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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Beating the Covid Blues

Beating the covid blues during a cold Canadian winter is no easy feat. Reading novels is just one of several ways I’m keeping myself entertained.

popular novels with blue book covers

Beating the Covid Blues by Reading

I created a pretty picture by stacking up a pile of blue-covered novels. I’ve read them all and the fact that they are still in the house means that I might even read them again someday. Since covid began, I’m reading about two books per week! Here are two recent novels I can recommend.

Salt to the Sea is a wartime novel about the worst maritime disaster in history, one that most people have never heard about. In 1945, a Russian submarine in the Baltic Sea torpedoed a German ship full of refugees fleeing from the advancing Red Army, and more than 9,000 people died. (By comparison, the sinking of The Titanic lost 1,500 people). Although billed as a Young Adult novel, this reads like an adult novel and is gripping from start to finish. My book club read this in February and rated it nine out of ten.

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys


Miss Benson’s Beetle is a real gem, about two ill-matched, unappreciated women who travel to a remote island in 1950, searching for a beetle that may or may not exist. The book by best-selling author Rachel Joyce is beautifully written.

Miss Benson's Beetle, by Rachel Joyce

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Beating the Covid Blues by Writing

I began the research for my new novel in January 2020, and my goal is to have a completed manuscript by May 2021. I’ve done my research and written the rough draft, and now I’m down to the part I love best — editing.

For me, this process is like colourizing a black and white film. This is the point when the story and the characters really come alive for me, and hopefully for my readers as well. There’s no better remedy for the covid blues.

Here’s an excerpt from the plan that I use when writing the scenes in my book, my blueprint, if you like. There is fancy plotting software out there for authors, but I find a simple Excel document works best.

I’m working on this project about thirty hours every week.

When will it be published? Hopefully in 2022, but that’s just a wild guess. Covid has thrown a monkey wrench into all book publishing schedules.

blueprint for new novel

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Beating the Blues by Sorting Slides

Here’s another Back Burner Project — viewing and sorting all the old slides. And this is only about half of them! I borrowed a projector from a friend and I’m gradually working my way through the pile.

slide projector and pile of slide carousels

Happily, I bought all the carousels at a garage sale, and they came with this handy Slide Sorter, which is shortening the process considerably.

Once I select the keepers, I’ll scan and maybe even print them. (Question: How many photos of sunsets and flowers does one need? Answer: none.)

vertical light table for sorting slides

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Beating the Blues by Changing Colors

Weary of the earth tone in my living/dining room, I hired someone to paint it white. (While the painter was here, my husband and I stayed in another room, so no contact was necessary.)

It’s certainly brighter, but now I’m afraid my furniture looks a little dull by comparison! Here’s the before photo of my fireplace wall.

living room fireplace wall, earth tone paint

And here’s the after photo. I chickened out on painting the cabinets, but I might paint them white yet. Your comments will be duly noted.

You may recall that I was going for a historic feel in my house, and I wrote about it here: Ten Ways to Make a New House Look Old.

living room fireplace wall, painted white

I like the white paint much better in my dining area.

dining room painted white

Did you notice the painting above the kitchen table? It was created by the talented Angela Morgan, who specializes in playful, impressionistic paintings of children.

She painted this at my request, based on this old and much loved snapshot of my three girls showing off their new skirts that their grandmother had sent to them.

three little girls wearing plaid skirts

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Beating the Covid Blues by Skating

This has been a tremendous winter so far for skating! Lake Windermere has the longest skating track in the world called The Whiteway, measuring 29.98 km or 18.63 miles. Click here to see the entry in the Guinness Book of World Records!

It’s also a fun thing to do with the grandchildren. These two, along with their mother, are in our bubble.

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Beating the Blues by Watching TV

By TV, I mean not only satellite television but Netflix, Amazon Prime, Britbox and Crave. We’ve got them all!

We’re justifying the expense by NOT eating out, travelling, or doing anything outside the home that costs money.

There’s so much to watch it’s almost overwhelming, but here are a couple of recommendations.

I waited an entire year to watch Outlander Season 5 on Netflix Canada. I’m reading the eighth and final book in the series now, all 1,100 pages!


The movie titled The Dig on Netflix was also good, although overly sentimental.

My husband is raving about Chernobyl, which he is watching on Crave — but that’s too grim for me.

Over on Britbox, there are two of the best period dramas ever made: Pride and Prejudice, with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle; and Cranford, with Judi Dench. (I haven’t watched Bridgeton yet — should I?)

Nobody does crime drama like the Brits. We enjoyed all three seasons of this one titled Unforgotten.


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Friends, how are you beating the covid blues? Feel free to comment below, or send me an email.

Up here in the far north, it always feels closer to spring when the days are getting longer. There’s daylight at the end of the tunnel!

When you hear from me again next month, it will officially be spring.

All the very best to you and yours, Elinor














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