Sunday,29th March 2020
It’s Cold and Lonely in Them There Hills
Brrr… it’s damn cold this morning! After a week of sunny, almost spring-like weather, we seemed to have slipped back into winter mode. It’s a double whammy really because last night we also lost an hour of sleep due to the overnight change to British Summer Time (BST).
Summer? Where’s the bloody summer? Well the sun is shining OK, and the ground temperature is around 5° C, but the wind chill factor brings it down to 0°C – in other words, its bloody freezing for March 29th.
I still take Olly the dog for our 3km walk but believe me, it was a helluva relief when we finally made it back home today. There must be something about this inhospitable weather that brings out the masochistic side of us Rutlanders, as I came across far more walkers, runners, and cyclists than I usually do. At the time of writing Lek, (running), and Song, (cycling), are out near Rutland Water, foraging for edible vegetation.
Strictly speaking, they should be arrested, as we are only permitted to go out for a walk, run or cycle – nothing in the rules about foraging for lunch.
Well, we are nearing the end of our first week of lockdown, but so far there has been no appreciable slowdown in the number of infections or deaths – in fact, the death toll now exceeds 1,000 and is rising exponentially every day.
The experts tell us that this is all in line with expectations, and it will be a good number weeks yet before we hit the so-called curve and new cases actually start to decline. They also tell us that we will be lucky if the death toll doesn’t exceed 20,000. Well, there’s a sobering thought for you.
At least it is comforting to know that this CV is no respecter of wealth, rank or celebrity status. It is quite a thing when our very own Bonnie Prince Charlie, Bojo 1st, and two of his senior henchmen have all succumbed to the dreaded lurgy within a couple of weeks. Poetic justice?
Here in sunny Rutland, it seems that we have our first two confirmed CV cases, so presumably, we will have more and more cases in the weeks, and months to come. It is particularly worrying for yours truly as I am in the ‘at-risk’ group. I am torn between getting my affairs in order if, God forbid, I should succumb, and just carrying on as normal and assume that I will get through this.
Lek doesn’t want to hear any talk about me dying, so we haven’t really had that conversation. But I am trying to make sure my family is taken care of by getting a few important things together in one place. Such as all our personal documents, my will, and government papers on how Lek, as a widow, can claim instant residence and get access to the widow’s bereaved allowances from the government, and other stuff along those lines.
I am still carrying out my daily tutoring duties. Poor Song has been inundated with school work, all of which must be completed within tight deadlines. On Friday we had no less than 8 subjects to work through, which in the end proved beyond us. Four of them had to be carried over to Saturday when we finally wrapped them all up.
Today is our day off and we start over again tomorrow. Of course, there is a fair amount that she can’t do due to her limited grasp of English, and on top of that there some things that I can’t make head or tail of, so we just have to give up. I’m OK with English, maths (just), history, geography, RE, and other similar subjects, but when it comes to science in particular, some of it is beyond my comprehension, so again we have had to leave it.
A piece of good news arrived yesterday in the form of a letter from Lek’s employers which advised her of a small salary increase from April to fall in line with the rise in the government’s living wage. The amount of the rise itself isn’t particularly significant; but what it does do is bring our combined income, (salary plus pension), up to the minimum income that is required to renew Lek and Song’s visas when they expire towards the end of the year.
Apart from walking, teaching and writing this blog, I have also started work on some fresh short stories to keep me amused. This is my first attempt at completely new fiction in a long while, and I’m hoping that this will become a regular part of my daily activities.
Something strange has been happening with my previous penned novels and short stories. They are still available to buy on Amazon (in Kindle format) and also on Smashwords, another bookseller who sells ebooks from their website and arranges for them to be listed by other online booksellers, such as Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.
Through the years I have made the odd sale through Amazon and Smashwords, and a couple of months ago, I was invited by Smashwords to participate in a promotional event whereby I could reduce the price of my book by 50% for a short period of time. I opted in but alas it didn’t result in any sales. Then last week Smashwords contacted me again for yet another promotion and this time I decided to offer all of my books for free for a period of time.
Can you believe it? The sales of my ‘free’ books are going through the roof. I have never had so many ‘sales’ in all my years of writing. The normal full price of my books is $2.99, and 50% is a paltry $1.50, but there were no takers until they became temporary freebies. (You too can get them for free if you go to the Smashwords website – click the link on the left sidebar). The book-buying public certainly loves a bargain. I do hope they enjoy my humble offerings and pass the word along to future potential customers.
I should be so lucky.