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Staying sane and positive

With all work cancelled again I’ve been reminding myself what I need to do to stay sane and positive: exercise, playing music, achieving tasks, talking to friends and family, enjoying time with my wife, getting outdoors…

Exercise has gone ‘down the pan’ a little over the last few months, so I’m trying to get back into a routine of cycling a bit in the morning: Three times round Finsbury Park. It takes about 25 minutes from my door and back and gets my heart and lungs going.

I’m playing my instruments every day – working on technique, improvising, exercises and melodies in different keys etc. Hoping I’ll be a better musician when we’re all back to gigging. It does feel like I’m making small positive steps, which is good for my mood.

Achieving tasks: I’m ticking off little jobs that need doing one by one. As the list gets shorter other jobs are added. I crawled out of a window onto a conservatory roof this afternoon to glue some flashing back that had come loose. Last week we had our aerial fixed having been blown down, and the car windscreen replaced after a stone had chipped it.

Talking to friends and family: video chats, phone calls, text messages all help. My brother’s birthday was yesterday, so I arranged and recorded a version of Happy Birthday for him to share with the family via WhatsApp. I’d done the same for my sister’s birthday which was the week before, so it seems I may be starting a tradition!

Recording Happy Birthday

A couple of days before the lockdown kicked-in I had a meal at a restaurant outdoors with my sister, mum and her partner. Indoors wouldn’t have been allowed as we weren’t in a ‘household bubble’ together (and it could have been a risk for my mum anyway), so we sat outside with hot water bottles and blankets supplied by the restaurant. The restaurant was packed with other people grabbing the last chance for a meal out.

Hot water bottles

Me and my wife took the opportunity to enjoy the last day before lockdown to visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum. It was a real treat because there were so few people there and we enjoyed cycling there.

Getting outdoors: me and my wife met up with a friend outdoors (this was allowed!) for a walk in Regents Park and Primrose Hill last weekend. The weather was nice, and so we weren’t the only people to have the idea – the parks were packed with people.

A busy Primrose Hill

Musicians have been advised that recording sessions are still allowed, so I’ve been recording demo tracks with various people, in preparation for better times when there are gigs to bid for.

I’ve also been recording a Christmas song that I wrote many years ago and never got around to doing anything with. I’ve sent it off to a friend to add some drums, and then I’ll decide what else it needs. I’m hoping to have it ready to reveal to the world by December, although I really should have started the process weeks ago.


We are being teased by hopes of a vaccine starting to be rolled out in the New Year, although a vaccination program would take months, and will be hampered by the significant proportion of the population that is very suspicious of its safety.

And finally, globally, the US election came and unsurprisingly has turned into the farce. As things stand Trump has lost, but he is refusing to admit it and challenging the result.

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