It suddenly struck me my Aspects series was complete, and I had nothing written for this week. Should I discuss the meaning of life? Rattle on trying to flog you my books? No, let’s just have a whinge. 😀
It’s been a funny few weeks/months. It should have been an exciting time with the release of my latest paperback. ‘Listen to Love.’
Unbelievable to think the eBook version was released in time for the Valentine’s day market, which seems a million years ago. How things have changed in those few short months. The virus hit, and the world as we knew it turned quicker than the pages of a dystopian novel.
Toilet rolls became the new gold standard, and the best and the worst of humanity showed their true colours. It reminded of a book I read for my 11+ (hint, if you understand that, you’ll know I’m like a good cheese -mature.) It was called ‘The Machine Stops.’ I downloaded the book and have started re-reading it to see if it was as I remembered from 50 odd years ago.
My other website www.quirkyunicornbooks.wordpress.com was originally intended as a showcase for my own books, but seems to have morphed into a blog sharing the works of other authors. The writing community are generally supportive of each other, and I’ve got to ‘know,’ many of them through social media.
It’s quite an eye opener how, without actually meeting someone in person, you can immediately feel you’d like them as a friend. There are also occasions you have to leave time after reading a comment from a stranger, as it could result in you being banned for profanity.
A book blogger, (who I’ve never met but instinctively know is a lovely, caring lady) has been posting updates on her elderly mother who suffered from dementia and was in a nursing home. There are so many horror tales about care homes that it was reassuring to know this one was concerned for their residents, and put care before profit. When she posted that her mother had suffered a heart attack and died peacefully, I actually cried. How weird is that? I only knew them through social media but it was as if she was a favourite aunt.
With the UK lockdown, my life in some ways hasn’t changed, as existing mobility problems have meant it’s quite normal for me not to be out in the big, wide world. Even so, I have had to adapt. Rather than spending ten or fifteen minutes on uploading my usual shopping order, it has taken hours or even days to book a slot, only to discover most of the items ordered are not available. There is less time to concentrate on writing, and the day seems to revolve around food.
Used to tranquillity during the normal 9-5 working hours, the virus has meant TVs constantly blaring, and caged lions, bored at being confined, have made concentration difficult. It reminded me of being in hospital, when the highlight of the day became meal times or visiting hours, medical staff disturbed you when you wanted to sleep, and the long, quiet hours before dawn indicated the start of another groundhog day. It seemed that when a dragon of a Matron was in charge, hospitals were spotless, things were organised and the staff were there to make you better.
A recent hospital appointment was a repetition of previous ones, with no-one seeming to know what was going on, staff walking around like zombies, and consultants oblivious to patients as they stared into their computer screens. It wouldn’t be so bad if technology was used as it was intended, but there are still the thick old-fashioned paper files, which would take a month to read and digest, and notes of important discoveries or events are never updated. Despite the ability to be instantly transferred between various factions, left hands and right hands fail to communicate.
There are a couple of things I’d love to do:
- As an older, walking stick dependent female, it would be fun to swap places with a nubile, twenty-something male athlete, and see if the consultant actually looked up from his computer long enough to notice the difference. 😈
- Organise the NHS so staff don’t spend hours on their feet roaming around looking for people who have been sent elsewhere, only to discover that department has moved, and nobody thought to tell them.
- Revamp the system so it’s less about ticking boxes, meeting targets, and pass the parcel to make it someone else’s problem, and more about customer service.
- Bring back the good old prod and poke GPs who made home visits, and seemed to be more efficient than computer geeks who couldn’t tell the difference between being pregnant and a broken leg, without checking with Google first.
Apologies to all the hard-working medical staff who must be as frustrated at the inefficiencies as their patients, but there are so many simple and common-sense things which would improve everyone’s day at practically zero cost.
I’ve missed my monthly outings with friends when we would eat, drink, and put the world to rights, but it has encouraged me to learn how to use Zoom and other apps to keep in touch. (See how hip and with-it I’ve become using modern techno-speek.) 😀
The outside world is gradually returning to what could be considered normal, but I can see a rocky road ahead, with different sides interpreting confusing news in their own way. How much is ‘It’s on Facebook so it must be true,’ how much scaremongering, or driven by economics? It made me reflect on my parent’s war years, queuing for hours to put some food on the table, propaganda on the radio to keep up spirits, and the day to day trials and tribulations of putting one foot in front of the other, just to exist. They survived, and we are still here to tell the tale.
Who would be brave enough to travel in a time machine fifty years into the future to see how it all turned out? Dystopian is a common theme, but authors also use their imagination to transport you into a happier, fantasy world. If you are still reading, you are likely to be someone for whom books are important, so my waffling could be considered book-related.
Thanks for listening, and see you on the other side.
© Voinks July 2020