Lockdown V.2 has been, ahem, interesting.
As in a bit of a struggle to find interesting things to do to stave off the interminable boredom.
It’s not even as if I went into this latest iteration of staying at home, staying safe and protecting the NHS with any grand, optimistic plans to use the time wisely.
Last March it was all about, “well, let’s run and find new hobbies”. Since Boxing Day it’s been, “whatever… pass me a Gold Bar”.
It hasn’t helped that dark winter days have been a disincentive to getting on track with getting my running back on track.
That’s been such a non-starter I’ve now coughed up a tenner to join a solo running challenge to clock up 50k during February. Yeah. I’m paying faceless strangers to make me exercise.
Eventually, though, you have to do something about the ennui… especially when you realise you’ve not actually been out the house for about three days. Even worse, I’m getting comfortable with that.
Which, of course, cannot be allowed to continue.
So it was, then, that I decided to work a bit of added value into some of my walking and see if I could reactivate my flirtation with photography.
My last real dabble with the art form was some time ago. To be precise it was when I got an SLR camera for my 21st birthday. This was in the day when you needed to put film in the thing and take hunners of photos because you didn’t know which ones would turn out.
A couple of years ago I had the notion of revisiting the art of the snapper and bought a shiny Nikon SLR, with so many bells and whistles I’m still not sure what half the buttons do.
Still, nothing ventured, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been heading up to do things like shoot the Stonehaven War Memorial at sunset into dusk.
On Sunday past I used the grey skies to take moody photos of Cowie Chapel, although I prefer its other name, Our Lady Of The Storms. I like the poetry of it.
On both outings I have been spurred on by images I have seen online in and around Stonehaven that are, simply, breathtaking. Crashing waves against red skies, stars gleaming through the arches of the War Memorial, mist-shrouded parks.
Suitably inspired, I ventured out and spent ages eyeing up views, waiting for the perfect moment when the moon was framed by ancient stone, or when spooky headstones gave glimpes into our past.
And then I would get home and flick through the hunners of photos I had taken (old habits die hard) only to confirm they were dull and pedestrian.
In fact, the only thing I got out of it was fresh air and a cheeky wee picnic. There’s something about eating a quiche in an unroofed church, is there not?
I have thought “what’s the point?” But then, you need to practise anything to get better. So I will keep walking, keep snapping and one day I might even come up with something bonny.
Until then, at least it’s getting me out of the house… and away from the Gold Bars.
Health staff are stars of the moment at P&J Live
The last time I was in P&J Live it was to watch the Strictly Come Dancing tour just over a year ago.
My, how things have changed thanks to coronavirus.
Now, instead of folk enjoying a jive, there are people queueing up for a jab.
But it’s still worthy of a standing ovation. After all, what better example can there be of the concerted effort by NHS Grampian to protect us than this massive operation to get as many vulnerable people vaccinated as quickly as possible?
Hopefully, they will work their way through the over 75s in short order then get to the other people seen as a priority. I fall into one of those categories by dint of being over 55. And when I get the invite, whether it is to P&J Live or to Stonehaven Town Hall, I will roll my sleeve up and get stuck in (or get stuck, rather) like a shot.
So should everyone else, because we are all in this together.
The more people who are vaccinated, the further we can roll back coronavirus and the sooner we can get our lives back.
Which means the sooner P&J Live can get back to its day job – offering glittering nights of sheer entertainment with the biggest names in showbiz.
But for now, the real stars are at work in the arena – the frontline NHS staff who are going all out to help us. Let’s give them the applause and cheers they deserve.
Farewell to commuting through ice
For the most part, I’d rather not be working from home.
I miss the buzz of people around me, I miss being in the heart of Aberdeen, I miss nipping to the shops at lunchtime.
I even miss the commute, that dividing line between going to work then coming home at the end of the day. All that said, there are some advantages, not least the one that arrived yesterday morning.
There was something satisfying about looking out at the snow and ice and realising I wasn’t going to have to scrape, drive or trudge anywhere except to our spare room now study. Every snowy cloud, eh?