Coming out of my cage

I have been reluctant to post my blogs over the last few months of lockdown and its aftermath here in Lewes, UK. I didn’t feel I had much to add to the millions of comments about the pandemic over the last eighteen months as I am convinced that no one would be interested in what it was like to be a privileged, white, no-longer young, middle class European male during the.time when so many people suffered so much more than I have locked-in here in my two-hundred year old terraced house with lots of narrow stairs in a beautiful historic town in south-east England.

And anyway, not much really changed for a writer like me. Like most of my kind, I don’t really go out much anyway and I mostly work alone in a small room with a computer and some books. So there aren’t many dramas here. OK, I shaved off my beard for a bit and then regrew it.

no beard

I tended my small urban garden and watched the seasons change out there in my small piece of England.

I was able to not just carry on keeping fit with my personal trainer Gyles Abbott at Soulfit Studios https://www.wearesoulfit.com/about-soulfit but I have got fitter than I have been for years.

Gyles Abbott

I actually took on extra fitness training too with Soulfit’s Kieran Brooks, an enthusiastic and dynamic former baller-dancer, who is now giving me regular one-to-one classical ballet lessons. It began as a bit of a ‘could-I-dare-I’ challenge to myself and it has turned out to be more than a short-term experiment. I’m loving finding something so different and so inspirational at a time in my life when I’d thought I already knew all of my abilities and limitations.

Kieran Brooks

I have also been carrying on with learning Italian and, after reaching a 687 day streak with the online languages app Duolingo have taken on a new online teacher, an excellent Sicilian, based in Venice, called Elio Ministeri – he is taking me through my paces and picking up on my many errors.

Elio Ministeri

And, as I did before the pandemic, I’ve carried on writing poetry and fiction – some publication dates have slipped because of lockdown, but, even with the pandemic, I had some more Fibonacci poetry published in the online journal The Fib Review http://www.musepiepress.com/fibreview/index.html

One of the poems even commemorated my beard – the other one was about life, age and death. I suppose that was inevitable after the passing of my mother in April at the grand age of 106. I locked down a bit after her death, not just in mourning for an extraordinary woman, but also for an end to an era in my life and the life of my family and, inevitably, all the duties that fell to me in sorting out her estate. I will honour her memory and her long interesting life in a later blog, I hope.

Here in the UK, we are seeing the ending of the pandemic restrictions, and the beginnings of hope for the future. I share that hope and I am beginning to celebrate the feeling of coming out of my cage. I haven’t seen many of you for a long time now, but lets get back together soon and, I promise, I shall come back to this website which has been masterfully restored and improved by an amazingly patient man called Matt Artley.

So much remains the same and much has changed during this difficult time. The season is changing again too as we move towards September so, for today, I will leave you with signs of fruition – the apples and tomatoes are ripening with high summer flowers outside by my dustbins. See you all soon.

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