Lockdown Day 20

I am destroyed. The 5k took 27 minutes, which I’m told is pretty decent, but I forgot about a massive hill about halfway round the route I picked. As a result my legs are rubbery and there’s a dull ache in my hip causing a fuckload of discomfort. Respect to people who run regularly and enjoy it. I miss not hurting.

Activity Map

Date 15 Apr 2020
Distance 5.33 km
Time 26m 51s
Elevation Gain 62 m

For some reason WordPress won’t let me embed this properly, so I’m making do. Don’t hate.

Actually you could probably title this ‘Things I Miss’. I won’t because then I’d lose track of what lockdown day I’m on. It’ll happen eventually, but I’ll be damned if I do it because I mistitle something.

I miss sport. The run brought it home. I’m writing this watching highlights of F1 from 2019. Whilst rugby records and I think about the Olympics. I also think that certain sportspeople (I refuse to call them sports ‘stars’ or whatever. Celebs.) are massively overpaid. Football players for certain. And F1 drivers. Golf and Tennis. I don’t think Rugby is too bad with it. There’s also definitely a disparity between men and women as well but I’ll get into that at a later date. I just miss watching sport.

I miss travelling. Yes, I wasn’t exactly jetting off every few weeks, but we were due to go to Spain next month. Rest assured that won’t happen. I can look at destinations all day long but it feels somewhat emptier than it used to, back when things were normal. Before all that was in the way would be saving some money and getting time off work. Now there’s a bloody bat-fever to get past.

Pubs. Again, we weren’t exactly in them every single day. Maybe once a week? Twice or thrice for Amie. Funnily enough it’s going on walks where this really hits home. Light exercise, decent weather, good companions. Just the thing to bring a lip-smacking thirst on. A desire for the beer garden.

Popping to the shops. Without queuing. Just a quick, in and out in ten minutes, grab a couple of bits kind of shop. I know now that I took these trips for granted. The positive is that I do now make better use of a shopping trip; the food from one lasts closer to two weeks than one. It’s probably twice as expensive as the old weekly as you would expect, but if you add in all the little trips that would usually happen, it works out cheaper. It’s nice to see some good result come out of the current unpleasantness. 

Most of all I miss my legs not hurting. 

Lockdown Day 19

When I finished writing the last post I had a quick look at the site stats. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to be concerned about views or likes, at all. I don’t care. This is for fun. But at the same time, I can’t hide the nice happy glow it gives me to see that the three and a bit months of 2020 have almost as many views as the best year my blog has ever had. Three times the total views for the whole of 2019 (though that doesn’t say much as 2019 was pretty much a non-starter for me in terms of writing). It’s top in terms of likes. Definitely top in terms of comments (all one of them – thank you so much Passport Overused). I really enjoy the fact that eleven different countries are reading this shit. Hell, they might all be laughing at me, but it still counts. I’m proud of that.

I also spoke too soon yesterday about not being nominated to do anything. Some ass has me pegged to do one of those 5km things tomorrow. I’m equal parts excited and worried. On the one hand my knees hurt enough on a morning without this. On the other, well, I love a good juicy challenge. We’ll see. If it goes well, I’ll put evidence up somewhere. If, for whatever reason, it goes badly, I’ll still put it up. And probably laugh at myself as well. So it’s a win-win. Except for my bones.

That’s it, I’m tired.

Lockdown Day 18

Is there anything better than sharing something you enjoy or are proud of, and having the person you share it with enjoy it? Well, probably. The birth of a child, winning money, getting a birthday gift. Maybe a lot of things. But it’s still a pretty damn good feeling.

I’m a big fan of all these challenges that are getting bandied about on Instagram. Not necessarily for the content or likes, moreso for the fun inherent in having people try something new. The community spirit in getting friends involved in a daft idea. I know it’s what I grew up doing and I surely can’t be alone in that. Not that I’ve been challenged to anything (yet) but that’s immaterial. It still brings joy.

The only challenges I do have going on are small things. Not for likes or anything like that. Tasks given with no reward or forfeit other than pride or shame. Small things that will test somebody or push them to achieve. Something that you would always want to do but deem it not as helpful in your day-to-day as say, doing the dishes. Something that’s always on your list but is the first to get sacrificed. Something that you need an excuse, or someone to tell you to do it.

I have one of these going at the minute. Less of a challenging challenge, more of an excuse to do something I always wanted to do for myself, but never found the time or mindset. I’ve mentioned group video calls as being the quarantine version of group therapy. Liken this then to the homework a shrink would set you. A small task to improve yourself and give a positive boost.

Lockdown Day 17

I totally missed a day. My bad. Luckily, I’m not beholden to deadlines or a boss for this. It’s also pretty lucky as I’ve got nothing to say. Again. The days are blending a little into one big mush of sitting outside, sitting inside, half-arsed exercise, cooking, drinking, eating, walking, playing with baby, working (hah) and playing games. If I didn’t have the TV schedule to follow, you could tell me it’s a Wednesday and I’d believe you.

For all that I am loving all this time and freedom there are some things I do miss. Sport is a big one. As I write this I’m watching F1 highlights from last season. Azerbaijan to be precise.

Welcome to Azerbaijan

Isn’t it pretty? Maybe one day we’ll visit. We (me and Amie) have talked about places we want to travel to, post-pandemic. Mine is a bit more robust, but she’s got some real quality on there. Conveniently, there’s also some crossover. We’ll also have some funds as it is highly likely our vacation next month will be refunded. Which isn’t the nicest thing, but probably the safest.

What else do I miss? The pub. Some of our most relaxing days are just having a walk followed by a nice quiet chat over a couple of beers. The point isn’t so much the drinking, it’s more to experience the atmosphere, that quiet ocean of calm a good country boozer gives you. It could be packed but your table for two over in the corner can still hear each other talking to each other, just shooting the breeze.

Days out too. My list of things to do (I do love a good list) after all this just gets bigger day by day. Spend more time at the beach. Learn to really surf. Get my bike license. I could go on all day and probably into the night. Whenever it came to the weekend in regular times I was always too tired from the week to want to do anything. Now I miss even having the opportunity, even if I don’t take it, to do things. I miss things. Things were cool.

Hopefully I’ll think of something to talk about. Maybe I’ll find a new skill to learn, and document that. Happy Easter.

Lockdown Day 15

There are a great many forms of media out there with which to distract oneself from this grim reality. Some require a bit of thought and activity, some you can just smash on in the background and mellow out to. At the minute I’m leaning towards the latter, specifically this guy:

the Luxury Travel ExpertI’ll post a video at the end.

In a nutshell, he records a luxury flight or hotel, taking in every single detail. Minute ones, like a hot towel before the meal. Or a full slow pan over the full menu available. Usually set to some adagio classical music whilst keeping the white noise picked up by his camera. There’s no obnoxious narration, just a subtle banner with some of his comments. I imagine they’re seldom read, especially if this is a background watch. For some reason, I find it absolutely fascinating to watch. He visits some absolutely stunning places in the most exotic corners of the world. Just don’t check the prices.

The fact that it’s a pipedream for me to visit these places doesn’t bother me. I still get enjoyment from seeing it. I’m basically window-shopping holiday experiences. There are people that would get depressed by it, which is fine, maybe don’t watch them. Fill your time with whatever does make you happy. Or if you want to get deep about it, consider why you can’t take a relaxing travel video at face value and enjoy it without thinking ‘this isn’t my life so now I’m sad at my life’. Hey, we’ve all been there. I say this to provoke thought rather than arguments. 

Whether we like it or not, we are currently blessed with the luxury of time. It’s there to use however you see fit. Self-reflection never hurt anybody. A video chat is currently the easiest form of group therapy out there. Let’s be mindful.

Lockdown Day 14

This morning I figured out that if I put the baby down at one end of the front room, I have precisely enough time to make a coffee and pour myself a glass of orange before she makes it to the other side of the room. Where I promptly intercept and reposition. Like a responsible father. Which I’m totally not. She’s grabbed grass? Cool, well done. Biting? Awesome, she’s learning how to use her teeth! She’s sucking on a battery!Okay, that one might be too far. True story though.

She’s fine.

The Twitter experiment isn’t going too well. The problem being, I forget to tweet. Could be why I don’t use it so much; I mean, I’m not interested in browsing it, I just know that people in general do that. And I’m trying to see if it could be advantageous. Even to someone not willing to put the time in to identify a market, view market trends, then try to manipulate, I’m not that kind of guy. Honest.

I will, however, shamelessly use random hashtags to increase traffic. Use tagwords that have something in relation to what I write, whilst being pretty far removed from the subject matter. I’ll steal images without shame. Especially boats. The way I see it, so few people look at this that I’m safe, right? Right. If you wanted serious, useful content, go to medium. They’re great, honest. I constantly hear good things (even if they do send out too many suggested articles.

Today has been one of those typical lockdown days. Enough productivity that it felt useful, enough looking after of baby that it felt special, enough cooking that we’re all fed with leftovers, and enough relaxation that leaves everyone a bit tipsy. I might dedicate the next week to just getting drunk in new and interesting ways, on new and interesting things. It’s not like we’re spending money in pubs and restaurants anymore. And offies have officially been deemed to be ‘essential’. So it’s pretty much a winner.

I had an email just now about ‘why it’s taking so long to develop a vaccine’. It irritated the everloving fuck out of me. This is a new thing. Our race has been around for thousands of years. We’ve known Covid-19 for what, 5 months? Maximum? And people are questioning the time taken to have a proven cure sitting waiting to be used? Are they not right in the head or what?

Researchers harness new technology for rapid COVID-19 vaccine ...

Vaccine development usually takes years. The problem is more that the current glut of humanity on their smartphones and tablets, are so used to having a solution at the touch of a button that they’ve lost track of effort. The search for quick tips, hacks and cheats dominates everything. Always the shortcut is sought. Which for a lot of things, is fine. But protecting people’s health? I’d prefer my antidote to have been tried and tested for years, thanks. I’ll skip the fear-mongering, just give me what works.

Lockdown Day 13

Lucky number 13. I should explain that I started counting the days since I was officially stood down from work. With the staggered approach, the slow phase-in that the UK took to locking down, I’m sure everyone started counting from the start of their own situation. And for those who still have to battle on in the NHS and otherwise, well, they’re heroes.

There isn’t any doubt in my mind that I have it pretty easy. I can’t work from home due to the nature of what I do, so I’m furloughed on 85% of my normal wage. I don’t even owe time back. This is a pretty sweet deal. By pursuing hobbies I effectively live the dream. I am now being paid to do whatever I want.

Within reason of course. And within the bounds of the current restrictions of movement. I’m also still bound by my means; I can’t sit around drinking champagne in a dressing down, which is what all professional writers do.

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Bar #durham #lumiere #champagnebar #ebony #baby

A post shared by Sam Warren (@samwrrn) on

I don’t know what the aftermath of this pandemic will be. Surely nobody could with any degree of certainty. What I do know is that there are a great many people struggling to deal with isolation, a change in their circumstances and situations occurring out of their control. To these people I would try to urge them to fill their time with positive actions and to try to put a positive spin on things. Empty words it might be, nobody ever told to ‘get over it’ (or whatever) actually does so. Cheer up is another good one that seldom works. What will work will be bettering yourself, working on your weaknesses or further developing your strength. Learn a new skill, hone your existing ones. Think of this enforced house arrest as bonus time to spend on yourself. You are your own greatest asset and it’s one that’s worth looking after. 

We might not know where we’ll be in a couple of months time, but we can all meet it prepared.

Lockdown Day 12

The temptation to spend money on things that can’t really be used is tremendous. I’m positive it’s something akin to boredom, some need to have a rush in the absence of let’s face it, most of the fun outlets out there. Amie has resorted to buying scratchcardsonline. I’m mostly browsing things I can’t afford. Sometimes even things I can afford, at a push. Only when I get bored of looking at yachts.

Melnichenko puts Motor Yacht A up for sale | Daily Mail Online

Look at it. I’ve joked for a while about having one someday. The sensible ‘plan it out’ part of me says I should probably learn to sail first. At least a day skipper license or something. Related; what I wanted to do the other day, what she mentioned today and what we’ll probably do tomorrow is to write a list of all the things we want to do post-lockdown. I imagine it will be pretty far-ranging. From going to the pub to surfing in Bali, going to the shops (and being in and out within ten minutes, no queue) to having a whirlwind weekend in Vegas.

You can probably guess which ideas are mine.

Lockdown Day 11

There isn’t anything quite as daunting as a blank page. Not in the same way; where the beholder is the one responsible for transporting that emptiness into the richest gold. Or like, whatever they as an individual are capable of. 

I feel like I’ve skipped a day but really am unsure how, given I’ve written every day as soon as I wake up as well as right before I sleep. Perhaps I’ve forgotten to post something. Ah well.

Hopefully it was something good, ‘cos I’ve got nothing. Zip, nada, zilch, nothing. The Covid situation continues to get worse, more than 1.1 million cases, more than 60 thousand dead. That’s without what has gone unreported.

It all makes for very grim reading. We’re now at one of those defining points in history. Our generation will be known henceforth as the ones that dealt with this pandemic, regardless of how it turns out. We could be lauded or criticised, revered or despised. Our descendants will be our judges.

Onto lighter thoughts. My gorgeous little girl is crawling even faster. She’s a menace. With a cheeky grin. Whenever she hears the word ‘no’, she turns and grins…and gets right back to whatever she was doing. Throwing nappies around, eating plants, biting ears, that sort of thing. 

There. All refreshed from doom with the thought of a smiley rascal baby.

I’ve been playing about with Lightroom, both for mobile (see above) and on the computer. Obviously I’m a complete beginner but it’s pretty easy to muddle through and make something, at the exact same time as imparting just how robust a piece of software it is. You look at various sliders, selectors and icons and think ‘I have no idea what you do’. Never in a million years will I understand it deeply, but it’s great fun. 

Regarding the Twittexperiment thing; given I have like no followers it’s super slow going. Most likely will not amount to anything other than the usual views, but hey, still early days.

Still plenty of lockdown to go.

Lockdown Day 9

Another day, another session practising writing. The update from my employer is that they have no update for us working stiffs. Situation unchanged, we’re still locked down until further notice. So what can I do?

I’m going to do another little experiment. So the one that concluded last night around writing at different times of the day is a really good lead into it; this time I’m going to see how tweeting improves article exposure. See, I spent a good chunk of time today reading articles from my inbox, and browsing around on Twitter, and a lot of them focus on market exposure and content release strategies (appropriately enough the one I’ve linked is from WordPress themselves). I honestly don’t care about that at all. Even if nobody reads this, I get to flex my fingers and I win. Anything more than that is a bonus.

So, on to what I propose to do. I have a Twitter account (@blogswarr) linked to this that sees absolutely no use at all, apart from going off whenever I write something on WordPress. Usually nothing else at all. I’m going to alternate tweeting in between writing content and doing nothing. Maybe one day I’ll do nothing but retweets, the next maybe I’ll @someone in every tweet, the next; nothing but likes. Or favourites? Whichever it is, I’ll try that. If you can’t tell, I’m not overly familiar with the ways you work it. As you can probably tell by the fact the account has only 3 followers.

For now I think I’ll try to keep away from those accounts set up that can boost your profile, like the one pictured:

Capture.PNG 

Not that I have any particular qualms about using them if you’re actively trying to reach a wider audience, more that I don’t want to try it yet. I have no reason to, I’m not trying to make this a business. That’s a long way off.

As a bit of a follow on from the last few where I was dicking about with what time of day I was writing, this has been pretty spread over the course of the day. The start was written about 4pm, and I’m currently writing the body at 22:45. As I mentioned above, a decent amount of the day was spent reading what other people write about. Something I love doing at any time, but doing it when I was fresh enough to take ideas away felt quite good. Almost like I’m cheating, by building up some content before I sit down to write. Is that cheating?