Lockdown restrictions are lifting in a series of confusing ways across England, differently in Scotland (I really want to see my dad, I'm very homesick for Shetland, I'm hoping that it'll be possible to visit him before too long, but have no idea when it'll be deemed safe to do so) but even as things lift, what's obvious are the way things have changed.
The thing I'm currently finding hardest to deal with is he change in atmosphere around the city. The park which was a solace for most of the last 3 months isn't any longer. There's a group of up to 20, mostly middle aged men, who have taken over both sides of the path at the narrowest point in the park which is also the middle of it. They drink steadily throughout the day and though it would be unfair to say they're threatening, they are intimidating. Walking through them feels like an intrusion. Their music drowns out the birdsong, and whatever is rustling around in the bushes these days is larger than a rat. (They've been rained out by the storm, and it sounds like a few of them are having an argument under the archway that leads to the garages of this flat)
The city itself is busy again but people look like they're much more on edge - some carefully keeping 2 meters distance, others brushing past like you're invisible and ignoring the carefully laid out one way systems. Queues to get into the newly reopened shops are... long, I haven't really had this with the corner shop style supermarkets in town and after months of nearly empty streets it's proving hard to get used to. Some public toilets are open, but even between them and the deluges of rain we've had in the last couple of weeks there's still an overwhelming smell of urine in a lot of the alleyways too.
Now that I can go out I've never wanted to stay in more.
That edginess is even more obvious online, it's probably cowardly to stay quiet on some topics but equally now doesn't seem like a good time to try and speak out on sensitive subjects when you can't do it face to face. To try and keep myself from falling down rabbit holes on twitter I spent most of the last few days binge reading my way through Sarah J Maas 'Court of Thorns and Roses' series. It sounded promising, though I hadn't realised they're aimed at young adults.
I don't really have much to say about them - there are interesting ideas which could have been better
handled, the quality dips as the books go on, but it's possible the rest of the series might get better (I think there are more books planned). I wanted something fairly mindless that I could bury myself in, and I managed to do that, but I was also hoping I'd find another Naomi Novak (I'm thinking of Uprooted and Spinning Silver) or Katherine Arden, and didn't. They were neither good or bad enough to say much more about here.
The relative break from everything did help me step back from all the crap though, and I do feel more able to deal with everything, and that's a better place to be in than I was last week. Now I just need the storms to blow over.
I don't intend to go anywhere for the forseeable future, I don't want to take the risk.ReplyDelete
Shame about the books, I intended to read all of my Discworld novels in order; I made a good start but found that I don't have a copy of Pyramids (book 6) since I had borrowed that from the Library. So I have stalled on that. A couple of re-reads of Richmal Crompton (not William books) and a chance discovery of an unread A. Trollope on my Kindle has kept me going, but more slowly than usual.
They all sound like decent choices. If I still had my Discworld books they would have been perfect, though honestly I chose the Maas series looking for something throw away and a bit trashy to get lost in - if the charity shops were open it would probably have been a pile of old Mills and Boon. Now I'm ready to tackle my proper tbr pile again.Delete
I think you're right to stay put until you feel happy about going out. Things are still settling into new patterns right now and the strangeness of it all is as unsettling as any risk of virus. It just feels like a lot of people are really tightly wound and emotional - especially on twitter, so it was good to stay away from that for a few days!
I have not heard of the Maas series, I shall investigate. It is a shame that we cannot visit charity shops, perhaps we should look at Oxfam online if we get desperate?ReplyDelete
I tend to follow happy people on Twitter but seldom tweet myself. I have been watching Chris Packham and his step-daughter Megan on their YouTube channel - highly recommended if you like wildlife.
I do, and that sounds great. I couldn't really recommend Maas' books - by the end I was just reading to see how bad they got (quite bad). She started off writing fan fiction and there's still a lot of that about what she's doing now.Delete
Would Georgette Heyer help? That's my choice when escapism is requiredReplyDelete
Heyer always helps, I had a big binge on her books at the start of lockdown and might do it all over again.Delete
I feel the same way about going out. The cottagers have returned, blowing past us, unmasked, as if, because they are no longer in the city, they don't have to worry about COVID-19. They triple the population of this village and things definitely are much more crowded.ReplyDelete
I've wanted for the past three months to find that transporting book, too, but haven't yet. Must keep looking. Or maybe reread the Cazalet Chronicles? Hmm, that's a thought.
That sounds like an excellent plan. And sympathy for the cottagers as well - that's tougher than a basically harmless group of annoying beer drinkers. I live on the edge of a student area and they won't be back this academic year so around home it's still reasonably quiet. I really notice now the people who are considerate of others space and those who aren't, and resent those who aren't even more. Particular contempt aimed at those who don't bother to check which is the entrance or exit to a shop, or follow one way arrows on floors - we've had months to understand this and it shouldn't be so hard. And I feel a lot better for getting that out!Delete
I just finished book 4 of the Cazalet chronicles. What a satisfying read! (This is probably the fourth time I am reading them.) On to "All Change"!Delete
I really need to read these!Delete
I still only go out for essential shopping and the post office, and the occasional walk. Evenings, the lovely local park on my doorstep is now filled with yobs who party, and leave all their rubbish including tons of empty nox cylinders - its shameful and very depressing - but this is happening all over whilst pubs aren't open I gather.ReplyDelete
Seems to be. I sort of understand the need to cut loose a bit, but the selfishness really gets to me. It does make you wonder about how some people are bought up, and how they view their own importance - whilst others are incredibly community minded. Leicester is having a covid spike at the moment which is making me feel better about staying in, but when it gets hot again next week it's going to be a nightmare.Delete