Stir Crazy – A Bit

We are not quite in lockdown, but for someone who likes to spend as much time outside as possible, it feels a little like it.


We are more fortunate than many, in that we are a short walk away from woodland, and then a limited amount of open countryside. But I yearn to walk the hills, the truly open places like moorland and marshland. I wonder whether to take a bus or train the comparatively short journey to these places. I could be up on the South Downs in two hours, and their pull is almost painful at the moment.

And my reading and writing have been affected by all this, too. I was halfway through My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk, which I was enjoying then but suddenly I have lost all interest in it. It is set in Istanbul in the sixteenth century but my heart yearns for the English countryside. So much so, that I can no longer bear to read it. So I have set it aside for now and begun to read The Moor by William Atkins; stories of myth, history and literature connected with the moorland areas of England.

And likewise, my enthusiasm for my current writing projects has dried up, and for similar reasons. I am in the middle of re-writing one novel, and over halfway through writing another, but I cannot currently drum up any enthusiasm for either. One is set in sixteenth century Persia, the other in Northern India in the 1980’s and yes, I just want to be outside, here.

I have been writing notes, though, for another idea I had intended to start only after completing one or both of those novels, but I have now decided to allow myself to begin it. I need a project I can really enthuse over, and this one will be set in the wildness of Southern England at some point in the past (I know what it is, but I’m not telling you yet!). I hope this will both give me some sort of pleasurable focus for my writing and also allow me to wander, in my mind, in those places I yearn to be.

45 thoughts on “Stir Crazy – A Bit

      1. Until the day before yesterday, there were no restrictions. Only one case of infection has been observed and no deaths yet.

        Tourism has been affected the most. There is a semi-lockdown now. The government is trying its best but there is some panic. Borders with India are getting crowded. No bad news yet. But a bit scary.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think that’s a capital idea, Mick. Now is the time to allow yourself creative indulgence. Follow any enthusiasm that comes your way and ride it like a wave! We’ll be waving from the shore, eager to see what you bring back for us.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ishaan Sharma

        I wonder why Italy is infected so rapidly. Being geographically close to there, would you have any idea? Their healthcare must be better than many other countries which have comparatively contained the disease.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mick, you can’t go wrong with The Moor by Atkins.
    In adversity we are all drawn to home. To have countryside nearby make
    staying put at home so much easier than if you are unable to go out.

    All the best

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bryntin

    I am within a few minutes of (properly isolated) driving to Bodmin Moor (people always say “I am lucky to live near…” but we chose it and didn’t win it!) or the clifftops of the rugged coast, so I’m thankful that I can access those. I don’t appear to be blocked or otherwise gummed up, so perhaps you’re right, the getting outside somehow is necessary for us to work properly!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Colin Barrett

    Hi Mick. At the moment I’m reading ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn. Having grown up in Cornwall and having walked a lot of the South West Coast path I’m finding it very evocative and am enjoying it very much. Cornwall has been affected but at the moment is not on lockdown. Various services have been reduced and some shops have closed down, reduced their hours, or limited the number of customers that can enter at any time. I’m continuing to work at present but am not sure how long I’ll be able to do this as a few places have said they are going to stop using agency staff due to the risk. Take care of yourself and Sabina, and keep safe..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Colin. I’ve not read that yet, but Sabina has. The chapter I’m reading on The Moor is about Bodmin Moor – that is one seriously weird place, eh? I’m surprised I survived when I went there.

      Sabina is now working from home and we’re trying not to get under each other’s feet in a tiny house. I’m surprised they’ve said that about agency staff, but I suppose if things get really serious they’ll be forced to use you. In which case take care – my daughter Carole is still nursing and we’re naturally a little worried about her.

      Keep washing those hands!


      1. Colin Barrett

        I keep washing everything, although only my hands at work. Bodmin Moor is a weird place, especially when the sun goes down or there’s a mist…occasionally reminiscent of the film ‘Deliverance’.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m in California which is under almost total lockdown – my usual nature walk is closed and the ones that remain open are overcrowded and so I’m sure will be locked down soon. We just have to remain calm and daydream about better days to come

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that sounds bad. I suspect we may head further in that direction before too long, since by the nature of the epidemic the numbers have still to go up a lot and that will inevitably lead to stricter measures.


  6. We get more restrictions every day, but can still do essential jobs and take walks around our neighborhood. I heard that Italy just banned even that. I think it won’t be long before the reactions to the virus will become almost worst than the virus itself as this drags on and on. It’s depressing if we think about it long, so all we can do is try to focus on the positive and try to help each other through it! I share your longing to just get away from it all….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s a bit depressing to think that, realistically, we cannot expect to get away for a holiday this year, probably not even for a single overnight stay. We have to accept that, though, and make the best of what we can do. This means some reasonably long walks in the countryside around here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my uncles is an architect, who told us, when they created a new wing for the local jail, he persuaded the sheriff, with some difficulty, to paint the “drunk tank” pink. (I’m not suggesting that part is relevant!) My uncle based this on some research done by the Navy for submariners, who might be isolated for extended periods, and apparently found it calming. It reminded me of a silly movie with Cary Grant & Tony Curtis “Operation Petticoat,” but the pink was on the inside of the subs, not the outside.
    The sheriff reported excellent results, so if you can have a bucket of paint dropped off…
    I’ve always taken frequent walks on a wooded greenway trail that runs in front of my building, along a river, and suddenly it’s jammed with people who need a break from house arrest. It sounds selfish I know, but now it’s actually hard to avoid passing to close to quite a few people, so I keep leaping off into the shrubbery alongside it.
    Well all your projects sound interesting, and I’m curious what time period you’ve picked for the south of England

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All will revealed in due course! Probably…

      I think we might pass on the pink paint, though, unless we hear some more convincing evidence. Perhaps you could give it a try and let us know how you find it?

      The bus and train journeys are now banned, though, so it’s just the short walks in the woods and fields near to us. I mustn’t complain, really. At least we have some good places nearby.


  8. Even some local walks would probably help with the cabin fever. They’re actually encouraging that sort of thing around here, but not the ones you’d drive to. Seems like there’d be a happy medium, especially if this goes on for a few months (which seems likely.) I think things got spoiled when the mobs descended on the beaches.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In this time of crisis, i am unable to concentrate on anything. Now we are under lockdown for 21 days. Today 2nd day. Hopefully this will break the chain to some extend and may be under control. Since you have fair knowledge about India, you can understand how difficult job it is. Wish you get back to your projects soon and stay safe. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really difficult, Anil. I’m surprised, in fact, how well people seem to be responding in India – of course, I only see the pictures televised on the BBC, or see tweets from Indian friends, but it seems encouraging. My heart goes out to the poor, though, who have no idea how they are going to get through that time.

      Hope you manage to settle on whatever you need or want to do. I’ve found it really helpful not to go onto the internet until after lunch each day. In the morning, I concentrate on my writing. At the moment that seems to be working.

      Stay safe!


  10. HI Mick, don’t get on a bus, that is not a good idea. Stay at home, it isn’t for that long. You can do this. I am sorry I haven’t as yet finished reading your book. I have started but my boys have needed a lot of encouragement and family counselling sessions over the past few weeks so my reading has been much less than usual. I will get there as we get used to our new normal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robbie. No, don’t worry, I won’t be getting on a bus. Since I wrote that post, that has been essentially banned, anyway. It’s a short walk locally, now, keeping a strict 2m from anyone we come across.

      And I hope you and the boys are coping okay. I’m glad we no longer have to deal with children here. they must really be getting stir crazy!


      1. We must send a text and wait for permission or carry a form with reason and ID …. I went out once today on a supermarket run for the first time, I’ll be happy not to go again ….palace with gloves, masks, sanitizers, outside shoes and so on! I have a good size garden to tackle and walk around and I think I shall avoid going out unless absolutely necessary! One good note is that there is no panic buying here so no shortages which makes life easier!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A good-sized garden is a lifeline at the moment. Ours isn’t that large, but it is at least somewhere outside to go. We can go for a walk for an hour a day, at the moment, so still heading into local woodlands. I suspect it might get stricter soon, though.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m having the same problem. I’m very distracted and hard to focus and feel creative.
    I live in the country and work from home, so not a big deal for me but I miss my library, my occasional night out and meeting friends at church.
    This too shall pass.
    Hang in there!
    Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You too, Christine. If you use Skype, or Zoom, or some such video calling, it can be good to set it up and have half an hour with a friend chatting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.


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