I have an anniversary of sorts on 28th February, which is Sunday. On that date last year (a Friday) I spent the day in London, at the National Archive, doing a final reference check for the PhD. It was a good day, I enjoyed myself, found all the files I needed, looked around the With Love exhibition - love letters from the archives. (It's now on line and highly recommended, poignant and beautifully presented.) I travelled home on a packed train. It seems like a lifetime ago. Reports of a new virus were beginning to sound disturbing. Roll on a couple of weeks and my planned next trip to London to see a friend, once I was free of academia, had to be cancelled. And that was that.
Who could have imagined?
One year later and the idea of travelling on a train or a bus gives me shivers. I'm out of practice. Going to the supermarket is scary enough. Like everyone, I'm waiting for the escape route of a vaccination, but even then I think it's going to be quite a while before I'm comfortable in crowded places or transport. I miss libraries, archives, exhibitions, cinema, theatres but I'll need to be very sure of myself before I venture into normality again. The social skills have gone up in smoke.
Lockdown does have a few compensations, Zoom being one of them. Regular on-line meetings with writer friends means that get togethers can encompass attendees from all over the country or even the globe. I'm also enjoying a lot of on-line lectures and courses that either would not have been offered that way, or I would not have thought about joining. I have one on painting coming up in March, but at the moment I'm working through sessions from the International Thriller Writers, based in the USA. It gave me a small buzz, when passing the book display in Asda, to see books from Karin Slaughter and David Baldacci, with whom I had a masterclass on Monday. Okay - it was a recorded panel session and they didn't know I existed, let alone that I was there, but it was very good and I got that little buzz. Reflected glory. I have been to that conference in New York and hope one day to go again, when I will get the chance to be in the room with those big names. You take what you can get when you're confined to the house. Sadly you can't currently buy the books in the supermarket, as they are classed as non-essential items.
Other than the scary supermarket and the occasional delivery, the big excitement of the week is sorting the re-cycling!
I'm really hoping that the next anniversary on 28 February 2022 will be very different, for all of us.