I was a teenager of the nineties. It felt like it then, and maybe it’s a phase that continues today that all teens go through as my niece surely collects them, but teenage girls love teddies. I loved my teddies. I had that cute and cuddly bedroom filled with stuffed animals. I was gifted teddies. I had my precious ones from childhood. And then, in the age of Skill Testers, I mastered the art of winning them. Naturally, my collection grew to be sizeable. But teens don’t stay teens forever, and while I struggled to store them when I lived at home – in nets from the ceiling and an old-fashioned wicker trunk – inevitably I grew up and they all moved into storage.
I think they did move around a little bit. I found them last year in my parents’ spare room still stowed in the wicker trunk. But the time had come. I pulled them all out, gave them a wash and took pictures of those that were the most memorable. Gifted ones with love, still soft and fluffy ones, and my favourites. I knew they deserved a better life, to be seen as real and loved and cuddled by smaller humans. Continue reading
So here we are. Three years after I last blogged regularly and about seven years since I first started writing them. I had grand plans to write again this year, but I’d fallen out of habit and just couldn’t focus hard enough to get the thoughts out of my head. I found too many distractions. I was on sabbatical, happily travelling the world for no reason other than to tick enough places off my list that I could throw away the travel brochures in my storage unit. Europe first, then Africa; for almost a year I was taking the first major, independent holiday of my life. I had this list of things I planned to do as I travelled; setting up a business, read many of the books in my e-book collection, write. Instead, I happily got caught up in watching tv series’ season by season, and, by the time I was sitting on an overland truck crossing Africa, I’d gotten addicted to a mindless game app. I didn’t mind too much, I mean, what else to do on a truck for six hours each day? When I tried to write, I got motion sickness. I couldn’t focus on ideas for the business, I couldn’t even get through podcasts. My mind was firmly set in enjoying Africa doing nothing in particular.
In the background was this ever-changing world. Coronavirus was spreading, first China and parts of Asia. Then Italy. Passing Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, we got maybe five minutes a day of wifi if we were lucky. So, while we knew it was out there and spreading, we existed in this cosy, isolated, news-free haven of our truck and while some worried about what they read, I felt untouchable. We were fine. COVID-19 had not hit Africa, other than a case or two; we were safer than if we were at home, oddly enough.
Then one afternoon in Namibia, everything changed. Continue reading