The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

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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 – Week 8

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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 5

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 5

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I had a tough few days last week for some reason, maybe it was the weather as we had thick sea mist, low visibility and sometimes rain, although this doesn’t usually bother me over much if it’s relatively short lived which this was. Maybe it was the way ‘the future’ is being spoken about in the news, no end in sight, talk of 2021, 2022 or even never. If I was a decade or so younger I don’t think this would bother me the same way but in my mid 60’s with a husband a few years older, taking one or two years away from us seems huge. There are all kinds of implications regarding our health, fitness, both physical and mental, and our ability to continue doing what have always loved to do which is to travel long haul to explore and have adventures. I actually resent the fact that this may never happen again and that what is left, what we have now, as good as that is and as lucky as we are, may be as good as it gets. I have toyed with the idea of shifting how I am feeling which I can do relatively easy but for some reason to feels important to experience this fully. No doubt at some point I will realise why I need to do so. Right now the purpose escapes me so I am just going with it for the time being. I have since discovered that a lot of people were feeling the same way around this time, seems we all ran into the same wall.

OK the doom and gloom lasted until I did a Reiki distance swap with a friend who was feeling the same way. We both described seeing and feeling a huge cloud being lifted from us which was amazing. All good again and back to normal now 🙂

I actually think we owe it to ourselves to be able to have off days, days where we feel low or overwhelmed and to acknowledge these for what they are. To have light we must also have dark, there is always duality in everything and if we force down or hide the dark times and try to always be in the light, to pretend everything is always ok, it can have a detrimental effect on us. The challenge we all have though, is to keep from getting dragged down into the dark, to accept it, to acknowledge it for what it is, to let it stay while it needs to and cheerfully wave it goodbye as it leaves.  I am obviously not talking about real depression here which is something else entirely, but the ups and downs of living through a period of uncertainly which can be stressful, even for those of us who usually shake off the stress. It is ok though not to be ok.

What I had lost sight of over the last few days had been living in the moment. I had been looking ahead which I realise now is fatal. I will be trying as hard as I can not to make the same mistake again. Taking each moment at a time, each day at a time, is really the only way I am going to get through this. Just for today do not worry is a Reiki principle to really try to live by in these times it seems.

As is show gratitude and today I am grateful for

  • insight
  • awareness
  • someone to swap distance Reiki with
  • the sunshine and warm breeze
  • walking in the fresh air
  • the apple blossom in the garden
  • bees

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  • my new camera
  • springtime
  • new life 

 

One thing I have noticed this week is that when I get stressed it seems to be by things that wouldn’t bother me usually such as our online shopping arriving an hour and a half after the booked time, my computer only working when its plugged in or my headphones working on my husband’s computer but not mine. This is possibly something to do with not having an alternative, the need to be reliant on others and things that are out of my control. I suspect the further we go in to this, the more not being in control will come up for me. The whole situation is outside my control though, so yet again I am back to the need to live only on the moment, letting everything else go.

A new thing I have realised this week is that I am not really reading books which is completely unlike me. I can easily read one in a day or two and when I get a new Stephen King have to ration my reading to make it last. I can only put this down to my attention span being much shorter than usual. I am flitting between things, not staying anywhere long and so concentrating to read a book is much harder than say reading something online.

We should have been in Singapore now celebrating my husband’s birthday with afternoon tea in Raffles hotel. As we can’t be there, or anywhere come to that, we are celebrating with an afternoon tea at home instead. I ordered a small birthday cake from a local baker and having collected it this morning have to say it looks delicious. There are home made savoury chou pastries, and eclairs, shop bought cakes and I will be making some finger sandwiches – smoked salmon and proscuttio await, plus there are strawberries and champagne. I’d say we will be more than ok 🙂

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 2

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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