New Challenges And Insights

This week has been full of new challenges and insights. It’s very easy to become consumed by the feelings of worry and dread at this moment in time, but I am urging myself and my loved ones to try and find reasons to stay positive.

Personally, my heart has been warmed by the kind gestures of the community that I live in. Due to our varied work routines, our apartment complex rarely gets the time to share communal conversations unless they are about possible items of furniture to be sold or upcoming resident meetings. But over the past week, I have seen people come together and selflessly offer their services to help those in most need in any way they could.  Some of them offered to buy groceries for people who aren’t able to go outside. Online posts have been shared where you can find hard to source food that can still be bought locally, and people were even willing to share the food that they had in.

Residents have been promoting local shops, butchers and greengrocers and shared that the farmers market are offering deliveries. Our local Italian restaurant has set up a no-contact delivery service especially for the complex. Some people are offering help in other creative ways. Today a neighbour, who works in publishing offered books as gifts, of which George and I received, “The Truants” and “Norse Mythology”. I am really looking forward to reading them. George and I have been practicing our first dance for the wedding in our communal courtyard in the mornings for exercise and hopefully bringing a smile to people’s faces, whilst they are drinking their coffee. We are learning the Viennese Waltz and it is bringing us a little bit of happiness during a time of uncertainty.

What moments of kindness have you experienced this week?

On Saturday I took part in my first ever group online Pilates class! I usually go with my brother-in-law, Alex to “Greenwich Pilates” and it’s our special time together before my brother, Matt makes our brunch. I was so happy to still be able to do this. If you want to do an online exercise class, I thoroughly recommend my teacher Chiara, who is holding community classes online via a free application called Zoom

How does it work? We all click onto a link and join the live session. The session involved over 5 different homes. The main screen is the teacher, and along the right-hand side is live thumbnail videos of each person completing the work out in real-time. So, remember to wear fitness clothes and not pyjamas 🙈.

I am in favour of YouTube videos for exercise and fitness routines but the great thing about the live streaming is that we got immediate personal feedback from the teacher and the friendly pressure to keep going when the exercise gets hard as you are doing it as a team.

As a professional whose work is canceled due to restrictions on public gatherings, I think these online classes are a great alternative!

George and I have been sorting our music room today, we have been hanging pictures and our homemade acoustic Panels.  We are offering online classes for singing/piano/music theory. Please email me if you are interested.

It would be a huge help if you could find time to stream a few of my tracks using your preferred streaming service, each time you do George and I get $0.003 per play but every little helps now that all of our work has been canceled for the foreseeable future.





My Website

If you have any links to audiobooks you have recorded, Kindle publications that you have published, or other online events or activities please add the links in the comments to this post to advertise where they can be found.  It is so important to keep your mind active when you are forced to stay in so please do share with us anything that could be of interest.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this week stay safe.

63 thoughts on “New Challenges And Insights

    1. Thank you for the book recommendations Martin, I will be sure to have a look at them. It is a great idea to share them on the blog, so that people have lots of ideas of how to spend their indoor time creatively.

      Best Wishes

    1. Dear John, I am trying to stay positive and act quickly to find solutions for my problems. My friend this morning told me Laughter is the best medicine. Have you found any good jokes to lighten the mood recently?

      Best Wishes,

  1. It is the same here, all live music has essentially been shut down for the foreseeable future. You are not only very talented, but also very resourceful in finding ways to get through the lockdown period, however long that may be.

    Stay safe, stay well. I look forward to hearing more of your music.

    1. Dear Lavinia, thank you for your belief in me and your kind words. I am trying to find ways to improve productivity and I shall have a think of how I can share new music from home.
      How is your farm? What direct impacts have you found at the moment?

      Best Wishes,

      1. The farm is moving into early spring, with no real impact to us yet from COVID-19. As long as we stay healthy, we will be alright. Our plum trees are about to bloom now, and the plant starts are about ready to put in larger pots. We have about 2 months left of possible frosts, even though the daytime temperatures are getting higher, sometimes in the upper 60s. We had hail two days in a row here, brief storms, but I am reminded what it can do to the garden and vineyards during June.

    1. Thank you Benn, at the moment I am trying to eat healthy and exercise daily – even if that’s just a wiggle and a dance to a great song. I am waiting for Birds of Prey to come available to watch at home after your brilliant blog post. Do you have any other film recommendations that are available online?

      Best Wishes,

  2. Hi Charlotte – The place where I live is not a neighbor, only closed societies. But I am lucky to have a large garden to ventilate myself and allow my mom to enjoy the sun. So my actions are just to respect the forbidden, and when I make necessary purchases, to be smiling, polite, encouraging with the people of the stores (but, I am always like this) and I try to put online creations with a lot of light and energy (but also as usual …..) Best thoughts for You, George and family, take care of yourself, be careful and stay the two rainbows that you are, talented and generous! !!! Lots of love pieces for you two my friends !!!! Artist’s power !!!!

    1. Dear Pascal, what a treat to have a garden where you can enjoy the sun and a little peace and quiet. I hope that your mum is ok, I am glad to hear that you can be together. You are a lovely person and I am sure that shines out of you even during times of hardship.
      Thank you for sending over creative power!! It is fueling my week.

      Happy creating,

  3. Dear Charlotte,
    He that dwells in the shelter of the Almighty shall abide in peace. Stay safe in this coronavirus and keep the faith. God will see us through this virus.

    1. Dear Tim, thank you for your kind thoughts and blessings, it brings me a sense of calm at the moment. I hope that it will inspire communities to get stronger and people can turn to each other for help.

      Best Wishes,

  4. Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology” is simplistic, but a good introduction. If you get into Norse Mythology, look for the Icelandic Sagas. Have you read Gaiman’s “American Gods”? I think it’s a fantastic book, He did a wonderful job of working Norse mythology in a modern setting. I just posted a new silly music video called “Lola Limp”. Last Sunday I posted “Flying Felines” which is a really fun music video.

    I’ve been really busy, but with threats of shutting do our state, that might change. Since we live in semi isolation in general, a lock down doesn’t”t really effect our hope life, but it does effect work. Public schools are closed, so Laurie’s school is working on getting on-line classes going. I can do most of my work from home, but recently I’ve had to do a lot of field work because I don’t have staff to send into the field. We have a severe labor shortage, but none of it matters much as more lock downs happen.

    Stay positive and safe.

    1. Hello Timothy, thank you for your brilliant comment! How brilliant that you have read ‘Norse Mythology’. I shall keep you updated with my thoughts. Icelandic Sagas sounds really interesting – I am sure there are some beautiful songs that could accompany this information and make a beautiful recital.

      I haven’t read Gaiman’s American Gods. But is it the novel that inspired the TV Series. I haven’t watched it yet but seen trailers as Kristen Chenowith, of whom I am a fan, is staring in the show. Perhaps I will read the novel first.

      I am so glad to hear that you have been busy and can accommodate most changes likely to occur due to lockdown circumstances. It seems that a lot of teaching is going online, I wish Laurie good luck! What do you do in your field work?

      Best Wishes,

      1. Hi Charlotte. The TV series is the same. I have not seen it, but a friend I recommended AG to and he loved it, said the TV series isn’t to bad, but some things are confusing in the series, which are clear in the book..

        I have installed 450 fire evaculation maps in all the buildings at St. John’s College in Santa Fe over the past two weeks. We are really short on staff so I hung them all by myself. It was a whole lot of screwing, just not the fun type.

        They public educaction division announced that schools are closed for the rest of the semester. Everything has to go online. Laurie has done online classes all week, and it has been rather challenging and a lot of work for her. One problem in our state is Internet connectitivity varies greatly, and a lot of students don’t have access to computers at home. Laurie teaches for a charter school, so all the students have computers, but they all don’t have the same bandwidth at home, which adds to the frustrations.

        Laurie and I got papers accepted into the International Conference on Construction Grammar (linguistics) that is scheduled for August in Antrewp, Blegium. I hope we will be able to travel and that it doesn’t get canceled.

        How are you doing with online voice lessons? I’m tempted to sign up, but I think I’m a bit of a lost cause when it comes to singing.

        I really wish you two the best. I know the lockdown is really hard on performers. Are there any assistance programs to help if needed?

      2. That is good to know, I shall perhaps start by reading the books and then watch the TV program as an enjoyable reminder of the story.
        That is a beautiful act to ensure everyone’s safety in case of a fire! Amazing Job!
        The availability of the fast, reliable internet is definitely a problem for society. Also access to laptops at home for children, whilst parents are working from home – seems to be another challenge for online teaching. I hope that Laurie can find more solutions than issues. Good Luck

        Congratulations on having your papers accepted to the International Conference, I will keep my fingers and toes crossed that you are able to attend, or perhaps they will postpone it so you can certainly attend.

        At the moment I am looking for students, if you are interested, we can definitely organise a session to try it out. There is always room for improvement, and singing is about finding the joy!

        Thank you for your warm wishes, most of our performance diary has been cancelled. We are both doing some tele-sales calls from home to bring in some income whilst we are quiet. I think that we are lucky, and I find it helpful to have company on the phone during the Lockdown. There are some, but because we have been saving up for our wedding, we may not be eligible on application.

        Best wishes

    1. Dear Samuel, I am very lucky that I can self-isolate at home and practice my music. This means I can stay safe and take fewer risks. I hope you are well.

      Best Wishes

      1. All is well with me, thanks. I can stay at home, write my diary, read my books, and go out once a day to the shops. Today I went for a cycle ride to the shops, to get a bit more exercise and fresh air.

        These really are historic times.

      2. Great idea about cycling to the shops! It makes a fun change to walking, and if there are fewer cars on the roads at the moment I assume a safe ride too! What book are you reading at the moment?

        Best Wishes,

  5. Charlotte , I love your positivity and the way you always keep busy..
    I laughed when I read about you and George dancing in the courtyard, what a fabulous way to keep fit whilst excercising, and getting fresh air
    It looks like you have good workout with Alex too…
    Keep your chin up, and stay safe all of you..xx

    1. Thank you for commenting, I hope you are finding some enjoyment during your time at home. Have you started any new crafting projects?

      I am glad that the dancing brought a smile to your face. Laughter is the best medicine!
      The workout was very full on and my legs were aching the next couple of days! I am having to be more creative at the moment with exercise – learning new things every day.

      Best Wishes,

  6. It’s so good to hear you being optimistic; it’s what we all need now so thank you.
    I just bought the first five of your 99p offerings from Amazon. I’ll be adding others over time. Hope it helps a little; it will certainly help me listening to them.
    Message for George: “Ai grijă de Charlotte te rog”. I’m certain you’ll be taking care of each other.
    Cu Drag, Roger (grumpytyke) & Petronela x

    1. Dear Roger, I agree with you, there are lots of reasons to be sad and worry but I find that staying positive allows me to stay happy and healthy. Thank you so much for buying the songs. I really appreciate your support as it will help us to bring in income during this tricky time. I hope Petronela’s family are safe and well during the lockdown in Romania.

      Message from George: Multumesc ca va ganditi la noi. Voi avea grija de Charlotte, sper ca aveti si voi grija de voi.

      Cu Drag
      Charlotte and George

  7. Sorry you and George are those who can not work due to this virus. I thought it would play-out like SARs did. As you say though, many people are stepping up to help others and that’s very good to see.
    I’m never without a book to read, in fact I’m way behind in my reading. I can’t go to the gym, so I read on my exercise bike.
    There are a lot of authors offering their books for free due to the crisis. With the internet, Smashwords and Amazon have plenty, plus Nook always has free books, as does the Gutenberg Press.

    1. It is a difficult time, by as my parents always say there is work to be done. I am trying to be resourceful and use my new found time well. It is really lovely to see people coming together. I haven’t experience much of that whilst living in London mainly because people lead such different and transient lives.

      That’s a great idea to read whilst you cycle – turns the exercise into an opportunity for pleasure. Thank you for sharing your tips on where to access free books. That is so helpful for me and our blog friends to know!

      Best Wishes

      1. What a brilliant website! I like that you can borrow a book for 14 days like a real library so you have the target to complete it within a timescale. This viral situation will encourage people to find new ways to research, stay in touch and learn new things.

        Best Wishes

    1. It’s like you say in your book “Go You” Annette:
      You choose joy!
      You choose life!
      You choose love!
      You choose peace!
      GO YOU!!

      I love knowing I can turn to your book when I am in need. Now is a great time to put it into practice.

      Best Wishes,

  8. There’s a lot going on on-line and Facebook with the keep fit classes, balcony singing and everyone seems to be keeping each other entertained or fit. It’s wonderful! Keep safe you two 🥰😘

    1. Exactly Gill, there is so much to be aware of at the moment. Thank you for telling me about the virtual choir. I have started looking into it. I am excited to see how it unfurls.
      What crafting project are you doing at the moment?

      Best Wishes,

    1. Dear Michael, Misfit Mage looks excellent! I have downloaded it on kindle and followed you on Amazon. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing it with me and our blog community.

      Stay fit and healthy.

      Best Wishes

      1. OMG! So excited!!!!! I hope you like the mage that can hear magic – Annabeth.
        You wrote an excellent blog post (last year I think it was) about how you warm up your voice and take care of it. In future books Annabeth is going to come into her own as someone who sings magic and I plan on weaving in some of the things you posted.

      2. Oh Wow! This is exciting – if you ever need to ask any follow questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. I can’t wait to hear more about Annabelle’s magic training. What happens if she takes a holiday? Is her magic delayed/or not as powerful if she doesn’t use it daily?

        Best Wishes

  9. I am so sorry at this difficult interruption in your lives and careers, Charlotte. We are retired and thus are home a lot, but even that gets boring – our only outings are to see our new grandson and my husband goes to the grocery store gloved and masked. We are in the worst category to catch the virus!
    I pray our lives return to normal soon and you enjoy the time you get to spend together. Families are re-discovering themselves!
    Be safe and well!

    1. Hello Noelle, thank you for your sweet thoughts. I am really happy to hear that your husband is wearing masks and gloves. Very sensible. I have opted for cotton gloves that I can wash after use, as I find that frequent use of hand sanitizer gives me eczema. So here is another option if you need one.

      I hope that you can see your grandson soon, perhaps on a video call meanwhile. If you need any help setting this up let me know. I am quite good with Skype and Facetime due to my touring experience in the past.

      Best Wishes

      1. You are really kind for the offer, Charlotte. We’re already OK with Skype, but we are now operating under a one month shelter in place order which is a pain, necessary as it is. Luckily, since I write and Gene gardens, we can keep busy and I am still learning Gaelic, now in an online course. I see singing and playing the piano as part of your days! Be well. Thank heavens you are both young and healthy! I pray you stay that way!

      2. Dear Noelle, I am so glad to hear you have Skype up and running and that you are Gaelic is progressing well. I have a friend who plays the harp and she speaks and sings in Gaelic. It’s a beautiful language. I am making and learning a lot of music at the moment. I am trying to stay proactive so that when public performances begin again, I can audition for new work.

        Best Wishes

  10. I love the Grieg song “cover.” I’ll think of you and George performing al fresco in the courtyard, a wonderful image. I’ll be writing rather than reading today. I hope to finish “The Perils of Tenirax: Mad Poet of Zaragoza” one of these days and kick “A True Map of the City” loose very soon from Amazon. Be well, both of you!

    1. I am so glad that you like the Grieg album artwork. We collaborated with fellow blogger and artist Pascal Barnier to create the artwork. There is talk of a informal performance from our balcony this Friday for our apartment block. I will keep you updated if this goes ahead!

      Good luck with your writing project! Let me know when it is finished as I look forward to reading them both. I have kindle so I can download them via Amazon.

      Best Wishes,

    1. Thank you for your well wishes. George and I are taking the measures very seriously this week. We are staying indoors and plan to only going out for essential items. I hope you and your family are ok.

      Best Wishes,

  11. I feel for you and all those who make their living as performers. The Comedy Festival and the Sydney Festival were cancelled here, as are all symphony and chamber orchestra performances and all live theatre. The companies have been emailing subscribers to ask if they want refunds or to direct their payments to the performers. I hope everyone still in work or still financially secure will reach out to someone in these difficulties.

    1. I am sorry to hear that all live performances are cancelled for you in Australia, but I think they are measures that put our communal safety first. I hope that when things start to return to normal I can organize some new bookings and people will support the arts so that we can survive this.

      Best Wishes,

      1. There is a site called Digital Concert Hall where local musicians put on a concert with no live audience. You buy a ticket and watch it live at home. It’s one way of getting some payment for them.

      2. What a brilliant website! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. This is a wonderful way to support musicians and the arts.

        Best Wishes

    1. Hello Darlene, walking is such a great way to exercise and also for one’s mental health. I hope that you are able to enjoy the sunshine briefly each day, but doing so carefully.

      Best Wishes

  12. Sorry this is so late, Charlotte! I hope you are still well and keeping positive. We are trying to stay at home as much as we can but this isn’t possible all of the time, as you know. We can’t get our shopping delivered and have to visit the shops for us as well as for my elderly mother who lives alone with no other carer. I am sad that we won’t be able to celebrate Easter or her 90th birthday together.
    I will be streaming your music as often as I can, though it doesn’t look as though you’ll be getting rich that way!
    Take care my dear!
    Best wishes, Clare xx

    1. Hello Clare, you are never late. It is always lovely to read your comments. I am sorry that you are unable to celebrate your mother’s 90th birthday and Easter together. What a landmark though, I am sure she will understand and will love a phone call and a postponement of a day of getting spoilt!

      Thank you! Every little helps 🙂 hehe

      Best Wishes

  13. Charlotte,
    I don’t use a streaming service. Do plays on YouTube count? (Maybe with enough hits you’ll get a paying advertiser?)

    1. Hi Resa, you can listen on say Spotify for free but they put advertising on occasionally for free listeners and those members who subscribe listen without adverts I think that is how it works, I think they pay about $0.003 if you are a subscriber and $0.001 if it’s the free service so every 1000 plays i get a $1 or $3 the likes of Taylor Swift and Adele get the millions of multiple listens but I’m very grateful for every listen because at the moment every penny helps.

      YouTube I don’t have an advertiser I think it’s about a $1 for every 2,000-3,000 full views I don’t have the backing of the big record companies to negotiate deals but I’m just happy to keep everyone’s spirits up and to keep performing and having an appreciative audience even having a personal picture from the little girl upstairs or a bunch of tulips makes me and George smile 😀.
      All my best wishes

  14. Thanks for writing this! I am a private music teacher myself and I have been very fortunate that I have been allowed to utilize video chat to continue working. It is very important that people understand that these are the challenges we have to face during a time like this. Stay positive and keep doing what you’re doing and please share my YouTube channel. I really don’t get any money for it but it really helps my publicity.

    Thanks again for posting

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