The Meerkat Muse – 07/04/21

It’s Meerkat Muse time!

We are into April! The fourth month of the year brings with it the chance to ease lockdown measures (providing the R number of the Coronavirus continues to fall), which in turn means the bathroom showroom where I work can reopen! Currently the intention is to swing open our doors on the 12th, we’ll have to wait and see if that actually happens.

Let’s Actually Read what the Site Says…

More than once, customers have approached the doors and said that the website says we’re supposed to be open now. Clearly, they’re not looking at the official company website – or they’re not reading the website properly. It clearly says we’re only open to trade customers (and even then, under strict conditions). That people can get in a huff when facts are presented to them is both irritating and amusing, and sadly all-too-common if you work in any customer-facing environment. I recall an experience in Staples, when, having advertised new store opening hours for weeks, we had one guy claim it wasn’t well advertised – despite signage on the doors, on the tills, and in front of the self-service copy machines that the guy used all the time.

Not for the first time, I have to wonder if common sense is actually common…

Formula One is Back!

The first race, in Bahrain, was pulsating, and ended with a clash between reigning champion Lewis Hamilton and the heir-apparent, Max Verstappen. Red Bull appear to be a lot closer to Mercedes in terms of performance, so Verstappen might be able to take the fight to Hamilton this year. If we’re to have an exciting season, we’ll need him to. F1 will provide a welcome diversion from a miserable football season, another compelling reason to have it back, though this year is tinged with sadness. The great Murray Walker, whose enthusiasm for Formula One remained strong right until the end, passed away last month aged 97. The legendary commentator was the voice of F1 for me and so many others throughout the life of the sport. He will be missed.

Sun and Snow

The Easter Bank Holiday Weekend delivered a classic British weather combo – bright sunshine and warmth on Sunday that merited t-shirt’s outside and snowflakes on Monday. We hardly had a flurry, but still, the temperature plummeted enough to deliver snow. I can only describe this as both insane and typically British.

Star Trek

On the 5th of April Star Trek celebrated ‘First Contact Day’. Within the timeline of the franchise the 5th of April is significant – in 2063, humans make first contact with Vulcans, marking the beginnings of the Federation. Back in reality, the date brought some exciting news about the future of the franchise, including a trio of trailers/teasers for Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks.

I’ve done a brief podcast on this subject, offering a few early thoughts on the revelations to come out of these sneak peaks.


I haven’t felt in the right frame of mind to work on The Awakening for some time, due to distractions – Football Manager has served as a major diversion, and I can only blame myself for indulging in the management sim as much as I have. Somehow I need to claw my way back into a literary mindset. I did do a bit of pruning today (6th) and might do a bit more later. I wonder if I need to set myself free of some constraints… is there too much old material interfering with how I develop the new version? The original material is acting as a sort of… safety blanket. Maybe it’s time to throw it away?

I don’t know. I’m all over the place when it comes to writing and on how best to proceed. I need to find the desire and hunger to write before I start to wholesale delete chunks of the first version. I also need that most vital tool of a writer – coffee.

Everything Else

There’s been some discussion of a family holiday, though where and exactly when remain up for grabs. Presently, it’s a 2022 plan, for there is still too much uncertainty surrounding 2021, especially the summer. Not for the first time, I can only lament that I, like many others, thought the Coronavirus would be a minor blip, something that would have a small impact on our lives and be over by the middle of last year. Instead, I’m asking myself if it will be over by this time next year. Everything feels like a slog, a chore, a weight upon the shoulders. Someone pressed the pause button on life, and we’re all stuck, held in place by this pandemic, waiting for someone to press play. A holiday would be amazing. Even a haircut would feel like a luxury.

The time is coming. Lockdown measures are being eased, with the caveat that we need to keep wearing masks, maintain social distancing and use disinfectants/sanitisers pretty much all the time. Going forward, would the use of such measures not be a generally good idea anyway? In the winter, we might reduce the instances of cold and flu… of course, once Covid-19 is stamped out, I for one wouldn’t wish to wear a mask everywhere, but if people chose to, and if hand sanitiser remains easily available in shops and stores, and if we give each other space, we might bring down levels of general illness.

Another thing would be general hygiene. Prior to the pandemic it seems a lot of people weren’t washing their hands after using the loo. This is not actually as surprising as it is disappointing. It takes a couple of minutes to run some soap over your hands and rinse. If no soap is available then avail yourself of sanitiser. Even running water over your hands is a start.

Enough negativity. People are getting vaccinated left, right and centre. Slowly but surely we will get back to normal. The question is when, not if.

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