The way I used to mange my pre-lock down life was to think of it all – family, friends, work, writing reviews, holidays, theatre trips, restaurants, holidays, mini-breaks, Italian lessons, parties, birthdays, favours for people, charity work, other hobbies, etc. etc. – as a great big merry-go-round and it could and would go very fast, sometimes faster than others.

This worked perfectly well as long as each of the bobby horses stayed tangle-free from the others as it meant I was very much in control of the overall speed and the number of horses in play at any one time.

Sometimes, but not very often, it went relatively slowly and other times, it was verging on getting out of control but as long as the wires didn’t get tangled, life was good. No, strike this, life was amazing!

When life became all tangled, I would simply remove as many bobby horses as required or just slow the whole thing down to reset everything so the wires were all lovely and straight again. Simples – apart from a few friends getting a bit arsey every now and again – it has worked well for me for many years. I have even got much better at spotting when the goddamn thing is just about to explode to avoid the awful crisis management that sometimes ensued when the beautiful carousel turned into a right old mess.

Roll on to lockdown life and the merry-go-round was essentially mothballed so I’ve been asking myself this week, why do I feel like I am running on empty and why am exhausted with it all as we’ve not been anywhere or done anything?

Then it struck me – I have merely swapped the brightly coloured frivolous fair ground ride that I gladly chose to be on for a black & white dull as ditch water treadmill that is a chore. It doesn’t go anywhere, as there is nowhere to go. It is, by definition, less fun and stays static in our home but it is relentless. Although it started at a very slow speed, over the last 3 months, it has gradually got quicker and quicker without me noticing and I am just about to fall off. Oh, I so need a holiday.

We know that my current gig is just about to come to an end and I’m now convinced the universe has also decided that I need a break from this treadmill so I am going to chill into this mini career break, try not to panic and go with the flow. WOOSAH! By the time I start a new contract, I will be better at Italian and browner from sitting in the garden in the sun. That’s it – nothing more on that list as I am just going to chill.

One of my frustrations this week has been trying to get a routine appointment with my GP to review my tablets AT THEIR REQUEST. Oh, I do love the NHS but it is one big inefficient poorly operating machine and some simple changes will make a huge amount of difference.

I know they are all under pressure and I know seeing your doctor is not as simple as going to the shops but it really should be. If the NHS treated us all like customers and not patients, it would start to positively change the culture.

Can you imagine trying to make an appointment in your favourite shop by phone as this is the only way to contact them only to be told to keep calling back as they only release the appointments every few days but they can’t tell you what days they release them on so you just have to keep trying. Oh, and by the way, the instructions they give you whilst you are trying to get through are very long but irrelevant as there is no ability to do what you want to do on-line. To add insult to injury, if you miss their call, you have to start again but they get a 2-hour window to call you back.

As I say, if a shop treated you like this, you would go elsewhere but there isn’t really anywhere else to go. NHS – please don’t take us for granted – we are doing our best to support you and you are doing amazing things but you really have to have us to help you to become more even efficient. WOOSAH!!!

My list: I started my new book – “It’s About a Blood Time. Period” by Emma Barnett – and although it is very well written, it is hitting a few raw nerves which has meant I am reading it a bit more slowly than I was expecting as I know it is making me a bit grumpy. Dave being back at work in the office isn’t helping this general upset but it will get better and maybe I just need to read something else instead, preferably in the garden topping up my tan.

My lowlight: My poor dad is not very well and he keeps passing out and they are not sure why. As typical loving parents, they have been hiding his symptoms from us since April so as not to cause any worry. However, now we all know, we are all worried. It is all just so hard but hopefully the NHS will be able to fix him very soon.

My highlight: This may seem very trivial but I am definitely getting better at being by people and I can feel I am not getting quite as panicked about Covid-19 as I was. This week, I have filled up the car with petrol (very organised with my gloves and hand sanitizer), been to the tip (no major meltdown), talked to a neighbour (without being incredibly paranoid) and spoke to another neighbour who leaned on the open car window with his head nearly in the car and I didn’t freak out then either – even when a tiny bit of spittle escaped, for which he apologised.

A couple of weeks ago, for a start, I wouldn’t have let it happen but if it had, I’d have been straight in the shower to wash away all the potential virus and my blood pressure would have gone through the roof.

So, week 13 had its ups and downs – I wonder what week 14 will hold in store, especially as it is my last full week in work….. for a while.


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