Posted in The Quarantine Diaries, Writing

Coming Up

I’m in organisation mode right now, at home and online. So while I’m taking a quick break from cleaning my house I wanted to let you all know what I’ve got planned for in the coming weeks.

Armchair Traveller

Since quarantine is still ongoing, it doesn’t look like we’re travelling anywhere new anytime soon – the next best option? Memories! I’m trawling through my archives; photos and journals, and I’ll be writing up posts of my favourite places, things to do, and best experiences. I’ll also be giving advice on sites in and around Glasgow like museums and great days out.

52- Week Challenge

The last 30-day blogging challenge was fun but a bit hefty trying to post everyday. I found a good year long weekly challenge that’ll allow me to share a little more stuff with everyone but without being so spammy. Here’s a copy of the challenge if you want to join in.

52-week challenge. Credit: Adventures with Amanda


Obviously, I’ve still being crocheting nearly every day. Though I did lose my crojo for a bit, more that I couldn’t get any patterns to work for me. Damn v-shaped scarves! I guess sometimes watching videos instead of reading patterns can cause a little difficulty… and trying to work on multiple projects at the same time isn’t a great idea. One ball at a time!

Giant round granny blanket

I finished watching all 12 seasons of Bones a few weeks ago! It was epic and sad, I won’t spoil it but the ending was not what I expected, but for once a show had a decent ending! Naturally that spawned a ‘watching’ slump, I have Ally McBeal for my lawyer show, Grey’s Anatomy and New Amsterdam for medical shows, The Walking Dead for zombies, Winona Earp, Vanessa Van Helsing and Grimm for weirdo shows… so I had no normal crime shows. I dabbled a bit in NCIS a few times and it’s good but I’m not hooked yet… I am however addicted now to Criminal Minds, criminally so. Sorry. I’m nearly on season 3, in a matter of days… How have I never seen this show before? Led by the delightful Mandy Patinkin (also known as Saul in Homeland – I’m also catching up with that) the team is the BAU, Behavioural Analysis Unit within the FBI who profile and catch killers. It’s not Bones but the story lines are compelling and the dialogue is quick-fire and witty.


I just finished reading Lonely Planet’s How to be a Travel Writer by Don George and Janine Eberle, while detailed and insightful, it was also dreadfully negative and off-putting. Perhaps some would say it’s realist but after reaching the last page, I feel far less-inclined now to pursue any kind of travel writing. The suggestions seem to be that if you’re lucky enough to already be loaded then go fly off somewhere and experience the life and culture then come home and write a bunch of articles with different slants and send them off to magazines and newspapers and hope you make a few hundred quid off them. Otherwise, the game is already over for you. Maybe I’m more of a dreamer, I’d like to believe that sometimes things can just work out. In the mean time, I’ll be writing all my travel stuff on here and attempt some other publications soon.

I’ve also ended my Kindle Unlimited subscription because I already have a ton of books in the house and purchased on my kindle (and audible) that I need to get through. Plus I realised that I’ve had most of the same books in my KU library for years so I’m paying £7.99 a month for nothing. I’ve put Audible on pause for a few months, I have a decent stack of books to get through and some are lectures so are 20+ hours and I have IT by Stephen King which clocks in close to 50 hours.

And I’m working on my novel, I promise. I’m feeling very inspired right now, especially since the new Dresden Files book, Peace Talks, is launching in July (likely the only good thing to happen in 2020) so I want to plough through as much of mine as I can before then.

Anyone started a new show? Or enjoying a new book? Let me know!

e x

Posted in The Quarantine Diaries

I am Procrastinator…

Hear me… get back to you later with that one.

Nothing really matters

I’ve done nothing but avoid things for the last couple of days. And why not? It’s not like anyone’s really doing anything now. Except I have a to-do list a mile long of all the things I wanted to progress with when I had the time. Even this post has been sitting in my drafts for four days.. But what even is a day anymore?

Shopping’s not as fun as it was

I haven’t left the house in nearly a week, apart from taking out the bins. I’ll go to Lidl tomorrow but it’s all fairly dramatic these days. Last time a guy smooshed himself against the shelves of cereal as he walked passed me as if I was marching around with open sores, and a woman tutted when I turned my trolly round and headed back up the aisle.

To-do or not to-do?

Alas, I have re-investigated my to-do list and broken it down into the more urgent, pressing tasks and the things that aren’t immediate or take a bit more time to work through – i.e. writing the next chapter of my book. I’m also using this time for personal development, continuing to study Italian (I went back to the beginning again) using an awesome course on Edx through Wellesley College (they have a fantastic range of free courses covering almost everything you could imagine). Plus I am seriously trying to self-teach Dutch, I’d gotten into quite a good rhythm with it last year, but then the tonsils happened. It’s a delightful language and I spend over €60 on Dutch Grammar books from a cracking wee bookshop in the Hague three years ago. It’s the first language I’ve tried to self-teach as is very difficult to find Dutch classes in Glasgow, and not ones that fit my schedule. I did, however, purchase a course on Udemy that focuses on Dutch and Flemish variants so my goal right now is to use that course to get more of an ear for the sounds and practice repeating words and sentences and then return to the grammar books.

It’s a progression from playing the Sims all day, right? (Though there’s nothing really wrong with it.)

What things are you starting to do to stay sane?

e x

Posted in rant, The Quarantine Diaries

The Quarantine Diaries: Losses

My mood is souring and has been over the last few days. The frustration of not being able to go anywhere of importance is still like banging my head off a wall, except now I’m aware of the futility of the action before I do it, i.e. I’m no longer thinking in terms of what I’d like to do; instead, what I should have been able to do.

The reason I’m feeling extra pissy right now, is because I should have worked a half shift today and left the office at lunchtime, happily giving everyone the figurative finger and shouting ‘me ne vado’ at anyone who happened to see me. I should have spent today packing my suitcases and charging up the kindle, watching an Italian film and singing myself to sleep with ‘Una Notte a Napoli’. Then tomorrow, I should have been meeting Mamma and there should have been a leisurely taxi journey to the Holiday Inn at the Airport where we should have spent a pleasant afternoon and evening giddily preparing ourselves for the adventure ahead.

Friday morning at 7:25am I should have been on the fucking plane to Naples.

Too damn true…

I saw this above tweet about a month ago, right around the point when we all realised Coronavirus was here to fuck up everything and I got the email to say the holiday was cancelled. Now we were fortunate enough to get a full refund from the holiday provider, the insurance and the airport hotel, however, are refusing to refund anything. I understand what no cancellation means, but I didn’t cancel – Jet2 did. And if no virus had appeared, then we’d be in the damn hotel and making use of the insurance now wouldn’t we?!

I digress. I get it, I do. This is not a joke. All the years that people called me nuts for raving about horror movies, and having a zombie plan in place (not to mention a ton of tinned food – I didn’t need to panic buy, Karen) and it’s finally here. Governmental response has been far more meh, than in any zombie film I’ve ever seen, yet given the track records and who we’re talking about, did we really expect them to step up?

But as the tweet above says, we can still be aware of the gravity of this situation and still be sad for the things we’re losing out on and missing. No one ever expected life to be shut down almost completely, not during ‘peace time’ anyway. The debates will continue forever about why Coronavirus happened, what it will mean for the future, and what does it say about societies and consumer lifestyles.

Before all that we can still lament, people missed out on weddings, births have happened in private, funerals are restricted, milestone birthday parties have gone on zoom and wishes are sent via TikTok dances. And for me, it was the chance to return to one of my most favourite places on this spectacular planet after seven whole years. A place that shaped me and formed me; from the first time I was there in 2008 and I was just a 19 year-old stuck with family and practising tiny bits of Italian, awed that I could order full meals and have basic conversations by the end of the holiday. When I returned in 2009, young free and single and only 20 years old, the feeling was unreal, the high wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced. By the time I’d arrived in Sorrento, I’d had so many wonderful, random conversations and met a whole host of colourful characters. It was then I made more memories, took more chances and grew more confident, not only in myself but in my ability to do the things I’d set my mind to. I chose to learn Italian, I chose to keep studying and working away when others told me to chill out and relax. Now I can relax by the pool with a limoncello and having a fantastic conversation with the hotel staff teasing about the effect of Federico Moccia and Tiziano Ferro on my life.

Well, I should have been relaxing by the pool…

e x

Posted in Coronavirus

The Quarantine Diaries: Lock down Edition

So the UK is in Lock Down. Whatever that means.

Apparently it’s tightening the rules of what had been in place, further so that people really must stay home. We are only allowed out in maximum groups of two; can leave the house once a day to exercise, again alone or max with one other person; can go out to the shops for food or medicine; or must be going to care for a vulnerable person or travelling to work only if not at all possible to work from home.

Most of that seems self-explanatory. However, there is definite confusion around the concept of ‘essential’ business. Of course, these seem to be banks and post offices, pharmacies and food shops; but should building sites and call centres really be included here? Obviously every business thinks their work is essential and it’s a bitter pill to swallow but eventually it might need to be. Especially given that in these roles maintaining a physical distance can be difficult and aren’t set up in such a way to allow work to continue with physical distancing.

I’ve definitely felt it in the last few weeks for the call centre staff I’ve needed to call, several 40 minute queues to Jet2, first to enquire if my holiday was still on then another a few days later just to accept defeat that my holiday wasn’t going ahead and could I please get a refund. Then trying to call the holiday insurance who despite their website offering a refund of 50% the call centre staff refused to give me anything and only raised a complaint with the underwriter. Everyone is overwhelmed and unsure but for the most part I can see why for now these are necessary roles to continue. But for how long? Most airlines are reducing their services by at least 80% and some are going further to close down for the foreseeable future. So will all their workers still be risking life and limb in potentially toxic environments to come to a job where there’s no demand?

My parents are both in the at risk category, so they’re expected to be in for 12 weeks… There are too many hows and whys to that statement, I can’t even bring myself to deal with it just now, just putting it out there.

Hopefully there will be more information or clarification later today. Hell, even shut the whole damn country so we can ride it out in safety.

e x

Posted in Coronavirus

The Quarantine Diaries

Well. Fuck.

For years I’ve been teased and mocked for stocking up on essential foods, tins and pasta, and having an apocalypse plan. Now who’s a week into quarantine and not panic-bought a damn thing?

The first couple of days I spent glued to the TV watching the news all-day-long, which wasn’t doing anything good for my stress levels. I’ve stopped even turning it on until the evening news and just catching the brief highlights. The world’s going to hell whether I watch it or not.

I’m sad because in the last few weeks we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. The panic buying of toilet paper and pasta is utter bullshit, seriously where are you going to put it all? Nobody eats that much pasta in the UK, not really. And since when did you all give a damn about fresh fruit and veg? Leave it for the people who actually need it. The good bits are the community spirit has come alive again, people are saying hello, supporting neighbours and the elderly, a tiny effort can make all the difference to someone. I’m also surprised at this Tory government starting to realise actual human beings are the cogs which keep the wealth flowing in this country, so it’s only damn right to offer as much help to them. Basic things like sick pay being paid from the first day off, as it should always have been. Then people realising how low sick pay actually is, then Universal Credit being even fucking lower… So all those people talking about benefit scroungers and cheats, you think it’s worth the effort? Maybe now they’ll realise what people truly are worth.

As soon as Coronavirus crossed into the UK, so many businesses and corporations were suddenly announcing that they were ‘stepping up’ their cleaning protocols and schedules, handing out hand sanitiser and giving colleagues more opportunities to wash their hands and adhere to stricter hygiene rules… why? Because they’ve known full well that their hygiene and cleaning rules were lax and probably non existent due to time constraints, fundamentally a money problem. It’s hysterically tragic that money should come before even basic hygiene practices.

I’ve lost count how many jobs I’ve had were bathroom breaks are timed down to the second, how many people I see dashing from the toilet to the sink and splashing a little water over their hands, quickly grabbing a paper towel crunching it between their fingers and tossing it towards the bin, missing it but dashing back to their desk because TIME = MONEY. That’s even the ones who at least pretend to wash their hands. Leaving the bathroom and grabbing a squirt of hand-sanitiser en route to your seat does not equal good hygiene. How many doors and surfaces have you touched from A to B? That just in the office environment, need I go on about computers, hot-desking and the distinct lack of apparent cleaning being done unless you bring in your own wipes? And the mystery crumbs.

Hospitality and cafe work is even worse. I’ve done my share of these jobs and I can only think of one place that had good standards because everyone gave a shit and there was far less pressure on the staff to work if they were ill. We could swap shifts with ease meaning that no one was risking other people’s health or their own further. It was a great job, but of course it was soon obliterated, something to do with money I guess.

Prior to that I worked for a very popular and well-known coffee chain over the Christmas period one time, and in the cafe of a well-known supermarket. Both, during training, explained the need for health and safety, food and hygiene practices etc etc… in the cafe we did the full certificates for these one day. The instructions were simple, before leaving the staff area wash your hands, upon entering the kitchen/cafe area wash your hands again for at least forty seconds and use a nail brush, which will be provided, to clean your nails also. I accepted these rules, wore no nail polish, rings nor perfume. First shift, I washed my hands the first time, no nail brush, got down to the cafe and saw the manager who was already rushed off her feet, she told me to follow her but I quickly made for the sink to wash my hands again…. I’m sure Medusa looked at her victims more kindly than this manager did me that day. ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ She asked. And that was that… Seven weeks in that hell and not once did I see a nail brush, not once did I get a chance to wash my hands between using the dishwasher, serving food and handling cash on the till. The coffee chain wasn’t much better, three of us were Christmas Temps and we all ended up with the cold and sniffles. Did that stop us using the dishwasher and serving food to customers? Nope. Did we ever get disinfectant spray to use on the tables? Nope. Did we carry a damp cloth in our aprons that we used to wipe trays and tables and occasionally rinsed under a tap? Yep.

So honestly, I’m surprised this hasn’t fucking happened sooner.

I’ve ranted enough for now. I am heartsick at the number of people who have died from this, I’m devastated at the rate at which this virus is ploughing through the world taking the most vulnerable with it. I’m disgusted that no one in power seemed to be prepared for this, that governments are slowly realising power and money means fuck all if you’ve no people left in your country and that maybe we’re all human and we all have a right to live and survive no matter what type of education or background we have. But most of all I’m revolted by the people who are still flouting the fairly generous restrictions we have in the UK just now. It’s not fucking hard. Stop having parties, stop going out in big groups, stop travelling to the fucking highlands where the health service there can barely cope if all the locals contract Covid-19, and stop being so damn selfish. This isn’t a free holiday from work, this isn’t the perfect day for a day trip, you could be carrying the virus with no symptoms and be spreading it to the elderly and vulnerable family members of everyone you come into contact with.

Stay the fuck at home. Read a damn book. Play FIFA or take advantage of the free subscription to Porn Hub. Don’t be so cavalier with other people’s lives. Stay the fuck home.

e x