Hex the royal python has started to get involved with rewriting Shakespeare. He insisted on slithering all over the keyboard while we had a Google Doc version of the script open, so everybody would have seen his edits – at one point perhaps a string of “sss” – as they went live and then were deleted. You can’t train a snake. Or at least I can’t. I need a basket and a pipe but even with the paraphernalia I reckon he’d defy me. I had to muck him out today as well, which is not the most pleasant job although he doesn’t make much mess in the scheme of things.


I had to wash out his claggy tank in my bath with him strung round my neck and pulsing. I could try to fool myself into thinking it’s an affectionate hug. He’s either after my warmth or he’s trying to work out if he’s strong enough to take me down. He isn’t, though. And he isn’t hungry either. He had no interest in the weekly mouse puppet show this evening.  He might take it when I’m not looking as I’ve left it with him overnight. If not that’s a waste of another good dead mouse. Another tiny life.

It’s the beginning of the weekend at home, and a warm day. I’ve literally never seen so many people walking up and down the Embankment and sitting on the benches down the sides of the river. I suppose normally they’d all be spread over London in various establishments – sporting grounds and pubs with beer gardens and so forth. Battersea Park was like a rugby scrum when I went last week so maybe the people who aren’t locking themselves in full time have decided, erroneously, that they’ll have a bit more room on the embankment. I went up on the roof.  Nobody up there but me, and I needed the air above me after way too long with a ceiling.

I love this time of year. The wind starting to blow warmer, the natural world waking up. All the blossom will be out on all the cherries and magnolias in London, and most of us are shut inside and can’t see it. Most of the conversations I’ve had with people involve us sharing our bewilderment with one another. A lot of people are sad. This lack of activity and sunlight can do that. Also the gradual drip of sad news. People’s dads suddenly dying, some of this virus, others of other things, but quite a few of them. Noticeably more than usual.

I’m trying to keep myself healthy spiritually and mentally within this, as I feel that if I can do that much then I can come out of it well. My instinctive disobedience has made me question the fact that everybody is doubling down on the navel gazing. But I guess this is an opportunity to hone a practice that is good for us, be it mindfulness, yoga, meditation or just writing 500 words every day and posting it. All these things are helpful…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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