A trip to the dentist

This week, I had a dental appointment. At the moment, in the UK, dentists are operating a reduced service. Routine check-ups are on hold, but emergency appointments are available and dentists can use their discretion to see patients who they judge are in need of a consultation. I phoned up my practice last week withContinue reading “A trip to the dentist”

Hate crime in the age of coronavirus

This weekend, my family and I went to the zoo. My daughter’s at an age where she’s really starting to be interested in animals and it seemed like one of the lowest risk and least stressful attractions we could visit, given that, with the exception of two minutes at the ticket desk, the whole experienceContinue reading “Hate crime in the age of coronavirus”

Broadcasting Covid-19 style

I’m lucky enough to have appeared on BBC Radio 4’s literary-discussion programme Open Book several times. My first two appearances, coinciding with the publication of my non-fiction book Reading the World and debut novel Beside Myself, were exciting affairs. They involved a trip to Broadcasting House in central London, friendly off-mike discussions with star presenters MariellaContinue reading “Broadcasting Covid-19 style”

Making hay while the sun shines

There’s a strange feeling in the air at the moment. A sort of defiant gaiety. As lockdown restrictions continue to ease (with dates now announced for the reopening of nail bars, leisure centres and gyms) people are flocking to the shops and sea front, intent on having fun. Anecdotally, I’ve heard from friends and relativesContinue reading “Making hay while the sun shines”

A walk through town

Yesterday, I had to go to the bank. It was the first time I’d walked through the centre of Folkestone since the lockdown rules relaxed on Saturday, allowing pubs, restaurants and hairdressers (among others) to resume trading, and I was intrigued to see what I would find. At first glance, you could have been forgiven forContinue reading “A walk through town”

The return of childcare

This week marks something of a watershed in our house: our childcare arrangements have resumed. After three and a half months of juggling work and toddler wrangling between us, my husband and I are able to return to our normal office hours. The feeling is extraordinary. Suddenly, there is time to breathe. There is timeContinue reading “The return of childcare”

Venturing out and seeking solitude

A few days ago, a friend in Australia sent me a message: ‘Been to the beach lately? Worrying scenes on our televisions!’ He was referring to the major incident declared when around half a million people flocked to Bournemouth on the UK’s south coast last week on one of the hottest days of the yearContinue reading “Venturing out and seeking solitude”

Face masks in my garden

Situated on a T-junction, with only a few streets between it and the gusts of the English Channel, our house tends to get a lot of litter blown into its front garden. Over the time we have lived here, I have got used to picking up crisp packets, drinks cans and chocolate wrappers that haveContinue reading “Face masks in my garden”

Going our separate ways

The past few days have brought a greater sense of variety and divergence to life here on the UK’s south coast. With different lockdown rules now applying to different groups of people (for example, single adults are now at liberty to form a bubble with another household, while those deemed clinically vulnerable are still advisedContinue reading “Going our separate ways”

Life opening up again

The world has felt different these last few days. Walking out with my toddler along the cliffs near my house yesterday, a change was evident. The flags were back on the municipal golf course around the Martello tower. The tennis nets were up on the courts at the local sports facility and two games wereContinue reading “Life opening up again”