Updates from the Writing Cave: A Snowy February!

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good month πŸ™‚

Our February was a snow covered experience, full of many challenges, but we came through it mostly okay. Here’s what happened in the Writing Cave last month!

A grassy tree covered shore overlooking an icy lake with ice caves surrounding the opposite shore.

Blogging:

I wrote two blog posts last month as planned, an updates post and a post on writing confidence. I like my new schedule, but as I have quite a bit to say this month there’ll be three posts, including this:

16th March: Reading habits & preferences, quiz style post!
30th March: Why I don’t want to write scripts (following feedback on my MA project, which suggested I should consider writing scripts instead of fiction).

MA Creative Writing:

I got my results back, a 66, the lowest I’ve achieved during the course. As the overall grade is the same between 60-70 it doesn’t matter much, and a 66 is good enough given I was demoralised and nearly gave up towards the end of the course.

I think the main issue was the course wasn’t for me, as I adore TV and think/learn visually. I felt misunderstood, like an outsider on a course full of writers, and it was the weirdest experience. I need to rediscover the writer I was before the course, who enjoyed writing and didn’t feel like less of a writer for not reading as much as writers are ‘supposed’ to!

Pile of books and scrunched up paper surrounding a notepad. A pair of hands above the notepad hold a broken pencil.
I used to write for fun, but since starting the course I’ve struggled to write at all.

I’m not done talking about my MA, as I have a few posts planned about it (including a discussion on if I found it worthwhile overall), so stay tuned for those πŸ™‚

Writing:

I realised early in February my plan was in a bigger mess than I remembered and my 4 chapter goal was out. I had a huge collection of word files with different drafts and notes, and my outline needed editing to fit the NA genre.

I consolidated my notes, worked to redo my plot for what feels like the millionth time, and outlined characters/setting. Near the end of February I had an idea which would change the plot significantly, change an entire major character, and add a new one. It feels scary, as it changes the entire basic concept of my story, but I think it’s the right thing to do.

I still have planning to do, so I’ll aim to write a chapter by the end of the month!

Merlin:

I’ve been trying to get back to a regular routine, where I sit and write at the same time on set days in my office. Merlin loves this, as he gets to look out of the upstairs window and spy on the neighbour’s cat from up high!

Merlin, my ginger and white cat, staring at me from his perch on an upstairs windowsill. In the background are houses, trees and a field bordered by trees.
Merlin staring at me from his perch overlooking his kingdom!

He’s also became a lap cat again: When I stopped using the office in June, because I didn’t want to taint my creative space with my MA, Merlin stopped being cuddly. Now I’m back in the office he slouches on my lap when I’m writing, or stands in front of my monitor or on the keyboard! He never interrupts me for hugs during video games, only when I’m writing, but it’s nice to be cuddled again so I wont complain too much!

Snow & Hospital Trips:

Merlin was fascinated by the snow. He loved watching the flakes and jumping at the window to try and catch them. We got a pile of snow and brought it inside so he could play with it too, which was super cute! I adore the snow too, so we watched it together.

Snow is great, until you have to travel in it, and we had to make a trip to A & E in the next town, in a blizzard and a pandemic. I’ve never driven for more than 5 minutes in the snow, so a half hour journey in the worst snowstorm we’ve had in three years was nerve-wracking. In addition to that, I was panicked over going to A & E because my partner might have a blood clot, and I have a general unexplained fear of hospitals. It was a stressful day.

Large snow drifts covering all the grass in the garden, with an iced over pond in the middle and a few suspicious looking footprints!
Our garden was blanketed in snow, with large drifts over the decking and some odd footprints!

My partner didn’t have a blood clot, but because of his exhaustion and shortness of breath the doctor suspected the Covid tests we took the week before were false negatives. We isolated in case, and if it was Covid I suspect we’ve had it twice now: Last year we were both very ill with similar symptoms!

TV: Queen’s Gambit & Stranger Things 3 (Spoilers Ahoy!)

I watched Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, since a streamer I watch mentioned it. It was okay, but I didn’t enjoy the portrayal of addiction: Specifically that the main character’s addiction was magically cured when her friend visited. The rest of the show was good, I liked the characters for the most part, but that one point stuck with me, as overcoming addiction seems like it should be an uphill battle, not a walk in the park.

I also finished Stranger Things season 3. The finale made me cry, especially when Joyce decided to uproot her entire family at the end. That’s it, take your kids away from everything they’ve ever known, including their friends, right after all the trauma they went through. Sad. At least Robin and Steve are happy, they’re my favourites. It’s not often you see male/female best friends, and they’ll never be more than friends because Robin likes girls. I hope to see more of them next season, whenever that is!

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Thanks for Reading!

What did you get up to in February? Have any snowy adventures? Chat in the comments!

What Genre Do you Read/Write?

I’m a fantasy writer who dabbles in superhero and light science fiction, and all my stories have romantic LGBTQIA+ subplots. I read a lot of fanfiction, and used to write it too, because I kept getting mad my ships never sailed. Yes, I’m a shipper and a fangirl. I like reading stories with characters I can connect with and relate to, who have super-glue tight emotional bonds. I hate stories with superficial character bonds, adore M/F friendships that don’t become romantic, and love bromances that become romances πŸ™‚

49 comments

    • Sometimes I think cats enjoy watching the world go by more than anything else πŸ™‚ It’s great in summer when there are loads of dogs playing for him to watch. Thanks, he’s feeling mostly better, although still a little exhausted after work days!

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  1. Hi Louise! Great to see your posts, as always πŸ™‚ I’m excited to read your posts, esp. the ones about writing. I def wonder why someone said you should write scripts. But doesn’t script writing often involve fiction as many movies and shows are fictional? Anyway, I’m looking forward to your posts. I remember you mentioning how difficult and stressful and demoralizing the course was. I can’t imagine how rough it was. I can relate to how you feel in a way…I know many writers who read much more than I do and I often don’t recognize the books that they mention reading (and I start getting doubts and wondering if I’m a real writer). But you have my support and again, I’m looking forward to your posts. I’m here for you too. It’s not easy to change a plot significantly, but I believe in you and know you can do it! Go Louise! Aww glad Merlin is cuddling with you more. He’s a great and sweet cat, no? :). I’m so sorry to hear about the snowstorm and your partner’s illness. Hope he is feeling better!
    Yeah, addiction is really difficult and it sounds like they made it sound too simplistic in the show.
    Take care, my friend.

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    • Thanks Alex πŸ™‚ I think the scriptwriting suggestion came from a kind place, as I’d been waffling about how much I love TV throughout the course and the tutor didn’t know I already considered and dismissed scriptwriting three years ago!

      I think for literary writers, and writers who love reading no matter what genre, the course is great, but for me, who only wants to read things I know I’ll love, the recommended reading was a struggle.

      Reading less isn’t an easy position to be in, but you’re not alone, and you’re definitely a real writer πŸ™‚ My main issue is finding books I want to read, as I only want to invest time/money in things I know I’ll enjoy. I’m the type of person who becomes borderline obsessed with my favourite franchises though, so if I do find an author I love they better write lots of books in a series!

      I’ve planned 14 chapters of the new plot so far, with Merlin’s ‘help’ xD. He’s a big softy!

      We’re doing good now, although he’s still a little exhausted sometimes after work.

      Take care πŸ™‚

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      • You’re welcome. πŸ™‚ I think your struggle is understandable. Part of the reason why I lost my love for reading when I was younger is because I was assigned a lot of stories that I did not want to read. What were the recommended books about?

        Aww thank you. I honestly have felt a bit alone because very few of the writers that I know read less. But what you said brightened my day. Thank you :). I guess I kind of have imposter syndrome. But your encouragement helped! THat’s cool that you get really into your fave franchises! That is fun! πŸ™‚
        Lol did Merlin insist on you putting a cat character in your book too? XD Merlin’s a great cat. My best wishes go out to you and your partner. Hope he feels all better soon.

        Take care :). πŸ™‚

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        • We were recommended some poetry I didn’t understand, a lot of older creative writing craft texts, and some story excerpts that were full of description where nothing really happened. The only things I enjoyed were ‘Steal like an Artist’ and some of the psychology texts! My English classes at school were way better for good reading material at least πŸ™‚

          You’re welcome πŸ™‚ We should start a club for writers like us, and share TV memes πŸ˜€ I’m sure there are others who also feel alone for reading less. I used to have imposter syndrome, but that’s one thing the course helped with.

          Hahaha, there is a cat in my story, a Catwyrm (a cross between a cat and a dragon) and it has so much attitude xD But it was added before I got Merlin. Thanks, I think he’s mostly better now πŸ™‚

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          • Cool πŸ™‚ I like Steal Like an Artist :). Have you read “The Writer’s Journey”? I have it but haven’t read it yet. Sounds like a mixed bag of reading. What was your favorite English class book? πŸ™‚
            Yeah I’m sure there are others just like us :). Imagine us sharing Legends of Tomorrow memes. Haha Seriously though, I’m glad I’m not alone. And I appreciate your support πŸ™‚
            Haha does Merlin like Catwyrm? πŸ™‚ Sounds like a cool character – and I’m glad your partner is mostly better! :).

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            • I haven’t read it completely, but The Writer’s Journey was one of the books I referenced in my essay for uni. I liked it and might finish it some day. Definitely one of the better books they recommended! Given I’m not much of a poetry fan, my favourite from English class was probably Christina Rosetti’s Goblin market. I also liked Othello, but I totally spaced out in the exam and failed xD

              Haha we’d probably distract each other too much and never get any writing done. Same, it’s good to have friends on a similar wavelength πŸ™‚

              My Catwyrm is Merlin’s pet in my story, so I imagine cat Merlin likes it quite a bit πŸ˜€

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              • Nice! Was the Writer’s Journey a slow read or a faster read? I want to read it but am a bit intimidated by its size lol. And lol awww yeah, poetry is not easy. Was Goblin a horror story?

                Hahaha yeah we would distract each other a lot. But it’d be fun lol. Or we would geek out about superheroes lol :). Do you like to read comics too?

                Awesome πŸ™‚ Yes, I bet cat Merlin is a fan of Catwyrm πŸ™‚ :). Both Catwyrm and Merlin are rad :).

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                • I had an eBook copy, and I only skimmed through it, using the search function to find quotes for my essay, so not sure xD

                  Goblin Market is a story about being led away by faeries, so it’s like magical fantasy with a warning in the tale. Fun stuff πŸ™‚

                  Yeah it’d be awesome xD I don’t read many comics, do you? I used to read a lot of manga though, and I have all of Fullmetal Alchemist πŸ™‚

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                  • Haha no worries. Do you plan to read all of it one day?
                    Ooh cool. Goblin Market sounds neat! I’ll have to read it sometime. I wish I had such a cool book in high school.

                    I am reading several comics lol. How many FMA mangas are there? πŸ™‚ :).

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                    • Maybe eventually, but I’m so burnt out on reading technical guides about writing at the moment. I need to actually create stuff πŸ˜€

                      If you think Goblin Market sounds cool, my English lessons in middle school were even better: We studied the Star Wars movies. I think that’s where my love of TV as a study tool started: That teacher was the absolute best πŸ™‚

                      I think there’s 29 FMA manga? It’s a big series and takes up loads of room on my shelf xD What comics are you reading?

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  2. Hey Louise! For some reason, the reply button isn’t showing up, so I’ll start a new comment here. I think it’s understandable that you’re burnt out, especially since school requires so much reading and is stressful. Have you been drawing lately too? I’m hoping to start a new story…and finish an old one hehe.

    Your teacher is SO COOL!! I wish I got to analyze Star Wars movies for class! Which Star Wars movie was your fave?

    Wow, that’s a ton! I’m reading Red Atlantis, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Sabrina, and a few more. I’m losing track lol :). Hehe.

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    • I think there’s a reply limit in WordPress, so we probably hit it xD

      Yeah the MA was much harder than my BA, which I spent most of procrastinating in the library! I even found the symbol from Ed Elric’s coat in a history book!

      I drew two pictures recently, I’ll show you when I reply to your email: Sorry it’s taking so long, things have been hectic and stressful for months.

      Yeah my teacher was the best! I only saw the original trilogy, a long time ago, but I think the first one was my favourite? Have you seen the other films?

      Wow you’re reading loads πŸ™‚ I should’ve asked my tutors what they thought about comic books. I wonder if they’d class them as reading?

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      • Haha I think we did. We talk a lot XD.

        Yeah graduate school is rough, definitely tougher than undergraduate. Whoa, is all of the mythology in FMA based off real life then? Very neat how you found the symbol in a history book.

        That sounds good! No rush. that’s okay. πŸ™‚ Take your time.

        Your teacher rocks! I’ve seen some of the newest ones and the original. Do you plan to see the sequels one day?

        Hehe yes reading lots of comics, but not as much non-comic novels. I need to balance that more. I hope your tutors would classify comics as reading. Unfortunately, some don’t see comics as books at all. Hope your tutors don’t feel that way…

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        • Haha yup xD I’m not sure about all of Fullmetal’s mythology, but definitely the philosophers stone and a few other things. I have a picture of that page in the history book somewhere, I’ll see if I can find it πŸ™‚

          Thanks πŸ™‚ I might see the Star Wars sequels eventually, but I like Star Trek better!

          There was one tutor I got on with really well who probably would think comics are reading. She left teaching soon after I finished though, to pursue her own things. I think the others probably wouldn’t though. It’s sad other methods of storytelling aren’t as valued by some English studies courses 😦

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          • lol that’s cool. Is it from ancient history or more recent history? πŸ™‚ Thanks for the info.

            Ooh what do you like more about Star Trek? I haven’t really gotten into Star Trek. I liked the live action films. But, I never got into the show lol

            Your tutor sounds wonderful. πŸ™‚ Was she pretty supportive? But yeah it is sad how other methods of storytelling are frowned upon. There are many different forms of storytelling and they should be embraced. Graphic novels are awesome, no?

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            • It was early medieval history, I studied older time periods because I wanted to read about castles and Merlin xD

              I always found the characters deeper and more interesting in Star Trek, whereas in Star Wars the characters felt more like tropes/archetypes than people. The newer live action films for Star Trek were great: I think there’s a third one I still need to see!

              Yeah Megan was the best tutor, I’m so glad she was my final project supporter πŸ™‚ Exactly, writers should embrace and learn from any method of storytelling (I even think songs can be stories to an extent!). I love anything with pretty pictures, so graphic novels are great πŸ˜€

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              • Wow, that’s awesome! Hehe that’s a great reason. You studied medieval history for your undergraduate degree, right?

                Cool. What would you say are the archetypes for Star Wars? Which Star Trek show did you watch? I heard there are several different shows lol.

                Awww Megan sounds like a marvelous tutor! She rocks and you do too. I agree that songs can be stories! They all tell a story :). I agree that graphic novels are awesome. Have you read some non-fiction graphic novels before? They’re great ways to learn a basic overview of a topic :).

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                • Yeah Medieval Europe, Anglo Saxon England, and Castles πŸ™‚

                  With Star Wars Luke is ‘The Chosen One’ archetype, Han is like the ‘tough guy’ archetype, Yoda is like the ‘magical wise old man’ etc. It wasn’t terrible, but as usual with popular stuff I don’t understand the hype xD

                  I saw some of the original Star Trek and quite a bit of Next Generation as my dad used to watch it. I’m going to watch a lot more soon though as it’s on Netflix. There are so many seasons it should give me something to watch for a while πŸ™‚

                  Thanks πŸ™‚ Musicals are the best type of story. I’ve never heard of non-fiction graphic novels, sounds awesome as I find it hard to pay attention to regular non-fiction books for long!

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                  • That’s so cool! It must’ve fun to study. Did you get to go out and travel to the castles for research? πŸ™‚

                    lol that makes sense. I didn’t think about it, but you’re right, they do fit archetypes. I guess the hype comes from partially how advanced it was given the year it was made and probably some relate to the characters and storyline of hope. But I can also see how they can seem more like archetypes than people. Do you like the original Star Trek or Next Generation more? I hope you have fun watching it πŸ™‚

                    Musicals do make for great stories :). Is there a particular subject that you wish to learn more about? If so, I might be able to think of a graphic novel suggestion :).

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                    • We had lots of field trips. Orford or Beaumaris castle are probably my favourites πŸ™‚

                      Yeah, I’m in the minority with Star Wars, but I always struggle to relate to characters a lot of other people like: I think the only characters I really liked were Han Solo and Chewbacca. Probably the original Star Trek because of Spock πŸ™‚

                      I’ve always wanted to learn more about different fighting styles, especially sword fighting, as I think it’d be useful for story writing, so if you know any graphic novels covering that, that’d be cool πŸ™‚

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  3. That is so cool, Louise! Did you draw some of the castles too? You had one of the coolest school projects that I’ve ever heard of πŸ™‚

    Aww no worries πŸ™‚ To each their own. I like Chewbacca a lot πŸ™‚ What do you like most about him and Han?

    Oh cool πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know if I come across any non-fiction graphic novels about swordfighting.

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    • Thanks πŸ™‚ And surprisingly I’ve never drawn a castle, maybe I should!

      Han and Chewbacca have a cool relationship, and they’re awesome bounty hunter types, so I think that’s what I liked most!

      Thanks πŸ™‚ In the meantime I’ll watch Fullmetal or something to learn how to write fight scenes πŸ˜€

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      • Anytime πŸ™‚ You would do awesome drawing a castle πŸ™‚ Do you like drawing buildings?

        Haha they def have a great friendship πŸ™‚ Did you see the Solo film?

        YW πŸ™‚ That sounds good. Have you read about writing fight scenes before? I guess I should lol but I just go with whatever seems right in my mind lol. :).

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        • Buildings aren’t as fun to draw as people, but it’s easier because they’re more linear πŸ™‚

          There’s a Solo film? I’m kinda out of touch as even before the pandemic we rarely went to the cinema!

          I find watching YouTube videos on fighting more useful than reading about them, and sketching out character poses to get my head around how the characters move πŸ™‚

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          • Yeah, people are way more fun to draw :). And I agree they are more linear. πŸ™‚ Do you have a type of building that you enjoy drawing?

            Yep, there was one. I believe it was from 2019. It wasn’t great lol. But, it was Han’s origin story and Chewbacca is in it. πŸ™‚ Do you plan to see it one day?

            Good point. Visualizing it is a better way to learn than seeing it, yes? πŸ™‚
            Do you usually use YouTube videos as references/research for writing fight scenes? :).

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            • I don’t draw many buildings, but I think I prefer medieval style castles and towers. Modern buildings rarely have any interesting details!

              Wow, 2019 seems like forever ago! I’ll look it up, I’m struggling to choose things to watch right now anyway, so even if it’s not great I’m sure I’ll learn something from it and it’ll give me something to watch πŸ™‚

              Yeah, I’m a very visually minded person so sometimes use Youtube. I watch anime and TV more though as ‘research’ πŸ™‚ I sometimes struggle to translate the images in my head into words though!

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              • Yes, castles are more interesting πŸ™‚ If you draw a castle, do you plan to put a moat around it?

                Haha this pandemic has slowed time down, no? Yeah, I think there is some neat lore in it :). Maybe it’s on Netflix or another service?

                THat makes sense. I too learn more visually. What do you usually research on YouTube? Yeah I struggle with putting images into words too. It’s hard to describe them at times, no? ^___^;

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                • Of course, moats are so pretty πŸ™‚

                  It totally has. Hopefully the worst will soon be over with πŸ™‚ I’ll check Netflix. UK Netflix isn’t as good as US Netflix unfortunately as we don’t get half the stuff America does!

                  YouTube is amazing. I was watching Yoga/Taichi videos the other week, and this week watching video game tutorials. And it is hard to describe things! I get the perfect images of a story in my head, but I tend to miss things out when I write it down πŸ™‚

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                  • πŸ™‚ Yes they are. Would you like to see castles and moats overseas too? πŸ™‚

                    I think the absolute worst is likely over, given that more people are getting vaccinated, but yeah it may take some time before we get near normal. But like you, I do hope it will end soon :). Oh wow, I wonder why UK Netflix is limited in availability of shows and movies. Maybe it’s due to copyright or distribution issues?

                    That’s cool! Do you do yoga or meditation often? πŸ™‚ The tutorials on YouTube help :). I am the same way – I miss things when I write it down too lol. I think beta readers have pointed that out. And sometimes I over-describe (like saying which specific finger a character is pointing with XD) Have you over-described before? lol.

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                    • If I could I’d do a world tour of castles πŸ˜€

                      According to our government ‘normal’ will be June 21st, but we’ll see. Very few people die of Covid here anymore, and as the death rates reach near zero they’ll have a harder time justifying restrictions on freedom.

                      Yeah I think the issue is Sky TV have the rights to shows like The Flash in the UK, and put them on their own in-demand service so Netflix can’t have them 😦

                      Nah I tried meditation a few times but I’m not good at sitting doing nothing xD I’ve never over described, but an issue I do have is too much dialogue lol, which I never saw as a problem but apparently characters should only talk if it advances the plot!

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  4. A world tour would be so cool! What’s the coolest castle that you’ve seen?

    I wonder how the govt chose June 21 as the date for normalcy? There seem to be some efforts to lift restrictions stateside too, but I’m a bit worried about that. There are many who do not wear masks, enter into large gatherings, etc. And stateside, it’s been a back and forth cycle where cases spike, and another lockdown occurs, etc. But hopefully vaccination rates will continue to increase and hopefully most will be vaccinated by summer or fall.

    😦 Yeah I can see how Sky’s actions would make it harder for the shows to be on Netflix. Does Sky offer any on-demand or streaming options for superhero shows?

    lol yeah meditation isn’t easy. I do it daily, but it’s not easy. I like walking meditations. Have you tried them before? And lol yeah that’s a good point, but I generally prefer writing dialogue too (even if it is too much lol).

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    • I really like Pierrefonds in France, where they filmed some of the Merlin TV show, but I haven’t seen it in person. The best ones I’ve seen are in Wales: Caernafon and Beaumaris πŸ™‚

      Our plan to lift lockdown has many stages, and each stage allows 3 weeks for the government to assess if cases are rising, staying the same, or falling: If they start rising the plan to unlock will be delayed. It seems very organised and they want this 3rd lockdown to be the last so are very cautious. Here if you don’t wear a mask in a shop you’re fined, and large gatherings are banned. Sounds like the U.S has a less organised approach though. Do shops have to shut? Anything ‘non essential’ over here has been shut for months!

      Yeah I think you can get Now TV from Sky to watch their stuff, but it’s another monthly expense so we haven’t bothered. Shame there isn’t one streaming service for everything!

      Wow, that’s dedication, well done on meditating πŸ™‚ I’ve never heard of walking meditations, what are they?

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      • That’s cool πŸ™‚ How did you like visiting Wales? πŸ™‚ I haven’t been to Wales, but have thought about visiting one day.

        That sounds like a good plan. Lockdowns here are done state by state, so each state has a different lockdown strategy. And while some cities do fine those who do not wear masks, many do not. So yeah, at least on paper, it sounds like the US is more disorganized. Some shops had to shut, but they became more lenient on that. In some places, they allow swap meets. And the number of cases appears to be rising again, and there are worries about another wave here. Do they plan to open all shops back up when the 3rd lockdown is over? (or just some shops?)

        Wow, how much does Now TV cost? Yeah it can be quite costly to get multiple streaming services.

        Thank you :). Walking meditations are kind of like exercise meditations. Like a sitting meditation, there is at least some focus on one thing- your breathing, the feeling of your feet on the floor, what you see, etc – but the focus is soft and gentle and you are supposed to still be aware of what you see. It sounds hard, but it gets easier over time and one thing that I’ve noticed is that I become aware of more things. It sounds paradoxical because you focus on one thing mentally (like the feeling of your feet touching the ground), but over time you notice more of your surroundings. Plus, you get to do exercise at the same time (walking). The Calm app might have some free walking meditations :). Hope this helps. And sorry for the last paragraph being a bit long- it’s hard to explain.

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        • Wales is great, but Cardiff was a bit disappointing and we got totally lost wandering around there! We didn’t see too much of Wales though, as we were heading more towards Cornwall, but I’d like to go back to some of the Welsh castles πŸ™‚

          Sounds messy, but I guess countrywide laws are tricky, so it’s easier to let each state make their own strategy? Shame the cases are rising again 😦 Shop reopening is due to happen on April 12th, but bars and restaurants will only be able to serve people sitting outside and other restrictions will remain in place, like no nightclubs etc. We’re opening things in stages, a gradual easing of lockdown, but the aim is for everything to be open by June 21st. International travel is a different story entirely, and I think that’ll be restricted for a long time.

          Now TV is Β£9.99 a month just for entertainment, way more than Netflix. Works out cheaper to wait and buy DVD’s of things I really want to see πŸ™‚

          Walking meditations sound pretty cool, might be easier for me than sitting meditations. I’ll have to try it when the weather gets nicer πŸ™‚

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          • How many days were you in Wales? Hopefully you can see more of Wales next time :). I bet it would be cool to see the Welsh castles. I wonder how long they’ve been around.

            Yeah, especially in a country as large as the U.S. I imagine it would be hard to have a nationwide law. I can see the case for each state having its own strategy. That does allow for one to adapt to local conditions and needs. Downside to that is that some states are fairly lax and that can lead to more cases. Are there any local restrictions that go beyond or are less strict than national restrictions in the UK for COVID? It sounds like a cautious reopening. Did they say what plans will be in place if there are any delays? Yeah I think travel will be restricted for a while – though I imagine that there may be some relaxation of rules for those who are vaccinated.

            I pay about the same price for Netflix here. But yeah, I can see why the DVDs would be a better option. Do they come out at the same time as the U.S.?

            πŸ™‚ Let me know if you try out a walking meditation. headspace might have some free walking meditations as well :).

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            • Last time it was just a day trip, we travelled from Bristol into Wales, but the time before was a few days. Beaumaris is 726 years old, and looking great considering πŸ™‚

              Yeah, with a large country I guess it doesn’t make sense to lockdown everywhere if one state has very few cases. Shame some are too lax though 😦 The UK tried putting county’s into a tiered system, with different rules, but it didn’t work. Wales and Scotland set their own rules though. They’ve not mentioned plans if there are delays, partly because I think they’re hoping this plan works πŸ™‚ They’re looking into ‘vaccine passports’ to attend large events here, so you have to prove you’ve had a vaccine, a recent negative test, or have antibodies, to go to concerts and large events. Some EU countries are doing the same for travel. I’m still waiting for the NHS to provide antibody tests as I’m curious about how many times I’ve had Covid and what immunity I’ve built, if any.

              I think DVD release dates are similar, if a few weeks behind because episodes air later over here. I tend to wait for people to gift me them at Christmas though πŸ™‚

              Will do, I think it’d be cool to try πŸ™‚ I wonder if it’d work whilst cycling?

              Liked by 1 person

              • Wow! 726 years? Cool. Do you plan to take a longer trip to Wales next time?

                Yeah, it’s sad how some states are getting lax. I worry about spikes in cases there. Are Wales and Scotland more autonomous? I too hope the reopening plan works and that there won’t be any future waves of COVID. That’s interesting how they are looking into vaccine passports. I know the U.S. govt recently decided not to do that after many expressed concern and opposition, but I’m curious to see which other countries will do it. Did the NHS mention a possible timeline for antibody tests?

                Nice πŸ™‚ It’s cool how people gift DVDs to you πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

                πŸ™‚ Possibly. I did see a “Cycling” meditation on Headspace. Do you ride a bike often? :).

                Liked by 1 person

                • Yeah, hopefully a longer trip next time, although I want to go to Ireland and Scotland first πŸ™‚

                  Hopefully things in the U.S don’t escalate too much 😦 I found it weird Wales and Scotland set different rules, given they usually do the same as the rest of the UK, but I guess it’s a unique situation. There’s lots of opposition to vaccine passports here too, but we won’t know more until the government debate it. Personally I think for travel abroad it’ll be essential for a while, and useful for large scale events on a temporary basis, but it raises all kinds of ethical issues and I wouldn’t agree with them for going to the shops, pub or cinema. I imagine when we’re allowed to travel again antibody tests will be brought in to act as proof of immunity, but no official timeline yet. (You can pay for them, but it’s Β£65!)

                  I used to ride my bike a lot, but we’ve had a cold winter and I wasn’t motivated. I need to get back into it πŸ™‚ Do you exercise less in winter too?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That would be cool! πŸ™‚ Do you plan to fly to Scotland and Ireland (when it is safe to do so)? πŸ™‚

                    I hope so too. The case numbers are increasing, and I remember reading that a few states have had a large number of cases. It is concerning though, especially with variants. Interesting – I wonder why Wales and Scotland have different rules. What would you say are the biggest ethical issues with the passports? (I actually don’t know enough about them to have an opinion either way yet, but I would definitely like to hear your views). Wow 65 pounds is quite a bit.

                    That’s cool πŸ™‚ Is it going to get warmer soon? Hopefully so πŸ™‚ I think I exercise a bit less during winter as it is harder to walk when it’s very cold and rainy…though this past winter was mild and dry, so I did manage to get some exercise in. Do you like to go for walks?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thanks πŸ™‚ I’d probably drive, as I enjoy a road trip and my partner doesn’t like planes too much! It’s a long way, as we live in East Anglia, but I drove to Cornwall before so shouldn’t be too bad πŸ™‚

                      Yeah the variants are a worry. Has the U.S restricted incoming flights from some places too, to stop them being brought into the country?

                      The main ethical issue is giving businesses the right to demand access to people’s medical records which should be confidential. Also it’s not right to restrict people from going about their day to day life because they can’t or won’t have a vaccine. It’s a road to an exclusive, divided, society, especially given our government has promoted the idea vaccination is a choice not a requirement. Having said that, I think providing proof of a negative test to allow stadiums to open to full capacity for large events would be fine. It’s when you start demanding people provide proof to go to pubs, cinemas, etc, that I have a problem with it, especially as the vaccine is supposed to be a route out of restrictions, not create more.

                      Honestly I have no idea, the weather has been so crazy. Hot and sunny one minute, snowing the next! Glad you had a mild winter and got some walking in πŸ™‚ I don’t walk much, I prefer to bike as walking on my own doesn’t always feel safe, but biking I can make a quick getaway.

                      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s awesome, Louise! Does your partner enjoy road trips too? I’m glad you have fun πŸ™‚

    Yes, I don’t quite remember which countries are restricted, but the U.S. has some travel bans in place. Is the UK restricting visitors from the U.S.?

    That is definitely an ethical concern – I agree that health information should remain private. And I can see how requiring a vaccine could lead to greater inequality. But yeah, I too can see the case for just requiring a COVID test as that wouldn’t require medical record/history release and can be done on the spot (the downside is that COVID can take days before it can be detected, but I can see how a COVID test would be better than having a vaccine passport system). Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Wow, those are huge weather changes. Totally understandable to prefer biking. I support you, my friend.
    I never really learned how to ride a bike XD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think he doesn’t mind, but he’s more likely to get bored on long journeys than I am xD

      I don’t think we restricted visitors from the U.S, but currently in the UK it’s illegal for us to travel aboard without proving it’s essential.

      Of course πŸ™‚ I think our PCR tests are very good for detecting asymptomatic cases, but the rapid tests, where you get a result in 30 minutes, are going to be more practical, alongside antibody tests to prove immunity, for large scale events.

      Yeah, today temperatures are barely above zero, but the sun is shining πŸ™‚ Riding a bike is hard at first, I fell off loads, but it’s fun, and if you get a chance to learn I’d recommend it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • lol has he fallen asleep on roadtrips? πŸ˜›

        That makes sense as traveling can increase chances of contracting the virus. Do you know if they will keep the travel restriction in place for a while?

        πŸ™‚ That’s true – rapid tests will definitely be more convenient and I can see them being used for large scale events too. Do you think there will be concerts in the fall as a result of lockdowns lifting?

        Wow, that is very cold. Hope it warms up soon. Glad the sun is shining though :). Aw I’m glad you had fun learning in spite of falling down a lot. I might try it out sometime :).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nah he tends to play video games :p

          Travel will be allowed on the 17th of May, apparently, but some countries will be on high risk lists and either be restricted or have strict isolation requirements after a visit there. I think travelling will be for the rich for a while at this rate, as no one on minimum wage will afford the cost of testing or to take additional time off work to isolate after a holiday 😦

          We already have football events planned, so I assume concerts will go ahead soon too, providing the easing of lockdown goes well. It’s not as if I go to either of those events, but I’m following the news anyway: probably a bit too closely to be honest as it causes me way too much anxiety!

          Yeah, it seems to be a really cold April. I’m hoping for lots of sunshine at least πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • Haha does he play video games for hours on road trips?

            I wonder if the U.S. will be one of the countries considered to be high-risk for COVID. But yeah, you’re right, traveling will be for the rich for a while, given their access to testing and, as you said, more time to take time off for quarantine. But as you mentioned before, maybe you could go on a road trip in the near future?

            Yeah the news can cause a lot of anxiety. Do you plan to take some breaks from the news?

            πŸ™‚ Hope there will be sunshine soon! All the best

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah he does, I’m the only one who drives out of us πŸ™‚

              I don’t think the U.S will be high risk at the moment, but Canada might as the cases there are increasing. Definitely road trip in the future, across the UK πŸ™‚ (Especially as the weather is getting nicer, it’s so sunny today!)

              I try to take regular news breaks but it’s so easy to just check on my phone and I end up reading stories and getting frustrated. So many bad things happen and I hate having so little power to change them.

              Like

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