Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Scared - Who Me?

Today I ventured out (thanks to my neighbour who gave me a lift), for the first time since 18th March,

To say I was scared stiff is the understatement to beat all understatements, I was terrified!

The mask I was wearing was slowly roasting me and my hands were sweating in the gloves but that was nothing to  my heart rate which was super fast.

Once in the supermarket I was just so intent on the actual shopping that I forgot to be nervous and luckily as it was 4.30pm there were very few people in there, which made it much easier.

It was becoming apparent that if I didn't make the effort to go out I was soon going to be unable to do so, and I'm so glad I did.

If anyone had told me what a terrifying prospect going food shopping would be  back in February I 'd have laughed at the idea.

The huge  change of mind this pandemic has brought about in so many people is astonishing.

One small step for woman.......

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Nature Abhors a vacuum (and so do I)

Some people have 'found themselves' during this period of isolation, discovering new  found skills, doing all the jobs they have been putting off for months or years etc.

I have found just one - that is the art of doing absolutely nothing at all and honing it to unbelievable heights.

I did begin with the intention of cleaning my house from top to bottom as it has never been cleaned before, the more so because my cleaner has not been here since the 2nd March.

My unfamiliarity with my vacuum cleaner (in fact I'd say we were almost total strangers to each other, ) resulted in aching arms, hot sweaty face and a feeling of exhaustion like nothing previously experienced in my very long life.

Every day since 18th March when my prison sentence began has been filled with long periods of drifting followed by short (very short) periods of activity.

Not a total slob, I have showered, washed and cut my hair, washed clothes, changed bed linen etc, but together with the occasional foray into the garden to dead-head or do five minutes light pruning or weeding has been just about my limit.

Twice friends from church have brought their own garden chairs (I have none), and have sat in my front garden while I sat on a footstool in the doorway.  I made them tea and we had a lovely long chat and spirit-lifting hour or so, and I have of course kept in touch with my nearest and dearest by phone, but I have forgotton what most other people look like and only hope we will recognise each other when all this is over.

My next-door neighbours who are still doing all my shopping are now more familiar to me than any other person (and of course greatly valued by me).

Whether I will ever discover hidden reserves of energy or enthusiasm for cleaning my house is a bit of an unknown, but, they do say it's the thought that counts.

And I've thought about it a lot

Monday, 1 June 2020

FREEDOM ???

This picture just about sums up the position we all ought to be occupying if we are still obeying one set of rules.

We are apparently allowed out now, that is, those of us who have been shut in our homes since mid-March.

While one part of me is dying to get back into something like normal, the other, more cautious part is saying "hold on, it really isn't safe out there yet".

I am one of the very lucky ones who have really good, kind caring neighbours who have done all my shopping for nearly eleven weeks.

This has made me eternally grateful, but also very lazy, and changing the pattern is going to be difficult.

As  I don't drive and the town is 2 aand a half miles away, there is no way I could walk there and back, let alone carry heavy shopping, so the only solution is to risk travelling by bus and getting a taxi home.

Frankly, I'm scared stiff at the mere thought of being that close to so many people and I am quite worried about doing so until there is more certainty about the progress we are making in this fight with a deadly invisible enemy.

Courage is one thing, stupid careless behaviour something else entirely.

Help!  What is the right thing to do?

Friday, 22 May 2020

Is there really light at the end of the tunnel

The big question is not when but whether we are going to emerge from this pandemic in any recognisable way.

Given as I am. to introspection even at the best of times. this has presented me with a whole  new raft of potential problems.

Now on day 65 of my own version of lockdown it feels as though this way of life? could last forever.

Every time someone in Government suggests a tentative loosening of the rules a whole fresh batch of  questions present themselves and we continue as we are.

Those of us in the 'ancient' and therefore at risk group have grown uneasily accustomed to having our shopping done for us by kind neighbours or local friends and lovely though this is, the guilt at being kept 'safe' at the expense of other people grows daily. 

This is a debt we will never be able to repay, and the temptation to say, "I will venture out with a mask and gloves" grows ever stronger.

The fact that if we all did so, infection rates would boom and death rates double is the one factor which prevents many of us from taking this step.

People in the same or similar circumstances to my own seem to have a more optimistic view than I, perhaps just a question of temperament.

One thing which really worries me is that as a non-driver and unable to get to town without transport
will mean risking buses or taxis, not a cheering thought.

Loving and appreciating my wonderful neighbours though I do, there is still the feeling that at some stage their generosity will run out.  True there is no sign of that happening but the fear is still there.

As for the indiots who are flouting all the rules and ignoring the pleas and guidance of those who know what the consequences may be, there is no word for their selfish behaviour.

Truly this pandemic has produced armies of wonderful caring community-spirited people while also showing up the 'others'.

Thank God that most of the world seems to be in the former group.  Bless them and may they continue to flourish.

Stay safe.






Thursday, 14 May 2020

Nocturnal Meanderings

This ominous sky photographed a few years ago in the middle of one of my many sleepless phases, seems to portray the state of my mind at present.

This very strange and unfamiliaar period of our history is making it quite difficult to behave normally, (or what is normal for us).

During the day my time is spent trying to find ways to occupy myself  in order not to watch 24 hour TV, while in the background a feeling of unease is a brooding presence.

My neighbours continue to do all my shopping and  a few friends phone from time to time but this period of imprisonment (57 days now) feels like a lifetime and with no immediate prospect of ending.

Used to being on my own but on my own terms rather than with the condition being imposed on me is changing the way I view solitary living.

Some people I know quite well who are in a similar situation are finding new energy and tackling tasks they have been putting off for years, while some are turning to alcohol as a mood changer.

These two solutions have no appeal for me and I am beginning to realise that what I do best and enjoy most is simply talking to people.


At the beginning of this hermit-like state of affairs I had vague hopes of some sort of epiphany, thinking I might emerge at the end a changed and in some way much better person.

I fear that was a vain hope and if anything I am becoming even more morose than before.

Even music has failed to lift my mood and I have not attempted to sing since early March so if the old way of life ever resumes I mayhave to be dug out of my shell with a shovel.

Back to bed , perchance to dream Or  maybe not.


Thursday, 7 May 2020

REALLY ? ? ?

Conspiracy theories abound about the Virus but this last couple of day I have been astonished and perturbed when two people whom I respect and regard as intelligent reasoning human beings, have added another couple to the growing list.

I do not propose to give details here since there is quite enough alarming 'stuff' out there already, but i am beginning to think it  must be me.

Am I really so naive as to be the only one who accepts the generally broadcast version of events leading to this appalling pandemic?

True I am no scientist, but then, which of us is?

If the only theories were those tweeted by The Trump I would dismiss out of hand any ounce of credibility, but, sadly more and more l;ittle rumours are leaking out into the community at large.

The world is, we know, currently sick on a massive scale but are we also losing our minds?

Friday, 24 April 2020

Friends

Now in my 37th day of Lockdown I am really beginning to miss my friends.

So far having kept in touch by phone and email together with safe-distance chats with a couple of neighbours, the loneliness has not been too marked.


But, not seeing people is quite a deprivation not fully appreciated until now.

Compared with many people I am truly fortunate in that my next-door neighbours are doing my shopping, and another neighbour has taken over the business of ordering and when it arrives, installing a new TV.

Needless to say it chose this time for the old one to decide to expire

The only people who have so far been in my house are British Gas Emergency inspectors and my TV fixer neighbour (in nearly six weeks).

It's not as though my house  is normally the hub of the universe, just that lovely ;post-Sunday Service chats, occasional drop-ins for a chat tea coffee or just plain natter have all been wiped off the day's activities and house-work really has very little appeal for me.

Yesterday my gardener decided to risk a safe distance couple of hours in the back garden which has become very overgrown by creeping Cellandine and ground elder.  He did a wonderful job and i was very glad to see him, but the silences between contacts are hard to fill for someone as lazy as I am.

As my house grows steadily grubbier and the garden slowly disappears under the weeds, and the silence becomes an ever longer part of the day I feel like sleeping beauty (Apart from the beauty) oh and the sleeping that is.

If anyone has a spare sack of motivation will they please send it to me.

Until then, stay safe.


Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Cause for celebration

An email has just appeared on my Ipad from my step-daughter.

Her son has just become a father and now has a son of his own.

This makes me the baby's step great grandmother.

My late husband's daughter is obviously delighted and couldn't wait to share the news though perhaps she hasn't yet fully apprecisted her new grandmother status.

I am pleased for them all of course, but the actual relevance for me is slight since I haven't seen my step grandson for about four years (he is in the army), and have never met the baby's mother, so the new addition while I rejoice for them is only of passing interest to me.

If that sounds cold I apologise but never having had a child (nor wanted one I hasten to add) it always leaves me slightly perplexed when other women go gooey-eyed at the mere mention of a baby.

I know there is supposed to be a natural maternal instinct in all females, it's just that I wasbehind the door when it was given out.


Friday, 10 April 2020

An Easter Like No Other

This is normally the busyiest time of the year for me and one I value above all others since at St Mary's the music is sublime

This year with all the dreadful Coronvirus and the  necessary restrictions on all human behaviours we  have had to find new ways to live our lives and where possible to continue our traditions.

Lacking as I do, all but the most basic technical knowledge, my participation has been purely as an onlooker, and even that has been sporadic and with gaps in services etc.

Thanks to my wonderful next-door neighbours all my shopping has been done for me and I have been a cared-for prisoner in my home since 18th of March.

A member  of the choir dropped round a beautiful home-made Palm Cross for me last Sunday and I watched the service from St Mary's on utube

Yesterday I tried to watch the Maundy Thursday Service but had a lengthy phone call in the middle so lost most of it and today I failed to get a successful link for all but the last ten minutes, but in a way that made the little I heard even more valuable.

I am in awe of the choir members who have been able to make their vocal cords available for the less able of us, and admire both the skill and generous nature of their offerings.

It feels a bit claustrophobic sitting agt my computer with windows closed while the sun blazes down outside but at least there is this slender link between us.

Thanks a million, and stay safe one and all.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Priorities

If the current dire situation has taught me anything, it has reinforced the need to prioritise.

Being brought up to date every hour by TV radio and all forms of media with the ongoing state of the world as it faces its biggest challenge since World war 2, does wonders for concentrating the mind on what is truly important.

Everyday necessities in our 1st world lives suddenly become luxuries which we can perfectly easily manage without.

We learn every day how the desperate needs of those in deadly peril are not being met, sometimes because of our own greedy and selfish behaviours.

So many wonderful kind generous people are giving time energy and physical help to those unable to help themselves.

The NHS, for many years spoken of  as the best in the world (though less often recently) has shown immense courage, sense of duty and a willingness to sacrifice their expertise, time energy and sadly sometimes, their lives in an effort to save as many people as they can from this latest threat .

Kind neighbours are collecting shopping for those self-isolating, strangers are giving lifts to hospital and to other people stranded or unable to take other forms of transport.

Human nature at its very best is daily making itself felt while at the same time a few (thankfully) others are flouting all the rules advice and instructions which were designed not only to   keep them safe, but to save others from their lack of common sense, or even basic humanity

We need wherever we are able to prioritise our needs while ignoring our wants and if we can do nothing physically to help one another try at least to heed the advice and not make anything more difficult for each other.

If we all pull together we will defeat this pandemic and emerge at the end of it, probably leaner, but hopefully wiser.


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

What is Old?



The poor picture of the balloon given me when my lovely neighbours took me out on my 80th birthday reminds me that age is just a number.

I now have a similar balloon sitting in my sitting room (how's that for alliteration)? only, this time it says Happy 85th Birthday.

How did that happen? five years gone in a flash.

Although 2015 was the year I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, I feel very little different from how I felt then.

Faced with the certainty of "house arrest" due to the current virus, I am vary grateful for the fact that we (the girls and I) were able to go out to our favourite restaurant on Sunday

It may well be the last Jolly for some time.

Small pleasures, bird-song, a good tv play, a good book are going to be the best many of us can hope for in the coming weeks and months.

Yesterday, Monday, I went shopping as I do every Monday and tomorrow Wednesday, I will do so again, as I do every Wednesday. After that - who knows?

For me, self-isolation will not be a pleasure, but due to the fact that I have really good friends both in the church and among my neighbours I need not fear being alone and imprisoned.

Many other people may not be so lucky.

If those who are able to get about easily will help those who are not then we   will all (or nearly all of us) get through this dangerous time.

Let's all do what we are able and if that is very little at least let us pray for one another.

Despite the World Health Authority, age is really not the biggest issue here.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Yer be dragons

My two pet dragons, Ivan Llewellyn Pendragon and little Rhodri, pictured on the left reminded me this morning before I left for church, that today is St David's day.

Something I had never really thought about before is the total lack of Welsh hymns in the various hymn books we use every Sunday.

Many of the best known and still most commonly sung tunes are by the great Parry or by other Welsh composers, yet their Welshness (if there is such a word), is never celebrated.

Lots of people say "oh the Welsh can all sing" (not true by the way, but noone ever says they can write wonderful uplifting or deeply sonorous music.

Now I have to admit I have never heard my household dragons sing or caught them sitting writing hymns, but that's not to say they couldn't if they so chose.

After all, in a land so steeped in mystery and fable who can say with certainty that dragons (which abound, by the way), never stop their fire breathing in order to sing hymns to their creator?

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Familiar Themes

Once again evading the arms of morpheus my over-active brain keeps running over last evening's Ashing service.

Not just the Singing of the Allegri Misereri Mei, (a marathon by anyone's standards), but the now familiar words of psalm 103 I find myself once again caught up in my old dilemma of criticising the "new" version preferred by our American rector, while running alongside them is the old, far more beautiful St James version.

Every Sunday and every special service I can hear in my head the elegant phrases of the old version and cannot help comparing those words with the abbreviated everyday language which for me robs the entire service of its appeal.

Sometimes the entire service is ruined for me by just one word.

I know the content is supposed to matter more than the language in which it is presented, but why, I cannot help but wonder, is it better to speak in everyday tongues when at the same time, singing the anthem in Latin and following the centuries old rituals with little change from the 17th Century?

Our Rector would argue that modern English (or in his case American), has a more direct appeal to today's congregations, yet the people who attend our church every week have deliberately chosen from dozens of others, a church whose traditions and rituals are steeped in High Anglican history.

This is not yet another sleepless rant, more a reflection on how little things can shape opinions  and divide otherwise peace loving people who prefer the pen to the sword.

I'm rambling and probably making no sense so will stop and resume my night's sleep ( or failure to sleep).

After all there is the whole of Lent in which to reflect (and possibly comment) on these things.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Never Underestimate the Power of the Inanimate

Ha! Did I say 'they' might leave me in peace now?

What an optimist!

Last Monday my washing machine decided to die, True it has had a very long life, true, i was aware that it was on its last legs but oh dear what a terrible noise it made before ceasing to make any noise.

My usual panic mode set in and for about half a day I did not have a clue what to do, then slowly, common sense returned.

I went to my local retail park - awful title - and threw myself on the mercy of a very kind and very well-informed lady who talked me through all the options and made several useful suggestions.

On Saturday afternoon my new machine was delivered, fitted, tried out and the old one taken away.

By then I had yet another very sore throat cough and the usual temperature so wasn't feeling wonderful

Today instead of being in church I did rwo wash loads and cleared the back log of laundry which has piled up in the past week.

The machine appears to be working perfectly, my temperature is easing off and things appear to be returning to what passes for  normal in my world.

BUT I am not loudly proclaiming the end of my problems - just in case they are listening.


Saturday, 4 January 2020

Deja Vu

Never have I managed to get through the whole Christmas/New Year break without the appearance at some stage of my household demons.

This year all was going quite nicely, quiet, peaceful no obvious problems until.......sitting minding my own business  I glanced at the radiator under my front window and noticed what I thought was a spill or splash of something, couldn't imagine what, on the top right corner.

Investigation showed it to be some sort of oily brownish gunk.

Still not worried I took a couple of dettol wipes and tried to remove the mark. only to find it hardly had any affect, so scrubbing a little harder I found it appeared to be a leak.

Suddenly my holiday brain-freeze relaxed its hold and I tore upstairs to find an emergency number for British Gas with whom I have a maintenance contract.

To cut a long boring story short, an engineer was with me in an hour and told me I needed to  have the radiator replaced.

It appears that I am covered for this so all was easier than I dreamed it could be and they are coming on Monday to carry out the work.

I am still somewhat worried about the possibility of the leak suddenly getting much worse before then but at least the demon/gremlin has been packed off to gibber in a corner (probably till next Christmas).




Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy 2020

A brief good wish for anyone who happens on this blog.   May your 2020 be better by far than your 2019,

Health happiness and peace, in fact, what we would all like ouir lives to be.

The world appears to be in a state of chaos but still there is hope, small signs of a change in attitudes behaviours and manners.

Despite the worst efforts of the world's politicians the voice of reason can still be (faintly) heard.

Though not in this Close tonight where loud thumping music and crashing fireworks are still deafening us all even at this hour.

Why can't New Year be given a silent welcome?

Oh well, I can dream I suppose.

A Happy healthy New Year to one and all.