We fully intended to go back to feed the swans at “our” place, today, but it’s lashing down, so that’s on hold for the time being. In fact, we’ve now got thunder, to boot. Sorry, swans; I know I promised. Don’t hate me.
So, instead of writing about our day, I’d like to talk about doing things online. Not shopping! Although, despite what I said on yesterday’s blog about not ordering plants online, I emailed a company today with a view to doing that very thing. (They closed down their phone order lines, as they had been swamped with calls.) I received a very polite automatic response, but I’m still waiting to actually be connected with someone so I can place my order. And, guess what? Now that I’ve bitten the bullet, I may as well try and order some more…
The OH had an acting tutorial on Zoom today and it sounded a lot of fun from where I was sitting. He was reading an excerpt from one of Alan Bennett’s fabulous Talking Heads monologues, alongside an acting friend who is also a voice coach. The OH does a pretty good AB. Years ago, on my old magazine, we published a short story by Alan Bennett and the OH rang my editor, pretending to be the Great Man, and thanking her for making such a beautiful job of it. She was fooled – for about a minute.
The weekly acting tutorial is just one thing the OH likes to do online. He also does boxercise classes twice a week and guitar lessons once a fortnight. Work-related meetings and social get-togethers with his work colleagues, on Zoom, where they all bitch about the boss. (I’m joking. He’s got a nice-sounding boss. In fact, he’s in on those as well.) The only thing he can’t do on there is his monthly scene study class at The Actors’ Centre, which he really misses. If live bands and dancing is my thing (see a previous blog for more on this), then acting is very definitely his. He always says the happiest time of his life was his year spent working at the Dome as part of the Natural Theatre Company.
This was in the days before I knew him, and I will always regret not taking myself off there to see everything. I listened too much to all the bad press the Dome received at the time and should have just gone there and formed my own opinion. Since then, I have heard lots about it and watched videos of some of their performances, and it was clever, witty, great fun and very playful. He has always said it wasn’t like “proper” work at all and I’m certain he would still be there if it hadn’t closed down first.
The other thing he likes to do is catch up with his mates on Whereby. In “normal life” they tend to do this every three weeks or so. Pub, manly chat (gossip, in other words) and a meal somewhere. Now, though, they can meet up every week if they wish. No need to waste precious catch-up time with the tiring commute, standing around in pubs waiting for each other to turn up on time and making sure they don’t miss the last train home. No lugging heavy work gear around with them, either. It’s straight to their respective computers and they’re away. To make it more authentic, they take drinks and crisps, nuts, whatever, with them and, over Easter, I suggested a bag of seasonal chocolate mini eggs, as well. They went down a treat; though admittedly were a bit one-sided. The thought was there, anyway.
A friend “attends” her weekly choir practice and another held a virtual a tea-party in her flat last month. There are online tutorials and videos covering just about any hobby or classes you could want. Our local spiritualist church even hosts evenings of Mediumship. I don’t quite know how that works, but apparently it’s very successful. I think it’s great that people are being creative, connecting with others and joining in with all kinds of activities, even though I don’t actually feel a burning desire to join in with any of them myself! With one exception: I have a daily Zoom editing meeting with a lovely new friend, made through the monthly freelance media group I attend up in “that London” (God, I miss it), helping to oversee the pages of the online magazine she edits. It’s concentrated work, but it’s also fun, and we natter about all manner of things along the way – once I’ve got past the unpleasant sight of seeing my pasty face and wild hair on video, that is. That’s the catch with a lot of this online stuff. There had to be one.