The Pandemic and I (10) – Question: can a cash reward help lift your spirits? Featuring: a rant, Animal Crossing New Leaf, and a sweet Bella ciao!

Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?

Answer – YES! …

… but only partially – I need a break from this madness pandemic. Just five days off work in a row would be nice – a week would be marvellous. However, at work we still can’t take time off and every shift is short staffed. I am somewhat…

  • Exhausted.
  • At the brim of feeling burnt out.
  • I don’t have time nor energy for any of my artistic endeavours: poems, short stories… my beautiful novel.
  • When I dream these days, I am always running, and I am wearing a surgical mask.
  • I just want things to stop for a bit… for five days… a week… a small break from this non-stop slog before I go bananas.

Okay, rant over 🙂 Going back to my question in the title of this blog post – “Can a cash reward help lift your spirits?”

It certainly can, I’m not ashamed to admit. The power of that green can give quite a lift in times of hardship; the prospect of spending, amassing goods, food, paying bills.

I’ve never had much money in life, but I’ve always felt wealthy when it comes to the art and mind – creativity, spiritualty, words and paint and music – that’s me – yet, the arts don’t always pay the bills nor fill up your stomach, do they?

So, when my employer announced, at about the same time as the French government announced the very same, that health care workers in the sector for nursing and retirement homes are to receive a bonus payment for our efforts during the pandemic (in line with hospitals), my spirits lifted in almost the same way as if I had written a stunning personal poem or short story, made a cool drawing or painting, or jammed with fellow musicians in a garage.

TVTA Animal Crossing New Leaf alt-reality Editor and Wooof get spiritually lifted! Yarr!

Sad, in a way, that I can equate the bliss of artistic endeavours with the gain of some hard cash. But honestly, right now I don’t care… fuck you Covid-19, I could really use a lift, as could my colleagues who are knackered too.

We want ze money, Lewbowski!

Ja, fed up of swimming with sharks and jellyfish – just give us ze money!

Honestly, I don’t even know how much these cash rewards will amount to in total … one of them is a thousand euros, I know that for sure. Cool. And what will I spend my riches on? I may upgrade my bicycle. I might buy extra pizza, beer. Treat family members to nice gifts once the lockdown starts to lift and shops and restos open. I certainly need a new pair of trainers. But what I need most of all is a week off work and not having to wear that mask!

Report – 10 May, 2020

Testing, testing…

I took my second Covid-19 test last week. Chose a different nostril than last time. Wished I’d stuck with the other, as it didn’t sting or make my eyes water last time. I’m assuming my test is negative as I haven’t heard the dreaded news to the contrary from my employer, and will wait for confirmation when I’m in tomorrow.

Tomorrow is 11 May!

11. May – the much-talked-about date in France when lockdown restrictions begin to slowly lift. Since 17 March we’ve pretty much been in as strict a lockdown as you could imagine. Now, some pre and elementary schools will reopen, some businesses too, with the return to some kind of normal made in staggered steps.

TV Series and gaming lockdown decompression

Talking of staggered steps… I finished watching The Walking Dead seasons which I missed seeing when they first came out. So interesting watching certain characters making their debut – as was the evolution of others.

Bella ciao! 

I’m now watching La Casa de Papel – season 3 – just awesome! Thanks to WordPress good buddy inSPIRAtion for pointing me in the right direction there, cheers mate 🙂

All being well, I might have a fun La Casa de Papel blog post coming soon:)

La Casa de Papel. Image credit: Netflix.

Turning over a New (old) Leaf …

And for any readers wondering what the low-res comical screen grabs are scattered about this blog post – I’ve been amusing myself with Animal Crossing New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS. Old school now I know. My youngest has New Horizons and it wipes the floor with New Leaf. But, I’m charmed by New Leaf. It’s the perfect and gentle distraction for pandemic times (no virus, no lockdown, and you can go shopping!).

That’s all for now, vintage mates! Stay safe and healthy everyone 🙂

Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


The pandemic and I. (6) fools, cake, roadblocks, a cold beer, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and a welcome lie in.

Report – Saturday 28 March

Due to staff shortages at work, I haven’t had the energy nor time this week to enjoy the wonderful world of WP blogging. I’ve just finished for a weekend off after completing four 10 hour shifts in a row. Prior to that I’d already done two 10 hour shifts with only a day off in between.

Imagic, Atari. 1983.

I’m not complaining here. Work is a rewarding (if risky) distraction, and it’s a good feeling knowing our team is doing all it can, and so far successfully, to keep our 74 elderly residents virus free. But to say that come Friday evening I wasn’t hallucinating a little, unable to think and speak correctly in either English or French, and had a yearning for a cold beer or two, followed by a sleep knowing a lie in was in store the following morning, would be an understatement so massive it could easily be seen from space.

So what’s been happening for TVTA this week during the pandemic? And, dear friends, how are you all coping and managing?

  • Safety in numbers? (a) Our units house 74 vulnerable elderly people presenting a range of medical conditions. To date, no one has died from Covid-19, nor have had, or are showing any symptoms. In France, where numbers of deaths and infections are rising in many retirement homes, we consider ourselves fortunate so far.
  • Safety in numbers? (b) Since last week, our residents remain in isolation in their rooms. Some are coping well – even loving it. Some are starting to get a little stir crazy. Some don’t understand the situation at all, and leave their rooms constantly. Staff do all we can with what small time we have free to take those who are suffering from isolation outside – individually, and under protocols – into the gardens for 10, 15 mins fresh air and exercise. It’s not much, but helps enormously to lift the spirits of some.


Majorette police toys. France. 1986.

  • Holy crap! I got stopped for the first time during our lockdown by the police. I was cycling home from shift. There were eight of them blocking the entrances to a town roundabout. They asked to see my papers. Asked where I worked. As a health carer, I have to carry government papers validating the reasons why I am outdoors during the lockdown. I showed my papers (outstretched hands, 1 metre distance between me and the gruff officer). He looked my papers over, mumbled Merci, monsieur, and sent me on my way. It was a bit weird being stopped and questioned liked that, but I respect the police having to do so in trying to catch those breaking the strict social distancing rules.

I pity the fool!

Mr T. Eagle. 1983. UK.

  • I don’t want to judge. I don’t want to laugh. I certainly don’t want anyone to suffer from this horrible virus, nor would I wish it upon anyone. But I will state: some people are born fools…

United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson (right) and Rishi Sunak clap in appreciation of NHS workers. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images.

“I’m shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually some Coronavirus patients & I shook hands with everybody. People can make up their own mind but I think it’s very important to keep shaking hands.” Boris Johnson. 03 March 2020.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.” Boris Johnson. 27 March. 2020.

Cake, glorious cake!

Cover. The Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating 1982.

  • At work, the family of one of our residents sent in food parcels for the staff. The delivery contained delicious cakes, croissants, pain au chocolate, and fresh fruit. Not supermarket stuff, but expensive, top quality products. Did we feel treated? Did we feel strong as lions after eating such a feast? Oh yes 🙂

I love Michonne!

Image Source: Wikipedia

One of my coping mechanisms to ‘decompress’ during the pandemic is catching up on seasons 2, 3, and 4 of The Walking Dead which I never watched. I watched season 1 when it first came out, then didn’t pick it back up until season 5.

I’ve always liked the character Michonne. She is fearless, fierce, cool, stubborn, deadly, moody, bold… seeing her introduced for real in season 3, armed with her katana, hooded, and dragging along two shackled walkers which she was using for protection and camouflage… I thought: just wow, and what the…!

Season 2 completed. I’m on season 3 now.

The Walking Dead season 3. Image courtesy of AMC.

Cat communications to help us!

We end with a message from our overlords, the cats:

“Meowl, miew, meow, mrahhh, purr, myawl!” translation: “Dear humans, be safe, isolate and rest, wash often. Like us!”

Cats. TVTA collection.

For the most accurate and up to date information regarding all aspects of Coronavirus, go to the World Health Organization website Please share this link to others so that we all have the same information.

Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given, and the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Oraganization public advice pages