Hibernating in suburbia

After the storms……

Just like that, another month has flown by. We’ve gone from isolation to sterilization and now, in some places, demonstration. Blimey. What a mess.

As I write this – there are more than 72,000 lost souls to this pandemic in the USA. I can’t even fathom that number- one is one too many. As I sit in my safe bubble, with the occasional foray to buy food, my heart goes out to all those poor people, their loved ones, and to everyone still on the front line of this vicious, evil virus.

And now the speculation is about the world we will have left after this tragedy. It’s been compared to the changes we faced after 9/11 – our world will never look quite the same. But there is much changing for the good. Families are spending time together again. Our big tech nation are slowly putting down their phones to stop and smell the roses (even with a facemask).

A changing and difficult time in our lives, but one we all face together –

There – enough said on that. You are not reading this for my opinion on important stuff – you’re reading this because…..

  1. You’re bored with the internet
  2. You haven’t got a subscription to a magazine
  3. You are sadly fascinated by Gump and his dysfunction
  4. You feel great sympathy for me because I’m married to Gump
  5. You want to encourage my attempts to become a successful writer.
  6. You can’t get to the libraries as they are closed
  7. All the above.

Thank you for tuning in – I know I’m no Erma Bombeck, but it does give me a wonderful thrill when I get comments and likes on my posts. I suppose it’s my way of staying in touch with all of you collectively.

I’m a very ordinary person with a very fat dream – one I’ve carried since my early twenties. That I will marry Pierce Brosnan…no wait, wrong dream – I mean the dream where I become a successful author and hire all my friends at great salaries with massive perks, and we all live happily ever after – yeah, that one. And hey, I just turned sixty, got my first book contract, so dreams can come true, just very slowly….

Speaking of dreams and dreamboats….here’s an update on the Gumpster 😊 He’s been here in seclusion with me, working from home. He’s also been catching up on his chore list, which is so long you practically need Cliff notes to read through it in a timely manner. I’m actually quite proud of him and his accomplishments, though I’ll never tell him that. He’s been a real trouper!

His tomatoes (love interests) are growing nicely, and babied daily with dabs of this and that – he calls them ‘hundred dollar tomatoes’ and that’s about right if you look at his receipts from Atwoods. I hate tomatoes and most veggies. But I LOVE potatoes…….but will the rotten sod grow any for me? NOPE. He did comply just the once, many years ago, and complained about how invasive they were to the bloody tomatoes. He said they were too much trouble, and after that one year, allocated the space for something he prefers (more sodding tomatoes)…. So this year, I took an old spud left in the bag long enough to grow roots, and I plonked it in a pot – we’ll see what happens.

Scout the wonder dog, is driving me bloody nuts. Most of you know I got a blue Heeler for their amazing traits. They are meant to be a companion, a guard dog, a smart dog, a tough dog. But somehow, it must have skipped my dog. Scout is neurotic, high-energy, and granted is a companion (unless Gump is in the vicinity)- she hides behind me if she hears anything unfamiliar (chain saw, geese squawking overhead) and literally jumps at the sight of her own shadow. Why is it whenever I make big choices, the universe always has to mess with me….I mean….look who I married?

Is everyone tired of cooking? I know I am – actually more fed up with figuring out a blasted menu. I’m no Betty Crocker (ask my thin kids) but since I became self-employed, I have taken the time over the past 4 years to learn more about cooking. I’ve learned quite a bit, even made decent biscuits (yuck) for Gump’s brekkie and cook all the things he loves to eat regularly. The problem is, I don’t like the same food as him. I’m British, raised back in the days when seasoning meant celebrating the time of year, as in Spring/Fall etc. My mum used salt and pepper, and I doubt there was anything else in the cupboard besides curry powder. But Gump….well he is from Louisiana, and he likes anything spicy, with a hot kick which could potentially blow out a tonsil. He also likes things which crawl, things any Brit would take one look at and say ick-I’m not touching that, and call pest control.

It is a dilemma I face daily. Unseasoned meat and spuds for me – slimy insect stews for him. I mean I do love Gump, but I’m not pulling heads off things or de-veining anything for anyone (that sounds like an arrestable offense to me) – If there is reincarnation for our sins, I’d rather come back as a cow than a crawdad.

But somehow, we make it through another meal. Only to face the next one.

It’s odd not seeing friends and family, isn’t it? The few times I have ventured out, I find myself trying to imagine what masked people’s mouths and teeth look like? I go Mister Potato Head on them and picture weird ones…they probably do the same thing to me….oops I am obsessed with potatoes.

I have not watched as much tv or Netflix as the rest of the world reportedly seems to be doing. Mainly because I stay busy writing, coping with Gump and Scout the wonder dog, and reading. There’s not much on the telly that I enjoy, to be honest. I’ve never been a reality tv person (except for The Voice- I love hearing new talent, though hate the competition part) – I am a proud PBS nerd (possibly because they have a lot of British shows they air) and I LOVE watching all the Ken Burns documentaries – I don’t watch all the Cop shows on the other channels, because there seems to be three hundred of them and I can’t differentiate between any of them. To me, they have a common theme….murder, love interests and everyone looks the same to me….. beautiful, fit with white teeth (no Mister P.Heads)………I can’t help but prefer the Brit cop shows like Vera, and Shetland -because they look a lot more like me – frumpy, wrinkly and overweight…..

One of the few advantages of this isolation is the fact it has happened in Spring – it’s been nice having Gump help out with the yard work, that’s usually my job. I do like to be outside playing in the dirt, but my back and my arthritic hands seem to be less enthusiastic. This last weekend, I donned my mask and gloves and went to buy plants. I felt guilty going out, like I was breaking the rules, but I couldn’t help myself. I followed all the distancing guidelines, and scrubbed my hands once I arrived home.  There were so many people out and about, many without masks, which I found disconcerting. Don’t get me wrong, I hate wearing one, it fogs up my specs and I sound like Darth Vader, but I feel as though I’m keeping my germs to myself and want everyone else to do the same……

In the writing world, I am anxiously awaiting the release of my book The Secret of Mowbray Manor. Mowbray was the name of the street where my mum and her 4 siblings grew up. They had a rough go of it, growing up. Little money, she left school young to care for her younger siblings while my gran worked. During the war, they were in the London area, so were always scared they would be bombed as many places nearby were. But she loved her old street, and to surprise her my dad had a wooden sign made with ‘Mowbray’ carved into it. Mum hung that sign proudly over the front door of every house she lived in over the years, and when she didn’t have a house anymore, she gave it to me. So, I named the manor house in my story in her honour. I do wish she was still here so she could see the book. It would have made her very happy. My mum and dad would have been thrilled to see I’d finally got my wish and been published.

So for all of you out there who are secretly wishing you could do something else other than what you are doing, I’m proof you’re never too old to follow your dreams – Look, I’m ancient, and I’m doing it! These are humble beginnings in a new career I have waited a lifetime to begin, but so what, at least I’m giving it a go. If, like me, you have something burning in your soul you have always wanted to do, Do IT!!!! Don’t have regrets……sermon over.

Be safe friends, use this time to re-evaluate all you can. Some day we’ll talk about this time just like my mum used to talk about evacuation and bombs dropping in her neighbourhood.

Much love

Jude

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