This is the blog I was going to write last week. I was going to write it last week, because for most of last week the rest of my family were awol, so I had a writer’s retreat at home. I was going to live-blog it, day by day, but decided not to because A: Writing a series of posts on the lines of “Hello, I am all alone in my house, and not expecting visitors, and also incredibly scatterbrained so I’ve probably forgotten to lock the door,” felt, vaguely, like a bit of a bad idea, and B: taking time to write about the writing I was meant to be doing, instead of actually doing the writing I was meant to be doing would not, I decided, be the absolute best use of my time.
So I did not live-blog my writer’s retreat.
Instead, I am going to write it up this week, going day by day, so that Monday comes on a Monday, Tuesday on a Tuesday, and so on. Not a live-blog, but not a fully dead blog either.
An undead blog, if you will. To begin with: Monday The Plan: 1: Tidy house to remove all distractions and make absolute best use of my space in the coming week. 2: Buy healthy, easy to put together meals, ready for the week ahead. Add some appealing biscuits or similar to the list, to be used as rewards for a hard-working writer.
3: Make sure the kids have packed everything they need for the week ahead. Check said everything to make sure it is not too small/dirty/full of holes/something I’ve never seen before that’s somehow floated in from a friend’s laundry basket. Replace anything that does not pass these checks.
Add more of everything, just in case. 4: Cook healthy meal and share with loving family in preparation for the week ahead. The Reality
1: Wake up to discover that my brain has been replaced with fudge. Normally this would be the sort of problem that would worry me for the rest of the day, but it can’t today because A: I have too much to do, B: It’s not the biggest problem in my life right now because in addition to that my limbs appear to have been replaced with granite, my eyes feel as though they have been rubbed with sandpaper, someone has turned up the thermostat on the entire planet — don’t you just hate global warming? — and C: The brain that I would have used to do the worrying with has, as I said, been replaced with fudge.
Decide that, in the circumstances, tidying the house may cause more problems than it solves.
Congratulate myself on quick-thinking even with a head full of high-calorie dairy product.
Attempt to give self pat on the back, but fail due to the general weight and stiffness of limbs made of igneous rock.
Rock on. 2: Shop.
Log onto Ocado and stare blankly at screen. Mind is entirely empty of ideas, the ability to meal-plan having, it seems, been scooped out to make room for all the fudge. Look away for a while in case any good ideas have been written on the ceiling while I wasn’t looking. Alas. No ideas.
Somehow achieve a virtual shopping basket full of things that can be loosely classed as food. Press Check Out button and pray for a miracle.
Wonder why someone is poking a thermometer at my face.
3: Ah. And indeed Hmmm, and other learned doctor noises. The point of the thermometer*, it seems, is that I have a temperature.
As indeed does everything on Earth and, for that matter elsewhere, but my temperature is currently less the ideal temperature of a hard-working and much beleaguered author, and more that of a steaming hot loaf of bread fresh from the oven.
Or possibly the planet Venus.
Break out the COVID tests.
3B: No COVID. Or so it seems.
Just a cold straight from the depths of Hades itself.
Let kids pack for themselves, while pleading weakly with them to remember socks, and not pack as though they’re going on a polar expedition, and bring extra underwear** just in case. 4: At some point food is made but probably not by my as I have no memory of making it.
Or for that matter of eating.
Offer slightly wobbly thanks to the nameless Bringer Of Food, hide under a blanket, and pray that this week won’t turn out to be the worst idea I’ve ever had.
And so, with some trepidation, onto Tuesday
*Actually not very pointy: it’s one of those keep-the-plague-at-range ones that started to appear everywhere after the first COVID lockdown, and has more of a close-range set-phasers-to-stun vibe than a jabby, mercury-in-the-face one. **Not in case they are hit by a bus but because, in my experience, no matter how carefully you pack, the minute you get to your destination you will find that a microscopic and incredibly specific black hole has opened up in your case and swallowed all but one pair of knickers.
Adding extra underthings just increases the chance that one or two additional pairs might survive.