These are truly unprecedented times we are living in and the World may never be the same again but for the time being I am still open for business.
2020 started promisingly enough, the numbers have a nice ring to them and after two years of “Brexit Uncertainty” it seemed that things could only get better. My order books were looking a little rosier, a third Rich Picture lined up with one of my favourite clients and a brand new client based in the EU (all meetings via Zoom) with six sequential bits of infographics required. All that ground to a halt suddenly last week after the first infographic picture was delivered, well received (and paid for already!) but the process halted as the client needed them to use in group meetings and who knows when they might start again? The repeat business is also on hold as the client has shut down production and all staff are at home for at least three weeks. I’m hopeful it will happen at a later date when we have beaten this invisible killer.
My ability to do the work is undiminished. I have always worked from a home studio. Of course travelling to meet clients face-to-face is no longer an option but we are all getting more adept with video-conferencing, and dare I say the hardware and software is getting better too. I have produced several Rich Picture projects for oversees clients over the years without ever stepping foot in their countries. I prefer visiting a client’s workplace, often the main metaphor can arise out of something I see there, and much detail and richness can be garnered by immersion in their world but it isn’t essential.
It seems like many people’s working life has started resemble my own, pre-Covid-19. Many hours alone at home in front of a computer, punctuated by household tasks, and daily walks in nature to keep a sane mind in a healthy body. The nature of these walks has changed slightly, before they were mainly solitary and it was rare to pass anyone I knew. If I did, there would usually be a pause for a chat and then on our separate ways. These days my wife is a frequent companion, the range has increased (one walk a day) but the pace diminished. It seems the whole neighbourhood is out walking and the art of passing at a safe distance on a narrow path might involve enforced lurking in the bushes which is something I never did before! Also I bump into neighbours who normally only walk as far as their car and a semi-shouted conversation ensues across the lane, a mixture of small talk and gallows-humour. The birdsong seems brighter without the background hum of high flying aircraft and distant traffic. The animals more friendly. Last week a lamb allowed me to give it a scratch behind its ear and the next day a whole flock of sheep rushed over to the gate where we were enjoying the sight of black lambs leaping in the air. I suspect they mistook us for the farmer but we had no sheep pellets to give them so we had to disappoint them. Meh!
Just one week of isolation under our belts but it seems sustainable for now. If we can do one week we can do two. If we can do two, why not twenty? I expect stricter rules are around the corner and the exercise may be restricted to whatever can be achieved in the house or garden. I have seen running marathons is now a back garden pastime but fortunately my bit of grass is too tight for that. There is room for a table-tennis table so perhaps marathon ping-pong competitions will resume when the wind drops. How much can I improve my game in order to be a worthy opponent to my 20 year old Son remains to be seen. I aim to be better at losing- I think I have won two games out of about thirty so far. It’s going to be a long haul!
Stay home, stay safe and stay sane. It’s the only way to beat this thing!