We asked children’s author Julia Johnson to tell us a little bit about how she is coping during the pandemic. Ex-drama teacher, Julia lives in Dubai, and her books are often focused on the history and culture of the Arabian Peninsula.

You can hear her reading of her book The Pearl Diver here.

A Word from the Author: Julia Johnson

In these strange and difficult times, I’m trying to surround myself with cheerful, normal things. I buy flowers, daffodils and tulips, to remind me of home. Our neighbours sent photos of the magnolia tree at the mill. It’s in bloom now and looks beautiful. I’m happy that our garden carries on without us, that the birds build their nests and have babies. That’s the wonderful thing about nature, it doesn’t really need us. We are the needy ones, but we haven’t looked after our planet very well, and now nature is getting a much needed a break.

I’m lucky to have views of plants and trees and birds here in Dubai. They lift my spirits even if restrictions won’t allow us to walk amongst them at the moment. I think of my head as my creative space, where I can mull over ideas, but until very recently it was full of worry about our baby grandson. Now that he is well there is room for my imagination to kick in again. A bit of yoga helps, and so does cycling. We bought an exercise bike, and I pedal away and listen to podcasts of Desert Island Discs. I loved the interview with David Attenborough on the 70th birthday edition. He will always inspire me!

A pair of francolins comes calling every afternoon. They amuse me when they peer at us through the window. Actually they are probably looking at themselves in the glass, but I like to think they have come to see what we are doing. There have been photos in the papers of wild animals roaming the streets of deserted cities, shaggy goats in Wales, monkeys in India, a deer in Sri Lanka, a coyote in America. Cue for a story….? It’s cooking…!