Visiting family, partying with friends, exotic holidays – oh no that’s the stuff of fantasy these days, not fact.

The Girl With The Silver Bangle

The Girl With The Silver Bangle

Like many people, when lockdown number three was announced in early January, I groaned. Although I understood we had to protect our wonderful NHS, having just got used to some sense of freedom and normality again, my heart sank. It was winter and long, cold days beckoned.

As an author I am fortunate to work from home, however, my books involve much detailed research and, of course, travelling was not permitted. Whilst the internet is a fantastic resource, it is not the same as experiencing the sights, sounds and smells that add to a sense of place. Nor could I visit craftspeople to learn a new skill, a vital element of my stories.

Enough of the negatives, I told myself. Focus on what you can do. And, guess what? As soon as my mindset changed, I began to see the positives. Not having to go out in the wet and cold, an extra cup of tea in bed in the morning, spending quality time with hubby. Having penned the outline of my next story and highlighted what I need to research when travel is permitted again, I looked out my knitting needles and made little garments for friends expecting happy events later in the year. Word got round and I received requests from the not-so-little ones in the family for rainbow tank tops and waistcoats – this year’s must haves. Satisfying both in the making and using up of odd balls of wool.

On-line meetings with family and friends are a great way to keep in touch but horrendous for showing up emerging roots and sagging skin. And who knew the camera would make me look white as chalk? Thank heavens for on line shopping, I thought ordering concealer, bright lippy, blusher plus the all-important colour for creeping roots. A scarf round the neck added much needed colour to tops. I never realised how many white ones I owned.

On line schooling. Once I’d been shown how to share a screen I was hooked on the modern way of learning, from composition of a fairy tale to frontal adverbials. Listening to children read was a particular delight and seeing their faces light up when they mastered a difficult word, rewarding.

February hailed the arrival of Seville oranges so marmalade making was the next task. Delicious with hubby’s home-made bread. Don’t mention that writer’s scourge, the dreaded bottom spread. Then came Valentine’s Day and surprise of surprises a delivery of a dozen red roses. Whoever said romance was dead?

Skype calls on Mother’s Day, however lovely, can never replace embracing and celebrating with loved ones. So, roll on restrictions being lifted when visiting family, partying with friends, and taking holidays will become fact, not fantasy.

Then back to research when hopefully all that walking will redress the spreading bottom caused by indulging in that delicious food.

RELATED: How To Write About What You Don't Know By Linda Finlay

Having learned what I didn’t know, I felt confident enough to take my readers on that fascinating journey into the unknown. Whilst gathering the facts, the seeds of my storyline had been germinating, my characters forming. The next step was to blend them together and The Flower Seller, along with the violets I’d been nurturing, finally blossomed...