So, somehow July got away on me, and here we are
in August at the end of August and I don’t know how? Can someone tell me where that month went, and also how I can stop it happening again, please?
I mean, I will admit that for a while there (such as, maybe, while in lockdown in one form or another in the UK for much of 2020 and into this year) I didn’t mind time going a little quickly, but I’d like it to stop now. It’s making me feel I should be more productive, or creative, or active, or something-ive. I could swear it was Christmas just the other day, and I’m finding it seriously hard to believe that it’s over four months since I arrived back in NZ. Four months.
I don’t understand where it’s gone, and I feel vaguely … guilty about it?
As if I’ve wasted it. Squandered it, as if the simple act of existing and living and negotiating a world that has a familiar outline but unfamiliar details just isn’t enough. Because that time’s gone, and what did I do with it? Where’s my pandemic masterpiece? What can I show for it, where’s my proof of my pandemic worth? I need to prove that I made The Best Of Things! (TM)
Do you know that feeling? I think a lot of us might. I think a lot of us feel that while the pandemic stretches on and on, and other things in our worlds crack and crumble, still we should have done more. That we should be doing more right now. We should have learned a new skill, or mastered an old one, or repainted the house, or taken to growing our own veg, or written more books (ha). That all this time has been lost and we have nothing we can point to and say, look at me being a productive member of society.
And, look. I can’t pretend, even for a moment, that I’ve got any wisdom to impart on this. I’m as bewildered and confused as you are. More so, probably. But I do know one thing.
We’re all being too hard on ourselves.
Our world has changed. It has changed drastically. Everything is different. Everything is unfamiliar. We don’t know if it’ll ever look like it did before. We are unsettled. The ground beneath us has shifted. Our certainties don’t feel so certain anymore.
And we have weathered it. We’re still weathering it. We’re getting through as best we can. We’re trying to be calm. We’re trying to be kind. We’re trying to see the light where we can, and accepting the dark when we can’t. We’re doing this.
And that, lovely people, is amazing. It’s huge and monumental and worthy of celebration.
So repeat after me:
I’m being too hard on myself.
I’m doing an awesome job just surviving.
Everything else can wait.
Everything. Else. Can. Wait.
And now go and grab some cake, because even if all else is uncertain, cake is not. Cake is here for us. Then we shall talk about books. Because they’re here for us too. And both these things matter.
Just like you.
Ah – sorry about the wind. I knew it was windy, but didn’t realise it was windy enough to give me the audio quality of a news reporter in a wind tunnel who’s forgotten to put that woolly thing on the mic. Hopefully you can still hear it!
Flying Under Bridges, Sandy Toksvig. Look, I was always going to buy this. It’s Sandy Toksvig. And while I approached it with some caution, as I have very few celebrities I actually like, and I didn’t want my illusions shattered, I’m happy to report that it’s just the sort of book you imagine Sandy Toksvig would write. It’s warm and funny and thoughtful and a little heartbreaking, and I will be buying more of her books. A large plate of scones with cream and jam, and a nice warm pot of tea, preferably to share with a friend.
“I don’t seem to have been a useful age since I was eight and finally old enough to have my own bicycle. After that it seems to have been pretty much downhill.”
Sealfinger, Heide Goody & Iain Grant. A crime romp very much in the style of Carl Hiaasen, complete with not-very-bright criminals suffering dire physical consequences from their doings. In Skegness rather than Florida, though. Not a whodunnit, as we follow both the protagonist in her role as detective as well as the criminals as everything winds up to a fairly off the wall conclusion. A good easy read, and I’ll pick up more in the series. A large cuppa and a couple of digestives.
“Northern Ireland, Kashmir, the Middle East … Cesar probably believed all could be solved with a catering-sized box of PG Tips and an inexhaustible supply of digestives.”
Demonic Indemnity, Craig McLay. This had an intriguing set-up – supernatural entities are an accepted part of society (some more accepted than others), and the protagonist, Tim, has just been recruited into a secretive branch of his insurance agency. He’s the only human in the department, where they deal with the more dangerous claims – possession, zombification, fun things like that. Of course, things get weird, corruption is uncovered, and it’s up to Tim to deal with it. The writing was decent, and the story moved along well enough, but I never really connected with Tim. I did finish it, though, and would likely pick up another by the same author. A half of Hellfire Ale to be going on with.
“Humans were not considered to be good at messy, at least not by the wider paranormal community, who considered them weak, easily scared and far too vulnerable to even the mildest threats, like fairies and slow-moving zombies.”
Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch. (Also known as Midnight Riot in the States). This is a re-read for me, because all the ebooks were on sale the other week and somehow my finger slipped on the Buy it now button. Seven times. Ahem. Anyhow, it’s been that long since I first read Rivers of London (and the next two or three books in the series – can’t remember), that I needed to revisit them before continuing, anyway. And I thoroughly recommend jumping into this world if you haven’t already. It’s funny, full of action, and packed with a magical London that has a character all of its own. A large cuppa and one of Molly’s full English breakfasts. Don’t think she does veggie options, though…
“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the “London once-over” – a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport – like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.”
Now, over to you, lovely people – how are you doing out there? Any books that have helped you through? What would you recommend to me over a cuppa? Let me know below!
And until next time – keep looking after yourselves, lovely people. You’ve got this.