November 30th, 2020
November in ReviewNovember Main events Reentered Lockdown - pretty much nothing has happened Cooked a good few meals The days blur together Artistic projects? What a strange and uneventful month it has been. At the very beginning of November the UK entered into a second ‘lockdown’ with shops and pubs closing, and indoor and outdoor household mixing banned. Luckily it has been permitted for two people from separate households to meet up for exercise, as Lucy and I have, strolling through Bishop’s Park every weekend with a sandwich. This lockdown has been much freer than the last, and really not much has changed if you keep a simple life. The ‘R’ rate has fallen below 1 for the first time since the beginning of September, and, apart from in Sheppey, things seem to be getting better. I fear a Christmas spike and a lack of forethought afterwards, but we’ll see. As might be expected, my calendar app is completely empty, save ‘Death of England’ which Lucy and I were supposed to go to on Thursday, and didn’t of course, though it is available to watch online so I might do that. I have completely lost interest in the performing arts over the last month or so. I don’t check the jobs coming up on Spotlight, and am only now rethinking about applying for drama schools. I do, of course, plan to rejoin the thespian world, but I am quite happy to let it lie for a while, maintain the vocal and physical exercises I try to keep up, and continue to ingest screen acting in the forms of Olivia Coleman and Anya Taylor Jordan. My eventual return to the practice of acting will no doubt coincide with another spurt of inspiration to apply to agents, or when my hair grows out a little. Tomorrow I will shave my top lip and record the impressions video I’ve been planning for a good month or so now. I’m thinking either the clear wall in the kitchen, or Dan’s room will be best. Could be fun to have my paintings up in the background. Lucy and I are getting on marvellously well, with our weekly strolls. We have found ourselves in a good rhythm which is a relief given the potential for disaster lockdown could have caused. I very much look forward to sitting on a bench, watching the river and people go by, doing a crossword and eating a sandwich in the chilly winter sun. Speaking of which, winter is setting hard upon us. It is now not merely chilly but cold at night, and gloves have become a bit of a must if you don’t want freezing fingers when going out and, dare I say, about. Writing has gone relatively well this month, with a lot of pieces started, if only about half of them finished. Today is a Monday, which seems as good a day as any to get stuck back into it. Some longer stories to finish (The Kiss, The Price of Barley), and some more ideas-based things to go back to from previous months (Taskmaster? What am I doing there?). It’s odd sometimes to read back over stories from September that I only finished months later, but who will ever know… My website is up and running, with the Writing section now available for clicking and perusing. I’ve just submitted to STOA, which, if my piece is accepted, will most likely advertise my www, the idea of which is quite exciting. If it’s not accepted, then I’ll probably start doing some social media work anyway (which I should do). An advent of stories could be fun? It is CHRISTMAS soon after all… Last night Ollie lamented the lack of a diary from the first national lockdown, in which we went through many ‘stages’ of isolation, perhaps there’s something philosophical to be drawn from it all. Given the lack of content to describe from this month, here are The Stages of Lockdown One, as I remember them, though Ollie and Lucy would likely have a more accurate account. Gardening - Our relationship with nature took a strange turn. Previous to lockdown we had very much taken our locale for granted, and took great advantage of it when we were forced to inhabit it. Partly, the golf course. Also, the Heath Extension. Mostly, the garden. The first month we were in together was cold, being the end of winter, beginning of summer, and the outdoors rarely appealed, but after those initial chilly weeks we ventured out with great enthusiasm. In fact, we watched the seasons change from our North London haven, with our wonderful garden as testament to nature’s great and terrifying course. In the Spring we gardened, which mostly extended to WEEDING, and trimming back hedges and bushes, but that in itself was a large enough task. Interior gardening escalated to the point of Ollie and Charlie each having over twenty plants each, and the house generally going green in the form of larger plants from BandQ, though that was later. DIY - Ollie made a desk, rather impressively, taking wood from the garage and spending days on end sanding and finishing to create a platform on which to DJ. Meanwhile I constructed the extra parts for the extensions of Settlers of Catan, a board game we played an exceptional amount of. This mostly consisted of sawing out several wooden hexagons and edge pieces, which Lucy then painted to resemble the terrain tiles of the original game. Between wooden crafting and 3D printing we managed to build nearly three full expansion sets, some bits of which we still haven’t played to this day. Catan - Board games in general were popular throughout the period, along with chess and cribbage, but Catan really stole the show, especially for Ollie, Lucy, and I, with Lucy and I often playing 1v1 games, sitting on the living room floor or at the kitchen table. We played so much Catan, like an obscene amount Cooking - Chilli, Mac ’n’ Cheese, some staples really started to shine through. Taramasalata on pittas, twelve Yorkshire puddings in a bowl of gravy. Stacks of hummus and crisp sandwiches while playing Minecraft.
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