I loved writing as a child, especially speculative short stories. Life intervened - careers in advertising and teaching, a large brood of young sons, lots of travel, education and life across the world.
Then we found ourselves unexpectedly moving to a small village in the Somerset Levels of south-west England. The long-buried urge to write became insistent in such an inspirational place.
Since then, we’ve returned to our beloved Malvern Hills, where the muddy wandering in pursuit of pubs and tea shops continues unabated.
My writing ranges from travel blogging (see peteandjacmotorbikingineurope.wordpress.com) to flash fiction and other short stories of various genres and lengths. And now I’ve written my first SF novel Entangled, which I'm looking to get published. I'm currently writing a longer historical novel, loosely based on true events in third century Roman Britain. So now when I disappear at regular intervals to explore museums and trudge in muddy fields, I tell my husband it's all in the cause of research.
Imagine you’re a young girl aged eleven, Ginnie Jones by name. It’s 1911 in the Staffordshire Potteries. Your father works hard in Chamberlain’s pottery, but life is okay. You live in a tiny terraced house with your parents and your big sister Mabel. And today is your birthday. Even better, though you can’t read, you’re going to be awarded a book prize at Sunday School.
We were still adjusting to life with social distancing when I got the dreaded text from the NHS. It seems I am one of the UK’s 1.5 million Rapunzels, “at risk of severe illness” and to be locked away in a tower for twelve weeks. Or until Coronavirus goes away. Whatever.
On Friday this week, schools and colleges shut in the UK. This was a great relief to our pregnant teacher daughter-in-law, who had been agonising about going to work in her secondary school ever since the Chief Medical Officer indicated that pregnant women are at increased risk.
Of all the noteworthy events in my life caused by the Virus so far, one of the hardest to bear has been the sudden closure of our theatre. Sounds petty compared to losing lives, but let me explain. Regular readers will know that we live in the Malvern Hills, a short walk from the pretty Victorian spa resort of Great Malvern. We’re blessed with an unusually large theatre and cinema complex for a small town, attracting audiences from all over the region.
So where did it start for us, life in the time of Coronavirus? I suppose it was partway through our recent trip to visit one of our sons and his wife in New Zealand. Initially we were just pleased to find no Chinese tourists there when we arrived in Christchurch on 14 February. New Zealand was fabulous, and continued to be fabulous, relatively empty of too many other tourists and virus-free.