As we near 60 working days in physical isolation, days since AZ’s office has been closed, it’s an optimal time to reflect on a few things that have made this period better than it might have been. .

I say this from an aspect of comfort and relative ease. Anne’s been working consistently throughout the process (and my job search has quietly continued). Many other haven’t had as straightforward a time – business has dried up for consultants, frontline workers may have been furloughed or worse, sole proprietors haven’t had as solid a fallback as they deserved.

Consider this part of a series as we move into the "next normal"..

One appliance in our house which has gotten a lot of use is our hot water kettle. This had already spun up while one of us was home, but one ritual we’ve added to each workday is a morning tea break at around 10am. So one of us starts the kettle, puts the tea in a pot, and we have a quick break between calls or meetings. Ritual helps.

We’ve been given to mental vegetation (or recovery) to some degree, but a lot of TV can be a bit wearing – so as a break, AZ and I have been watching a cosy cooking video programme on YouTube, Glen and Friends. In truth, I don’t know the whole backstory, but from what I can determine Glen’s a videographer and home chef, who has been experimenting with cooking techniques for some time. Each show has a pattern – some discussion about a recipe – where they found it (frequently from old community cookbooks), what he’s done to make it work today. How important it is to wing it – because in our tricky times you may not have quite the ingredients you want. Then a 2 camera setup films the preparation, with successes and mistakes. Magically, at the time for serving, Julie shows up to help taste and opine. Each episode is about 10 minutes, and each will give you a comfy belly and/or inspiration.

A while back, AZ and I connected with a group of music geeks who meet periodically to discuss the records included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In previous months, we’d all get together in a local pub like The Red Lion, have a bite and a beverage, and hash out that meeting’s selection. But with the closures that wasn’t an option. Happily, I’d plumped for a M365 tenant for my learning, so we’ve been able – with some hiccups and abstentions, to move to online. It’s great to see people’s faces and hear their (unmuted) voices regularly, sharing ideas on a topic we each care about.

In tricky times, it’s been great to have streams of music – either from our own collection, or from those providers of challenging payment practices – so it’s been wonderful to see Bandcamp’s payout model. But the podcast listening – that’s way down.

What’s working for y’all?