Tuesday 31 March 2020

California Dreaming

So how are you coping with The Great Lockdown?

We're all healthy so far, thankfully, and settling into a strange routine where the whole family is around, all the time. I'm making sure to get out for a walk or a run every day to stay sane, but I've managed not to go anywhere crowded for a week now, which I'm aware is a privilege not everyone has right now. I'm really grateful we have a big enough house that we're not on top of each other, and for the first time in my life, I'm actually glad we have a garden (I detest gardening, but like being outside).

On the work front, I've been writing the new book and noodling around at a couple of other projects, though like most people I'm finding it difficult to focus right now.

Strange to think I was in Berlin a little over three weeks ago, and everything was pretty much business as usual. The new normal has descended suddenly. My two younger kids have asked if this kind of thing happened when I was a kid, and I had to explain that no, this has never happened before.

I'm used to working from home and I'm not somebody who has to be socialising at all times, but I do miss being in the city, and going for coffee, and looking forward to a summer of book festivals that now can't happen.

Whenever cabin fever has mounted over the last few days, I've been thinking about my trip to California last November. I was doing some research for my next book, which is out in June (and I promise to tell you more about it soon) but I'm so glad I did it before the virus appeared on the horizon.

Even back then it felt like a beautiful break from reality: waking up every morning to blue skies and sun, exploring San Francisco on foot, driving north on the 101 through the redwoods and past some of the most stunning coastline I've ever seen, drinking Sunkist and Sprite with no sweeteners, listening to classic rock on the car radio, and almost never hearing the word Brexit.

So here's some sunny (and sometimes foggy) pictures from Before. I'm thinking about the places I've been in the past year, and the people I've spent time with, and hoping we'll all be able to go places and see people in real life sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Stay inside, stay safe, and I'll see you on the other side.