Signing in

Well, sort of. I haven’t got a new computer and this one has days when it has to be left asleep, so I won’t be doing much ‘joining’.

The world has shrunk to a small place, it’s become more intimate. People talk about what they like about this new, uncluttered life and what they don’t want to go back to. They say they don’t want to give back the streets to cars, the city centres to tourists and tourist-oriented consumption. They say they want to keep on waking to birdsong. They have got used to taking  notice of the people around them, the things that need doing, the way the trees grow.

These are the things I like to hear about, not how great it will be when they get the entertainments rolled out again, the tours and cruises, the football, the Formula 1, and fill the shops with more junk Made in China so we can get spending again.

There are things I want to say, so I will. It’s cathartic—to write even if no one reads it. I’m working hard on a new WIP, writing poems (possibly not poetry) and observing nature just getting on with things. The days aren’t long enough for all there is to do.

I shall get round to reading some of my best-friend-blogs and will post when I have something to get off my chest.


La vie d’après


Nous ne voulons pas rendre les rues,

ni retourner de se retourner

sans trouver sommeil,

dans le non-silence des nuits d’avant.

Nous refusons les matins sans chants d’oiseaux,

le boucan de bagnoles en folie.

Nous avons vu de près les prés

et les fleurs des champs en bataille.

Nous nous rendrons pas;

nous n’en avons pas le droit.



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

91 thoughts on “Signing in”

  1. I’ve been thinking about you, and I had thought I might try to e-mail you–so I’m glad you checked in. I’m glad you’re well, and enjoying the peace and the birdsong.

    1. Thank you! It’s easy to lose touch. I check emails regularly but daren’t use the internet much. Word is dodgy anyway so I don’t want to push my luck! I’ll look in on you when I see a notification. This computer will just have to hang on a while longer.

  2. So glad to see you back Jane, I have missed your wisdom so much! In these dark strange days, the quiet and the flushing of nature plus seeing emboldened animals has been a help. My French is not brilliant but I like the feel of your poem, not to relenquish the beauty we have been shown.💜 Welcome back 💜🌈

    1. Thank you! I’ll try and stay back, Willow! Depends on the computer. I’m not getting back into doing prompts though as I won’t be able to reply or reciprocate.
      I hope there’s at least a fight before the wheels of commerce run over us again.

  3. Consumerism will be back sooner than we think, as soon as we give it a chance.

    I often think about you, Jane. I miss your writing. So glad you went on writing. Poetry, prose, I’ll read just about anything you write.

    1. It’s nice to be missed 🙂 I’ve been writing a lot and will keep at it, but I’m not doing prompts or getting involved in the reciprocation business. Don’t know whether the computer will stand it and I don’t have the time anyway.

  4. I’ve wondered how we (some of us, all of us) might change through this. Or how soon we will return to pettiness as normalcy. Globally, there has been less pollution from the cities. And many folk have learned a new way of living (working) that could become a paradigm. Rather than falling back, I’d like to think we might go forward if only a little. It’s good to hear from you!

    1. Thank you!
      I hope there will be an awakening, but you can only wake people who want to be woken. Most like consuming so let’s get back to the buy, open, throw away society.
      What I’m sure (hope anyway) has changed is that the people who don’t want to have their lives run by the steady stream of rubbish from China will be more vociferous about it.

  5. It’s so good to hear your voice Jane. I miss it.
    I too hope that lessons will be learned. Well, we know some will never learn them, but if enough people stop participating, things will have to change.

    1. I’ve missed the environment of blogging too. I’ve got a lot done though and written poems without using prompts. I looked at the napowrimo prompts to begin with and found them completely uninspiring. I’m going to keep my browsing selective from now on, save the computer and save time too.
      I really really hope enough people have sampled a life ‘without’ now and won’t go back to the old style of senseless slash and burn living without putting up a fight.

      1. They are starting to open up various places, unfortunately because we are “states” there is no set plan for all the states, the governor of the state determines the guidelines. Sadly, the “red” or republican led states are opening too many things to soon to please Trump. I am in a red state. I am a nurse, I’m not happy about it.

      2. I didn’t know you were a nurse! I bet you’re not happy. It’s a silly habit people have got into saying ‘stay safe’ to everybody who’s in a city where there’s been a terrorist attack or an earthquake, as if they have any control over whether they ‘stay safe’ or not, but please take as much care of yourself as you can. It’s criminal that utter cretins put the lives of health workers at risk by their lack of concern for others.

      3. I try not to listen to him. He depresses me. How come a man who can’t even construct a simple sentence with subject object and verb got to such a position of authority? He wouldn’t even make dog catcher in most countries.

      4. I personally think he is not a legitimate president as he missed the popular vote by over 300,000 votes but we go by the electoral college and that depends on how many republican electorates for democratic electorates from each state place their vote (which is supposed to represent the peoples votes) but of course our voting system was hacked by the Russians and to everyone’s surprise (even the 40% of morons who actually voted for him) we had a TV reality star for a president and he pulled his family in, nepotism not before allowed. sigh.

      5. I read that his ratings were falling, but that anyone still endorses what he says (or even understands it) is beyond me. it’s unintelligible to anyone not actually living with it, but then the Brits have got Boris and he can’t string a lucid sentence together either. The world is a sad place.

      6. It is sad Jane, I feared we would have a crisis while this man with no leadership qualities was in office, little did I know it would be the biggest crisis the world has faced in a very long time.

    1. We hear a lot of that. After six weeks people have got used to hearing birdsong in the mornings rather than cars rushing past under the window. There’s going to be cash help towards patching up old bicycles or buying second hand bikes. People want change. Meanwhile, back at Toyota, the production line has started up again…

      1. In last forty seven days, I have driven only twice. Because of the place we are, a car is a necessity, sort of, but we can definitely live with much reduced use.

      2. Cities tend to have good public transport so there’s no need to have a car. Small towns need to fund better systems, but In rural zones it’s a problem. People do use the car more than they need to though, making trips into town just to buy a loaf of bread and going to the supermarket three times a week instead of once a fortnight. The confinement has made people more economical with their travelling. Doing all the shopping at once is a big saving.

      3. Unfortunately big auto companies have royally screwed up public transportation in major parts of USA and it’s not going to end any time soon. The push for electric cars not going to help public transportation.

      4. The local bus stop here is fifteen minutes walk from my home. That itself is not bad. But it does not go the last mile to the place where main shopping is. Need to take another bus. A distance of four and half mile will become hour long commute. Can’t walk as the express way does not have footpath.

      5. That’s about the same distance we are from the supermarket. There’s no bus at all though. We used to walk the couple of miles to the train station when we first came here, since it’s a pleasant walk, narrow country lane and no traffic. Walking is one thing, carrying shopping is another. The shops are as far again on the other side of town. I’d rather go hungry…

      6. While extending the stay at home order till end of May, our Governor has allowed walking, hiking, biking, jogging etc as long as social distancing and mask rule are followed. So may venture out a little in May.

      7. We have an hour’s walk per day within 1km of domicile, alone. No cycling, no jogging beyond 1km. We don’t have masks yet. Since China produces them all, they’ve been selling to the highest bidders and the biggest friends. We’re still waiting. The resusable masks are on sale in some pharmacies but the price isn’t fixed, so you can imagine the profiteering going on.

      8. Ah, so you’re in the same boat. I couldn’t make a mask to save my life. Everybody is at it, donating them to care homes, nurses, etc. It’s a great initiative. I’ll just stay put until the shouting’s over.

      9. I’ve had a sewing phobia since early childhood. Partly I think from being left-handed and when teachers show you how to do everything backwards way round, and give you scissors that won’t cut…

      10. My father, a lawyer by profession,used to sew dresses for my sister’s when they were young. Unfortunately I did not inherit that skill set.

        Ignorant teachers trying to mold natural inclinations to fit their model.

      11. My mother made our clothes and all of my sisters are handy with the sewing machine as are three of my daughters (no thanks to me). My dad carved wood, that was the sum of his manual skills.
        I don’t think it crossed their minds that translating everything into its mirror image might not have been something children do naturally.

      12. My father was master of all trades that he put his mind into except three. No bicycles (didn’t have money to buy one when he was young), no horse riding (could not afford one – a requirement for civil service examination during British rule) and no driving ( could afford a chauffeur when he bought one ). I did acquire bicycling and driving skills but none of the other skill sets he had, I fear. My mother was an accomplished home maker, bringing up eleven kids and hordes of relatives without ever raising her voice once.

      13. You have a very rich set of gifts from your parents. Ten siblings! If you are all on speaking terms that must be a tribute to your mother!

      14. Actually we were twelve. One of my elder brother died in an accident when I was one year old. Two of my elder brother died, one in 2001 and one in 2009. Now we are nine. Yes, we are all in good terms and enjoy each other’s company. In 2016, all my living family members with their spouses, my wife, her elder sister and my mother-in-law had a family trip for two weeks in northern India. They had a blast. Unfortunately I couldn’t take off during that time from my work.

      15. 😀😀😀I think my better half wanted some time alone with my family. We moved to US from India two years after our marriage.

      16. She wanted time alone with your family? In European households it’s usually the opposite, the in-laws don’t want to have much to do with one another at all.

  6. Good to hear from you Jane, nice that you’re writing poems even though you’re not online. I hope spring brings renewal and new freshness to your patch. We’re getting a colourful autumn on t’other side of the world 🙂

    1. Good to speak to old friends too, Liz. It has been glorious and colourful but we’re in the middle of a stormy sequence, lashing rain, wind and hail. Erratic weather.

      1. Glory and colour – wonderful! The storm will shake things up but I guess things will sort themselves out again soon. Hang in there!

      2. We’ve been warned the climate will get more extreme, so we’re lucky to be in a zone of very mild winters, with a house that stays cool no matter how high the thermometre rises in summer. A rocky spring is better than tsunamis and bush fires!

      3. I’m relieved you’re in a sweet zone, we too feel relatively safe here tucked away from most threats – volcanos, faultlines, and the tsunami risk along the coast. The less to worry about the better!

      4. It’s a privilege, I know. So many millions have to worry about those things, plus drought, flooding, famine, disease and wars. It’s one of the reasons I get so angry what I hear people bleating about how catastrophic this spring has been, upsetting holiday plans, wedding arrangement, family get togethers. They need a good slap around the head.

      5. I couldn’t help having a giggle at your ferocity but wholeheartedly agree! I’ve read of yobs in Auckland verbally abusing KFC staff because of being caught in a long queue at the drive-thru and not being able to get their chicken before closing time – like it’s hardly the end of the world! Drive-thru takeaways have only just resumed and some people seem crazy-desperate for their junk food fix.. duh!

      6. Maybe if before you eat in a KFC it was made obligatory to visit a chicken slaughtering unit and watch how they prepare the ex-chicken meat. It might put some off, but probably not your Aukland yobs 🙂

    1. Nice to hear from friends again 🙂
      I hope this interlude will at least make people pause and consider alternatives before wading back into the old mess.

  7. Have definitely missed you, Jane! ❤ Been thinking about you – so glad you've checked in, at least so we know you're ok!

    1. Aw, thank you! Everything’s fine here, same as usual really. Only difference is shopping on the market is limited, the queues for each stand (social distancing) are too long.

  8. I think it is both/and situation. While there are long lines at the stores and banks, the streets and sidewalks are rather empty, I have found people to be more calm and polite. Maybe we will learn that we need more in person interactions and not so many email or text messages.

    1. It depends on so many things really. If you’re in a ‘nice’ neighbourhood in a city people are reasonably respectful, in the ‘bad’ neighbourhoods, many are obviously not, often the ones who usually spend their time buying or selling drugs and find they can’t. There are queues now at the MacDo drives that have reopened, which I’m pleased to say has drawn nothing but negative comment. I don’t think we’ll change, but at least the people who say they don’t want to go back to the old wasteful trashy exploitative system have now got some kind of traction on public opinion.

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