Friday 10 April 2020

Along for the ride — with quails

Well, that reboot plan didn't go well. My mother died in the autumn, and my daughter and her little family moved out, all in the space of two weeks. And now we're all in lockdown. It's a kind of overdose of isolation, starting in October and building to peak isolation. I'd just started to get back to work properly when the virus hit us all and most of my book projects were cancelled or suspended indefinitely. So no, no progress so far on getting the blog back up and running. But now, with all this time?

Isn't it odd how we can spend years seeking out moments to devote to pet projects and then when there is an endless of desert of time ahead, the inclination to knuckle down disappears? OK, it's probably been eaten by anxiety. But I'm going to try to drag it back. I've had three weeks inside (and in the garden — I'm lucky to have a garden). That must be long enough to wallow, drift, or go round in small circles of confusion and aimlessness. Let's say it was time needed for acclimatization. But books don't write themselves and projects don't pick themselves up off the floor. If you are happy pottering and enjoying the freedom to do nothing all day, that's brilliant. If, like me, you are frustrated at your own inactivity, let's see if we can find a way out of it. Any suggestions you have gratefully received. I'm going to start today by making a list of the things I would ideally like to achieve during lockdown. I know I won't do all of them. But it will be disgraceful if I do none of them. Some will be work. Some will be non-work.

I have already started one, yesterday. Finally despairing of the chicken-man's inability to provide any chickens after a foxing episode reduced by flock to one solitary rooster (lots of non-chicken people have decided to keep covid-chickens, apparently) I have downsized to quails. I ordered some quail eggs with my shopping and have put them in the incubator. If all goes well, that's eighteen days to quailhood. (It might well not go well; only some of the quail eggs you buy are fertile, and the rat-man — an expert on this — says try different suppliers, but Waitrose is good.)

Today's target, then: turn quail eggs three times; write up quail chart with days, turn times, temperature requirements etc; write list of things to be achieved; start working on book outline for final commissioned project. If you want to play along, but your goals in the comments and we can all revisit and check how we're doing. I think making things public makes you more likely to stick to them.

Good luck!