The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 11

Stay+safe+rainbow+printable

(image is a free download to colour in from hello@deborahpanesar.com)

 

I suppose it is telling me something that I am only getting round to starting this on Friday this week.

As I write this we await to hear officially, the changes about to come with our shift into Phase 2 of lockdown on Monday. This will likely mean being allowed to travel 20km for non essential purposes and all small non-essential shops being allowed to open. Over 70’s and others who have been cocooning will be able to have visitors for short periods, under strict conditions such as social distancing and everyone wearing gloves and masks and the rest of us can meet friends in groups of up to 6 indoors for a short time with the same precautions as when visiting cocooners. There will also be more people allowed to attend funerals than the current 10 people, but only immediate family still. Some elements of Phase 3 are likely to be brought forward such as larger stores with entrances onto streets can re-open and some children’s playgrounds, if they can be supervised and disinfected regularly, may also reopen. Marts are also re-opening so farmers can sell livestock. Shopping centres are still to remain closed as are restaurants and cafes for all but take-aways, pubs, hairdressers and barbers.

Small changes but a little normality beginning to return.

The slogan is changing from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Local’, so I’d have to change the blog title anyway but I do feel it has served its purpose now.

Actually we have just heard the distance we can travel for non essential journeys has been extended not to 20km as expected but to anywhere in our own county. Co. Cork is huge so I am not sure that feels like a good or safe move at the moment. It does though allow tourism to move towards re-opening at the end of this month so will possibly help the economy. On top of this we have just heard that instead of 5 phases in the easing out of lockdown we now only have 4 as things are being shifted around. This means one more phase at the end of June and one in July if everything goes alright. One thing that doesn’t change in the current crisis is how fast things change, how often we need to readjust our thinking and how important it is to bend and go with the flow.

I think everyone is a little stunned by the changes to Phase 2 and the relaxing of a lot of the lockdown. I know some small shops and even larger stores that have been caught off guard by being told they can reopen on Monday and who are actually deferring their reopening for some days to get ready properly. It does feel a lot all at once but I am sure we will all survive. No-one says we have to go shopping, drive around the county or rush to book holidays here or abroad after all.

So what has my last week been like apart from this? Much like the others really and I actually expect that to be the same in the weeks ahead even with the new changes to our lockdown. As I said I will continue to choose not to travelling far, use public transport or physically visit shops unnecessarily. I will also continue to meet friends outdoors on the grounds that I don’t want anyone in my house at the moment so wouldn’t expect to be in someone else’s either.

Plans are afoot here to pedestrianise streets in a number of our small towns to give people more space to socially distance, to allow cafes and restaurants to have outdoor seating for take-aways and generally to make it all a bit more comfortable. This would be brilliant but whether any of this happens remains to be seen although funds have been made available to support it so maybe it will.

The amazing weather we had been having has now disappeared with cooler weather and strong winds arriving. It has been incredible being able to eat and have drinks outdoors in the garden most days so I hope summer returns soon. I am much more suited to a mediterranean climate than an Irish one 🙂

It has also been great having the time and space to be outside in the garden, tidying and making some much needed improvements. I have really enjoyed being closer to nature and observing the changes in trees, plants and wildlife, both in the garden and when walking. This is something I always mean to do and which as an OBOD Ovate student I really should be doing, but life usually gets in the way somehow. Last evening I was down in the part of our garden that is given over to wildlife, everything is allowed to do it’s own thing, it is not ‘gardened’ ever and so is a space I watch from afar rather than step in to very often. Yesterday though I stood down in the space and realised that we had inadvertently allowed nature to create a grove of Pine, Apple, Plum, Ash and Hawthorn, all without us doing anything. This is brilliant for me as I now have a grove to work in as well as a stone circle. I intend to hold onto this closeness to nature long after lockdown ends.

We also braved Lidl this week as my husband needed a few things that they had in as specials. Our Lidl is an older store and aisles are narrow so it is harder to move and socially distance than in our newer Aldi. Neither of us felt very comfortable so I think this will be our one and only trip there for the foreseeable future, unless they should get some dumbbells in (which I still need) of course. While we were out I nipped into SuperValu supermarket as it is the only place I can get Ramen and Soba noodles for some reason. This felt ok so it is nice to know that I can shop there for things I can’t get in my shopping delivery. Nice to have some choice without feeling unsafe.

I have just been asked to take part in the trial, track and contact trace app for the virus here so of course have said yes. I needed to answer lots of questions online and now have to access the app and record my symptoms or lack of them daily. This is all anonymous and all data is deleted after the trial but it will at least help get it to a state where it can be unrolled for community tracing. It feels a vital part of our moving forward and living with the virus.

This will be my last blog post in this vein, so this is me signing out. I’ll post when there are any big changes or when I feel the need and am sure I will be blogging about other aspects of my journey in the future, so I will see you all again at some point. Stay safe x

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

IMG_0707

I am not sure how much longer I will keep writing the ‘diary’ now. I began as it felt important to keep a record of these times, what was happening, what I was going through etc for myself so I would never forget what it was like. I seem though to have reached the point where nothing much is changing week by week. I am still staying at home, still keeping within the 5km when exercising and still getting our food shopping delivered.

We are now in the second week of Phase 1 of our easing of lockdown. If all goes well and our R number stays low then further easing will take place on June 8th including the distance for non essential travel being extended to 20km. A good amount of a 20km radius from us will be in the sea, so again I don’t envisage a lot changing here although for others it may as they will be able to reach the beach for the first time in weeks. This is lovely for them but will of course will make it busier and potentially less safe for those of us who live here so it’s not all good.

Some non essential retailers and businesses are likely to be allowed reopen but at the moment I can think of nothing I would like to do less than go shopping for anything that isn’t essential. I certainly can’t imagine choosing to go browsing in clothes shops for example. Just the thought of handling things that others have handled and trying on things that others have tried on, leaves me cold. I was reading in one of the Uk papers about clothes and shoes having to be quarantined if they were tried on or returned and not being able to touch things in shops, if that’s the same here maybe the future of shopping looks nothing like the past. I can’t imagine the little clothes shop in our nearest town, run by a lovely Italian who imports beautiful clothes, being able to survive if it is.

I’m wondering if this is to be the new norm? The feeling of not wanting to do things that previously were the norm for example. Or as the virus has less hold on us will things change again and will we become less cautious? Only time will tell I suppose.

There were no deaths from the virus here on Monday but there are still new cases every day. Lower than they were but still there. The problem is we know county by county the number of new cases but Co. Cork where I live is a big county and includes Cork City. Early on we were told where clusters of infection were but now we never get this information so have no idea whether it is safe to relax our guard slightly or not. It does make things harder than they could be but on the other hand it does stop us being complacent.

This all sounds a bit doom and gloom so I apologise for that. I think I just needed to take the time to reflect a little on where things are at the moment.

Having started this blog post by saying nothing is changing I have since discovered that is not true at all. I could have gone back and rewritten everything but then it wouldn’t have been a true reflection of where I am in any way. So I have left it as it was.

As part of Phase 1 we are allowed to meet up outdoors in groups of up to four people as long as we stay socially distanced and of course stay outside. So, one day this week we went to  lunch in the garden of some friends ,which was really lovely and the first time we have seen anyone, other than in passing by when out walking, for weeks now. I also met a friend for a socially distanced take away coffee. Perched on a wall near the coffee shop we spent a happy half hour catching up. We had been talking throughout on WhatsApp but there is nothing like a catch up in person to make things seem more normal. We had another invitation to call to friends who have bought a new table and chairs so they could have outdoors catchups. We couldn’t go as the shopping delivery was due but it’s there for another time and of course we can also have return visits. This is all a huge change and even though it is not normal in any way we are really lucky to be able to do it and to be blessed with amazing weather so we can comfortably be outside. Long may it last.

Being at home more means I am spending more time noticing changes in the garden, one of which is that we now have a tiny baby bunny. It turned up early in the week and was right down by the conservatory door, all alone. It has entertained us nibbling anything and everything it has come across, things that are growing and leaves on the ground from where we had the hedges trimmed. It’s clearly not fussy. We saw it the other day, half way down the garden with an adult rabbit so it is safe and being looked after.

I have also been amazed at the number of different shades of Aquilegia there are this year, maybe they are like it every year but I am too busy to notice. We have purple and white, pink and white, pale pink, deep maroon, dark pink, plain purple, lilac, white and purple and I am sure some I have missed. They are nearly gone over now but the foxgloves are on their way. Between the two they do kind of take over the garden, dwarfing some of our pots but I would hate them not to be there so am happy to put up with the overgrown areas for the weeks they are in flower and let then seed so we have some next year before tidying up. Were have tried transplanting then to the world area but they aren’t having it at all 🙂 IMG_0723

The other plus of being home and not being able to work is that I have managed to get back to my Ovate training with the OBOD. Looking back I can see I began this 5 years ago and I am at best half way through. The saying that it is the journey not the destination couldn’t be more appropriate than it is here.

Of course one of the highlights this week was the space launch of Crew Dragon which we watched live on television before standing out in the garden to see if we could see it pass over. I saw a flash of light about 8.40pm which would have been right and then at 10.10 we watched the space station fly overhead but sadly didn’t see the Crew Dragon again. Nice to simply know it was there flying high above us though.

And finally to finish on a note of positivity, many of the restaurants and cafes here are opening at weekends to provide take away meals. One such cafe ‘Cracked’, in our nearest town is celebrating opening six months ago. Their food is lovely and we are all delighted to see them still in business having opened and then had to close due to the virus. To celebrate their six months they had an Facebook draw for a picnic box for 4 people and I won it. I never win anything so I am delighted. On the grounds we have seen enough people this week it will feed the two of us for the whole weekend 🙂

The Strangest of Times – Staying at Home Week 9

95949066_909792536133718_4787328920745672704_n

I like siting in the garden and quite enjoy doing ‘big’ things like building a new bed, a path or a wall, but hate the fiddly stuff, so as a non gardener I am fascinated by the fact that this year I am lovingly nurturing lettuce. They were purchased, planted in small pots and have now been transplanted to larger ones so they have room to grow. The photo is an early one and some are now big enough for us to be taking leaves for our tea. Some lettuce plants are also in a small bed in the garden and I visit daily monitoring their growth and comparing the potted ones with the garden ones. Now it seems it’s not only lettuce I am growing. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some friends online about growing coriander from supermarket seeds. We all took a different approach. Both of them bruised their seeds as recommended by his Indian father, one soaked hers and planted hers in a pot, the other planted his straight in the pot. I researched online and placed mine between sheets of wet kitchen towel and waited for them to sprout. After about two weeks of nothing happening I got fed up with watering mine and with nothing happening, threw them away. At the weekend I was sent pictures of both sets of coriander plants, tiny little shoots peaking above the earth. So I have now bruised seeds and have them planted out in pots. Three weeks time all being well I should have tiny shoots appearing. If I am still writing this blog by then I will let you know.

This week I actually managed to do a live online yoga class. Really gentle yoga that worked on the psoas muscle. I have had an ongoing abdominal injury for well over a year now. The ‘it settles, I do something and it goes again’ kind of injury. Nothing serious but annoying enough to stop me doing lots of things such as a lot of exercises in the gym and also now Zumba which I am really sad about. Anyway, the psoas muscle connects to the abdominal muscles and by the end of the session of slow stretching, the right side of my body which is where the injury is, had felt tight at the start had loosened a little. So far so good 🙂 I woke up the next day and was aware my ribs were sore, by the end of the day I could hardly move. I couldn’t get out of the chair, cough or laugh without it hurting. Not an injury but muscles that hadn’t been used for the last months being woken up. So much for slow gentle yoga! I am doing it again as soon as this settles enough for me to move 😉

We are now a few days into Phase 1 of easing the lockdown. Online there were pictures of queues at DIY shops and MacDonald’s which opened 6 of its drive throughs in Dublin. For me though the only difference it made was that the small garage in my village opened and I was able to get my car serviced and so keep the warrantee valid 🙂

I tried to do Yoga Nidra this week, something I usually love but found it hard to settle in to. I am used to doing it at the end of a yoga session and not as a stand alone so this may have been part of it, maybe it wasn’t right for me today, or maybe I am just too scattered to relax in to it at the moment. I’m going to let it go for now and come back to it another time, see how I feel then. Like everything at the moment it seems best to simply acknowledge it, let it go and move on.

On a positive note I have managed to read not one but two books recently which is a huge improvement on how I was a few weeks ago. My concentration seems to be improving as far as reading is concerned at least.

I am still working with Air which is the energy that connects to the mind and so governs the intellect, reasoning, memory, thoughts, knowledge and comprehension. It is interesting that I have now begun working with yoga which focuses a lot on the use of the breath, the inhalation, the exhalation and the sigh, the cleansing breath to release as the body is allowed to settle.

I’m not sure how long my Air phase will last but I am certainly less ‘scratchy’ than I was last week, a little calmer and feeling a bit more like myself.

 

The Strangest of Times – Week 8

IMG_0467

 

I’m beginning to find it harder to know what to write here now as the days are all starting to merge into one and it is getting difficult to recall what has happened and how I am feeling. This may of course be a bi-product of the lockdown as I read somewhere the other day that confusion and forgetfulness are common when the brain is not being used in the same way as it is used to. Not too sure mine is being used at all really.

So how have I been spending the time? The garden is getting a tidy up in areas that we have been putting off for years. We have actually finished sorting out a large corner in the front of the house. I say finished because we started this about a year ago. The guys that cut our hedges have, for the last two or three years, been itching to get in there and cut it all back. Every year I stop them telling them we have plans. Last year we cut back overgrown shrubs, cleared brambles and ivy and there it sat. Until the last few days that is, when we moved large stones to form a border, raked earth, made a small curved bed and filled the remaining space with gravel to connect it to the drive. Our stone Buddha was moved from the back of the house and ornamental grasses planted in the bed. What was really lovely was that the whole time we were working we were joined by a Robin searching for nesting materials and any bugs we dug up. Nice to be working in harmony with nature.

I think this work in the garden fits with the clearing out and decluttering that was suggested as part of my work with Air 🙂 I kinda think the author, Denise Linn, had rooms in the house in mind but as the garden is part of my home for me it counts. We have also been rescuing plants, shrubs, hedging from overgrown ivy which definitely counts as clearing out.

Although we are still getting home delivery for our shopping we made an Aldi run this week to get some things we can’t get online. No browsing, structured list each according to shop layout, a trolley each, a quiet time of day and we were in and out without a bother. Our wine rack is full, we have nuts, seeds, hand soap and hand cream plus of course a few things that were on neither list of course, but no browsing and nothing from the middle aisle 🙂

I also had to pick up a repeat prescription this week and our pharmacy has a system where you text and they have it ready for you at the pick up time you request. This is a million times better than going in, ordering and having to wait around while it is done so I do hope this is one thing that carries on after the lockdown.

I have been doing some art work this week and am enjoying working on a new piece. It helps that I took a photo that really called me to work with it, so it is something I actually want to do. All our exhibitions are cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future so I have no purpose for doing this other than that I want to, which is lovely.

Also I have begun to read again, not snippets online but an actual ebook. I get ebooks online from our library and usually get through one every few days. Since the lockdown I have had to renew every book I’ve borrowed at least once. I had only been managing a about a chapter before I lost interest and found my attention wandering, but the last couple of days I am up to four or five chapters which is a huge improvement. It would be nice to stop feeling scattered and unable to concentrate on anything for long, so I really hope this continues. It does feel a step in the right direction.

I have noticed that I am getting a bit ‘frayed at the edges’ and that others seem to be the same. I have been getting a lot of ‘your lockdown is easier than ours’ online because the sea is within our 5km, but this is hard for all of us wherever we live. I think we all need to bear in mind, myself included, that we really have no idea how anyone else is feeling or how they are coping with the lockdown. We still have a long way to go with this.

The weekend saw a welcome break for all of us here with our village community online Bingo. This was 2 hrs of much needed craic. We had all registered online, been sent bingo cards for two games, prizes of chocolates, wine, spirits, vouchers were donated and last night everyone logged on to the youtube channel and the fun began. Prizes for a line and a card and spot prizes throughout, online live chat and a good bit of banter made the time fly.  A lot of work went into the preparation and execution but it would be really good to do it or something similar again.

The coming week sees the first easing of our lockdown. Garden centres, hardware shops, opticians. garages, electrical, phone and computer repair shops and a few other ‘essential’ services can reopen. This is good news as my car is due a service, We can also meet up with four other people outdoors as long as we maintain social distancing. We have pretty much been doing this anyway, by chance, when coming across neighbours or friends when out walking but it’s official now anyway. Golf and tennis are also allowed reopen but only to those within 5km. We are all still staying at home and exercising within 5km apart from shopping, medical etc so this won’t mean any change for me at all except I have had a friend, who lives locally, ask if I’d like to go for a socially distanced walk one day. I will, as a new person to chat to while walking, even if it is from either side of the road, could be nice 🙂

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 2

fullsizeoutput_d45

 

Monday 30th About eighteen months ago I stopped using shampoo completely and decided to wash my hair with water only, the benefits of this I am now realising are huge. I wash my hair far less, once a week, as opposed to the once every two days it needed previously, so save on water, I don’t need to be concerned about running out of shampoo or conditioner and more importantly, as it grew happily and healthily I just let it do its own thing. It is now someway down my back and while everyone else is worrying about the hairdressers being closed I am absolutely ok. I also decided years ago, when the first grey started to appear, never to bother to dye my hair, another unexpected bonus as it turns out now. My natural hair colour is my natural hair colour. Forward planning it now seems 🙂

I feel very tired today. I could be the hay fever or whatever it is or may be because I’ve unusually been a little stressed.  For the second time in the last few days I have discovered my mobile phone operators have taken money for mobile data that I haven’t used. Reduced staff mean it is harder to get hold of anyone and of course all their stores are closed, even if I was foolish enough to go out. I don’t usually get stressed by things like this but this time have been. Maybe it is the small things that usually would roll over me that are going to seem bigger than they really are. I must be mindful of this.

Tuesday 31st Neither of us felt like walking today  so we didn’t. One thing I am really learning now, is to go with how I am feeling at any given moment. No judgement, no pushing through anything, but just accepting it and allowing it.

Today we did an egg run to collect eggs from a nearby farm. It felt quite illicit as we took the car and we both went. It’s way easier to carry a tray of eggs when you can hold them and not have to mind them on the passenger seat while you drive, plus I only had to sanitise my hands when I got back in the car and not everything I’d touched in the car.

I am discovering loads about online food shopping now, such as the fact that, just like in physical shopping, the minute you get through the checkout you realise you have forgotten to buy something.

Wednesday 1st April A whole new month, it will be interesting to see what new things, what new insights this one brings.

More learning about online shopping – if you ask for spelt bread and they don’t have any they just don’t put anything in instead. Good job I make my own bread with oats and yoghurt. I am now hoping I have enough yoghurt to see us through another week as there is no nipping back to the shop just now.

Thursday 2nd For the whole of last week I did no art whatsoever, I just wasn’t in the right mood somehow. I was fine most days, just didn’t want to do art. Today something has changed and I spent a few hours working on the next Christmas’ Calendar painting for Bandon Art Group’s calendar.

Friday 3rd I’m wondering if anyone has, like me, opened their wardrobe and realised that a large percentage of the clothes in it will not get worn for the foreseeable future. I have winter jumpers that, if I was going out more would be worn, but I don’t need them indoors. I have ‘going out’ clothes that I wont be wearing as I am not ‘going out’ and I have travel clothes, quick dry ones I usually wear on the holiday I am no longer going on. First world problems here. I have way too many clothes I realise and so perhaps the thing to do is re-home a lot of them once this is over. I may though need to buy a new track suit for it is about the only thing on my body these days. I could I suppose always ‘dress up’ at home as I have seen others online doing but that really isn’t me somehow. Or it isn’t at the moment anyway.

Saturday 4th I was listening to someone on the radio talking about washing their hands mindfully and using those 20+ seconds to really be in the moment. I already sing ‘Baby Shark’ in my head while I am washing them but this does seem like it might be a big improvement so will try this the 100 or so times I wash my hands today.

I have also been realising just how important it is to laugh. My art group has a WhatsApp group and am discovering that we seldom talk about art, which may be true of us as a group now I stop to think about it,  but are sharing clips, gifs, jokes etc to make everyone laugh, to keep everyone’s spirits up. Social distancing at it’s most useful and I am grateful to be part of it.

Sunday 5th Gratitude is something that I frequently have to remind myself to be. I am grateful, but stopping and recognising it has never come naturally for some reason.

It is one of the five Reiki Principles:

Today only

  • Don’t be angry
  • Don’t worry
  • Be grateful
  • Work hard
  • Be kind to other people

and it is the one I always struggle with. The others frequently act as a reminder to me, pull me up sometimes but ‘be grateful’ somehow gets overlooked.

This week though, I have been realising how lucky I am and therefore how grateful I am for many things:

  • my home
  • the fact I have space
  • my garden
  • my stone circle (you can see this in the photo at the top of the page)
  • that I am not home alone but can be alone if I chose to be
  • that I am safe
  • that I live in a rural area and can easily go for a walk
  • that I am relatively fit and healthy
  • that I have broadband
  • WhatsApp and Facebook messenger
  • Friends who I now talk to online
  • my art
  • the gift of Reiki
  • Shamanic journeying which can take me anywhere

 

 

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 1

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 1

90718262_10215329891577677_5825277011286818816_n

This is not a diary since the start of the strangest of times but begins where my last blog left off. I have decided a general summing up each day is probably the best way to go….for now anyway. Maybe some of what I do can help others, who knows, for these days are all unknown.

Monday 23rd.  I am counting the days since I last had coffee with a friend. My friend was tested yesterday and is waiting for the results. I have read incubation is 2-14 days. Today is day 13. I have everything crossed. I get allergy asthma and have had a slight purr for a few days now so over the last days I have been watching every cough, wheeze, sneeze and washing my hands over and over again.

On the way to get our new rotary drier today we got diverted due to roadworks and ended up going a long way out of our way. During the detour we realised that a) we had no idea where we were b) we could easily have ignored the detour and gone a different way, a way we  knew and c) none of it actually mattered in any way as we had absolutely nothing else we needed to be doing at all.

Our holiday, as I said in my last blog was cancelled completely yesterday. Conversation has ranged from will we ever be able to go somewhere again, to if we had postponed it until next year we have no idea how our health will be (we are not getting any younger and are in the at risk age group after all) to, will we even be around when this is all over. We are allowed some doom and gloom sometimes although for some reason I really believe we will both be ok.

Tuesday 24th Today I wrote a catch up blog starting with when we first became impacted by the virus. This is something I had been thinking about doing and of course I do have the time now so no excuses.

Found myself coughing a lot this morning but then realised I had forgotten to use my inhaler. All good once I had. Had a good laugh to myself about it, panic over.

Gym: My real gym is still open having created timed slots, enough individual spaces for a small number of people to workout with small weights etc, time in between for disinfecting each workspace and any equipment used. They are doing their best but it is too much of a risk so I have set up a ‘gym’ in what was my treatment/teaching space, outside in my log cabin.

It is nothing special, simply foam roller, yoga mats, resistance bands and a pilates ball, all things I had at home anyway. I now think I should have picked up some light weights in Aldi a few weeks ago but I didn’t so I’ll manage. What this space gives me though, apart from chance to move, is some routine. I plan to go to it on days I would have gone to my real gym if I am not walking due to the weather plus maybe an extra day because at the moment there is no Zumba.  I have downloaded some Spotify gym playlists to my phone, and so I have music.

Today was my first real workout, just a warm up, resistance bands, squats, lunges and stretching cool down but I really enjoyed it. Could feel my body buzzing afterwards. We were so made to move.

Coming back into the house I saw a bee, yesterday when we went out we saw a butterfly and last evening there was the amazing sunset. It’s brilliant how nature can brighten up things for us isn’t it. Of course now we’ve slowed down maybe we will have more time to look and realise what is around us.

Wednesday 25th Today’s excitement has been getting our first online shop delivered. It arrived within the time slot booked, a couple of things substituted and a few things missing, mainly a few items of fruit and veg. I forget that so much of what we eat comes from elsewhere. Garlic from Spain, and Ginger from China I think, are nowhere to be seen. We were though missing blueberries, mange tout, and plums. I’ve no idea where these come from, perhaps I should know. Fish is also missing and is likely to be throughout as the fishing boats are no longer going to sea. This is a shame as fish is so good for us. I’m sure we’ll manage though as long as we can get other healthy forms of protein. It can’t be forever after all.

Thursday 26th Gym day again and new ways to use the resistance bands. So pleased I kept the insert in the box which has loads of instructions on. Great to have new things to try.

The sun was shining so we went for a walk on the beach. Lots of cars but not too many people, family groups all keeping to themselves, the odd picnic and some elderly friends who had travelled separately, brought chairs with them, set them up apart from each other by their cars and were having a good catch up. Everyone was being sensible and as the tide was way out we got a lovely long walk, lots of sea air and some sunshine. Simple things these days 🙂 The picture at the start is the beach. I can’t take you there but I can share this with you.

Friday 27th I have had an itchy, dry,  uncomfortable throat for a few days now and don’t feel 100%. I know it is most likely hay fever or allergy asthma so I am taking antihistamine and using my inhalers carefully. Easy to fear the worst. I looked up hay fever symptoms and early virus symptoms and guess what – they are the same! Oh well.  I’m fine 🙂 Best not to look things up, I really should know better.

There is so much being offered freely online, art lessons, dance, gym workouts, music, maths, languages that it’s beginning to be a little overwhelming. People are very kind sharing everything online, in WhatsApp groups etc etc but I think it’s time to start filtering things out and ignoring everything that doesn’t seem important or useful.

Beautiful weather again so we went for a walk from the house. I think this is something we will do every day it’s dry, along with opening all the windows, as fresh air suddenly seems vital.

4pm tonight was a live briefing and we now have more restrictions. A lockdown in all but name. Life is closing down even more but what we are being asked to do is pretty much what I have been doing anyway, so for me nothing much will change at this point, unless I have missed something.  For others though this brings yet more change.

Actually we have just found out all golf courses are closed now which means the 15 hrs or so a week I had to my self have just vanished. Luckily we have space in our home and we have the garden, it does seem important that we both make sure we have time to ourselves over the coming weeks so I guess there is change after all.

Tonight we stood in our back garden and watched the ISS fly over us followed by the starlinks. The sky was clear and we watched the stars slowly appear above us. Best of all was the bats that were flying around the garden. This is the first time we have seen them for ages. Have they been here all the time and we have just not noticed? What else have we missed through being too busy to stand still and look?

My husband just happened to look out of the window around 9.30pm and saw this,

IMG_0118

a red crescent moon. Someone said to me, when they saw the photo on Facebook, that our ancestors would have seen this as an bad omen, today though it feels like nature is showing us how amazing the world is despite everything that is going on.

Saturday 28th I feel really out of sorts today for some reason. Not sure what it is but recognise there are bound to be days like this. For now it’s best to sit with it, acknowledge it and try not to get caught up in it all. Eat well, exercise, sleep well and let it pass.

Sunday 29th My Zumba teacher has managed to work out Zoom and to test it out we had an impromptu dance around complete with all the laughter that goes with Zumba this morning which was just what I needed. Dancing bare foot on carpet, dressed in warm clothes is not the usual way I do Zumba but really who cares.

Looking back on this blog earlier this morning I found it hard to believe that it was only Friday that the deeper restrictions came in. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we adapt to new situations when we have no real choice and when instead of resisting them we allow ourselves to go with the flow and make the best of them.

Is it really Spring Equinox?

 

Yesterday it was snowing, today, a bank holiday, we have icicles outside the conservatory, the water in the water feature is frozen and we were going to go and have a walk on the beach but it’s sooooo cold brrrr. It really doesn’t feel like tomorrow is Spring Equinox.

As at Autumn Equinox tomorrow the light and dark will be in equal balance. Unlike at Autumn Equinox when the dark begins to take over, tomorrow it is the light that begins to return. I am hoping that along with the the light comes some much needed warmth.

It is not just me that is feeling the cold, the birds are eating us out of house and home having devoured a large drum of bird food in three days instead of the week to ten days it usually lasts. They have two bird feeders, a bird table and a feeder full of fat balls yet it still seems barely enough. Our daffodils are struggling, the furry shoots on the pussy willow seem to have gone into suspended animation and spring bulbs that would normally be showing signs of life are nowhere to be seen.

It is though much lighter than even a couple of weeks ago. There is a definite stretch in the day and on days when the sun appears there is beginning to be some warmth in it.

One of the things that it can be nice to do at Spring Equinox is to plant some seeds, often having spent time breathing plans and ideas for the months ahead into them with the idea that as they germinate and grow they will act as a reminder and a focus for your own plans. This year though if I am to do that I will need to plant them in a pot to be kept inside or in the greenhouse, as the ground is too hard and lacking in the warmth needed to germinate them.

For me, what is more important than doing anything specific, holding a ritual or ceremony, is to be aware of the turn of the wheel, the passing of time and the shift into a new part of the year. It may not feel like spring, nature may not be showing me it is, but the balance of light and dark will still be there tomorrow and this also gives me chance to stop and find the balance within myself if I give myself the time to do so.

A Rare Snow Event

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 11.10.48

 

I live in the south of Ireland and we really don’t get snow…..ever…..and if we do it never looks like this, it never lays on the ground and it never, ever stays. This though we are being told is only the start, tomorrow, tomorrow night and into the next day is going to be worse with blizzards caused by a storm coming up from the Bay of Biscay.

This may not look like anything for those of you who are used to it but for us it is so unusual we are not equipped for it. Schools, the doctors surgery, the gym and who knows what else are all closed. Roads are impassible and we are all advised to stay at home.

I’m tucked up in the kitchen with the fire roaring but only after making my way outside to the shed for wellies, an extra bird feeder, more bird food and a shovel to clear the snow off the coal bunker so I could get in coal for our two multi fuel burners.

If it stays sunny and safe a walk might be on the cards, after all it seems a shame to only watch this from inside 🙂

fullsizeoutput_bb7

You can just see part of my stone circle in the snow.

fullsizeoutput_bb8

My car is under here somewhere.

These photos were all taken first thing this morning and it’s snowed since then plus our orange weather warning has just been upgraded to red so it’s going to be interesting in the days ahead.

In the Eye of the Storm and the Aftermath

Ophelia

We weren’t actually in the eye of the storm, more a bit to the right of it but that didn’t sound so good as a heading 🙂 Ophelia though was an experience which thankfully we have survived almost intact.

So how was it?

Well, we listened to all the advice and outside moved anything loose; plants, pots, wheelie bins and even the tiny stone dragon, and gargoyle as well as the ironic garden gnome. We filled buckets with water to weigh them down and also so we had some extra water even if it was a bit green and slimy and then we gave up as we didn’t know what else we could do. Later, in the dark we ventured out to do some last minute moving of a table and my tiny oak saplings.

Inside we cleared all the window sills, lowered blinds and drew curtains. I’m not quite sure what this was for but suspect it was in case the windows blew in. We also filled up water bottles, kettles, anything we could get our hands on really so that we had as much fresh water available as possible.

The Irish have a very laid back ‘sure it’ll be fine’ attitude towards weather warnings, mainly because we get so many, but the night before we watched the weather forecast and listened to the warning that this was not ‘the tail end of a hurricane’ this was an ACTUAL hurricane. This might it seemed, be serious, especially as half the country (the bit I am in) had a red warning, the other half orange.

The morning itself I woke around 4am and weirdly could physically feel the hurricane coming, something in me had changed. I had not expected this in any way that on a physical level it would make its presence known. By about 7am we were wide awake. It was incredibly warm for October and still relatively calm but by now I had a headache.

We had been given comprehensive information as to when the storm was expected to reach the various parts of the country and as we still had power we knew it had reached the far south west and was on its way. By this point the whole country had a red warning. We put out phones back on charge and being very first world, also the electric toothbrush, then settled down in the lounge, the farthest point from the south/south east winds as well as the furthest from our (glass) conservatory and watched the drama unfold online.

Durning the morning we were more and more aware of the wind, sneaking peeps out of the windows at odd times we saw trees down on our crossroads, leaves blowing outside and felt the temperature drop dramatically.

Somehow we held onto power all morning, watching reports from those with mobile internet that the power had gone all around us and then at 12.30pm during the peak of the storm for us, the power went.

We had been expecting to be in the band of fiercest winds, shown as dark purple on the map, but the hurricane had changed course, very, very slightly, and so the damaging gusts were not as bad as we’d been warned. Yes it was fierce but it didn’t seem to be gusting as much as we had expected. Despite an incredibly strong desire to go and see what was happening we stayed hunkered down listening to the odd and unexplained noise from outside

Eventually around 4pm my headache cleared and we felt the worst had been and gone so we ventured out. Three ridge tiles had blown off the roof and were laying on the ground in an empty space where the table we moved in the dark the night before had once been. Somehow these fell the right way and so luckily missed going through the roof of our conservatory. We had also lost a couple of outside lights and the fascia from a shed. Oh and the contents of the fridge and freezer which have now had to be thrown out of course.

That evening we listened to the wind change direction to come from the North West. This then hit the end of the house we were sheltering in but luckily had lost lot of  its strength.

The next day dawned calm with blue skies and sunshine. We chanced the roads into town where a supermarket with its own generator, cleaned up by providing take away coffees. The delight of a hot drink. The afternoon saw us first of all clearing up fallen branches in the garden and then walking on the beach still in the sunshine. We had been lucky. No roads blocked, none of our trees down, others though weren’t as lucky.

In the city over twenty ancient lime trees had fallen completely blocking a road, all around the south and south west of Ireland trees had fallen and are still falling, my husband’s golf course is closed for the foreseeable future due to damage and we know that means a large number of trees have been lost. Three people lost their lives in the storm, damage to property is widespread.

Today and tomorrow we have another weather front bringing heavy prolonged rain. Drains and ditches are blocked with leaves and debris causing flooding on roads. The road from our village to town was only just passable this morning.

Our power came back on last night, others will still be out over the weekend it seems, maybe even into next week.  We have another storm on the way after the rain. It’s called Brian which sounds harmless enough, but has winds that we are being warned could do even more damage coming after Ophelia. Lets hope not.

The three days we had without power have taught us the following:

  • Not having any idea what is going on anywhere is incredibly isolating, we may now get mobile internet on one of the phones, just in case.
  • We should have bought some baby wipes and hand gel then might not have felt quite so grubby.
  • Pot noodles, just add water pasta meals, tinned tuna etc would be handy to have in the cupboard
  • The old camping stove that we eventually remembered we had and unearthed from the shed yesterday will be better kept in the house in the future
  • Food in the fridge is not edible once the power has been off a while

We were lucky. We are a little sheltered from south/south easterly winds, if the next winds from Brian come from the north/north west as forecast they will hit us straight on. In that direction we are exposed 😦

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 14.58.48Meet Brian!

I would like to think the energetic protection I put in place helped keep us safe, that the overtures I made when journeying to Ophelia persuaded her to change her course slightly (although I clearly wasn’t persuasive enough that the storm missed Ireland, or even us, completely), that connecting with Huracan (thanks Laura Perry for the suggestion) which was easier once I had discovered his links to Quetzalcoatl whom I know from Munay Ki, may have made a difference. Who can know for sure. What I do know is that with Brian brewing up a storm I am off to reinforce our energetic protection ….just in case.

A Brief Encounter

(not my photo I wasn’t quick enough) 

This morning driving to the gym (I put that in to impress everyone 😂) I suddenly realised that a bird had swooped in front of the car. There it was flying at windscreen level, at my eye level, wings outstretched, wider wingspan than any bird that I usually see whilst driving.

I knew immediately that it was a bird of prey and although I have seen Kestrels from a distance , usually from underneath and up close sitting on our garden furniture and on the patio, I have never seen one flying that close to me and that low before so I wasn’t completely sure what it was…..until it settled in the tree by the side of the road that is.

Once it had stopped there was no mistaking it. It was a beautiful Kestrel.

I too stopped (quiet country road so no problem) opened my window slightly and for a moment we looked at each other. Then off it went swooping across the road in front of me, over the ditch and away into the field off to do whatever it had been doing when we met. 

A brief encounter but what an amazing start to the day 😊

It also made me reflect on how much the countryside where I live has improved in terms of wildlife. Farmers who had previously ripped out dry stone walls and cut hedges and verges during the summer therefore destroying habitat and food sources, are  starting to see the benefits of leaving hedges and verges to grow over the summer months, plus now it is the law to leave them uncut which helps. We still have pollution in the seas around us, the result of new houses,  lack of water treatment plants and run off from farm land, but Kestrels are a more familiar sight now, buzzards who fly overhead, calling to each other as they do, are nesting in the woods and birds , butterflies and bees are enjoying the wilder gardens and countryside that is now taking shape. A long way to go but several steps in the right direction it seems. 

When I get chance later this evening, I intend to journey and meet the spirit of Kestrel to see what message it has brought me, what it is asking me to be aware of. I could of course, look this up online or in a book, but then I’d get someone else’s interpretation of Kestrel and what I really want to know is why Kestrel came to me at this time and what I and not anyone else needs to learn from this encounter. I’m sure it will all be clear soon enough 😉