Strange Days

It’s been a rather bizarre month, hasn’t it?

I know that’s a wild understatement, and that there are very many people out there struggling with awful things at this time, so I don’t in any way mean to make light of the situation in which we find ourselves.

I’m an anxious person, and also someone who picks up the emotion of those around me, so I’m finding it difficult to write at the moment. My husband and I are both self-employed, too – while we’re okay for now, it’s on my mind. I have a first draft of one book completed, plus a fully plotted second book, and a third book which is about half-written. They’re all waiting for me, and I can hear them calling, but when I sit down to write claws of uncertainty grab at me, taking my focus so I have to step away again, telling them I’m sorry. I know this will pass, and the words will come again, but for now I’m trying to be kind to myself. I’ve baked bread and caught up on the ironing and tidied out a cupboard that needed to be tidied out, and maybe I’ve watched a bit too much Star Trek, but we all have to find our own way to keep going.

Anyway, enough about that.

While I do write about books and writing-related stuff, this blog has always been about positivity and in finding the silver lining in things, even when things aren’t so great. So I’m working hard to find the positives in this, the things that I’m grateful for.

I know I’m fortunate to have a comfortable home in which to isolate, and the love and support of family. Fortunate that the weather is good and, when I go out to walk the dog, people still exchange greetings (from a distance, of course). Fortunate that we’re all staying well at the moment. Fortunate to have time to address all those little tasks that hang around and never seem to get done – no excuses, now!

It’s the small joys, too. The joy of sitting outside in the sun in the morning, drinking hot tea. Of new frogspawn in the garden pond (nothing grand, just a bucket set into the ground), and the red kites that ride the updrafts, reminder that life goes on. There are bluebells coming through, blue elf-spears poking out of the earth, and the fruit trees are starting to sprout, a promise of blossom and fruit to come.

I know there are many people who are not in comfortable situations, and many other people who are doing wonderful things to help out. This is an event unprecedented on a global scale, and so, in all the fear and worry, I try to find stories about people who are doing good, like the small boy who spent his pocket money on loo roll for his elderly neighbours, or the refugee family who left food on the porch of the self-isolating family who had sponsored them. These are the bright lights against the darkness, and a reminder of who we can be, if we choose to be our best selves. I’m trying to do my bit as well, and know there are many in my local community who are keeping an eye out for others who might need help, and that’s heartening.

To be honest, I wonder whether I’ve had the virus already. As you know, I’ve been ill since the beginning of December, and was finally starting to feel good mid-February. However, at the end of the month I had a sore throat, which developed into a cough (though it seemed a continuation of the one that had plagued me for months), and left me feeling very tired. Then my breath started to go and on March 3 I woke in the night burning up and unable to breathe to the point where I had to wake up my husband. I’ve had very bad pneumonia before, but I’ve never, ever felt like that, where my chest was so full and heavy I couldn’t take a full breath or stop coughing. Eventually I fell asleep, waking drenched in sweat. The fever abated but the breathing difficulties stayed with me for a couple of weeks, only really getting better in the last few days. I also lost my sense of smell and taste – once again that’s only just returning to normal.

I suppose I’ll never know, which is fine. We are still isolating, just like everyone else. But I’m still here. I hope you all are, too.

Stay safe and well, everyone – we’ll get through this together.


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.




24 thoughts on “Strange Days

  1. Glad you’re finally feeling better. It certainly sounds like you may have had Covid-19, but as you say, most of us will never know. It’s a shame they can’t test more of us – husband and I have on and off temperatures, sore throat, aches for the last few days but once we’re over that it would be nice to know if we had it, if we can move through society knowing we now can’t hurt others, be hurt.
    And it’s good to search for silver linings. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do the same – spend time in the garden, sowing seeds for this year, watching them sprout, pruning, digging over, butterfly and bumble bee watching.
    Like you, though, not a lot of writing has been done. Hard to focus, isn’t it? Do take care, Helen. Be well.

    • Thanks, Lynn, and the same to you! I hope you and your husband are feeling better – sounds as though you might have ‘the virus’ as well. As you say, though, most of us won’t know if we have or not. Apparently they are working on a test for antibodies and we’ll be able to check at some point, so that will be good when it happens. Hope the weather is staying good where you are, and that you’re still enjoying your garden. I’m putting together a book promotion but it’s slow going as I’d rather watch tv! haha. Stay safe and well xx

      • We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, more sun than rain, which has been fabulous for the garden, a joy. As for writing, funding it very hard to concentrate on actual writing, though not feeling well hasn’t helped. Hoping I can get a routine in place, turn away from constant news feeds and actually get some writing done. Hope the book promotion goes well and let me know if I can help. All the best x

  2. That bread looks fabulous! Yes, there is always something to be thankful for, even when the world is falling apart at the seams. There is a good chance you had the virus. I´m glad you are feeling better. I managed to write a chapter of my next book today. It felt good and kept my mind off things.

  3. I had a similar cold early this year, and I’ve been wondering the same thing. Only it happened before the outbreak in China, so I have my doubts. We’re still here and doing well. Sounds like you are, too. Hope you and all your loved ones weather this storm.

    • Well, it does bear wondering about. I do think this thing has been around longer and is wider-spread than we know. That’s the trouble with an invisible enemy, I guess. Apparently the cluster in Italy came from a guy in Germany so, by the time Europe stopped flights from China, the illness was already there. And this has been around in China since November, so you never know. Hope you’re staying well, and that you and yours come through this safely x

  4. Friend, there is no such thing as watching too much Star Trek. I’ve been watching a lot of Next Gen myself. I’m almost through S6, and will be on 7 soon enough. I’m kind of sad to be almost done with it, but I have Deep Space 9 to watch next. I’m glad to hear that you’re being gentle with yourself right now, and glad to hear that you’re well. I hope that you get well soon, and that it’s not the virus. It’s hard not to be paranoid when you’re sick these days.

    • Ha ha thank you my friend! I’m almost done with season one of Next Generation and I look forward to it every evening. So glad I’ve still got six seasons to go – like you, I think I’ll be sad when it’s done. Then I might move on to the Mandalorian. I’m also feeling much better thanks, and still taking things easy. I hope you’re staying well – things sound kind of scary where you are (although I suppose they sound scary here, too) and I’ve been thinking of you. Stay safe, take care of yourself, and enjoy your virtual journey through the Star Trek Universe – it’s nice to see a vision of the future that’s so positive, isn’t it? x

  5. I am sorry about your illness, Helen. My boys and I have all been very ill with similar symptoms and I wondered the same thing. Our doctor said we can’t be tested unless we are admitted into hospital. I understand this is the case in most countries which means the figures we have are nonsense. They only relate to severe cases. Keep well and say safe.

    • Oh no, Robbie! Sounds as though you might have all had it as well – hope you’re starting to feel better. Apparently there will be a test soon for antibodies, so we can find out whether or not we’ve had it. I suppose it’s not as much of a priority at the moment. And I would agree with you about the figures – I think this virus is far more widespread than we know. Be kind to yourselves, get well and stay safe 🙂

  6. Scary times, but so glad you’re feeling better-er. 🙂
    There will be an antibody test which will tell you if you’ve had the disease, which will be a good thing when it comes time to allocate who gets the vaccine first.

    • Thank you 🙂 Agree, these are scary times. Looking forward to the antibody test as I think it’ll show both how actually widespread this horrible virus is, and also how many of us have already had it. The vaccine will be very welcome, too. Hope you and yours are safe and well x

  7. I’m glad that you all are feeling better. No matter what, just keep that spirit of gratitude and the wonder in just the little things! It will take you a long way as you already know, plus it’s infectious as well! Be Safe and God Bless!

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