Friday, April 10, 2020

Mollie The #Chinchilla's Thoughts On Recent Happenings - April 2020 Edition

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

The human caretakers are broken, and acting weird. Weired even for them, I mean.

They aren't taking the dogs out as often as before, so I have to keep putting up with them more than usual, and Mummy's sleep is broken, so I don't get my quiet privacy all night, because she comes in to make a warm drink or something.

Well, OK. I'm sort of used to her sleep being broken. That happens lots anyway. Besides, she sometimes gives me a Cheerio when she does that, so I don't mind too much. I love Cheerios!

But the other thing, with the dogs not leaving the house so much, is weird. Kind of annoying too, if you ask me.

Mummy says it's because of that "Avirus" thing everyone keeps talking about. Apparently the dogs can only go out for one walk each day, and not a really long one either, because of risks. I'm not too sure what these risks are though. Come to think of it, I'm not too sure what this avirus thing is either, but it seems to be important.

I heard Mummy talking about some food items being impossible to get hold of too, but I'm still getting my fresh veggies with a sprinkling of herbs each morning - sometimes a bit of fruit too - and I see Mummy doing the same for Artemis as well. I also see the rest of them eating just fine. So I don't know what she's talking about with that. Although, I did get different pellets to normal, but I'm actually glad about that, because I like these pellets more anyhow, so I guess that's one good thing to come of whatever's going on.

I wish I knew what has the human caretakers so worried though, and why those dogs aren't going for all the walkies I want them to. Whatever this avirus thing is, I hope it's over soon, so life can go back to normal, and the dogs will go for lots of walkies again. It's so peaceful when they're out.

Squeak soon,
Mollie

Thursday, April 09, 2020

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - Media Shares And #Reviews 09-04-20

I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
~JK Rowling

Welcome to this week's weekly media shares and reviews post!

*Disclaimer: no matter what's being reviewed, all opinions in this post are entirely my own, and I reserve the right to have them, regardless of who may or may not share them. Feel free to express your own in the comments, but please respect my right - and the rights of other commenters - to have opinions that might differ from yours, and to express those opinions too.

Also, please remember that I read/watch/listen to things in a variety of genres, and for all ages, so you should make sure you check that the book/movie/show/song is suitable for the intended audience before reading/watching/listening to it, especially if children are involved. I take no responsibility for anything which may happen as a result of failing to do so.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Unless otherwise stated, all music videos are via YouTube.


OK. Let's see what I've been reading, watching, and listening to, and which song I'm going to share this week, shall we? After all, that's the point of this post, and why you're here today, right?

  • Reading:
This week I read one book. Well, technically finished one and started another, which I've read a good deal of, but haven't finished yet. That's how it goes with long books. Either way, here's the review for the book I finished this week.

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This would have been a five star read. The story itself was certainly good enough to deserve to be. However, the way the two timelines were split threw me a bit at first, even though it made sense in the end, and the way the 1968 parts kept changing from first to third person was a bit annoying. Then there was the cliffhanger ending, which is a pet peeve of mine. So, yeah... An amazing story, but this one only gets four stars from me, because of the issues I've just mentioned. I'm so glad I had the next book ready to start reading right away!

  • Watching:
This week I watched some Disney movies, most of which I've seen before. There was one that was new to me though, which was actually a relatively new release in general. The movie in question was "Frozen II" - a movie I've been eagerly waiting to see since I found out it was being produced, so had pre-ordered the DVD to make sure I got a copy as soon as possible after it was available. Thankfully, current circumstances didn't prevent my DVD from being delivered last week (though it was a couple of days late; this is the first time Amazon haven't gotten something to me by the release date when I've pre-ordered it... Not that I'm complaining though, because of current circumstances). Also, I'm pleased to report that I was not disappointed, and it was as wonderful a movie as the first one was, so I thoroughly enjoyed it, and considered it worth the wait. I give the movie five out of five stars.

I also watched more episodes of "Game Of Thrones" and "Fuller House" during this past week.

  • Listening:
This week I've been listening to very little music again. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think too much when I listen to music. But here's a nice cheerful song by Bobby McFerrin to help us all be happy.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

#WriterWednesday: The #AuthorsGiveBack #Smashwords #eBook #Sale + Writerly #Quotes And Links + #WritersLife 08-04-20 - #AmWriting

It's important to try to write when you are in the wrong mood, or when the weather is wrong.
—John Ashbery

I've been doing my best, but finding the required focus for writing is still an issue for me, as it has been for all of the past couple of weeks. Although, I am starting to think more about the stories in my head again, despite current happenings. So I'm hopeful I'll soon be back to writing more, and be able to finish getting this book ready to be published. Ah, if only it was normal day to day stuff like housework keeping me from writing much right now. It even almost makes me miss all those times lack of writing progress was because of those people who don't seem to realize working from home still makes you busy. Almost. On the bright side, maybe all this forced working from home will make people realize there is a difference between being home and being available. Hey, I'm just searching for silver linings here... Don't mind me.

Women with clean houses do not have finished books.
~Joy Held

OK. Let's see what I've found to share with you this week.

The writing process, and writing life in general:

Characters:

Random writing tips:

If you see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future.
~Danielle Steel

Don't forget: the "Authors Give Back" sale is still going on over at Smashwords, and all my books are enrolled, with some at 60% off, and others at 30% off, making them all $2.00 or less, and a couple of them completely free. This is exclusive to Smashwords, runs through April 20th 2020, and codes should apply themselves automatically at checkout.

So, if you're looking for something to read while stuck at home right now - especially if you have children, are a fan of children's stories yourself, or enjoy poetry - you might want to check out my books. After all, since I enable all formats I can, my books are available in multiple formats, including - but not limited to - mobi for Kindle, and ePub (which works with most eReaders). In fact, there's even a html version, which works with your browser, and means if you can read this post, you can read my books.

If you want to take advantage of this sale, you can find my books by going to my Smashwords author page.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

The #Pet Questions Tag - #Chinchilla #Dogs #Tortoise

I got this from https://www.tagquestions.net/pet-tag-questions/ - just so you know. There were 20 questions. But I didn't see that you needed to know how old I was when I got each pet - if you know how old I am now, you can figure it out from answers to other questions - and I didn't see the point in having a question asking what the pet's name was when I was already heading each pet's questions with their names. So it's 18 questions instead.

If you have any pets, feel free to play along, either in the comments section of this post, or on your own blog. I’d love to read your answers.

WARNING: possible TMI alert for the answers to some questions, just so you know. Also, this post might get a bit long, because I have four petkids right now, and am doing this for all four of them, from eldest to youngest.

Anyway, here are the questions, and my answers for each of my petkids:

***~~~***


Mollie.

1. How did you come up with your pet's name, does it have any specific significance? Mostly I just liked it. Molly is a name I've liked since I was young. But I wanted to spell it with the “I-E” ending rather than the “Y” ending, because I always think it looks prettier. Plus, it was chosen as another “M” name I liked to go with the name Maizie when we got the two chinchillas, and I had to spell Maizie’s name the way I did so JAWS (my screen reader) would say it properly (it kept wanting to say it like “Macy” with every other spelling) and they matched better if I used the "I-E" ending for Mollie's name as well. OK, so I probably would have done it anyhow, but it was a good excuse. *wink*
2. How old is your pet? Mollie is almost four and a half. She was four on October 12th.
3. When did you get your pet? Almost four years ago, when she was about six months old.
4. What breed is your pet? She's a charcoal short haired chinchilla.
5. How did you get your pet? Mollie and Maizie both came from a local petshop, where Mollie was depressed, and they'd gotten Maizie to cheer her up. We originally asked about them because we felt sorry for Mollie, but ended up bringing both of them home.
6. What is your pet’s favorite food? Cheerios and oatmeal.
7. What is your pet’s favorite game? She doesn't really have one. Mollie's not the most playful of chinchillas. She prefers to quietly watch TV most of the time. When she does play though, she likes to bounce and climb, or run on her wheel.
8. What is your favorite thing to do together? Watch TV. Mollie loves the TV, especially crime shows and Disney movies. Her favourites are "NCIS" and "The Little Mermaid" for some reason. I'm also pleased to report that she enjoys the "Harry Potter" movies. Lucky for her, since I rewatch them on a semi-regular basis, and she lives in the living room where the TV is.
9. Do you go outdoors? If yes, where is your favorite place to go together? Mollie never goes outside.
10. What is a bad habit that your pet has? Peeing in her food bowl when it gets down to just the bits of food she's not so keen on from her dry food mix. I know she does this, because I'm the one who cleans the bowl and puts fresh food in afterwards.
11. What is the best thing about your pet? She's easy to keep content. Just make sure she has snacks and TV, and she's happy.
12. What is the naughtiest thing your pet has ever done? Other than peeing in her food dish, she hasn't really done anything naughty.
13. What is the funniest memory involving your pet? When we first learned how much she loved "NCIS" after she set up a chinchilla alarm call because the TV went off during an episode, and then made happy chinchilla noises while bouncing up and down when we put it back on.
14. What is the best memory involving your pet? The first time we saw her start to come out and play. With how depressed she was when we got her, seeing Mollie doing anything other than sulking in her house was wonderful.
15. What is the hardest thing about being a pet owner? With Mollie, keeping her cage and the area around it clean. Chinchillas poop a lot, and it doesn't all stay in the cage.
16. What is the most rewarding thing about being a pet owner? Cuddle time - when she'll allow me to have some cuddle time with her, which I admit isn't often - and hearing the sounds of happy chinchilla chittering.
17. Does your pet have a nickname and what is it? Kitty-Bunny, Mols, Miss Mollie, Cranky Paws, Sweet Pea, and Baby Girl.
18. Have you ever taught your pet any tricks, if so, what? No. I've never taught Mollie any tricks.

***~~~***


Lilie

1. How did you come up with your pet's name, does it have any specific significance? Someone who used to look after me when I was little, and lived next to us in the place we lived in when we first got Kero had a Westie named Lily, and it struck me what a great name that was for a Westie. I didn't give it much thought, but from the moment I decided I wanted a female Westie, I knew I had to have my own Lily. Of course, I had to use the "I-E" spelling for the ending, so she went with Mollie and Maizie... Well, and because I think it's pretty.
2. How old is your pet? Lilie just turned three a couple of weeks ago. Her birthday was March 26th.
3. When did you get your pet? Almost three years ago, when she was eight weeks old.
4. What breed is your pet? She's a West Highland White Terrier, more commonly refered to as a Westie.
5. How did you get your pet? We looked for puppies for sale near where we live - spacifically female Westies - and then went to Kent to get her, since that's where we found one we were happy to deal with that we could get to.
6. What is your pet’s favorite food? Chicken. She's also a big fan of pizza, but chicken is her favourite.
7. What is your pet’s favorite game? Fetch. Lilie is ball crazy!
8. What is your favorite thing to do together? Play ball.
9. Do you go outdoors? If yes, where is your favorite place to go together? Along the seafront. Lilie loves her seaside walkies almost as much as she loves playing ball... Only almost though, which is lucky right now with her walks being seriously limited by the current virus situation.
10. What is a bad habit that your pet has? Chewing. She's not so bad these days - at least she only chews her own stuff as a rule now - but we've had real issues with Lilie chewing our stuff in the past.
11. What is the best thing about your pet? She's so cute and smart.
12. What is the naughtiest thing your pet has ever done? It's hard to decide between the time she chewed through my internet wire, the time she ate one of my audio books, or her passion for eating shoes.
13. What is the funniest memory involving your pet? Lilie has this cute wiggle dance she does when she's happy. One time, she was doing it for someone in the street outside a store, and the store owner came racing out to see her because he, "Had to see the cute waggy dog." He'd seen her on his security camera, and just couldn't resist her adorable wiggle dance.
14. What is the best memory involving your pet? When I was recovering from my hysterectomy last year, and every time I moaned in pain, Lilie would come see me, and if she thought I was moaning too much, she'd go running to fetch Kelly. I thought it was so sweet how a little not quite two-year old puppy (since that's what she was at the time) was trying to take care of me.
15. What is the hardest thing about being a pet owner? With Lilie it's always been her chewing issue.
16. What is the most rewarding thing about being a pet owner? Being greeted every morning with that adorable happy wiggle dance, and loads of Westie kisses. It's a great way to start the day.
17. Does your pet have a nickname and what is it? Lilie has loads of nicknames. The most often used are Lilie-Pad, Lils, Flower, Snowlilie, Woo-Woo, Lilie-Monster, and Hyper Hound. But there are loads more.
18. Have you ever taught your pet any tricks, if so, what? Lilie can count to ten, count backwards from ten, and even do a few sums (as long as all numbers involved are ten or lower). I keep trying to get it on camera to show you, but she won't do it when the camera is on. Kelly thinks she finds it funny to see my frustration when she won't perform for the camera. She also knows the basic stuff like, "Sit," and "Beg," and can do a high five too. Oh, and she's the only one of my dogs I've successfully taught to lay down on command.

***~~~***


Castellan Logan

1. How did you come up with your pet's name, does it have any specific significance? Castellan is his Kennel prefix; he's the only one of the petkids I currently have who has a title. As for Logan... It would have been the name of my son, had I been able to have one.
2. How old is your pet? Logan is almost a year old. His birthday is next week, on April 14th.
3. When did you get your pet? Almost a year ago, when he was eight weeks old.
4. What breed is your pet? He's an apricot and white Cavapoo, which is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Toy Poodle.
5. How did you get your pet? We had him couriered here from the breeder Kero came from in Wales.
6. What is your pet’s favorite food? Any food you're willing to let him have. Seriously, Logan just loves food in general. He'll even eat lettuce! He's quite partial to a bit of toast or chicken though.
7. What is your pet’s favorite game? He loves to play tuggy best. Mostly though he's happy to play anything, as long as he's involved and getting attention.
8. What is your favorite thing to do together? Cuddle. Logan is a real cuddler.
9. Do you go outdoors? If yes, where is your favorite place to go together? Logan enjoys walkies, but isn't as enthusiastic about long walks as Lilie; Logan's more the, "Let's have a quick walk, and then go home and curl up for a nap," kind of dog. He likes it best if we're going out to lunch, like if we're going to Oscars (our favourite local cafe). Unlike Lilie, he's not minding the limited walks because of the virus thing much.
10. What is a bad habit that your pet has? He gets incredibly jealous if anyone else is getting attention, and will try and push in, even if he's been getting attention before. You have to distract him with something so you can give any of the others some attention.
11. What is the best thing about your pet? His love of cuddle time makes it easy for me to persuade him to curl up with me to watch TV or read.
12. What is the naughtiest thing your pet has ever done? Refused to go potty where he's meant to - even though it was only a few steps away - because he wasn't getting his own way. We know he does it on purpose sometimes, because he'll look at you defiantly while doing it.
13. What is the funniest memory involving your pet? Logan hated water at first, but when we had the really hot weather last Summer, I kept making him go in the tub to play in the cold water to cool off. He learned to love it so much he now jumps in the bath wanting the tap on so he can drink from it and play with the water. It's so funny I keep letting him have the tap on, just because it amuses me.
14. What is the best memory involving your pet? The day the courier brought him home. After following his progress since birth, it was amazing to finally get to hold him in my arms. I imagine it was similar to the way someone feels waiting for the arrival of a human baby.
15. What is the hardest thing about being a pet owner? Potty training. Seriously, why are boy dogs so hard to potty train? He knows where he's meant to go, but sometimes just doesn't. I mean, sometimes he does it out of spite - see above for more on that - but sometimes it's like he just can't be bothered to take those few extra steps to the puppy pad. Luckily, he does use the puppy pad more often than not. But still.
16. What is the most rewarding thing about being a pet owner? Puppy cuddles. Logan is great for puppy kuddles.
17. Does your pet have a nickname and what is it? Logan is another one with a lot of nicknames. The most commonly used are Logi, Logi-Bear, Bear-Bear, Little Bear, Bear-Boy, Marshmallow, and Floppy-Loppy-Dog. But, like with Lilie, there are loads more.
18. Have you ever taught your pet any tricks, if so, what? Not really. I mean, he knows the basics like, "Sit," and "Beg," and will even do, "Wait," on command. But that's about it.

***~~~***


Artemis

1. How did you come up with your pet's name, does it have any specific significance? It was Kelly's favourite of the unisex names on my, "Things I want to call my tortoise," list. We did have a name ready for either a boy or girl. But when we learned we wouldn't be able to tell if it was a boy or girl until the tortoise was a few years old, wanted to go with a unisex name. Artemis is unisex, and being Greek works for the fact it's a tortoise originally from that part of the world, so that was what we went with.
2. How old is your pet? Artemis is about seven months old. Artemis' birthday is September 6th.
3. When did you get your pet? A couple of months ago... January of this year.
4. What breed is your pet? A Hermann's Tortoise.
5. How did you get your pet? Artemis came from a local reptile and aquatic centre. They're right by our dog groomer, so we spoke to them, got the setup from them, and then got the tortoise from them.
6. What is your pet’s favorite food? Not sure. Artemis loves the greens and herbs (and odd bit of fruit) I provide for tortoise nibbles, but I'm not sure on favourites. I don't think we've really had the tortoise long enough to be sure.
7. What is your pet’s favorite game? Artemis loves to climb things. Other than basking under the lamps, digging in for naps, stomping around exploring things, and being cuddled, that's pretty much all Artemis does, but the tortoise really does seem to love to climb. It's actually quite impressive how well Artemis climbs, especially when you consider how heavy that shell must be in proportion to the tortoise's actual body.
8. What is your favorite thing to do together? Sit in a sunbeam while Artemis climbs all over me, or cuddle while sitting in the sun.
9. Do you go outdoors? If yes, where is your favorite place to go together? Artemis doesn't go outside. It's too cold right now anyhow, but seagulls are too much of a risk to take the little tortoise out there, even if we weren't on lockdown.
10. What is a bad habit that your pet has? Trying to get my attention by squeezing between the glass at the front of the vivarium and the tortoise cave. Artemis can get free from there eventually without help - we've seen it happen - but will wait there as long as possible in hopes we'll think we need to do a tortoise rescue. It's basically a hint that the tortoise wants some out of vivarium time. I wouldn't mind so much, but it means opening the glass has to be done very carefully, because you have to be ready to grab the tortoise before she/he falls, since the moment the glass slides away, that's a risk. Moving things wouldn't help, because the same risk applies when Artemis leans against the glass in more open areas to try and get my attention. It's kind of cute that Artemis tries so hard to get me to notice her/him, but means opening the glass of the vivarium has to be done with great caution.
11. What is the best thing about your pet? Artemis is quiet, though fast for a tortoise moves slowly enough that I can keep track of where she/he is, and pretty easy to take care of once the habitat is set up. Tortoises also potentially live a very long time.
12. What is the naughtiest thing your pet has ever done? See the question about bad habits above, since Artemis isn't really that naughty. Or hasn't really been that naughty yet anyhow... Give it time. *wink*
13. What is the funniest memory involving your pet? The day Logan and Artemis first had a face-to-face encounter. I was holding the tortoise, and Logan wanted to see what I had. He jumped up on my lap, and they came face to face. The dog was more scared than the tortoise. Artemis only took a moment before wanting to stretch out her/his neck to see what Logan was, but Logan kept hiding his head under my arm for ages before he got the courage to look the tortoise in the face again. Seeing something as big as Logan scared of something as tiny as Artemis was rather funny.
14. What is the best memory involving your pet? The day I learned Artemis had bonded with me. Kelly was talking to the tortoise, and the result was an annoyed glare, followed by Artemis retracting her/his head in to his/her shell. I came in to the room and spoke, and immediately Artemis's head poped back out, and the tortoise started trotting quickly towards the front of the vivarium. When Kelly pointed this out, I opened it up, and put my hand in there ready to grab the tortoise, who promptly started to climb in to my hand.
15. What is the hardest thing about being a pet owner? With Artemis it's the worry of making sure the vivarium stays at the right temperature. We've not had any issues, but it's a constant worry for me.
16. What is the most rewarding thing about being a pet owner? Tortoise cuddle time is surprisingly hygge. Artemis is a wonderful reminder to take life as it comes, enjoy the simple pleasures in life, and take your time about it.
17. Does your pet have a nickname and what is it? Artemis the explorer, Pickle, Artemis T Tortoise, Sweetheart, and Little Bud.
18. Have you ever taught your pet any tricks, if so, what? No. At least, not unless climbing on my hand if the tortoise wants to get out of the bath once the timer is up counts. I put my hand flat in front of Artemis, and offer the option to stay in the bowl or climb on my hand and get out. Mostly Artemis picks the latter, but every so often will stay in the water a few moments longer. Not sure if you'd count that as a trick, but it's the closest thing to a trick that Artemis can do. At this point anyhow.

Monday, April 06, 2020

#MondayMotivation - #Hygge #Quotes + Words Of #Wisdom 06-04-20

Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future. There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But still we are working for that purely on the basis of hope. So, we need to make the best use of our time.
~Dalai Lama

Pause and remember— If you are reading this... You are blessed to be alive and today is a gift. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Don't hesitate to forgive, hug and love those dear to you!
~Jenni Young

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but of appreciating what we do have.
~Unknown

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.
~Oprah Winfrey

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
~Doctor Who

In our deeds we can structure our lives so that the simple things that we do everyday, from bathing to cooking, have resonance and ritual.
~Ilsa Crawford

Hygge is our awareness of the scale of our existence in contrast to the immensity of life. It is our sense of intimacy and encounter with each other and with the creaturely world around us. It is the presence of nature calling us back to the present moment, calling us home.
~Louisa Thomsen Brits

Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.
~Meik Wiking

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
~Omar Khayyam

I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.
~Oscar Wilde

Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.
~Marcia Wieder

The great man is he who does not lose his child's-heart.
~Mencius

Friday, April 03, 2020

#Pet #Photos And #Videos: Artemis The #Tortoise On The Loose

Hi everyone. This is Artemis the tortoise.

So, as you know, Mummy made me my very own playpen. It was great!

Until I decided it wasn't.

I have decided it's not spacious enough for my liking, so I get really cross and stompy if she puts me in there now, and refuse to play. I either just stand in one spot stamping my feet crossly while glaring at her, refuse to move at all, or stamp my way to the nearest side of the pen and tap at it to tell her to let me out. More often than not it's one of the first two. Either way, I make it perfectly clear that playpens are no longer acceptable places for me to have out of vivarium exercise.

So, since I feel that way, Mummy has had me exploring other places instead, which I like better, because it takes longer for me to run in to barriers, and I get to investigate all kinds of different things. She doesn't really want me on the loose - she's scared I'll get squished, which is why she made the playpen in the first place - but she wants me to be happy, and knows I need lots of exercise, so I get closely supervised freedom. She's reluctant to let me on the floor though. Something about it being hard enough keeping track of me as it is. I don't mind though, because she's giving me lots of options to explore, so I'm enjoying myself.

I like to climb all over Mummy...


Or wander about on the sofa...


Or explore the thing called a coffee table...













































Mummy's computer desk is fun to play on too...
















Getting to explore in all those places is much more fun than just being in a playpen. Tires me out too, so I usually have to dig in for a nap afterwards. Mummy's glad when I need a nap. Not sure why. She says something about keeping up with me being surprisingly hard work. Can't think what she means. After all, I'm only a tortoise. Although, she also says that playing with - and keeping track of - me is a welcome distraction right now, so I guess she can't mind too much.

I do like going back in my vivarium for some food and some basking time though. It's nice in there, and the lamp is great. In fact, here's a video of me finishing up my breakfast and heading for one of those basking sessions:







Oh, and Mummy says to tell everyone reading this that except for the first of the videos of me on the coffee table, and the very last video in this post - both of which Daddy did - everything in this post was taken by her. For some reason I don't quite understand - though she says you probably will understand - she was really proud of herself for successfully keeping track of me reasonably well while also getting photos and videos to share with you all, so she wanted me to make sure to tell you about it when I shared everything.

Artemis the tortoise

Thursday, April 02, 2020

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - Media Shares And #Reviews 02-04-20

A word can change a mind, a sentence can change a life and a book can change the world.
~Tom Kane

Welcome to this week's weekly media shares and reviews post!

*Disclaimer: no matter what's being reviewed, all opinions in this post are entirely my own, and I reserve the right to have them, regardless of who may or may not share them. Feel free to express your own in the comments, but please respect my right - and the rights of other commenters - to have opinions that might differ from yours, and to express those opinions too.

Also, please remember that I read/watch/listen to things in a variety of genres, and for all ages, so you should make sure you check that the book/movie/show/song is suitable for the intended audience before reading/watching/listening to it, especially if children are involved. I take no responsibility for anything which may happen as a result of failing to do so.

If you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Unless otherwise stated, all music videos are via YouTube.


OK. Let's see what I've been reading, watching, and listening to, and which song I'm going to share this week, shall we? After all, that's the point of this post, and why you're here today, right?

  • Reading:
I've been reading "Dragonfly In Amber" this week, which is the second book in the "Outlander" series. However, since it's another very long one - it's actually longer than the previous one, coming in at a few minutes short of 39 hours listening time - I didn't actually manage to finish it. I'm pretty close, but still have a few more hours of reading/listening time before I'll be done with it. So, I actually don't have a book review for you this week. But you now know what to look out for a review of in next week's post.

  • Watching:
This week I watched more "Game Of Thrones" episodes, as well as more of both "Fuller House" and "Redwall" - the latter of which I've now finished.

  • Listening:
This week I've been listening to very little music again, since I tend to do a lot of thinking when music is on, and I've been trying to distract myself from doing too much of that. I have listened to a few songs though, including one I felt like I needed to hear under the circumstances, and maybe you do too. So, here's "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley.


Wednesday, April 01, 2020

#WriterWednesday: The #AuthorsGiveBack #Smashwords #eBook #Sale + Writerly #Quotes And Links + #WritersLife 01-04-20 - #AmWriting

I was Robbie's guest over on Writing To Be Read this past Saturday (March 28th 2020) as part of her "Treasuring Poetry" series, discussing poetry - my favourites, and my own - before Robbie shared a review of one of my poetry books she recently read. If you'd like to check it out, you can find the post here.

It's very much a poetry themed week as regards my writing this week, since - as it happens - poetry is about the only thing I've had any success with writing while I've been trying to wrap my head around the state of the world right now, and finish the edits on the story I've been working on. Even those things I've done little of, because my head just wasn't in the right place to deal with it during this past week. I'm hoping, now I've had time to wrap my head around things, I can start making some real progress on writing projects again. But we'll see how it goes.

When the ground is so unsteady, it can feel pointless, trying to build anything on it, to make/create/imagine something. But it's still valid. It's still worthwhile. It's still important. Your work, your dreams, your escapes are still important.
~Victoria Schwab

OK. Let's see what I've found to share with you this week.

The writing process, and writing life in general:

Writers' block, and idea generation:

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I'm surprised where the journey takes me.
~Jack Dann

Characters:

Random writing tips:

Poetry writing:

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Audiobook production:

The business side of writing:

Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it's a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.
~Anne Lamott

Don't forget: the "Authors Give Back" sale is still going on over at Smashwords, and all my books are enrolled, with some at 60% off, and others at 30% off, making them all $2.00 or less, and a couple of them completely free. This is exclusive to Smashwords, runs through April 20th 2020, and codes should apply themselves automatically at checkout.

So, if you're looking for something to read while stuck at home right now - especially if you have children, are a fan of children's stories yourself, or enjoy poetry - you might want to check out my books. After all, since I enable all formats I can, my books are available in multiple formats, including - but not limited to - mobi for Kindle, and ePub (which works with most eReaders). In fact, there's even a html version, which works with your browser, and means if you can read this post, you can read my books.

If you want to take advantage of this sale, you can find my books by going to my Smashwords author page.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

#Covid19 Experiences; My #Coronavirus Diaries - The Beginning

First, a quick note: this is going to be a very long post, and not the most cheerful of posts. A bit of venting and/or whining may occur. If you don't want to deal with any of that, I understand. If that's the case, feel free to avoid reading it, but please do come back tomorrow for my writing post, and in the future for cute pets, and other more pleasant topics. However, if you're interested in knowing how things are going as regards the virus situation in areas other than your own, and your mental health can handle it right now, read on.

So, I've decided to do a bit of a diary of personal experiences and my thoughts on them with the events during this Covid-19 situation. Some of what I think I know may be rumour and speculation, so take my facts in it with a grain of salt, as they say, and check them via more reliable sources. But I'll tell you what I observe, and chronicle my own experiences, thoughts, and opinions. Not every day as a rule, since I don't think I could handle doing it every day long-term, but I'll update you from time to time on what's going on in my area, how I'm being affected by it, and any thoughts I have on things I've read or been told. Like I said, it won't be a proper diary, because I won't usually be doing it every day. Although, having said that, I do have a day by day diary for the first couple of weeks. I can't promise it will be an exciting read, but maybe someone will find these entries interesting. If not now, then maybe if they stumble across them in later years. Maybe I can help some future historian with what things were like for people - or what they were like for this person anyhow - during the pandemic? In the meantime, it tells any of my family and friends who want to know what's going on where I am, and gives me a place to talk about it, which I think I need right now. At least, in these early days, while I wrap my head around it all. So maybe I'm doing this more for myself than anything? Either way, here it is.

***~~~***

Monday March 16th 2020:
People are going crazy panic-buying things. Especially toilet roll. Personally, I'm just hoping they leave enough that there's food when the pickers are doing my shopping on Wednesday, so my Asda delivery arrives. I'm also hoping they leave enough for others to eat, have toilet roll, etc. What's wrong with people? Hording items, and fighting over them - not to mention the thing where someone took advantage of someone being blind to steal stuff from their trolley - is ridiculous. You'd swear it was the appocalypse, and these were the last supplies in the world. I think too many people have read/watched too many zombie appocalypse books/movies. Calm down, people!

***~~~***

Tuesday March 17th 2020:
I'm continuing to hear of hording of supplies all over the world, especially toilet paper. The toilet paper thing still baffles me. Perhaps those who don't understand the true nature of things are hearing the word "virus" and thinking of those kinds of stomach viruses that mean you'll be needing a lot of bathroom time? Either way, I wish the hording of items would stop. Not just toilet paper is being horded now, and shelves are being emptied too quickly by these horders. I wish they'd remember that other people need supplies too. I'm not scared of the virus, but the way people are behaving... That scares me. Fights over supplies and everything, and it's only the start of all this.

My Aunty Susan (Mam's sister) was told she has to go in to isolation. We're certain it's just a cold she has, but her health isn't great, and she's fast approaching 60 years old. so it's just a procaution. I hope it is just a cold. I'm not close with her, but she's family. Besides, too many lives have been lost with this thing already, and it's barely gotten started.

***~~~***

Wednesday March 18th 2020:
I thought I was doing well at not letting worries about Covid-19 get to me. Judging by my moment of gut-wrenching panic at the sight of the eMail update that tells me what will and won't be coming in my shopping order from Asda, which caused me to need to take some time to get my anxiety under control before I could even open it to see what was out of stock, since for a moment there I wasn't sure if I was going to throw up or pass out, I guess I'm not doing as well as I'd hoped I was. Thankfully though, it's not as bad as I feared. Only one thing is completely out of stock. A large amount of my stuff is being substituted though, but at least it's for versions of the same kind of stuff, and they're substitutes I can accept. Like I said, I got lucky. I even got some toilet paper.

Something similar happened with ordering pet food. Pets @ Home are out of almost everything, so I had to order from Amazon. I was able to get Artemis the usual tortoise pellets, but had to get a different brand of chinchilla mix for Mollie, and a different dry dog food for Lilie and Logan. At least I was able to get them stuff though, so they'll be good for a couple of months now. I also went on The Vegan Kind and ordered some extras of the dry herbs Mollie and Artemis can eat, so at least they'll have those to supplement their pellets if I start having trouble getting fresh stuff. I have a good supply of herbs already, but I'm getting low on many of them, so thought I'd top up now... Just in case. After all, between me using them regularly for my own food, and them having them, those little jars and packets of herbs don't last long, so I'll soon need to top up anyhow.

My Mam was advised to self-isolate. She's almost 60 (she'll be 60 at the end of the year) and has various health issues, including asthma, so they think it would be best. She was a bit upset about it until I pointed out she doesn't go out much anyhow, and can still do all the things she does at home. Soon afterwards I learned all asthmatics were being given the same warning. So I guess I'm self-isolating too. I don't go out much, so I'm not bothered by that.

The first deaths near me were reported today, right around the time Borris Johnson (the Prime Minister) did his speach about placing London on lockdown, and bringing in the military to enforce it. Borris Johnson seems to think this will be over in the next three months. I hope he's right, and the mob mentality of the general population doesn't cause too much damage in the meantime. Let's hope this isn't a repeat of the comment about the war being over by Christmas made at the start of one of the wars last century... I think it was WWII? Or was it WWI? Well, it was one of them, and I can't be bothered to look it up. Either way, I hope this isn't a repeat of that, with a promise of a quick resolution that can't be kept. After all, how can the government promise such a thing? Nobody really knows right now when this will come to an end, and what will happen between now and then. I only hope mass panic doesn't cause too much devostation, and the death toll doesn't rise much higher.

***~~~***

Thursday March 19th 2020:
I was going to put in another shopping order for next week, to top up supplies a bit, but can't get a delivery slot until April 9th. I've booked some shopping to come then anyhow. I should be OK until then with what I have in, even if we run out of bread and fresh produce, and can't get more between now and then. I went on The Vegan Kind and was able to order some nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and tortilla wraps, so that should help.

We have a couple of bottles of water on hand too. Water supply should be fine during all this, but I wanted to make sure we had some, just in case. Especially for the petkids. Artemis can't afford to become dehydrated. I mean, it wouldn't be good for the rest of us either, but it's incredibly dangerous - and can happen quite quickly - for a tortoise. Especially a young one like Artemis. I mean, what if something happens with our pipes, and the landlords can't get someone willing to risk coming out for a day or two? Need water for the petkids while we wait.

They say schools in the UK will be remaining closed until September. This doesn't matter to me personally, but there's a lot of mixed feelings about it from what I've seen. Some parents are glad to be able to have their kids close, while others are annoyed at not being able to send them off to school. If it was me, I'd be glad to have the excuse to have them close. I know I'm glad my petkids are right here with me. Although, I can understand how it must be difficult for those who have to continue to work during this, and now need to figure out what to do with their children while they do so. I think people have already started losing jobs over it.

A couple of people I know who are old enough to remember war time rationing are predicting a return to that. I think we're sort of there already, since shops have now started putting restrictions on how much of each item you can buy. People are cheating the system, of course, but it's an attempt to ration items. If this goes on long enough, it's entirely possible ration cards might be needed after all. Not to mention, certain items might be harder to get hold of in general with borders getting closed left and right, so varieties of items might suffer for it in many places too. Either way, if actual rationing like in the war does happen - as some of the older people fear it will - I hope they take different dietary needs in to consideration.

***~~~***

Friday March 20th 2020:
We were going to go out to Oscars for a meal to celebrate the Spring Equinox. A meal out and a walk along the seafront would have been a lovely way to celebrate. Under the circumstances though, we thought better of it. Kelly doesn't want me going out more than absolutely essential. I told him straight I'll be taking Logan for the odd short walk at least, since I won't have him stuck in the whole time this is going on, and he won't go with Kelly. Besides, I do need some fresh air and daylight too. Kelly reluctantly agreed, but I think only for Logan's sake, and possibly also just to shut me up. Anyway, we ordered Chinese instead of going out. Slightly less exposure for me, and gives an extra day of food, since my supplies will last that extra little bit longer. That was my excuse anyhow.

I know Easter isn't until April, but since it's the Spring Equinox we celebrate, we exchanged some goodies for it. We had five things: one from each other, and one from each of the petkids. Mine were a vegan chocolate egg, a vegan strawberry and white chocolate hamster, a vegan cream egg, some Easter lemon and lime vegan marshmallows, and a little vegan friendly chocolate bunny.

When I was checking on our friends, Lorna and Andy, and mentioned my inability to get a shopping order until April, they were going to add some stuff to their shopping for us (since they have a slot booked for next week that they reserved a few weeks ago). So much is gone though that everything I listed that would be good options for them to grab for us seems to be out of stock. Part of me is relieved, since I felt guilty accepting the offer, even as I did so. I mean, it was nice of them to think of it - and the extra supplies would have been welcome - but they were going to come out of self-isolation to bring it to us. So, I'm torn between being disappointed they won't be bringing us extra supplies, and glad I won't be the reason they break isolation (Lorna is in her 70s, and Andy is in his 50s... Andy's also asthmatic and has heart problems).

My Aunty Bev (Dad's brother's partner) is in Australia. She went there to visit family or something. My brother, Wayne, who has more to do with them than I do, told me at this point she's not sure if or when she'll be allowed to come home because of all the flight cancellations and border closures. I hope they let her come home, even if she has to spend time in total isolation for the first couple of weeks (I heard those being allowed to come home are being forced to isolate themselves completely for 14 days, just in case, even from their own family). Anyway, though I'm only finding out about this today, it's today she'll arrive back in the UK if she gets to come home OK.

I read that the number of confirmed cases of the virus in the UK is creeping close to 4000. Something like 177 of those have died. Eight of those are less than 50 miles from where I live. It's horrible to think of so many deaths happening so close together - made even worse by the knowledge the numbers are much higher elsewhere - but a relief to see the majority of people seem to be surviving. I hope the survival rate continues to be higher than the death toll. Someone said in one of the scientific papers I read that if a certain amount of people get it, the general population will build up an immunity to the virus. I hope that's the case, and that we don't lose too many more people before we start seeing signs of that.

***~~~***

Saturday March 21st 2020:
Just since yesterday, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK has gone past 5000, with 233 of those dying. Most of those who have died were already vulnerable (AKA old and not in the best of health) but that doesn't make it any less sad. Plus, it's "most" - the younger generations aren't immune. I'm pretty sure none of those new cases is near me, and don't know of anyone I'm related to or friends with who has died. Aunty Susan and my Mam are both fine, and everyone else seems to be too. I checked in with most of them personally, and they'd checked in with a lot of the others, or one of us had seen online activity recently from them. Although, there's a particular online friend I haven't spoken to recently who hasn't checked in... I hope he's OK.

I found out this morning that Borris Johnson announced yesterday that all bars and such should close for the duration. I can see the logic in this, but people aren't happy. It's got to be hardest on those who rely on those businesses for money to feed their families and pay their bills. Like the people from Oscars, who had a hard Winter because the storms were stopping a lot of people going out, and now they've had to close. I know because I spoke to Sarah from Oscars today. Wanted to make sure they were doing OK. Sarah says they're going to do a delivery service. Might have to make use of that option. I know it would help them financially, and it would help my stuff last a bit longer too.

The shops that are staying open - mainly food places - have restricted their opening hours, and made some of those hours spacifically for the elderly and disabled to do their shopping. They've also all imposed strict rules on limits of how many of each item you can buy. The shops and government are all urging - or you might even call it begging - people to shop sensibly, and pointing out that there would be plenty of food for everyone if people would stop being greedy and hording items. Nobody's listening. People are cheating the system by grabbing as much as they can, and then sending their partner, older teenage children, etc, to do the same, or going from shop to shop doing it in every one of them. Why are humans so greedy?

Pets @ Home sent out an eMail promising they were restocking, and informing us that they'd be setting up the same restrictions the people food shops are to avoid the same thing happening again. They also assured everyone they'd be staying open, no matter what, to ensure our pets are fed and such during these difficult times. They're suspending their pet care workshops and such (which they do to teach children about proper pet care) but that makes sense. At least getting pet supplies when what I have runs out will be an option, even if Pets @ Home admitted they can't guarantee the usual brands. I don't mind that though. As long as there's food and things available for the petkids, that's fine.

The reptile place we usually go to for some of Artemis' stuff has said something similar.

It's looking like that rationing is close after all. All that's left is for the government to issue us with some kind of card or something that prevents us cheating the system and getting more than what should be our ration. The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if they aren't already talking about possibly doing that if people don't calm down. Part of me thinks they should, for the sake of those who are struggling to do even a basic shop already.

Events right up until September are being cancelled all over the place. It even looks like a lot of movie and TV show production and releases have been postponed for the foreseeable future... Maybe even all of the movie and TV show production for all I know. Kelly says the film industry is going to take quite a hit because of it, especially with cinemas now closed too. I'm inclined to agree with him.

Despite all the entertainments available to people from the comfort of their own homes - including authors who have put their books on sale or made them free, people who are doing new YouTube content from home spacifically to entertain the housebound, educational tours opening up online for free so you can check out museums from the comfort and relative safety of your own home, etc - people who aren't used to being made to stay home are already complaining of boredom. I'd seen some of it myself, and Dad mentioned it when I spoke to him today too. With all the things we have access to from home these days, not to mention the old forms of entertainment like reading, doing crafts, etc, it amazes me that people can be bored so quickly. Surely they can entertain themselves for a few weeks before boredom and cabin fever sets in? It's only been a few days, people! Not to mention, it strikes me as kind of odd, considering how much time people usually spend at home staring at tablets and computers. So, if they're doing it because they want to, they can do it all day, but if you tell them they have to, suddenly they don't want to any more... Is that how it works? People are strange!

Yes, Aunty Bev did make it back. Just in case you were wondering. She's home where she belongs now. She was lucky. Plenty of others still haven't made it home. Nobody I know, I don't think. But still.

***~~~***

Sunday March 22nd 2020:
Today is Mothers' Day in the UK, and everyone is being advised not to go visit their Mother, and only see her if they already live with her, for fear the Mothers will all end up sick - especially those who are of the older generation. I wasn't going to be visiting mine anyhow, even if it wasn't for this virus situation, because she's all the way in Wales, and I'm in the South-East of England, but I bet there are some who won't like that they can't, and others who will visit their Mother regardless.

Speaking of parents: they're predicting that being forced to be stuck in together will mean a bit of a baby boom in about nine months time. Well, yeah, I expect plenty of people will use that option to help with the boredom, especially since many of them are apparently already running out of other ways to pass the time. *wink*

Not that everyone is staying in. In fact, a rather large number of people are carrying on like nothing is happening. Despite pleas from the NHS and government for people to stay inside as much as possible, keeping outings to essential trips to do things, and stay at least 2m (that's roughly 6ft) apart, the beaches were full of people. I not only read about it on newsfeeds, but heard the people out there on the stretch of beach by us. I'm not saying people shouldn't go out at all. I mean, people do need some fresh air, of course. Dogs need to get walked too. But they weren't just taking a walk along the beach. They were out there messing about, having picnics because the seafront cafes have closed, etc. Quite a contrast from the people who are disinfecting doorknobs before they'll enter a building.

Maybe I'm being over sensative about it because of the way the NHS and government are acting? It's possible. But this is why I don't believe the prediction that this will be over in three months. How can it be when people are either panicking and going over-boared with disinfecting and hording things, or ignoring guidelines put in place to try and stop this thing spreading more than it already has. I think those in the latter group think they're safe, because they aren't in the at risk group. Well, guess what? That's not true. For example, children were meant to be safe, especially completely healthy ones, but tell that to the parents of the 12 year old girl in Georgia I read about through the international newsfeeds, who had no health issues before, but is now on a respirator in hospital, fighting for her life after ending up with the virus. We need to find a happy medium, people, and fast. Judging by the video I saw of his speach from today on the BBC YouTube channel, Borris Johnson certainly seems to feel the same.

We'll get through this, of course - the human race as a whole, I mean, since obviously a lot of people won't - but we'll do so quicker if people start acting sensibly. Yeah, a tall order for the human race, I know.

***~~~***

Monday March 23rd 2020:
The landlords came for the rent today. Many landlords are giving their tenants some rent-free time to help them deal with the changing situation, but apparently ours aren't among them. They didn't linger to chat like they usually do though. They just came to the door of the building to meet Kelly, grabbed the rent and left. Well, they did also bring cake. Not that I can have any, since they keep forgetting I'm vegan, and it contains eggs and dairy. The thought was there though, and I'm sure Kelly will enjoy it. I thanked them anyhow, because it's the polite thing to do.

My Mam had been struggling to get a shopping delivery slot, so I stayed up past midnight to snag her one as soon as the calender changed. It only shows a certain number of days in advance, so displays a day later each time a day goes by, if that makes sense. Anyway, we'd tried all the different shops for potential slots on the weekend, but kept missing them, so I stayed up to grab her one as soon as they became available. Even so, the first couple were already filling by people who had clearly had the same idea, so the earliest slot I could get her was late morning on April 13th. Luckily, she has plenty of food for herself and Izabel (her dog) at the moment, so shouldn't run out before then. I guess I'll have to do the same for both of us again in a couple of weeks, so I can get us slots for later in April (for when my stuff coming on April 9th, and hers on April 13th, runs out). Hopefully I can get it that we won't have to wait nearly a month - well, OK, a little over three weeks - before we can get more food next time. Also, hopefully this hording business has calmed down by the time our deliveries are due to come, and we get everything I ordered for us.

I got a call from the hospital this morning. Since the results of the biopsy they did on the lump they removed from my tongue a couple of weeks ago were fine, and I'm healing well, they have decided to discharge me without seeing me, because they're trying to stop non-essential hospital appointments while things are so bad with the virus situation. So I no longer have to go for my follow-up appointment in May. A silver lining to all this, if you ask me, since I got the results sooner, and didn't have to deal with the hastle of a hospital trip to find out what they were.

I called the vet to ask about Lilie and Logan's flea and worming stuff. After a bunch of questions that essentially boiled down to, "Do you have Covid-19, or have you come in contact with anyone who does?" I got approval for one of us to go fetch the stuff on Wednesday. They seemed relieved when I confirmed that we have the health care thing set up, which means we don't have to stay long enough to mess about with paying them, so they can just have the stuff ready for Kelly to grab, meet him at the door, hand it to him, and send him away.

I should have been organizing Logan's neuter about now too, but under the circumstances that's going to have to be postponed, since it's non-essential. I mean, it would be good to get it done, but it can wait. Hopefully things will improve soon, and we can get that done in the near future.

The number of confirmed deaths in the UK have reached 335, with more than 350,000 worldwide. In response to this - and the continued insistance of some people of ignoring social distancing rules - Borris Johnson has put the UK on lockdown. We're allowed to go out for essential errands, medical appointments, and if we have a job we absolutely have to go to. We're also allowed a short outing each day for exercise for ourselves, as well as to walk our dogs if we have them. But that's it, and we have to observe social distancing rules, and stay at least 2m apart, while doing this. We should aim to stay at least 2m away from anyone we don't actually live with. Oh, and all non-essential shops and businesses are to close immediately. He's placed us on lockdown for three weeks, and seems to be hoping he can lift it after that, since he says he'll review the situation at that point. I'm doubtful lockdown will only last that long though, since I bet plenty of people will ignore it.

***~~~***

Tuesday March 24th 2020:
I got a text message from the government telling me I had to stay home to help the NHS and save lives. Mam did too, so I was assuming everyone else also got one, except that's apparently not the case. I spoke to some people on the phone who say they didn't. We're working on the theory it was either only sent to people on benifits who are considered most vulnerable, or was sent to those of us falling in to that group first (if the latter, the others will get theirs soon). Seeing that they consider things serious enough to do something like that made me wish I could do what Artemis was doing at the time, and tuck myself up in my shell to sleep under a heat lamp. I wish I was a tortoise right now.

On a brighter note, I finally heard from that friend I was worried about, and he's OK. Quarantined at home, but OK. Also, my Aunty Susan's cold is much better. So, yes, it does look like that's all she had. Either that, or she had a very mild case of the virus. We're pretty sure it was just a cold though. We're hoping she'll be completely better soon, and I'm crossing my fingers that's the closest anyone I know comes to scares with getting this virus, whether family, friend, or neighbour.

***~~~***

Wednesday March 25th 2020:
It looks like that government text about staying home is being sent to everyone, because more people are getting it.

There were people doing something along the seafront today. Obviously council workmen or something similar. Not sure what they were doing, but they were being noisy about it. A fact that was even more obvious in the near silence of the street. Both before they came, and after they left, I was glad of the sounds of the seagulls and other birds, because without them it would have felt eerie. As it is, the odd vehicle that did go past seemed strange.

Kelly went to get Lilie and Logan's flea and worming stuff today. On his way back, he was able to grab some milk for himself (I still have some of my vegan milks) and a loaf of bread. I've never been so glad to see a loaf of bread before. The last of ours was almost gone, I wasn't able to get any yeast so I could make my own when it runs out, and I know bread is something people are struggling to find. We do have some wraps, but they won't help for long, so the bread is very welcome. I'm glad he was able to get himself some milk too, since the only vegan milk he'll drink is hazelnut, I only have one carton of that left, and it's tough to get hold of at the best of times.

It seems Prince Charles - next in line for the throne - has tested positive for the Coronavirus. I hear he's abdocated the throne in light of this diagnosis, and Prince William - next in line after Charles - is King Regent until all this is over, because Queen Elizabeth is so old they want to keep her isolated, since her chances of survival if she gets it are slim because of her age and her health not being 100% anyhow. I only heard that last part in rumours though... It may not be true. But I actually read the news about Prince Charles testing positive for Covid-19, and have no doubt it's the truth, because some of the sources I saw it on are generally reliable. I wonder if Prince Charles will be one of the people who get better?

I've been having trouble sleeping. More so than usual, I mean. I haven't had more than a bit of a nap in over a week. Not to mention, with everything plastered all over social media right now, I'm torn between wanting to check it regularly to make sure nobody I know is sick, and wanting to avoid it and hide away in books and movies while playing with the petkids until this is over. Except, I can't hide until it's over, because I can't avoid the world for that long. Besides, there's the whole need to check on people thing. I'd only end up even more anxious not knowing, especially since it could be a long time before this is over. Yeah, I know they say a few months at most, but I'm not convinced.

It's not the being shut in that bothers me. I love my space, and am perfectly content to be at home. I do feel sorry for Lilie and Logan with walks being restricted, but for myself, I don't mind a bit. It's also not because I'm scared about the virus. I'm not. I'm scared of how people are behaving, the fact many have shown what monsters the human race can be, and what the future will hold. But not the virus itself.

It's something more than that. It's that my heart aches for those pets cast aside and now in shelters, because owners they were devoted to got rid of them for fear they'd cause them to end up sick. It aches for the children who don't understand why they can't go to the park or out to play with their friends like they used to - especially those for whom those things, and school, were the only escape from abuse at home. It aches too for dogs like Lilie, missing long walks where we could linger on the beach or at the park, and not understanding why the few people we might see while out - if we do see any at all - keep their distance, and won't come and say, "Hi," to her like they've done on all her previous walks. And, for the first time in my life, I actually mean it deep down when I say I'm glad I never managed to have children, because the thought of the future they might have had terrifies me.

I know it's not all doom and gloom. There are those doing what they can to help. Doctors and nurses coming out of retirement to help care for the sick. People stepping forward to help with delivering food and medical supplies to people at home, so that more delivery slots are opening up (meaning I might be able to get one more easily when I try for a food delivery next) and so on. But far more people are showing way too much of the, "Every man for himself," attitude, and it makes me sad that so much of the human race was so quick to go down that path. Not to mention, it makes me fear for the future.

There will be a future; we'll get through this. The human race will always find a way. But I'm scared of what kind of future it will be, and what we'll have to go through to reach whatever our new "normal" will eventually become.

Shortly after I wrote the earlier part of today's entry,Kelly made me have some serious pet therapy. He took away both phones, and insisted I stay out of the computer room, thus cutting my contact with social media, various newspaper feeds, etc, for a while. I could have refused to do it, but I knew even at the time I needed it, so I spent a good 20 minutes or so - just an estimate, since I wasn't keeping track - simply lying on the bed cuddling with Lilie and Logan, and then spent an hour or so sprawled on the sofa being climbed on by Artemis. It helped. I think it did anyhow. I mean, I felt a bit better, and more like I could deal with all of this, afterwards. Gotta love pet therapy, and Kelly for knowing how much I needed some, especially since there's no way he could have known what I'd written in this entry at that point.

Part of me still feels like playing tortoise and hiding away until all of this is over, but it's a smaller part now.

***~~~***

Thursday March 26th 2020:
I finally slept a decent amount. Slept almost solidly for nearly eight hours. I actually woke up feeling relatively well rested for the first time in a couple of weeks. I think the exhaustion caught up with me. Either that, or the pet therapy session helped even more than I thought. I may also be starting to feel the benifits of writing this thing. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's all three of those combined.

According to the Facebook page for the local newspaper, the police are out in the street, enforcing the lockdown and the social distancing rules for those who have reason to be out during it. From what I've heard, it's the same elsewhere too, with drones and helicopters sometimes even getting in on the action by patroling areas from the sky.

I looked in to some of those extra food delivery slots. Apparently I waited too long. I was able to get my Mam one for a week earlier (she had a slot booked for April 13th, and now also has some stuff coming on April 8th) but since April 8th was the earliest available slot by this point, and mine is booked for April 9th anyhow, I left my own slot alone. I'll run out of some things before then, but I'll have stuff I can eat - even if I'll have to make do without a few ingredients, tweak a few recipes, etc, to compensate for the things that won't last that long, and will be using up my store cupboard staples. But I'll have food, which is all that matters. If only people would calm down, this wouldn't even be a worry, since officially there should be plenty of food for everyone. Hopefully things will improve before the 9th - at least as far as hording of stuff is concerned - and I'll be able to get everything that's in my order, and be good for a couple of weeks again.

Despite not having all that much of it, I used some of the bit of flour I have, and made myself some cake, because I wanted some, and Kelly had cake. Maybe not a great reason, but everyone needs a treat sometimes. I made a blackberry and lavender cake, because that seemed like a good idea, and I had everything I needed to make it (I had been planning to make a crumble with those blackberries, but never mind). It's very tasty, if I do say so myself.

It's Lilie's third birthday today. I brought her some new balls shortly before all this started getting really bad. Luckily I don't object to them being thrown indoors, because she certainly won't be playing with them on the beach, since we're on lockdown, so we can't have her out for long. Not to mention, we realized this morning that some of what those workers were doing out there was putting up barriers to stop people even gaining access to the beach. So we can't even take a short walk along the seafront any more. I hear they've done the same kind of thing to park entrances. With no garden, this means all our dogs can have is a walk around the block once a day, and we have to hope we don't see anyone when we're out (partially because of narrow streets, but especially because the dogs don't understand why people have gone from calling them adorable and practically begging us to say it's OK for them to come pet the dogs, to practically running in the opposite direction when they see us coming, and I hate to see their enthusiastic attempts at greeting the neighbours end in confusion and disappointment). Like I said, it's a good thing I don't mind balls being thrown indoors. In fact, quite often I'm the one throwing them, so... *shrugs*

We were going to get Oscars to bring us some food to celebrate Lilie's birthday, but I couldn't get an answer on their phone when I tried calling. I hope they're OK, and it doesn't either mean something happened to them, or mean they can't do the planned delivery thing after all, because of the full lockdown. I'd hate for them to be one of the businesses that won't be able to rise from the ashes once this is all over. Although, more than that, I'd hate for any of them to get sick and die. They've become friends in our eyes over the past couple of years.

There was a country-wide thing this evening to clap for the NHS. A lot of people did do it. Unfortunately, a lot of people also decided to take the oppertunity to use some of the fireworks they have left over from last year, and set those off too, upsetting a lot of already agitated and confused dogs - ours included, especially Logan, who doesn't like fireworks at the best of times. I love that so much support was shown for the NHS, and those people at the frontline, so to speak, trying to battle this virus. But I do wish people would show more consideration for the animals. It's hard enough for them not understanding all the routine changes, limitations on walks, and why their humans are so anxious. Poor things. Still, like I said, I did love hearing just how many people did go to doorsteps and windows, or in to their gardens, to show their support for the nurses and doctors who are the ones putting themselves at most risk in the war against this virus, as they've shown support for soldiers in the regular kinds of war.

As of today, more than 11,600 people (I think the number is 11,668) have tested positive for the Coronavirus in the UK. 578 of those have died. 39 of those cases where the person has died are in East Sussex, which is the part of England I'm in.

***~~~***

Friday March 27th 2020:
It seems the prime minister, Borris Johnson, has now tested positive for the virus. So has the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, apparently. Borris Johnson says both of their symptoms are mild, and insists he's going to keep leading the country - remotely, of course - while in isolation and trying to fight the virus himself. Unless he gets too sick, of course, since he might be one of the people who dies. Maybe not, if his symptoms are as mild as he claims. But we'll see. I wonder who will be our next Prime Minister if Borris Johnson dies?

I think I'm coping better today. I'm getting in plenty of pet therapy, and it's helping me keep my anxiety under control, even if just barely. The deaths, the uncertainty for the future, and how so many people are behaving during all of this... All those things are still getting to me, still keeping my anxiety bubbling right below the surface, and still making me feel a little like I want to hide in my shell like a frightened tortoise. But the petkids are helping me deal with it by being there to cuddle with, and by needing me to be there for them too.

***~~~***

Saturday March 28th 2020:
I basically just spent the day alternating between reading, watching YouTube videos, and talking to my brother, Carl, most of the time while also playing with the petkids - for example, I had Artemis climbing all over me while I was talking to Carl, and was playing with Lilie and Logan while listening to my audiobook - in an attempt to avoid thinking about the current situation. It was only partially successful. Any moments of distraction are welcome right now though, so I'm calling it a day well spent, even if a large part of mine and Carl's conversation was at least partially linked to the new situation we find ourselves in. Though we did also have an interesting conversation centred around food, in particular how changing the way you eat - such as excluding something from your diet, or making a point to cook from scratch - seems to make you more likely to be willing to experiment with cooking, and how that can make your opinion and tastes change when it comes to food.

Borris Johnson and Prince Charles are still alive, thought to have mild cases of the virus, and expected to make a full recovery. I think the same is true of Matt Hancock, though nobody's talking about him much. In fact, Borris Johnson is the one getting most of the attention. Even Prince Charles isn't getting much mention since the Prime Minister also got sick.

A new hospital is opening in London spacifically to treat patients with Covid-19. Or it might be an old hospital reopening. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure. They're saying it's going to be spacifically for patients with the virus though, and I think they said it was going to be called "The Nightingale Hospital" or something like that. That name is what makes me wonder if it's actually an old hospital reopening. It doesn't matter, as long as as many people as possible get care, and as many lives as possible can be saved. Too many have already been lost, despite the survival rate being higher than the death rate. I mean, the UK death toll reached 1,019 today.

***~~~***

Sunday March 29th 2020:
In an effort to focus on stuff that had nothing to do with the current worldwide situation, I devoted the day to DVD watching and pet therapy only. So, I spent a large chunk of the day lying on the sofa, watching DVDs, while Artemis climbed all over me, and Lilie and Logan alternated between playing together, coming to get some attention from me, and napping. There was a point where I was just curled up in the chair with Logan watching DVDs too.

Of course, I couldn't fully escape the reality of our current situation all day without totally avoiding the computer for the entire day - and besides, there's a part of me that needs to know what's going on - so did end up hearing a few things, like the fact that the death toll in the UK has increased rapidly again, reaching more than 1,200. On the other hand, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 where people have recovered has reached more than 19,500. So, at least the survival rate remains much higher than the death rate, which is sort of comforting anyhow.

Also, some expert on diseases and things is saying three weeks lockdown won't be long enough, so the UK should stay on lockdown until June, which a lot of people weren't happy to hear about. I'm not sure if we're going to do that, but since the government has declared a state of emergency, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that was going to be the case. I actually suspect it was an effort to stop the panic getting worse that stopped them saying that length of time to start with, especially since those of us asked to self-isolate because of medical conditions like asthma were told to do so for 12 weeks. A time-frame which, as it happens, takes us in to June. Not to mention, three months was the time-frame Borris Johnson originally gave for this being over with, so I think they suspected they'd need to do longer than three weeks for the lockdown on those grounds too. After all, they didn't say it would only be for three weeks, but that they'd review the situation in three weeks.

Another thing that makes me suspect they planned to have us on lockdown longer than three weeks to start with is that I also heard that the government is considering sending out food care packages to the vulnerable, because of how panicked horders keep grabbing everything as fast as the shelves are restocked (despite all the restrictions set in place to try and stop this happening). If they do, I hope they take different dietary needs in to consideration. Not just because of vegans like myself, or vegetarians like our friends, Lorna and Andy, but also because of those with allergies, medical conditions like diabetes, etc.

***~~~***

Monday March 30th 2020:
The UK has been placed in emergency mode, putting procedures in place that haven't been used since WWII, and were originally not intended to be used during peacetime, which basically involve more of what they've been starting over the past couple of weeks with the lockdown, only with strict penalties - like large fines, and possibly even jail time - for anyone who fails to comply. Something they'd already been talking about bringing in to effect, since so many people are ignoring the rules of the lockdown. I'm torn between thinking the government's actions are a bit of an over-reaction, and thinking they should have done this sooner. On the one hand, we need to do something to get the situation under control. On the other hand, there's a lot of over-reaction when it comes to this virus situation, and the emergency status is only going to make the panic worse. To be honest, I don't envy the people in charge right now, and am glad I'm not the one who has to figure out what to do to get this situation under control.

There is some good news though: I did hear correctly, and care packages will be sent out to the vulnerable - in fact, they're already starting to send them out, according to what I heard this morning - containing things like toilet roll, personal hygiene products, food items like tinned fruits and vegetables, etc. Vulnerable people will also be contacted with details on how they can get in touch with a spacific department that's been set up to help them with any additional support they might need, especially those without family or friends they can rely on for help.

They're also going to work with airlines to get UK residents stuck abroad home. Though those people will be forced to observe a quarantine period when they first return to the country, I'm sure they'll be glad to be heading home at last.

The government is now admitting this thing won't be over in the couple of weeks they hoped. In fact, they're now saying it's more likely to be six months before we even start seeing a return to anything even resembling normality, and some reports say the adjustments we're going to have to make for this will change the way we do a lot of things in the future, including the way work is conducted (with a lot more people just working from home in future, for example).

***~~~***

That's as far as I'm going with the day by day journaling of this situation. I'll check in from time to time to let you know what the situation is where I am, and how I'm doing with all of this, but I don't plan to keep this day by day thing up. I just wanted to chronicle the beginning. Partly to show you what it was like where I am, and partly to help myself while I wrap my head around this situation, and the way people are behaving because of it. Because that's the thing that I'm really struggling with: the way people are behaving. There are those still ignoring the lockdown, as if it doesn't apply to them, and others taking it to the other extreme, hording items and hiding away like it's the apocalypse. We need to find a middle ground. Why is that so difficult for people to grasp? I thought human beings were intelligent creatures?

So, how were the past couple of weeks for you?

If you've been having a hard time dealing with it all too, remember: we'll get through this. Even if it takes a while.

Also, it's OK to not be OK.