The COVID-19 Lockdown Chronicles — It’s an omnibus!

Of headaches, Zoom meetings, sometimes really disliking technology, music, writing, and resources for working from home

Wow, what a couple of days! On Monday I had an absolutely lovely headache and actually ventured to The Outside World, to the pharmacy to get some Migril. Because guess who forgot that her Migril was finished.

It was really weird to see everything closed and with so few people out and about. (Well, at least where I live most people seem to be adhering to the lockdown and staying inside.) We seem to be in almost a kind of limbo, unsure of what will happen next but still trying to act normal.
Also, with the one undersea cable being damaged again, the internet has been really slow, making Zoom meetings quite interesting, as you might imagine. It’s not this, however that had me fuming at technology — that waited for Day 5, when I lost nearly a whole days’ work (falls on bed dramatically, cries).

So, here is a song to cheer us up a bit. Well, it’ll cheer me up, so there. 🙂

Of busy days and crochet

Today was thankfully a busy day “at work”, so I didn’t have time to dwell on — as Kathryn from Crafternoon Treats would say – The Disease That Must Not Be Named. By the way, her daily vlogs during her self-isolation is a delight to watch. Plus I find it very calming – if you like crochet and knitting, be sure to check her out!

Here’s also (at last) a photo of the finished crocheted shawl, as well as the new shawl that I started (Aranuir by Jasmin Räsänen, probably my favourite crochet designer).

Working from home resources

In other, more professional (and probably practically helpful), news, Thomas Frank is doing a series of videos about working from home. The first two are out and I must say, they are very entertaining and informative.
(Side note: have I finished putting the Home Office in the Closet together? Unfortunately not. That will have to wait for the weekend, methinks. I mean, decorating the desk takes time.)

What’s a day without music?

Finally, the day’s music was provided by Halidon Music and Adrian von Ziegler, specifically the playlists below. I am finding classical music very calming at the moment — I guess also liking it anyway helps — and I’m very glad that Halidon Music made a whole Baroque playlist. Add some earphones, and you’re ready to work! Or read and relax.

Writing fiction — outlining The Ruon Chronicles

I’m off to listen to the news now, though, and then to write a bit on the Ruon Chronicles outline. I’m trying to figure out how to structure the ending of The Knowledge Stones to keep it from feeling too fragmented, while also setting up the next part of the story.

I think it’ll do me good to focus on some fiction again. At the moment I’d really rather think about the magic systems and stuff than dwell on the pandemic as, at the moment, I can’t really do anything else than what I’m already doing to help.

I leave you with a photo of Sir Tristan helping me with my work…

Sir Tristan, hard at work…

Take care of yourselves, stay safe, and stay healthy. Until tomorrow.

The COVID-19 Lockdown Chronicles — Day 3, 29 March 2020

Day 3 of lockdown and… well, except for the creeping anxiety, it kind of feels like a long weekend that I decided to stay in. Which is weird. Maybe I will feel the weight of the lockdown tomorrow when I don’t go to the office but still work remotely and have to see my team through on a computer screen and a talk to them via a WhatsApp group.
Because it’s Sunday, I have not done much except watch a video of a church service, read, crochet, and write a bit. I’m afraid I can’t get myself to focus on any one thing for long, so I keep on jumping between Things To Keep Me Busy.
One good thing is that I’m writing about knitting and crochet for another blog, so that is entertaining to me at least. I’ll post the links here once they’re posted.
Another good, no awesome, thing is this video by John Green on tips for your mental health while in self-isolation.

Mental Health Tips from People Who’ve Been There

Be sure to check the links in the video’s description for more resources.

One thing that I am finding is that I seem to be slowing down. Taking time to think and ponder and just trying to digest and fathom what is happening around me and that, yes, this is suddenly my real life and not some weird dream or movie.
At the moment I am telling myself that I will only focus on the 21 days lockdown and not worry about self-isolation being longer. That sends me into an instant thought spiral and the last thing I need is to have another bad panic attack.
I also remind myself about a hundred times a day of just how fortunate I am even in lockdown. I have a proper roof over my head. I have my psychiatric medicine for the month. I have food in my cupboards. I still have a job. I’m still getting paid end of April when so many people have lost their jobs or just aren’t getting paid.
Also, why can’t thought spirals ever be positive? Asking for a friend.

Besides staying in touch with my family every day, our writing group are also hosting sprints throughout the day, which seems to be helping a lot to keep our spirits up.
I also hope to have my crochet shawl done tomorrow — and should then really remember to take a photo or two while the light is good!

Take care of yourselves, stay safe, and stay healthy. Until tomorrow.

The COVID-19 Lockdown Chronicles — Day 2, 28 March 2020

Welcome to day 2 of the lockdown in South Africa. As of today, we have 1 170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Unfortunately, while my neighbourhood has been quiet for the most part, there are some places where the lockdown is being disregarded and the police even attacked.

I’m still trying to keep from following the news every minute of the day and have filled today with writing, crochet, and good music.
The music have ranged from Radical Face to the Firefly soundtrack (”You can’t take the sky from me!”) and some of Halidon Music’s playlists. In fact, next up on my playlist is their “Classical Music for Beginners”.

The shawl that I’m busy crocheting with some of Elle Yarn’s Alula yarn (the colourway is Tanager) is almost finished! Probably another hour or hour and a half and it’ll be done. The pattern is this “Dancing with Wildflowers Shawl” one that’s been designed for the yarn (the pattern is free), but I actually like the starting lace pattern so much that I’m repeating it for the whole of the shawl.
I’ve put my thread crocheting aside for the moment while I work on the shawl, but will probably take up the one tablecloth I’m busy with next week. The pattern is a Japanese one and very lacy, but not too difficult. I hope it’s just what I need to keep my mind busy.

Also, I’ve started exercising again and want to do at least a bit of barre (well, as well as I can do barre with my buggered knees — at least I can do the arms well) and climbing the stairs up and down whenever I get up from writing. The last thing I need is to not get any exercise in while I’m at home.
I may also have had to chase Sir Tristan through the garden to get him back inside when I slipped out to throw away the rubbish today. I’m sure my neighbours enjoyed the show…

In happy news

  • Bluprint is free for about another 2 weeks, so be sure to check out their classes! They not only have craft tutorials, but also dance, exercise, cooking, and writing.
  • One of my friends rescued a beautiful white kitten and said kitten has been dubbed Jon Snow.
  • I learned a lot more about feather stars! (See the video below)

Keep safe and keep healthy! Until tomorrow.

The COVID-19 Lockdown Chronicles — Day 1, 27 March 2020

Well, here we are on day 1 of the 21-day lockdown of South Africa because of COVID-19. It is also the day of the first two deaths from this illness. For a few weeks now, the inevitable creep of the illness and then arrival of the illness in South Africa has featured prominently on the news. On Monday evening (23 March) President Ramaphosa told us about the 21-day lockdown that started at 12am today.
Because I’ve still been at the office until Wednesday, I’ve seen the streets empty out day by day as the schools closed and offices closing one by one. On Wednesday I went to pick up my chronic meds — the first time that I’d been in a shop for almost 2 weeks — and the new security measures were quite a shock. I also had to venture out on Thursday morning for some human food and pet food before setting up for my first day working from home.

I’ve been trying to find words to write for the blog, but there just seem to not have been any. I’ve also been struggling with really bad panic attacks over the past few weeks. I can’t say my anxiety is suddenly a lot less now that I’m home, but I do feel safer because I’m not constantly surrounded by other people.
I’m hoping that I will be able to write my way through this strange time. I wrote a short piece yesterday, the first fiction I’ve written in a while (I’ve put it right at the end of the post). So I hope that that’s a good sign.
I also watched the video of Chris Fox that came out today (I’ve embedded it below) and find what he says to be very helpful.

I’m trying to keep my eye on as much positive content as possible instead of only focusing on COVID-19 stats. This includes some daily vlogs and my favourite podcasts, some of which I’ll share here in the days to come.
While one part of me is scared out of my skin at the thought of what could happen should the illness get into the informal settlements outside the large cities (not to mention rural areas where medical help is well… basically nonexistent) and I feel sick to my stomach, another part of me knows that this needs to be documented — even if it’s just for me to look back on. (The other part of me is probably trying not to throw up or have another panic attack.) I find focusing on one country’s plight at any one time is a bit less nausea-inducing that only looking at the world as a whole all the time.
So, in light of that, I’m going to try and blog here daily during the lockdown.

I’ll share the projects I’m busy with (you can probably expect a lot of stress crocheting and knitting!) as well as other content that I’ve found helpful.
Oh, and there will probably also be pictures of Sir Tristan the Wonder Cat, and the budgies Frodo and Samwise.

To everyone reading — keep safe and keep healthy! Until tomorrow.

The Woven Stars

The tower was older than the city. Much, much older. Where the city’s walls were of finely cut stone that was yet to show wear, lichen and moss covered the pockmarked, ancient grey stone of the tower.
A single door at the bottom of the tower had long ago been shut and locked so that it could never be unlocked until the world had wholly changed.
There was one window high in the tower. Some, if they squinted in just the right light, could see that a few of the panes had been shattered by storms during the long, long years.
Some even said that they saw a figure at the window at times and a faint light could be seen on the darkest nights.
She sat at the spinning wheel while the world went scurrying about beneath her window.
The wisps of straw that she spun into the finest of yarns and knotted into patterns were coloured by snatches of voices and music that drifted up from the city, by emotions that she remembered or still felt, by the birdsong and eagle cries and thunder and wind and rain and other nature sounds that drifted in through the broken window — blue, silver, and gold.
The dark clouds came without warning and, with it, a foul air that made people dash inside, locking their houses and peering in fear through the windows as a figure of pure midnight approached. Best Knitting Needles for Scarves/Shawls
There were no stars anymore, no moon, no night sky with wisps of silver clouds.
At last, the figure came to the door of the tower and hammered upon it.
She rose from where she had been kneeling and knotting the fine threads, went to the window, and pushed it open for the first time in a hundred years.
She peered down to the void the figure left.
“Think you won this time?” she called out to the figure with its strange face and long beak.
A laugh that seemed to emanate from the bowels of the earth shook the city.
“I have won. The darkness is complete.”
She stepped away from the window for a moment and then, with a flash of light, the threads she had woven and knotted fell from the window and rose with the winds, light as a feather, to cover the darkness of the night sky.
And the woven stars shone.