Jilly: Silver Linings

So how was your week?

According to the news briefings, London is the coronavirus hotspot of the UK, but so far, touch wood, we’ve been fine chez Jilly. We’re doing as instructed, staying quietly home, washing our hands, waving to the neighbors from a safe distance, watching the news, and checking up on friends and family. I’ve been having lovely long chats with friends I normally only catch up with at Christmas.

I didn’t do any new writing, but I did put together a brief for Daire’s novella, now officially called The Seeds of Exile. I had a good discussion with my cover designers about the stock photo I found for Daire, crown prince and ruler of Caldermor. The guy’s expression and pose are perfect. Unfortunately, his clothes aren’t. He’s a cool urban dude and I need a fantasy prince. I had some ideas about how he could be transformed, and I was thrilled when Deranged Doctor Design said they can make him work. Those people are a breath of fresh air, somehow managing to work with their usual upbeat professionalism even though their patch of Eastern Europe is under martial law and they’re expecting to go to full corona-lockdown soon. I really admire their attitude.

The other task that’s been occupying much of my time is chasing grocery orders. The Prime Minister suggested we should have our food and necessities delivered if at all possible. That’s turning out to be easier said than done, as the online delivery companies crumble under the sudden weight of demand. They’re beyond overwhelmed. The one I use has seen a ten-fold increase in activity, combined with a decision to prioritize ‘key workers’ and vulnerable people, which is making it basically inaccessible to ordinary customers, even longstanding ones like me.

I wasted more than seven hours trying to wrangle that online supermarket on Friday, to no avail, and now I’m done. I realized today that I’ve been approaching this challenge all wrong. Even as the big grocery chains adapt their model to help the government, this country is full of smaller independent businesses—farmers and wholesalers—who were dependent on the restaurant trade and who are now desperately trying to adapt and survive. They have families to feed, stock they can’t sell, and for the foreseeable future they’re looking to private customers to keep them afloat. From now on, until this pandemic shutdown is over, my new plan is to use my time and money to find and buy from those businesses. I’ve placed two orders with an organic farm in Devon, for delivery in May, and I have a couple of other referrals in London that might be able to tide us over for April. Those are on my list to contact tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Oh—and our friendly indie wine merchant (also reeling from the closure of the restaurant trade) agreed with us that it would be a good idea to withdraw as much of our paid wine reserve as we could manage while the bonded warehouse is still making deliveries and the merchant is still there to liaise with them. So we did. We’ve always kept our wine in storage because we have a small house and no cellar. Now there’s wine under the stairs. Under the coffee table. Under the dining table. Wherever we could find a shady space. After all, nobody’s coming to visit. And even if we have to dine on corned beef and microwave rice every night, at least now we know it will be accompanied by a glass of something nice 🙂 .

And best of all, last Friday the Eight Ladies had a virtual get-together courtesy of Zoom. We span the East and West coasts of the US, plus the UK and Japan, and in normal times the chance of finding a time where we could all sit in front of a screen is slim to none. Right now everyone’s home, which means it’s tricky but do-able, and we did. It was great!

So how was your week? It’s been another tough one around the world. I hope you managed to find some silver linings.

13 thoughts on “Jilly: Silver Linings

  1. Hi Jilly! My silver lining is that my husband and I had planned a 4 month test run on living on our sailboat. We had completed some work on the boat in January then fully stocked the boat so we wouldn’t need to go ashore unless we wanted fresh groceries. We had intended to head to Mexico’s west coast but winds favored a northerly route, and we were starting to hear about the virus so the CA offshore islands became our destination. So for us, not much changed other than socializing with other boaters. TBH though, we haven’t seen many where we have been.

    • Wow. That really is a solid silver lining! It’s a shame this crisis has cast a shadow over such a fabulous adventure, but your timing could not have been better, and your gravatar photo is gorgeous. Do you have a blog, or an Instagram? The view from my kitchen window is green and light, but that’s about it (for the first time in my life I’m wishing I had my mother’s gardening skillz). It would be a real treat to see some beautiful photographs over the coming weeks and months.

      • Thanks! I lived on St Croix, USVI for a little over a year and that iguana lived in my yard.
        I found 8LW while I was setting up my blog. The lessons sent me on a search of sites I found interesting and 8LW is the only one I still read.
        My blog is sailingalways.wordpress.com or just sailingalways.com and I post on IG with sailing_always.
        I have two updates that I hope to post today and tomorrow then I’ll be following our trip around the Channel Islands. Hope you enjoy.
        I’m also enjoying the books from the 8 ladies. I read for Jeanne’s second book without knowing the genre and now I’m reading all of the ladies writings. Love you all!

        • Hi Sailing Always! Thanks for following us. Have a great time sailing around the Channel Islands; it sounds like a wonderful place to go, and the weather should favor you, too. I look forward to following you and seeing how the trip goes!

        • I just learned something new. For me, the Channel Islands mean Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm, in the English Channel, off the French coast just by Normandy. They’re beautiful and interesting, with their own legal systems (and tax regimes, of course), but the Californian ones look stunning.

          I look forward to sharing your trip. Around the time you were planning your test run, Kay and I (and my husband) were planning a road trip along the California coast for this summer. Clearly that’s not going to happen now, so it will be nice to enjoy some vicarious sea and sunshine.

          (And thank you for reading us all. That’s a golden, or even platinum lining, right there 🙂 ).

        • Wow, thank you! What a compliment (that you’re reading our blog, let alone our books!). So jelly that you’re on a boat right now, although I’m in Phoenix and the backyard ain’t so bad today. Wishing you calm seas and safe harbors!

  2. I’m looking, so far in vain, for anything that even hints of a silver lining. My refrigerator started leaking, so that needs replacing. So far, all the stores that say they’ll deliver will deliver only to “the front door.” That would leave the new frig out on the street. Can I hope that if I give an extra chunk of cash to the burly guys who come in the truck they’ll wrestle it up the stairs? Well, I can hope.

    And then—as I was lying on my sofa last night, watching an old “Morse,” a mouse ran through the room. So today I went out for traps. I’m all for creatures sheltering in place, as long as wildlife does not wish to shelter at my house.

    On the whole, though, I have no complaints. Not sick with Covid-19 yet! And the store that sold traps also sold chocolate cookies. So I’m pretty much set.

    ETA: But here’s another silver lining! My new phone arrived and I just finished setting it up, so I can now talk to people as much as I want.

    • A dead fridge and a live mouse–welp! Thank heaven for chocolate cookies.

      Regarding your fridge: how are you supposed to get rid of the old one? Some burly person is going to have to wrestle that down the stairs, too. Here’s hoping that if you supervise from an appropriate distance, a chunk of cash will get the new fridge up the stairs and the old one down.

      • Good point about the old one going down. When I bought this current one, the retailer took the old one away for free, but I’ve checked with them and they no longer have a size that fits my space—even if they did up and down the stairs delivery, which they don’t mention. I’ll keep that in mind, though. That big fridge would not be a very decorative item in the middle of my floor, and it’s too big to be an island on its side. 🙂

    • Oh my goodness…I remember the first time I got mice in my house in Georgia. I was so stupid and naive. Got rid of them eventually, but not before my exterminator had a good laugh at my expense. A story for another time.

      Do you have any friends with burly children who could help you get it up/down the stairs? You’ll provide the masks/gloves (and cash) if they can do the work. You might have to rent an appliance dolly if you go that route, but it beats your new fridge on the street. Good luck and keep us posted.

      And the chocolate cookies? Bonus!

      • I’m thinking that when I’m purchasing online, I might have to make some calls to the sellers and hope somebody picks up. Maybe it will be [even informally] established that for an extra fee, the drivers will do the heavy lifting. Otherwise, I’ll have to go to the guys with the cardboard signs at the stop lights. I know of no burly children.

        Mice, yeah. This one isn’t my first rodeo in the rodent dept, but I dislike them heartily. And my last exposure to mice made me sick, too, so I’m a little worried about that. If there’s just one, or even two, and they throw themselves on that bait quickly and I can get them out of the house, then all will be well. If they keep coming back, it’s exterminator time. I’m looking forward to your story!

  3. This week’s silver lining is that my children and husband are still alive. Actually, I exaggerate. We had a pretty good week. Managed to get through the first week of doing school packets. The teachers are more organized going into this week, so I’m hopeful. The kids will be more organized, too. I 3HP’d their papers and put them in a binder with tabs for each subject (I’m so glad I hoard office supplies) so we don’t have 126 pages of schoolwork flitting around the house.

    Hubs and I have been debating for a year whether to get an outdoor ping-pong table for our patio, and the prospect of being stuck in the house for multiple weeks sort of brought that to a head. The $300 off at Dick’s sporting goods sealed the deal, and so far, I’m undefeated in the house. 😀 The replacement badminton set arrives tomorrow.

    Pork barbecue is cooking in the crock-pot, we’re doing Facetime dinner with my mother-in-law this evening, and I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. All good things.

    • I love the idea of outdoor ping-pong! Badminton, too. Good ideas, Justine! Have a good time with the MIL, and let’s hope your husband and children survive another week. 🙂

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