A new phase and a new routine. Gone are the slightly awkward elbow bumps and uncertainties. Now we know what we should be doing and can get used to the new way of life – hoping it doesn’t go on for too long, recognising it will be longer than we want.

I still haven’t written much in the last week or so. A few ideas, that’s all. Still haven’t got round to Facebook or Amazon marketing and so on – I really need to do that. I have arranged to chat with someone who has some experience so there’s an excuse for delay right there.

What I have been doing is setting up Skype and Zoom calls, Facetiming the family, playing a little music (too little) and connecting with others – Facebook groups, WhatsApp. I’ve also been on the hunt for kitchen roll, eggs and long life skimmed milk – which, for various reasons, is what we always use, always have in stock, but which seems unavailable at the moment. Given how many people turn their noses up at it generally, I find the sudden popularity a little surprising. I guess this will all settle down.

So what have I learnt? That there are any number of Skype alternatives and everyone has their pet provider. That you can take part in a virtual choir practice, although pitching in isolation from other members can be challenging, that people want to pull together by whatever means they can, and that face to face meetings can be replaced. And that some things I take for granted are immensely valuable – the ability to sit in the garden, the places of peace round about (one of which is pictured) and the joy of the morning dog walk.

Over the next few days I will be singing Haydn’s Nelson Mass from the comfort of my study, as part of my choir – a slightly surreal replacement for the concert we had planned, planning a Mystery Play for a now uncertain date, hosting a Skype meeting of a dozen or so poets, and trying to find time for the things I’ve been putting off. Not quite the bored expanse of inactivity I might have anticipated.

This blog post originally appeared on Tony’s website.

Photo: © Tony Earnshaw