This is not the first time I have had my movement restricted. Back in 1986 I had two back operations which left me bed-bound for nearly six months. For the majority of that time I was allowed up for one hour a day, and was otherwise left with books and four tv channels on a knackered old black and white TV.
It’s not a time that I think about much these days, but it was one that was very important in the grand scheme of things. I think it’s fair to say that there were times when I was massively bored… I remember the long wait before the start of Countdown some afternoons. I also remember my late Mother caring for me during that time with a real devotion; within two years she had died.
But I also remember that it was a great time for reflection, and I made decisions during those long hours in bed that were to lead to profound and positive changes in my life.
I found myself a year later taking all my annual leave in January and February, heading off to South India for a month for a life changing time which I think I may well write about later in this series. After that I left work and went to University to study Indian religions… eventually becoming a University Lecturer in that discipline. In order words this time in isolation somehow set the next twenty five years of my life in a most unexpected way.
I guess what I’m saying is that while this time might seem scary and daunting, there are potential positives that can happen during this time. Taking the opportunity to slow down isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it can help us take stock and clear our minds. The pain of that time have been long forgotten now, but I feel the benefits every day.
But why, I hear you ask, have I included a picture of the the Rotunda in Birmingham? It’s not the most beautiful building in the world but I remember being taken to hospital by ambulance for a check up about half way through my recuperation. After having seen the same four walls for several months it was just amazing to see this building, to feel as if I was really free just for the day.
Now I wonder whether my senses will be equally alert when I can move around again, and I wonder whether I’ll appreciate it more when I do? And will that alertness also extend to my reflections during my time at home? Will stripping so much else away bring about something new and exciting? I’d like to hope that this will happen to us collectively as we all reflect on what might be important.
Many years later I also worked in the Rotunda, but that’s another story.
This is a new strand for this blog. As the world drifts into self-isolation we all need to keep in touch, have a bit of light relief and keep ourselves going. What I’m going to try to do is write something every day, or maybe every few days, using a piece of music (well this started as a music blog), photograph, piece of writing, tv show… or even just a thought to reflect on these unprecedented times.
I’ve called this strand ‘Strolls in Isolation’ because just because we are stuck inside doesn’t me our minds have to be… let’s wander far and wide and see what we encounter on the way.
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