I went for something that approximated a proper walk the other day. I was over on Giudecca buying fish – the first time I’d been on a vaporetto in about a month – and decided it would be good to stretch my legs for a bit on a warm Saturday morning.
When I’m teaching, I’m constantly on my feet and have no problems doing my 10,000 steps a day. But Saturday – after two months of going no further than the paper shop, a journey of perhaps 30 seconds – well, let’s just say I Felt the Burn…
Restrictions, as you’ll have heard, have been relaxed. Ever so slightly. Things are a long way from being normal however, and I suspect they will be for some time to come. But there is at least a certain sense of freedom in knowing that you can go further than 200m from your house.
Spring has come and almost gone without us noticing it. Now it’s jackets weather, not coats weather, and soon it’ll be too warm even for that. The much-heralded Phase 2 of lockdown, the joke has it, is the same as Phase 1 but in short sleeves. But there are some noticeable changes. I went to get a takeaway from a local restaurant last Thursday. It might not seem like much but it felt like just a little bit of normality had been restored.
In the midst of this, of course, Venetian Gothic came out. Now, it has to be said, this is not the time I would have chosen to have a book launched. But we are where we are. Again, I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones. It’s not as if it’s my debut – that, I think, would have been devastating. My publisher has been very supportive and reviews have been…well, they’ve been fantastic, and that’s very humbling.
Sales have held up as well as we could have hoped, given the circumstances, but there’s no denying they’ve taken a knock. But then everyone’s taking a financial hit from this and, as I wrote last time, I’m in a better situation than most in being able to work from home.
So this is to say a very, very big thank you to all who’ve bought a copy of Venetian Gothic, or taken the time to write, or left an Amazon review or recommended it to friends. It makes all the difference. If you live near a bricks and mortar bookshop, remember that many of them will deliver and – crucially – are going to need everybody’s support when things return to some degree of normality.
I hope that you’re all keeping well, wherever you are. Things are getting better in Italy. They’ll get better in the UK too. Stay safe, and all good wishes.