouraged conversations, and each conference call or webinar seems to produce at least one gem of an idea that could be worth working up into a full-length article or essay.
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far and near

One of the most notable things about the current crisis is how easy it has become to use words such as crisis, pandemic, unprecedented… And another is how easy it is to speak of thousands of deaths as if each one of those statistics didn’t refer to a unique and cherished individual.

For me, another of the most notable aspects of the last few months is how much contact I’ve had with people all through this “social distancing” time.
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frustrated plans

During this coronavirus lockdown, times and dates have become less important than they sometimes are for many of us.

For those who have been furloughed, normal office hours are irrelevant, while for those who are working from home, even early morning meetings seem to start later – the breakfast meetings I attend are at 9 instead of 7am – and since there’s no commuting time, there’s no need to set an alarm clock.
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being reasonable

I don’t think that I’d really realised how Anglo-centric the UK news is until the recent lockdown. All the reports about recommendation, rules and regulations that I’ve seen are based on the law in England. But I have family in Wales and the rules there are rather different. For example, while here in England the once-a-day limit for exercise outside your home is merely a recommendation, in Wales it has actually been the law for some weeks.

Or has it? I’ve read the guidance on leaving home to exercise published by the Welsh government and although Regulation 8 section 2b says one of the reasonable excuses to leave home is “to take exercise, no more than once a day”, the guidance immediately continues “(or more frequently if this is needed because of a particular health condition or disability)”.

So you must only go out once a day, unless you need to go out more than once a day.
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spaced out

Whether you think of it as a habit or a hobby, queuing is often seen as quintessentially British. And now, with social distancing a must, long lines of people waiting patiently have become a common sight outside the few essential shops that are still open.

Not only are such shops limiting the number of customers allowed in at one time, they’re also insisting customers shop singly. Which means that partners and housemates hang around the shop entrance alongside security guards, supermarket bouncers and trolley fetchers in disorderly groups that contrast greatly with the orderly, wide-gapped queues.
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in the current circumstances

It’s been a long time since I wrote any poetry. But, despite the lack of inspiration, and the fact that it’s probably the longest “dry” spell I can remember, I don’t think I’d really thought I was suffering from writer’s block, nor was I particularly worried that the muse would never come back. It was just a question of waiting.

In the meantime, I’ve written some prose and a lot of articles and copy for clients and for my business. I’ve been working with some other writers on their books and have just brought out a new book for business professionals who want to become authors.

Still, though, there was no poetry.
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needs and wants

All this talk of only shopping for essentials has got me thinking. After all, what is essential?

The shelves in the supermarket suggest that my needs are quite different from others. I don’t think I can remember the last time I ate dried pasta and I probably don’t open more than two tins in a month. But flour is essential for me to be able to follow my usual lifestyle, and so are milk, eggs and cheese.
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