It’s been a while since I wrote in this blog. Sorry about that.
It isn’t that I haven’t been writing. I have – up to 1500 words most weekdays, escaping into the world of my novel Governor’s Man: the Bronze Owl. Third century Roman Britain, the south-west to be precise, with excursions into Londinium and Rome itself. It’s a surprisingly alluring haven, despite the lack of central heating and Netflix. Actually some of the scenes do feature central heating, for which my policeman/detective Quintus Valerius is endlessly grateful given the vagaries of the British climate.
Having emerged a generation ago from the measles/plague epidemic of the 180s, my characters are not currently having to contend with pandemic, social distancing and lockdown.
My Romans are free to roam, live in and trade with the whole of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. No Brexit there. No lousy trade deals with undiscovered continents needed.
Theirs is a remarkably colour-blind society. Unless you’re a slave – of whatever colour: pale-skinned, blue-eyed Germans and Brits being particularly prevalent as slaves – diversity is very much the keynote to their successful society. One of their dynasties was African. Even if you are unfortunate enough to be a slave, and you manage to survive that often brutal experience, there is a good chance you can buy or be given your freedom. So no institutional racism in Roman society. Something our modern British society seems to have forgotten comprehensively, much to our shame and great loss.
And thanks to the Roman culture being pre-industrial, human-induced climate change is still a thing of the future.
No problems, then, beyond a few mad Emperors, corrupt officials, and bad-tempered neighbours who from time to time fancy snatching a little of that Roman luxury too.
Quite a nice place to while away the lockdown, apart from murder, fraud, rebellion, and a really resentful British ex-girlfriend. Lucky Quintus. No wonder I’ve been spending so much time with him.
It has, however, come to my attention that the rest of the world out there is beginning to move on. Mainly without me, though our esteemed PM, having been reminded that “shielded” people are still here, has promised some sort of future even for me. Yeah, I’m holding my breath too.
I noticed the moving-on bit when my darling husband had to dash across the Midlands three times this week to help his parents, who both came down dramatically with a bug that mercifully isn’t Covid-19. They are still in hospital after days on drips. The state of their house was really mediaeval, actually pre-third century; I won’t go into details, but my husband went masked, gowned, gloved and goggled better than any amount of PPE the NHS can provide. There are a few less microbes in their cleaned-up house now. But it did mean a return to internal self-isolation for us until the Covid tests came back negative.
This week our Aussie and NZ contingents moved on from lockdown quite spectacularly. Aussie niece Shika celebrated her thirtieth birthday today with a large group of up-close friends. Aussie stepmother Liz is planning a holiday trip up north in tropical Queensland. And The Blessed Jacinda is now acting godmother to a new Tiny Bean – yes, our NZ-based son and daughter-in-law are adding to the next generation, and hoping to get long-term NZ residence. Fingers crossed, even though that could mean a long wait to meet our newest grandchild.
So that was this week’s excitement. Quite enough moving-on. For now I’ll stick to Zoom courses and online LitFests, and video chats with my loyal friends and family. Until Boris changes his mind again.
Next up – the promised book review of Andrew Caldecott’s Rotherweird trilogy.