Covid, dogs and 2022 plans

Someone pointed out somewhat petulantly the other day that I hadn’t updated my blog for a year. I was astonished that anyone even noticed 😉 but it did remind me that frankly it is a bit embarrassing that a writer couldn’t even write her own blog posts. So.

Well, last year was for me as it was for many others: a mixture of working and trying to home school my children (again), masking, vaccinating (hurrah for science!) and vaguely hoping that Things Were Going To Get Better. In a spirit of optimism, my kids and I took on two 11-month Havanese puppies from a family who couldn’t manage them any more. They were DARLING:

As the Law of Sod dictates, barely a week after we’d brought the pups home (and discovered just how much they could bark), my children and I all went down with covid. They recovered within a few days. I didn’t. In fact, I was so poorly that I could barely lift myself off the sofa. The children went to stay with their dad, and the dogs went to stay with my parents. I was incapable for about two weeks, and then exhausted and breathless and still coughing for several more weeks. It’s the illest I’ve ever been. No hospitalisation required but goodness, it was awful. I had to cancel everything, including school visits booked for 3 months ahead, because I wasn’t getting better and I couldn’t guarantee I’d be well enough to go. Even three months on from my positive test, I couldn’t drive more than 45 mins without being concerned about safety due to fatigue.

Anyway, it’s now over 4 months and I am finally better (although who knows what damage covid may have done that will be lurking for me to discover in the future?). In the meantime, I had to re-home one of the dogs (the black-and-white one). She was terribly reactive and required special training separate from the white one which I just couldn’t provide. She is now happily settled in her new home and some kind of normality has returned to my own home! One dog is definitely easier to start with 😉

So what about my writing, you might well ask? Um, well, yes. There has been very little. I did a commission for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, rewriting their short story books for children about road safety and the like. I’ve also done some work for an educational publisher, writing extreeeemely short stories (like, 20-40 words long!) for an overseas project. Incredibly difficult to do but the length of the pieces meant I could do it in bits and pieces here and there.

Last year I made great strides with an adult novel. I first had the idea years ago, and have been very slow with it since, but over the summer and autumn (before everything went wrong) I added a steady word count and the book is about 2/3rds written now. I would really, really like to get back to it! Perhaps in the coming weeks it will finally be possible…

I have done some paintings too since I last wrote. So I think I’ll sign off with these: I work in acrylics on canvas and I love the whole process (though I don’t always love the final result!).


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