July Newsletter

Reflections of a Writer

July – the month we were set free from our homes

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On 4th July – our release date – I floated dreamily through Bury St Edmunds going into shops, socially distancing myself from other libertarians. Many people smiled at me and I smiled back. We had a shared understanding of what we were feeling. Free.

Abbeygate at Bury St Edmunds

It was legal to go shopping other than for food. We were able to go to a café for the first time in months and dear reader, probably the most significant change for me, the toilets were open!

I had a panini and a coffee (in a paper bag and paper cup which were disposed of before I left) at Costa on Abbeygate. As soon as I left the table, it was sprayed with bleach and cleaned for the next customer.

There were reminders of Covid every step of your way, but still you could appreciate the simple pleasures in life. I bought a rustic plant pot in Quest, a book in Waterstones and something for dinner in M&S.

There was caution everywhere but this just provided reassurance rather than alarm. Numbers were restricted in shops and hand sanitiser was everywhere together with reminder signs every step of your way. But still we were free.

Back in the Office

Back at home in my office I was busy working with my editor, Catriona Robb. The process was quite intense and hard work but very rewarding. The manuscript went to-and-fro between us and the dialogue was all in the margin of the script. There was a real sense of achievement as my story, The Long Marriage, became as good as it could be.

I also had a Zoom session with the lovely Ute Wieczorek-King and Jean Wolfe who helped me to develop a plethora of ideas for the launch of my novel in August. One of the things we talked about was sharing the themes of the novel: early retirement vs carry on working; divorce in later life and how generally women cope better with change at this time.  

Hair cut!

Definitely another highlight for me was having my hair cut. Just before lock down I had the misfortune of having a dodgy cut making me look like a throw-back to the nineties and trying to look like Princess Di! My post lock down hair cut was a joy with my preferred hairdresser coming to my home. So much better.

The world began to open up. We started to see family and friends face to face in the garden and relied less on Zoom which was very refreshing. I could go to the dentist; I could see my physio. The lengths they have to go to, to ensure everyone is safe, must be exhausting to carry out. All I could see of the dentist was her eyes behind a vizor.

We still can’t hug or even touch but just this little bit of normal has been much appreciated by me.  

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