I know, I know! With a title like that, this could be a very short post indeed!
It has been an odd year, has it not? Even the weather has reflected it. I noticed my first ripe blackberries out at the end of July, a good month early. And I’m seeing the leaves on the trees changing colour and some shedding of leaves occurring now, in August, significantly earlier than normal, and almost certainly due to the lack of rainfall over the last few weeks.
Now this is where Murphy’s Law comes in and by the time you read this, I expect we will HAVE had that rainfall! One of my favourite memories is from 1976, the year of the drought, when the government appointed a Minister for Drought. Within a week, the heavens opened. It may be time to get that guy or his/her successor out of retirement if I’m wrong about Murphy’s Law striking… just a thought!
Oh and I was proved right on the above. I started preparing this post just as we were coming to the end of the heatwave. On Wednesday 19th August, as I continued writing this, the heavens opened and Lady and I spent the day getting wet. I’m not sorry. The trees and grass do need it but I am looking forward to having better luck in dodging the rain clouds next time she and I are out!
My Summer Plans
My summer plans were changed thanks to Swanwick Writers’ Summer School being cancelled though I am looking forward to going next year as my arrangements have simply been rolled over until then. Instead of going to the Waterloo Arts Festival, I made a video for them, and the event was held online.
View My Video For the Waterloo Arts Festival
Hope you enjoy the following! I learned a lot from doing this.
And if you would like to find out how my story ends, do check out the ebook in which Books and the Barbarians appears – Transforming Communities published by Bridge House Publishing.
On the plus side, Zoom has enabled me to still go to church, meet up with writer friends, take part in creative writing workshops and other events. I’ve been in contact with family via Zoom too, especially those in New Zealand. So there have been good things about the summer.
Book News – Tripping The Flash Fantastic by Allison Symes – and Professional Development
And my second flash fiction collection, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, is due out soon. I’ve seen the cover (which looks fab) and signed off the text on it so am looking forward to seeing my book for real shortly.
Professionally, this has been a good year with my first podcast appearance on Wendy H Jones’s show and my first radio appearance on Chat and Spin Radio (and I hope to go on that again soon to talk about my second book).
But there has been a sense of something missing. And I am sure many of us will have felt this. It has not felt like summer.
What did cheer me up was seeing the cricketers return to play at Hursley while taking the dog for a walk along the Monarch’s Way. I’m not a huge cricket fan but the sight of that does convey an English summer for me.
What I am keen to get back to is being able to sing in church again even if I do have to do so through a mask. I would like to see the return of live music and the unsettled feeling we all have to dissipate. I can’t think of anyone I know who has considered the last few months to be some kind of holiday. It doesn’t feel like the summer holidays now either and I suspect those of school age must feel similarly.
I’m not one to celebrate New Year as a rule. It is another date on the calendar. Christmas has much more meaning for me but 31st December 2020 might be different.
I also understand from The Chameleons they are hoping to be back on the stage next April and I really will look forward to seeing their performances again. (I have missed my “CFT works outings” with Janet here and suspect she has too!).
What Have You Missed This Summer?
What have you missed the most during this strange time?
For me, it was the ability to come and go as I choose and when I choose. I’ve heard it suggested on social media that there has been a kind of mourning for losing our old way of life. There may be some truth to that but I would like to think we’ve not lost the old way of life, we’ve misplaced it! (Has anyone looked behind the back of the sofa, do you think?!). I don’t want it all to go!
It did strike me as odd that throughout history and things like the bubonic plague, the pubs and the churches remained open. Not this time and I do hope that the damage done by the lockdown is limited in terms of unemployment, mental health, and mobility issues. Yes, I understand the reasons for the lockdown but I do feel for those who have lost work due to it etc.
Other things I missed were being able to get a haircut when I wanted one! It was such a relief to get back to the hairdressers when those restrictions were eased.
What Would You Like To See For Next Summer?
What would you like to see for next summer?
I’d like to see that Covid has either been “defeated” or there is an effective vaccine which can deal with the worst symptoms. I’d like to see businesses recover, especially tourism, hospitality, the creative arts, and aerospace, all of which have been badly hit by the pandemic.
I’d like to see concerts going on again, even the ones I don’t go to, such as Glastonbury. For me that would show some normality had returned. Oh and I would like Wimbledon back too.
I’d like the appreciation for NHS and key workers to continue and not be forgotten.
I’d like social distancing to become a thing of the past eventually though it would not surprise me if that doesn’t happen until 2022 and beyond. An effective vaccine would make a huge difference here.
I’d like people to be able to have proper family parties etc again.
I’d like a calmer year – and I doubt if I’m alone with that wish!
Being Positive – and Book Recommendations
I do hope, however your summer has been, that there have been some highlights. Memories are important. And given we can’t know what tomorrow will hold, we do have to make the most of what we have in the here and now. That is why certain things taken away during lockdown have had such a powerful impact on us all. It reinforces the fact we can’t be sure of tomorrow.
I am glad that swimming has returned (albeit as pre-booked and pre-planned swimming sessions) and I’ve just started to get back into this again. It will take me a while to get back to my pre-March swimming fitness level though!
On a more positive note, it was good to see that books continued to sell well and that Waterstones have done well selling more online than I believe they’ve done before. I had a nice surprise here. I discovered my book, From Light to Dark and Back Again, is on their website and it was nice finding that out.
But it will be good to have physical book events again. I know all of my fellow writers have missed those. But meantime please do keep reading and reviewing books in the usual places, folks. That is one practical way you can help the writers you know and reading is always a fab thing to do. Not that I’m biased or anything… okay, okay, hands up time I am biased here and unashamedly so!
If you’ve discovered any cracking reads during this strange period, do share them in the comments. Who knows? We might end up creating a book present list for Christmas! And that wouldn’t be a bad thing now, would it?
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email