GUEST POST number 1

Hello, and welcome to the first (of many) guest posts. Today’s writer goes by the mysterious name of “The Military Gentleman’s Wife”. This is her first published story. It is a vignette entitled,

Observations from My Window

Photo by Sylvia Zhou on Unsplash

I didn’t notice him at first, all 22 stones (at least), sat on my wall at the front of my house. I was absorbed on finishing the bespoke, reversible masks I was sewing for my daughter. I was totally oblivious. I had seen him before many times since lock-down, walking up and down our street, usually with a can of beer in his hand. He always wore a dark green shabby coat, baggy grey trousers, a red t-shirt with a slogan on it and dark red jelly bean sandals. He was somewhere between 50-70 years old, with long white hair, a beard, and his face was much tanned, like someone who spent a lot of time outside. Perhaps he was homeless; he had that defeated look about him. I was annoyed that he was sat there. What if the wall collapsed under his weight? Was I liable to pay compensation if he hurt himself, besides paying for the repairs to the wall? 

The man looked up and down the street as if expecting someone. Lots of people passed the time of day with him as they walked by. I continued sewing. What if my daughter didn’t like the beautiful Japanese designs on the face-masks? I thought that they were gorgeous.  

The man crushed his empty beer can and put it into the bag that he was carrying. He stood up slowly, wearily, then carried on walking down the street. I breathed out. If he sits there again, I will send my husband out to do some gardening. They’ll chat and I’ll find out all about him. 

I must learn not to over-react to things. After all it’s just a wall. The face masks? My daughter loved them.  

Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

The Museum of Ordinary People

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

I don’t know about you, but I’ve started deleting – without reading – the endless stream of emails about you-know-what. Unpresidented times indeed (not a typo). New York. My most frequent holiday destination. I will miss you.

My nephew simply posted the following word to his instagram.

INTERMISSION

Kids who thought the next six months were full of revising, exams, prom, the obligatory Leavers hoodie then travelling, and possibly University, are suddenly homeschooling themselves. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials; stand aside and make room for the Quarenteens, folks. And don’t even get me started on how long it took to convince the oldies in my life that they had to stay in, and they could not just “pop out” for a haircut or a newspaper for the next three months!

We’re all pretending we knew what furlough meant before a fortnight ago. We’ve stopped ironing our clothes. We eat more biscuits and some have taken up jogging. The local police use drones to monitor dog walkers who are driving to the countryside where they shouldn’t be. Our beloved pharmacy and toiletries store, Boots, had a virtual queue of 200,000 people last Sunday just waiting to be allowed onto the website. The postie now knocks on my door and leaves the parcel on the ground. I have The Guardian Live update on constant refresh and BBC1 at 5pm has become the place to be for the latest news from 10 Downing Street. I can see a school playing field from my house. The children may be gone, but a family of foxes and an eagle have taken up residence, along with a tiding of magpies, who enjoy jumping and hopping around chasing each other. I hope that grey squirrel made it.

I’m lucky. I was already working from home so have continued to do so in my slowed-down bubble of first world problems.  My worries and anxieties are trivial compared to most.

I’ve been keeping a daily journal for the Museum of Ordinary People (MOOP) of my thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences and observations during the virus. Along with the other participants, these diaries may provide an insight into the personal, social and cultural impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. Who knows what will happen in the future? Life is very different now to what it was a month ago and will never be the same again.

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Keep safe, and stay at home.

Nicola x

July 2020 UPDATE.

Three months from a shiny new Leuchtturm 1917 notebook to a plague journal.