Oct 03

Back when I was young, a long, long time ago, you used to see Christians on street corners holding signs reading, “The end is nigh.” It meant, I believe, that you had better repent soon, because you were going to die, and to get into Heaven you needed to believe in God. I’m not sure whether they thought you personally were near death, or whether it applied to everyone.

When you think about it, that’s a lot summed up right there in only a few words. So instead of saying, “The end is in sight,” or, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” that expression has a negative connotation I think. Which I guess, is why I thought of it in the first place.

Because the UK government last week announced they are expecting this thing to go on for another six months. So even if we are on the downside and more than halfway through, it’s a sobering thought that there’s more or less the same again to go.

In the Presidential debate on Tuesday, Trump said they will be able to vaccinate 200,000 people a day. But even if that’s true, and even if it’s available by, say, December 1, that’s five days to hit one million people, 500 days to hit 100 million, and 1,500 days to inoculate the whole USA. Five years. FIVE YEARS!

It’s a sobering thought. For now, stay healthy. And stay positive.

Sep 02

It feels like it, right? Hands up if you thought we would still be here almost six months later.

It’s never ending it seems over here in the USA anyway, though there seems to be more movement back home in the UK. Just when you think there are signs of things improving, it reverts back again. At least, that’s my impression.

I guess it’s a glass half-full, half-empty kind of thing. For instance, if you are looking for signs of hope, Chelsea played a game in front of fans last week. Kids are back at school in the UK, and in parts of the States I guess, and the downward trend in Louisiana continues, at least as far as hospitalizations go.

On the other hand, bars aren’t open, shops are still shut, the streets are still empty. There are strict limits on gatherings, and such. I still can’t work.

I had no idea that life would be like this six months after we became aware of the virus. What can you do? Here’s hoping the end is in sight, right?

Until next time, stay healthy.

Aug 01

It’s FA Cup final day. And the strangest one in my lifetime.

When I was growing up, the FA Cup final was probably the highlight of the whole football / soccer year. Everyone watched it, no matter which two teams were competing in it. That has diluted over the decades.

These days, I may not even watch it if Chelsea are not in it. There is so much football on TV these days, it’s not like how it was in the 70s and 80s in the UK, when only a handful of games were shown live. There are more than that on our screens every week nowadays.

But my team is taking part today, for the second time in three years. We used to go decades between appearances.

So even though there will be no fans at a stadium that holds something like 80,000 spectators, I’m about to go in, settle down, and watch the showpiece. I’ll still be cheering on the Blues. Even in these strange times.

Jul 01

A change this month. For a while now – it seems like forever, but it is 15 weeks – Corona-virus has been dominating everything. So I will ignore that particular hulking elephant in the room, and take a wee jog down Memory Lane.

The title of this entry comes from a song by Marillion, an English progressive rock band who were big in the UK in the mid-eighties. I was a big fan, and whenever I hear or think of those words, it always reminds me of the song, and the title of their debut album, Script for a Jester’s Tear.

In keeping with many others around the world I’m sure, I’ve been rooting through boxes in the attic and revisiting my past during lock-down. It’s been an enjoyable trip, looking at old diaries, coming across old records, finding old keepsakes and mementos. This morning I was thinking of Marillion because I was wearing their t-shirt in an old photo from 1985.

I went to see Don Henley in the early nineties, and he played a couple of Eagles songs. A few years later of course he rejoined the reformed band, but that night he said, “Memory Lane is a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Indeed sire, indeed.

Jun 03

I’ve finished the first draft of my third book.

It’s 175,000 words. That would translate to something like 575 pages, which is obviously way too long. Indeed, that’s twice as long as my first book, and more than three times the length of my second.

But getting everything down on paper – or in cyberspace as it is these days – is the hardest bit. Putting your arse on a chair in front of your computer for hours a day, for days on end… that’s the most difficult thing.

Just “vomit it all out” as one of my writing students said in class a few years back. Once we have a framework, a start, something to work with, a rough guide, then honing and chipping away at it (or hacking away as will be the case with me), you can do that. I can’t do anything if it’s in my head.

So I am happy I’ve got the first bit over and done with. It has taken me the guts of five months, and that was with the lock-down. Without coronavirus it would have taken years I’m sure.

Now I’m going to take a break from it. It’s only the third book I’ve written in the last 13 years or so, therefore it’s right to take a breather. I need space to analyse what I’ve written, to mull it over and think about it. I will get back to it over the summer I’m sure.

My aim is to chop it in half, and hopefully have a completed book – maybe the fourth draft – by the end of the year. Hope springs eternal, right?

Anyway, I’m off to celebrate. Take care, be safe, and stay healthy.

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