Gathering Steam

It has been a horrible start to the year. My Dad, who was very frail, died of Covid in January.

Of course, Dad didn’t used to be frail. He used to be fighting fit before suffering a traumatic brain injury at work a few years ago, after which he had multiple strokes. Then, Alzheimer’s started attacking him. He had been fighting aspiration pneumonia in hospital – and won – before being sent back to his care home where he caught Covid-19, and then was too weak to fight it.

Then I got it in February, and though only ‘mild’, I’m slightly struggling with the after effects. Plus, the awfulness of having to miss Dad’s funeral. It has meant I have had to slow down, focus on my health and say no to lots of opportunities.

But there is still lots going on, lots of positive stuff, and so I thought I’d tell you a bit about what I am doing the rest of the year, planned so far.

I will shortly be announcing Best of British Science Fiction 2020. We have awesome cover art by Alex Storer, and a ToC that’s out of this world… just wait and see.

I’m also working on Super World Unknown, the Northampton Arts lab anthology. That has been an iron heating in the fire for a while, so expect it to sizzle when it is actually ready.

I’m in an animation scriptwriting partnership with Jen Strike, an award-winning and extremely prolific improv talent, as part of The Extraordinary Time-Travelling Adventures of Baron Munchausen comedy group’s animation writing project, hoping to capitulate on the group’s many recent award successes. This year, the Barons made the semi-finals of The London International Web & Shorts Film Festival 2021, plus made their selection for March as Best Animation in London Webfest and we won Best Shorts in the Best Short Competition, and a Merit for animation in Children/Family programming. And you can see our first award-winning animation here, on which I personally did naught but make dubious noises. One day we hope to be back performing our stories live, too!

And that day draws ever closer, with 4 live gigs in my calendar so far – I’ve had one jab, and I although think we need to guard against absolutely unrestrained optimism (and hugging) here given the gloomy state of things elsewhere, right now, a modicum of squee seems apt. Isn’t it lovely to have all this to look forward to now? I think so.

And if I can recover my health sufficiently to not whistle from my lungs or sound half asleep and drunk when recording my Apple Top 10 podcast (at its peak, but still rocking the charts thanks to my devoted podpeople!) then there will be more of The Lemonade Budget for Champagne Social Butterflies to come this week.

I’m trying to go for lots of walks now, as fresh air, birdsong and the countryside is great for mental health and creativity. And I just want to be well, you know? I am very grateful to Dave Askew of Northamptonshire Walks for planning so many fabulous local routes to try out.

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