Author Archives: swannie95

About swannie95

It is not the bumps in the road which define us, it is the journey itself which makes us who we are.

Inner Star

Thursday morning.  Groggy post-op, I was sitting on the Bakerloo line, eye patch, sunglasses, mask – all firmly in place.  My ‘look’ above neck, gave Stevie Wonder a run for his money.  The ‘look’ below neck was something akin to (according to Him) ‘a kid from fame’.  Vibrant skirt, vest top, denim jacket and gold ballet pumps were my way to pull the eye away from the face.  However, I’m not entirely sure that anyone other than Him could spot my inner dancer, inner star.

What’s inside of us all is very different to what people see.  I’ve banged on about perception a great deal.  How we present ourselves; how others see us; how much is real?  Be honest, how many of you dress to present a certain view of yourself to the world?  How many personas have you created?  

We tend to present ourselves as a way of dealing with the outside world.  We choose a range of ways to assault the senses (whether consciously or unconsciously) to gain an acceptance within the society we live within.  But, going back to the original question: what about my inner star?

Now, confidence has eluded me for most of my life.  People might not realise I live in a pretty constant haze of self-doubt, paranoia and worry.  Frustrating as this is, it doesn’t stop me propelling myself into scary situations (with sweaty palms, sickness and chest pains) to gain the results I require.  I have tricks – not the magical kind – not the deceitful kind – but tricks which I use to make the world feel like a less dangerous place.

So back to the Bakerloo line.

I’d been in London for a few days.  It was the finale of a seven week drama; preceded by a global pandemic, a botched operation (later put right) and tears of living with a degenerative eye disease.  A week which took me out of my comfort zone and scared the shite out of me.  But first the drama…

Living with sight loss means my other senses are heightened.  I rely upon them to enable me to do tasks some might take for granted.  For example: when I cook I use my hearing to know when something is cooking.  I might hear a sizzle.  I might hear water boiling.  Then there’s my taste.  I taste and season to yell when things are cooked.  I smell to know the depth of flavour.  And I touch with my asbestos hands…all crucial when you can’t see properly. Moreover, I’m known for my supersonic senses.  I can smell things a mile off.  Often called upon to identify snd clarify situations (can you smell burning/shite/drugs?) I’m a sniffer dog.  It makes me feel empowered that I can.  That my crappy body can do something well.  

Crappy body? Well yes.  Covid has been awful.  Two vaccinations and (in hindsight) I was weakened by them (I’d do it again though). My immune system, which is negligible, at the best of times, couldn’t do it.  Flailing since the beginning of May, I seemed to be constantly ill.  Cold, sore throat, sickness, lethargy, headaches, cold sores, and being mentally drained, I appeared to be running on empty.  So was it any surprise I actually caught the bloody coronavirus!  And not just mildly, but in a way which has left me with ‘long covid’ symptoms.  Symptoms which ironically seem to hang around like a bad smell.  And so what? You might say.  Millions have and are in the same situation.  It’s crap and it’s not what we ordered.  The past sixteen months have led to this.  

But this is the drama: not the covid itself and not the time it’s taking to recover: it’s all the chaos it causes.  

I’d waited months.  Struggling with a dodgy left eye.  Covid had put the breaks on treatment.  I was super ready for a life changing (not dramatic as anything that enables me to see better is ‘life changing’) surgery.  Covid stopped it.  But then, after that, I had to isolate before hospital.  This meant that I’d been looked away for weeks.  Lonely, bored, and either working (you can work but you can’t play) or being a ‘domestic goddess’ (like that’s my happy place), I feel I’ve spent some of my best time flatlining.  Just existing.  Trying to make every day count has been tough (especially after all the lockdowns…).  I’m all about the journey and this little bird has had her wings clipped.   Life has felt like a cage.

But that’s not all.  As we know, life can give out in spades.  Therefore, not being able to taste snd smell for a month has not helped the situation.  Flowers and candles have never been less comforting.  Well thought out dishes (I do like to cook) can’t be enjoyed.  Life took on a two dimensional quality.  It has lacked colour.  

Imagine…

But back to the Bakerloo.  

The patch, mask, glasses, vibrant skirt…I was struggling.  I was tired.  I was scared what would happen when the patch was removed.  But beneath all that, I was dressed to shimmer.   I wanted to be free.  That’s the person I wanted people to see. 

A while later I was off the underground.  I was sans mask and patch.  I now had glowing skin (lashings of Liz Earle) and a slick of Dior lippy on.  The glasses made me look cool.  There I was sipping an iced coffee outside a trendy London hotel.  My smell had been returning for a while.  My taste too.  I could already see better and life was buzzing around me.  Both images show two different women.  However, inside she is the same.  

This is a very watered down version of my recent dramas.  I’ve not mentioned all the things I’ve learnt.  I’ve not talked about all the people I’ve met.  I’ve not even mentioned all the obstacles I’m still to overcome.  All I’ve done is shared a portion of my story.  But that’s because I get bored of talking about me.  I like to know about others.  I want to know about you!  

So here goes…

I’m looking for people to tell me about themselves for a new project I’m working on.  I want to share real life with real people.  What makes a celebrity so interesting?  Aren’t we all living our own stories?  I love telling stories.  ‘Shallow Lives’ is about there journeys.  ‘The Golden Figure’ is shaping up in the same way (50000 words in).  Both fictitious but both drawn from real life.  And as much as I love weaving fictional worlds, I want to celebrate the real.

Soooooo…watch this space and get ready to share.  

Tracking

Ten days ago 

After waking up somewhat broken for a number of days, I decided to reframe my brain.  12k later, after a long lost cross-country run, I was reminded why I might still love my life.  Lost in the verdant landscape: snapshots of summer fields, blossoming hedgerows, chalky beach paths, mud flats, brambles, muddy pools…I felt like a lucky girl.  I was an explorer in her own private wilderness.  All on my own little doorstep. 

Today was a good day.  A day to quieten the niggles of anxiety.

Eight days ago

Some days the heavy grey coat is too much.  Yesterday seemed to precursor today’s ominous nature.  

I was quite happily preparing a rather tasty roast dinner when I couldn’t breathe.  Quickening of breath and chest pains: it seemed the coat of worry was back. Something snuck onto my shoulders by the naughty mental health fairy.

So today, the anxiety decided to hover.  I think the constant worry about my oncoming operation might be partly to blame. However, I think the pressures of covid, the past year and a half; the intense feeling of failure of not attaining goals; and all the other rocks which appear to have built a dam around me, have started to give…

Seven days ago 

What she said but worse.

My head is throbbing and I feel so heavy. Stress seems to be the common conscientious.  The pressure seems to be mounting and I feel so afraid.  

Am I at breaking point?

Six days ago

London, as always, was exhausting.  Eerily quiet, we navigated our way around the once packed streets.  I couldn’t see (never for a change)  In fact, I ‘see’ more of the capital in a haze than not…And then they told me I wouldn’t be able to see for quite a while.

Tiredness, frustration and guilt.  I’m desperately grasping for reasons why I’m on this journey.  I feel more lost than did on that long run.

The head is still killing.

Four days ago

I’m full of cold.  Paranoia and the fact that the covid net seems to be closing in, means I’ve done a LFT every day since last Friday.  All negative. I’m really hoping it stays that way too.  As much as I am afraid of this operation.  As much as I’d rather be going to one of the new ‘green countries’ on a fabulous holiday, I do know (in my sane mind) that I have to be sensible.  

The cold also seems to be escalating my misery.  Not only have the chest pains increased, but my skin is breaking out in sores.  I’m a bit of a mess.  Unattractive and miserable – it’s not the best of looks!  Also, quite depressing on the eve-of-that-day-I-hate, beginning with a ‘b’ and ending in a ‘y’.  Another year older snd I feel like a dirty grey dishcloth that’s been used to clean the floor.

Three days ago

Remember that dish cloth?  Well, I think the dog might have got hold of it snd ragged it around a bit.  Misery seems to love company; therefore, my cold has exploded; head pain has increased and the tears keep falling…because everything seems such a mess.

I thought I wouldn’t feel like this by now.  I thought by this ‘another-day-older-day’ I’d not have the worries and insecurities plaguing me like I do…

Two days ago 

Well, the head is exploding.  Emotionally, I feel calmer today. I’m more settled and reflective.  It’s like the calm after the storm.

However, I feel like shite and sneaky covid symptoms have crept up on me. Breathlessness – I took RosieDog for a walk upon the beach snd I found it exhausting.  I also ventured into my garden.  As I can’t see at the moment, I decided to stick my head in a few of my flowers and herbs – nothing! A panic ensued and another test was done.  Negative.  

Devastatingly, my candles, creams, lotions and potions cannot lift these spirits.  I cannot smell.  My mouth tastes like marmite.  

Two days ago 

  • later on…

Little E has two suspicious test results.  She’s got a bad headache and sore throat.  

Shit

Strangely I feel quite calm.  Maybe this is actually the eye of the storm?

Today

Fifteen months of living in a bubble.  

Lives on hold.  

Holidays and trips can be counted on one hand (nothing fancy as we haven’t had the luxury of going anywhere we want to go).  

Missed celebrations.  

Months of isolation.  

Days of monotony.  

Hours upon hours of trying to stay positive.  

Hands, face, space.

Being careful.

Mental health negligible.  

Waiting, waiting, waiting to have my left eye made its shiny best.  

Loading with a plethora of vitamins – daily.  Eating better than most people I know.  Choosing to make a quick salad, or omelette instead of the ‘big fat takeaway’.

Daily exercise a must.  

The constant clean, spray, wipe away.  

I’ve tried to be good.  

Two filthy vaccinations, which I loathed to have.

And guess what?  As the government decides that covid isn’t a threat – vaccines work – all my hopes and fears are realised…

Those headaches, fears, little E: it’s here

A Note From a Mother

This week the main theme has been shame.  It started with the year ten poetry, and the ‘shame’ surrounding a pilot who didn’t complete his kamikaze mission.  Then, the shame I felt when I realised I’d forgotten to give out positives to some of my most wonderful students, after they finally returned to my classroom!  Followed by the feeling of shame, then the self-punishment, and purgatory I felt, after eating a family size bag of crisps and drinking a bottle of wine (I had to drink a lot of water and do a lot of dry brushing the morning after) on Friday evening.  And then there were the old feelings of shame came back when I knew I was struggling to read a recipe book – hot on the heels after learning I needed another operation on my eyes.  All such a mood killer.  All so sad it you let it be.

But that’s not the real story.  Nowhere near it.  

Sarah Everard was a beautiful, talented and loved young woman, who had a wonderful life ahead of her.  She was tragically kidnapped and killed, and all she was doing was walking home.  Such a heartbreaking story, but one I, and many others, identified with straight away – she was walking home in the dark and straight away I felt the worry…Dangerous.  

But then you see, I realised that I’d been allowing this worry to dictate my life for too many years.  Leading me to feel utterly ashamed to be a women in the year 2021, and being so accepting of the fact that women can’t safely walk the streets alone.  

I’m ashamed that I’ve let this happen: I’m a woman, a daughter, a mother to three girls…and I have to ask myself: why have I allowed this acceptance to go on for so long?  I’m a fighter and instead, I’ve exercised some passivity towards something so restrictive.

The danger I feel as a women:  all my life this has been an issue.  Not just for me, but for every woman I know.  We feel anxious when we walk somewhere quiet and hear footsteps behind us.  We arm ourselves with keys in our fists,  in case we are ‘jumped’.  We are conscious of the way we dress; where we walk, who we talk to – how many of us have been polite and that person has taken it as something more?  And, as careful as we are, we still aren’t always safe; if not safe, not always trusted.  We build our daughters up to be strong and independent, and in the next breath, we are telling them to be careful, not go out alone, get a taxi.  And what about our sons?  

Recently, whilst publicising my book online, I had many offers of people wanting to review it.  This is a great way to get noticed, to get the word out there, but you need to choose the correct collaborations (I’m so Insta-savvy right now, but that’s a story for another day!).  I looked at accounts, communicated with many reviewers; however, not all were suitable.  Some read fantasy, sci-fi and nonfiction – they just weren’t going to reach my target audience.  When I explained to one reviewer that I didn’t think we could work together, he was upset because he thought I’d declined the deal because he was male.  I was horrified, but at the same time felt some vulnerability – on both sides. 

There is a huge debate here.  How do we all stay safe?  How can we redress the balance without being sexist towards men?  After all, there are many wonderful males out there who feel as anxious as women when walking down that lonely path.  How can they show that they are of no threat?  Rationality and fear fighting for the top spot…and like when in the middle of the night we struggle with the rational, we tend to think the worst in darker moments.  Moments of stress.

My lot were mostly busy today.  I saw them all at some point and did some doorstep deliveries.  I couldn’t see my family in Yorkshire, and no one could go and see nan, as the home has covid again.  It wasn’t the most amazing day, but I felt loved and lucky to have such a beautiful family.  Them all being safe and thoughts of brighter days for us all.  And if I did feel a bit sorry for myself, I thought about those without today.  Those who have recently lost loved ones to covid and other illnesses.  And I thought about Sarah Everard’s mum.  No one should bury their children.  To be cheated of what she would have continued to bring to the lives of those who loved her. 

I recently read that we are in danger of building each other up too much.  The ‘you’ve got this’ can lead to us ‘not having this’ and hiding away crying at our shame of failure.  So, I thought about this.  I thought about all our secret struggles.  I thought about how we tend to live with things we can’t control.  We can’t control human nature – good, or bad.  History books show us that there has always been a distinct battle between the two.  But what we can control is our capacity for compassion.  We can continue to be kind.  We can continue to build each other up by small gestures, making each other laugh, and by holding each other up with love and advice.  Solidarity – whatever your gender – is the key here.  After all, hindsight always shows us that good eventually prevails over evil.  

Whoever, whatever you are, all the love for another week in this crazy scary world.  Keep being kind and let’s stick together for good.  

Dramatics and the Real

Growing up, I watched every soap opera going.  Corrie, Eastenders…plus, all the Aussie ones (Prisoner Cell Block, with Bea on the press being a particular fave).  And then Alexis et al, bitch fighting in their finest shoulder pads and diamonds.  I loved, watched, and obsessed about it all! After all, what else was there to do in the eighties?  No Netflix, internet, and with only a computer which took the entirety of dinner time to load – well, the FOUR channel telly was our friend.

Like the Waltons around the ‘wireless’, we’d sit down as a family, and watch our daily fix of drama – all recorded onto VHS (we ditched the Betamax as you couldn’t hire any good films in it) – and watched them all between our pub opening hours.  

The more ridiculous the storyline the better.  The weirder the character – or funnier even.  And then there were the gorgeous Aussie pinups that we all wanted to date on Summer Bay beach.  Mum, Dad, Nana, and Grandad: it united us all.  We particularly liked a good juicy affair, punch up and cheeky one liner; Dad’s interest being piqued by sayings such as ‘she’s one sandwich short of a picnic’…

But then I grew up and lost my television stamina.  Enjoying doing stuff and being busy.  Although, there was still time for some old favourites – I had a particular fondness for Corrie, with its beautifully written comedy and realistic presentation of Northern life – but then, I found that they were becoming depressing.  Favourite characters would be killed off, given cancer, go through devesrating life changes…my life was dramatic enough.  I switched off.  I could no longer cry real tears for fictional characters.  I needed laughter.

An example being, one of my favourite characters: Jonny in Corrie.  When he first made his appearance on the cobbles, he had a lightness and energy about him.  His relationships with those around him were heart warming and I found him a relatable character.  However, as I watched his character descend into the usual pitfalls of a soap opera life, I turned off the final soap.  

This week, the RNIB and Retina UK both shared the story of Corrie dealing with the storyline of Charles Bonnet Syndrome.  Something which I have suffered with for many years.  A condition, which is said to affect 30% of people living with sight loss.  

CBS is where people suffer hallucinations, due to the brain having to recalibrate as the eye is not able to send the expected information it requires.  These hallucinations can be ‘simple’ in the way that a sufferer might just see patterns like bricks, mosaics etc. (I have these daily).  And more dramatic ones, which are called ‘complicated’.  These are where you can see all sorts of normal to weird and wonderful things (my most recent being a dragon popping over the sand dunes – not the Sue Perkins one may I add!).  

After suffering silently for many years, I was told about CBS, at a sight loss meeting.  Imagine my surprise when I learnt it was normal to see a lady floating, or a bat flying across the room.  All perfectly normal and it didn’t mean I was going slightly mad (a matter of opinion you might say).  

Finding out about CBS enabled me a reboot.  Used to feeling isolated and slightly unhinged, my anxiety levels were always high.  Especially when I couldn’t rely upon what I was seeing 100% of the time.  You see, not only did the fear of missing a handshake, or walking into a table freak me out, so did my worry that I’d talk about something that wasn’t really there…

I googled the storyline.  Jonny has MS, he’s in prison, and he has CBS – which is leading him to hallucinate his dead son Aidan.  

Poor Jonny.  I’m glad I turned off when I did.  It sounds like his life has gone from bad to worse.  

Awareness is everything though, and hats off to Corrie for talking about something which affects 30% of visually impaired people – a third and we know nothing about it.  That’s over 100000 in the UK fact fans!  

Therefore, if you see me twitch or go a funny colour, I might be trying to process something you can’t see…that’s okay though.  There’s lots I can’t see, but there’s lots others don’t understand too. Upshot being: we all need a bit of understanding.

These hallucinations are just an illusion: no voice, no smell, it can’t communicate with me…Over time, I’ve learnt to find it all rather entertaining.  I’m not to worry, freak, or feel silly; I’m just lucky.  Who else gets such a live show?

The soaps might not be my thing anymore, but they have a place.  9 million viewers tell us this…they can make you laugh, cry and tackle lots of issues too.  They are a good platform for showing the masses previously unknown issues.  Meanwhile, whilst Jonny eat al. teach the masses about hidden battles, I’ll be drafting my own drama, with the unfolding story of the Golden Figure…Out later this year.

And if you haven’t already, you can find my debut novel on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TB4ZY9B/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_apa_iiQcGbE0EEK7N

Be kind

Less Eggs, More Flowers!

My relationship with social media has never been a smooth one.  Instilling fear and sadness; mixed with moments f happiness and achievement – I’ve never found it easy to ‘share my life’ with others.  This might surprise you, after all, I can be accused of being an over-sharer: a blogger who talks about her life.  And you’d be right.  However, as honest as I am, I can be an unreliable narrator.  I tell you my thoughts, some of my experiences, but there’s plenty I don’t.  It’s not because I’m secretive – I’m quite the open book – rather that it’s irrelevant to the conversation.  And sometimes, unbelievably to some of you, I might be out of words!  Therefore, with the release of the book, I’ve had to open myself up to the fear of Facebook and the Twitter.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been crapping myself about the whole thing: the book, people reading it; the feedback, the sharing, the comments – I just can’t cope! I’m in constant fear of offending someone.  I worry that I’ll let the readers down.  I’m now panicking about not having the audiobook ready for the blind and partially sighted community – I promise it’ll be here before the end of February.  And then there is the fact that I’m rather rubbish at working the Facebook et al…

Apology here: if I added you to a messenger ‘room’ (I have no idea what this is and how it happened!) on Thursday evening, then I am extremely sorry.  All I wanted was to send you a begging message!  All I wanted was to start my Friday with a bang! It seems I might have set up some sort of group call on the same scale as Biden’s dual Zoom screens for his signing in!  And, not content with this, I then managed to share the other ‘Lucy Swan’s’ (remember her from last week?) books with my community – asking people to share…

I know, how am I allowed to educate children?

With all this in mind, I started Friday a little jittery.  Him said ‘what do you want to do tonight to celebrate?’ Me: ‘nothing’.  And then, an hour into my daily walk: ‘what I want to do and can do are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS ENTIRELY!’  Instead, I did my make up and went for my weekly outing to M & S, which involved a mini panic attack at the hill.  All because I knew I needed to do the whole social media thing when I got home.  

But worse than the ‘Fear’ and my ineptness, of the world of social media, are my nagging doubts about my book.  

I found writing the book was a real labour of love.  The story, the settings, the characters- it all had to make sense.  Be truthful.  It all had to evoke an emotional response.  Without that, there was no point.  I needed it to take people through a range of emotions.  Like life, it needed to be real.  My characters became part of me; their stories had to be fully fleshed out, relatable and engaging. As their creator (Frankenstein moment here – look how that went!) I got to know them and didn’t want to let them down.  If my readers didn’t invest in their journeys, then I’d done them an injustice.    After all, their stories are important.  They are written to be understood and provoke the reader to assess their own thinking, and most of all, enjoy!

What if my readers didn’t though?  What if (big mistake here…) they write reviews like some of the ones I’ve read about other books on Amazon?    Books which I’ve loved!  Books which have won awards!  

I suppose this is what happens when you raise your head above the parapet…and to reach a wider audience, that’s what I’m going to have to do!  

So, as I launch myself onto a platform for all to survey, I can only hope that less eggs are thrown than flowers.  It’s nerve racking sharing something which has become such a part of me.  But even more so, those of you who have been kind enough to buy my book, I don’t want to let you down! 

To download a copy:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08TB4ZY9B/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_apa_iiQcGbE0EEK7N

Paperback and audiobook to follow soon.  

Madness and Meltdowns

The story of my life really. If you ask me to sum it up in three words it would be that.  A life, which so far, has let me on a ridiculous path of hilarity, sadness and the downright bizarre.  And it wasn’t until I found myself talking out loud to myself yesterday, that I realised how being slightly bonkers was saving my sanity.

This week.  Week two of lockdown.  Well, it’s been an interestingly busy and stressful week for someone who has only left the house for a covid test, and to Tescos where I thought ‘there’s just not enough wine to sort me out at the minute’.  A week where I have been knee deep in detoxing, battled a cold, which then went! (Seems the detox and extra vitamins are working), and where my book formatting went to shite and all I wanted to do was throw it away and pretend I’d never even thought about writing a novel.  

First world problems, I’d agree.  This was not lost on me whilst I scrubbed my kitchen clean (the middle one informed me it ‘needed a deep clean’…)in a blind haze (I have to touch and clean everything because I can’t actually see properly – I could feel the dirt though and it was shamefully disgusting).  And realised, whilst reorganising my spice rack (oh how my weekends have changed) that the rabbit hole of insecurity and madness I was heading down, was almost certainly a ‘long standing behavioural pattern’ , which I had historically fallen into before.

Alarm bells rang…

CBT  was something my therapist taught me about last year.  I’m sure most of you know what it’s about, but it isn’t until you face an ‘episode’ of despair and that feeling that you can’t cope (three glasses of that vat of wine in and I’d fallen asleep.  The next morning a hangover!  The detox had broken me), that you truly get what to do.  You see, even as I was stuffing my face with hummus crisps – I know, hardcore dirty food right! And drinking that first glass of wine, I knew none of it would help.  I knew that others things such as: meeting friends, going out for a change of scene, going to my mum and dad’s for a cuppa – well I couldn’t do any of them.   Stupid covid. I had to rely on my ingenuity to find a way through.  CBT meant change and flexibility…

Now don’t get me wrong.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve used it.  I have had to think about my sessions quite often in the past year.  My friend and I sometimes talk about the ‘catastrophising’ which I am prone to.  The way I think the worst case scenario will always happen when in actual fact it rarely does.  My lovely therapist taught me to think about best and worst case scenarios and tell myself it’ll be somewhere in the middle – or even closer to the best.  Positivity and optimism is the key here apparently.  With a bit of realism thrown into the mix.

So, digging deep I started making lists.  

Last week, amid the loneliness of teaching from a virtual classroom (I miss 3D people with flesh and bones), the crappy weather; my aching poorly bones; my ‘publishing problems’…well the diary remained pretty much untouched.  I felt stuck.  Starved of plans for the future…oh, and my house was descending into a mucky mess due to me being superglued to my laptop and my poorliness (all I can do is watch whilst the scruffy lot LEAVE EVERYTHING OUT!  Although, I’m getting good at ‘mute’ shouting orders  ‘unmute’).  Well guys, I just didn’t know what to do.  

And don’t even get me started on the news…

So CBT and happy places.  Away from nasty Covid and the Trump shit-storm…all the hate, headlines, negativity.  

Lists, lists, lists…the diary is filling and it feels good.  

  1. I made a playlist called ‘Happiness’ and shared it.  It’s a beauty of four and a half hours of tunes, which feel like drinking from my lovely, and ever growing ‘Pukka tea’ collection.  
  2. I have reordered my kitchen to suit me.  I can now see better in there and (hoping) I get less bruises and break less plates and glasses, due to its new configuration.
  3. I’ve also broken my aim of not shopping in January, by buying some things which make me smile.  A very inexpensive few frivolities and it appears I’m sleeping sounder and more relaxed.
  4. But, the one thing I have found is that as much as I miss ‘people’ I also miss my own space.  I adore my family and never want to be without them,  I also realised the need for ‘alone time’,  someone physically or mentally I can take myself for a while to reflect and think.  I’ve found it’s very easy to all get caught up with each other’s dresses and strains; breeding a confined environment of tension.  After all, up until last March, I think the longest any of us has sent together for a prolonged period of time had been the family holiday!  We are used to the busy.  We were used to not sitting down…I escape by writing, reading, exercising, walking on the beach, cooking, long baths and a face mask…me time.  Oh, and that talking out loud to oneself – never underestimate the value of a little madness.  

I think it’s easy to forget in the midst of madness and meltdowns, that’s it’s okay to not be okay.  Not only should you be kind to others, you need to be kind to yourself too.  Show yourself some love – it’s not selfish to keep yourself well.  After all, how can we support each other and fight this battle on a nearly empty tank! 

Jump into January

For Christmas, we decided to buy Him’s uncle a smart phone.  Not only that, but we also bought our parents a Google Home each.  All in the hope of helping them communicate with newer technology.  Within the aforementioned family members, there are a few technophobes: members of our family who are reluctant to move with the times.  Whereas one lot managed to go away and ‘work it out’, the others needed technical support.  And as much as it can be commonplace to laugh at ‘oldies’ and technology, their struggles caused them anxiety.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not poking fun or being disparaging about them, instead I’m empathising.  You see, when faced with a ‘challenge’ they needed self belief.  Trying to understand how to address Google – when they’d usually check the television or paper.  And getting their head around a phone that does more than make it call; new territory can be daunting.

We all need self belief.

Self meaning you and what you are.  

Belief being a faith; a trust; confidence.  

Something that it can be difficult to find in this fast-paced world.  

A year ago, my therapist helped me write a list of goals.  This was an activity that was to be integral to the healing of my mental health.  To have this list meant that first I had to understand that I was worth it.  This list included everyday things like keeping fit, gardening, meditating…and bigger things like the completion of writing my book.  And me being me; if it’s on a to-do list, it’s got to be done.

Scary times.

Firstly, to take on such a monumental project, when I was still healing emotionally, I was afraid that I might not be strong enough.  Self doubt and feelings of negativity plagued me at the periphery of my mind: lurking like dark shadows.  A bit like the sick feeling I get when I go running on a ‘bad-sight’ day.  A feeling I have to overcome by pinning my determination to my running vest and putting one Nike in front of another.  And so it went; one chapter after enough…and the story I wanted to write unfolded, became something else, and ended differently to what I ever thought.

Job done.  But not really.

Believe it or not, that was the easy bit.  Losing oneself in writing (don’t judge it’s what happened!), was a safe place to be.  A make believe world, which I can decide the paths and outcomes, without judgement or critique – my head, my world.  The hard bit was what came next…

What came next took more strength, resilience and courage, than I could have given it two years ago.  To submit, reflect, rewrite, take critique…were all, and still are, things that could quite easily send me spiralling backwards into a place of insecurity and hidden refuge.  But I’m persevering…

You see, I’ve had to keep the faith.  At one time I’d have hidden from the idea of being confident.  I’d had scuttled away after my initial shout out of ‘I’ve written a book’ and expected fate to take hold of the situation and miraculously publish the book.  But life isn’t like that is it?  

Books and films are full of flash forwards and miracles – a stretch of the imagination – all to give us a catharsis.  Therefore, to achieve my real life cathartic ending, I’ve had to write my own.  And that’s taken me to gather my growing self belief and to channel it into fulfilling my to-do list.

Therefore, not only has it been written, edited (more than once) and rewritten through critique of not just (gulp) others, but also my own (another big step), But I’ve e even continued (and I’m not ashamed to say) after two rejections.

Now, let me tell you: it’s not been easy!  Each time I’ve fallen, I’ve had to have a strong word with myself and faced it head on.  Armed with my ‘coping strategies (thank you my lovely therapist), ve kept going, and it is now well on its way to being launched by the end of the month.

Now, this strength and courage is hardly up there with what our NHS are doing at this awful time.  However, I still think  it’s worth talking about.  Not so you can give me a clap or medal for my achievement, but because I’ve learnt that it is good to share our successes – especially when fighting that black dog. 

Look around you and think about those who are striving for success.  What motivates them?  What do you think they’ve had to overcome to succeed?   I, for one, can think of many who have beaten the odds to survive.  Most of us won’t know because people don’t always share (unlike me who can at times over share!).

This is one of the main themes of my book: that we never know the full story, only the one we choose to see.  What goes on behind a facade is often hidden.  Even if you think someone is an open book, we never know the true story.  We all have our own and we are in charge of writing it.

So, finding confidence to work that new phone (no matter how many times you ring your nephew without knowing), or if you’re looking at your resolutions, yearly goals list, or even striving for an aspiration 

…take that leap and know that as large or as wide as it feels – anything is possible!

Have an aspirational new year!

The Last Hurrah!

I was just asked to leave a pub. Something, which you might not believe, I have not been asked to do since the 1990s.  A time where I can remember being prompted into many ridiculous scenarios which resulted in me being told off for dancing on tables and being ‘ladettish’ in my behaviour.  But that was then, this is now…2020.

What had I done? To clarify, I was asked to leave a place where I had spent much money in; already being encouraged (by the same member of staff) to spend a lot more than I intended to.  Our mutual agreement being cemented with extra wine and the offer of a wonderful cheeseboard for our supper.   I followed all covid guidelines and I was a model customer.  

They were lovely people: Friendly, helpful and masters of their trade.  And as true professionals, they asked us to leave.  

But why?

Were we unruly? Were we swearing?  (Him was also asked to leave) Did I complain about the quality of their fish pie (no, that was yesterday and in another place entirely).  Instead, it was because it was nearing the time of 10pm and ‘everyone knows that that is the time of closing’ 

NB: Apart from a lady and gentleman who were oblivious to the current climate:

 ‘what time do you close?  11.30?’

‘The new curfew -10pm…’

Blank faces.

‘Oh, we had no idea.  When did that start?’

 ‘Explanation – ‘errrr we are also nearing the next lockdown…’ replied the bewildered waitress.

Stifled and shocked laughter from us ear-weighing customers.  Thoughts that it might be nice to live in such a bubble…

But clueless customers aside (true story) we all know this is certainly a sign of the times.

Last Saturday evening and our esteemed leader announced the next stage in our united effort against covid.  Therefore, with the knowledge of being stripped of our freedom for the second time in a year; plus, with the added worry of the covid-net tightening in our area, we decided to have our last hurrah!

Now don’t get me wrong or get all finger-pointy, but Him and I have been good citizens throughout the whole palaver of 2020.  Staying in, saving the NHS, clapping hands; observing: hands, face, space; eating out to help out (we were particularly good at that one)…we’ve followed the guidelines and generally avoided busy places.  So, in full sensible mode, we carefully planned a little trip.   And what a little breath-of-fresh-air-whirlwind it’s been!

This needs to come with the caveat: it took me a while to get there (mentally both and physically back)

Firstly, I booked it two weeks ago on a whim.  And those of you who know me, will be aware that as soon as I booked the hotel that I went into self-loathing and a guilt-ridden state of being.  

‘What was I thinking?’ (That we really needed a break)

‘What if lockdown happens and we lose our money?’ (It did and we did)

‘I can’t leave the children and Rosie!’ (It seems we can)

Etc.  Etc…

And the day before, when the hotel took my money and then promptly cancelled our booking, I wondered if it was all worth it (I still have no refund but we got lucky with hotel number two).  

Everything happens for a reason and yes, as light as my pocket now is (still awaiting a refund…) the royal princess in me was suitably impressed.

Although things started unpromising – with sand still in my ‘dry cleaned’ coat pocket.  AND, my new boots causing blisters, I put my first-world-spoilt-princess problems to one side and got over myself…I managed to relax quite quickly by playing good music, booking a slap up lunch and parking close to the restaurant.  It was a win win (first world solutions).  

And from that moment forward, the shoulders released and I felt that familiar feeling that ensues when we pass a certain place on a path we like to travel into said county.  

And although I shoved away the guilt, I still felt an air of anxiety about entering a new community – albeit safely – one which resembled a ghost town, with its shut up shops and empty lobster pots.  So I decided to develop a bravery (I’ve fought for it) where I’d go out, embrace life, and not be ashamed to ask lovely staff members to help me with my ailing sight.  

I was blinking glad I did!

I wore fabulous trousers made of leather and indulged  like it was Christmas…

And why not?  With the dreaded words ‘four week lockdown’, Twenty-four hours previously, I saw a world unravelling around me.  There were ladies panic buying jigsaws in Home Bargains.  I witnessed a rancid last-fish-supper being served up ‘we are emptying our fridges’ (there are limits).  And I watched friends, people I care and respect, shutting up their successful businesses – yet again – all for the greater good.  All in the belief we shall rise again!

I needed to breathe life.  I needed to find hope…some inner peace.  

And for a time we ate our own body weight in seafood.  We had a luxurious cheese board (which makes me want to cry – I’ll be dreaming about that in the depths of November).  And we stayed somewhere which would stand up as a winner on 

Four in a Bed (seriously, we were very excited about the pillow spray, plasters, torch et al.)   That touring this family favourite part of the coast, made me feel akin to RosieDog  happily rolling in her own shit-like happiness.   What’s not to love?

But that was then and this is now.  I now need to look at what made me happy and inspired to move into the depths of November with an optimistic smile on my face.  And this is the easiest task to try and action in these challenging times.  All I need to say is that I’ve had spiritual highs and faith in myself lows.  Therefore, there’s work to be done.  And as scary as this is, my new trajectory is pushing me towards a brilliant life.

This last hurrah is only the end of a chapter.  Maybe the next chapter is tricky and puts the reader on edge.  But nothing brilliant comes easily.  So, in the style of Plato, rather than a tragedien such as Euripides, I will continue to evolve with laughter in my soul and there will be catharsis for us all.  

Watch this space.  

Stay safe and love to all xxxx

Trending Now

There’s an old 1970s hostess trolley been left abandoned, outside of a house, at the end of my road.  Every day I have watched this long-lost icon deteriorate, sadly sitting and waiting to be pillaged.  Only no one wants it.  it’s still there: a constant on the daily dog trek.  

This piece of beach walk detritus, is the only constant in my daily folly onto the wild North Sea coast.  Where, and quite simply wonderfully, the landscape can metamorphosise into something so incredibly different every day.  A rolling palette which stretches from the steeliest grey to a mirror of brilliance; a myriad of blues to soothe the soul, and the shoreline showing the spoils of Davy Jones’ locker.  A distinct picture of life and death.  A daily reminder which boosts the mind and energises the soul.  Nothing is constant.  Nothing lasts forever.

But I’m digressing and becoming distracted and ahead of myself.  

So…back to the lonely trolley.  Once, this 1970s piece of sophistication, was the only way to dinner party.  Keeping the  Boeuf Bourguignon warm and gently killing any vegetables in its brown plastic prison, was only to be found in the most affluent of households.  Proudly standing at the side of the room,  you weren’t successful if you hadn’t bought into this stylish trend of the ‘modern household’.  Dinner party sophisticates would produce: A prawn cocktail to start; a congealed mess from within the trolley for main;l.  Followed by an arctic roll from the freezer…

For the first time ever, women were able to have it all!  Working all day and entertaining their husband’s clients in an evening.  The Hostess Trolley had arrived!

But that wasn’t all.  Trending alongside it there would be a fondue set powered by cheese and wine.  Fuelling up the later entertainment of swapping partners with keys in a bowl (If they weren’t already attending a tarts and vicars party) and spinning everything around on a Lazy Susan.  

Fast forward and we all think: What were they doing? From the sexual revolutionaries of the sixties we got nothing but crap food and inappropriate party games thereafter.  A Benny Hill interlude that benefitted the perverts in society (now to be found cat fishing on Tinder etc. And hiding behind a screen and not a moustache).  Thankfully, these ridiculous 1970s follies were just, like most silly ideas, all just a trend.  Unfortunately though, making feminism and the sexual revolution something we continued to fight for, and still do, forty plus years later.  Yet again m wandering off topic…

I like a trend as much as anyone.  They keep things moving, interesting and stop us growing a film of dust on our lives.  A trend is:

Trend

Noun

A fashion

Therefore, we follow it in a fickle way.  Picking and choosing and chucking out last season’s cast offs without a moments hesitation (The fact that the landfill gets higher and that there are refugees running around in ‘Gina’s Hen  t-shirt,  is testimony to our throwaway society).   And along with the clothing trends, we follow others.  We follow in a herd mentality to a certain restaurant; engage in a new film hype; or download some new app to fill our free time.  But sometimes, what is heralded as a new trend can sometimes evolve into something interesting – life changing.  It becomes a turning point:

Turning Point

There’s an old 1970s hostess trolley been left abandoned, outside of a house, at the end of my road.  Every day I have watched this long-lost icon deteriorate, sadly sitting and waiting to be pillaged.  Only no one wants it.  it’s still there: a constant on the daily dog trek.  

This piece of beach walk detritus, is the only constant in my daily folly onto the wild North Sea coast.  Where, and quite simply wonderfully, the landscape can metamorphosise into something so incredibly different every day.  A rolling palette which stretches from the steeliest grey to a mirror of brilliance; a myriad of blues to soothe the soul, and the shoreline showing the spoils of Davy Jones’ locker.  A distinct picture of life and death.  A daily reminder which boosts the mind and energises the soul.  Nothing is constant.  Nothing lasts forever.

But I’m digressing and becoming distracted and ahead of myself.  

So…back to the lonely trolley.  Once, this 1970s piece of sophistication, was the only way to dinner party.  Keeping the  Boeuf Bourguignon warm and gently killing any vegetables in its brown plastic prison, was only to be found in the most affluent of households.  Proudly standing at the side of the room,  you weren’t successful if you hadn’t bought into this stylish trend of the ‘modern household’.  Dinner party sophisticates would produce: A prawn cocktail to start; a congealed mess from within the trolley for main;l.  Followed by an arctic roll from the freezer…

For the first time ever, women were able to have it all!  Working all day and entertaining their husband’s clients in an evening.  The Hostess Trolley had arrived!

But that wasn’t all.  Trending alongside it there would be a fondue set powered by cheese and wine.  Fuelling up the later entertainment of swapping partners with keys in a bowl (If they weren’t already attending a tarts and vicars party) and spinning everything around on a Lazy Susan.  

Fast forward and we all think: What were they doing? From the sexual revolutionaries of the sixties we got nothing but crap food and inappropriate party games thereafter.  A Benny Hill interlude that benefitted the perverts in society (now to be found cat fishing on Tinder etc. And hiding behind a screen and not a moustache).  Thankfully, these ridiculous 1970s follies were just, like most silly ideas, all just a trend.  Unfortunately though, making feminism and the sexual revolution something we continued to fight for, and still do, forty plus years later.  Yet again m wandering off topic…

I like a trend as much as anyone.  They keep things moving, interesting and stop us growing a film of dust on our lives.  A trend is:

Trend

Noun

A fashion

Therefore, we follow it in a fickle way.  Picking and choosing and chucking out last season’s cast offs without a moments hesitation (The fact that the landfill gets higher and that there are refugees running around in ‘Gina’s Hen  t-shirt,  is testimony to our throwaway society).   And along with the clothing trends, we follow others.  We follow in a herd mentality to a certain restaurant; engage in a new film hype; or download some new app to fill our free time.  But sometimes, what is heralded as a new trend can sometimes evolve into something interesting – life changing.  It becomes a turning point:

Turning Point

Noun

A time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results

Beneficial.  That word is not used enough.  For the first of many years of my life, I ran at 100mph, to juggle all the balls and to work towards ‘winning at life’.  Winning, to me, and many others, was being successful in all matters of materialism.  To have your own home.  To have a happy and healthy family which you could provide for.  To have a successful career.  To have all the trappings…it’s not greed, it’s just human nature.  We want the diet which is fed to us through the media.  We strive for bigger and better.  We just don’t want to be left behind.  

But was any of it beneficial?

Well…house, family, job are always important.  They are our bedrock.  But how do we measure success and is it beneficial to us?  I don’t think it is.  Although having a regular wage helps me sleep at night, it’s never been what’s motivated me to get out of bed in the morning.  If it did, I’d be very worried about my emotional well-being.  Instead, I push myself out of my really comfortable bed (which I craved for in my early twenties) and think about the positives for the day.  I think about my family, my students, and just recently, I think about myself.  Is that selfish? 

Well no!  It’s called self-care.  

Self care is the new buzz word.  A trend which has sprung from the need for highlighting the importance of mental health awareness.  Everywhere I look: emails, magazines, Instagram…everyone wants me to be mindful of my self-care.  And I am!  Guess what?  I’ve needed no persuading.  

You see, once upon a time my plate was very full.  There were times that I never thought I’d get to where I am without killing someone or robbing a bank (but I don’t want to go into that).  All I need to say is that until you are forced to really think, you have no idea what is good for you.  Instead, what I have learnt is that self-care is not selfish, and should be everyone’s priority.

Learning about loving ourself s and our own Self-care, should be a turning point.  Looking at what makes us tick is important.  Isn’t life too short?  It soothes us.  Keeps us calm and happy.  There’s a lot to be said for contentment – I personally think it’s underrated and extremely beneficial.  

So what am I doing about it?  Well, the usual list of: mindfulness, exercise, eating clean (you should see the chicken and kale broth on my job at the minute) etc.  But whats caught my eye is the new trend of cold water therapy.  And this is, in a rambling type way, is what I really wanted to talk about – it’s revolutionary!  After many celebrity endorsements and  reading about the health benefits (mental and physical) I’ve embarked on a daily cold shower.  And at first I thought – trend!  But I’m thinking not and that takes me back to the Norrh Sea…

So…as much as I love the Ionian, I do have a love for our rolling, iron seas (see the earlier lamenting about the North Sea) as I walk daily along the beach, with the water calling me.  Over time I’ve become an all-weather-Walker, who balks at the fair-weather people who only make the trek on a sunny day.  I’ve grown to love the Baltic wind and the icy skies.  The sea just continues to call me.  And bit by bit,  I’ve seen a trend emerging: a number of  swimcapped heads bobbing above the swells – and I think: can it be any different to a cold shower?

Pretty soon I intend to find out. I’ll have to let you know.  And if it’s a trend?  So what.  I’ll be fulfilled, happy and living.  

In the meantime:

Whilst I buy my wetsuit and cap, I’d like you all to think about what you could change.  Make it beneficial for you and see where your new journey takes you!  It might be a hostess trolley, fondue, or a flirtation with joining a gin club.  Whatever it is, make sure it’s about you.  What benefits you and is all about your self-care.  After all, it’s allowed now.  So quieten the noise and make this a turning point for your future.  

A time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results

Beneficial.  That word is not used enough.  For the first of many years of my life, I ran at 100mph, to juggle all the balls and to work towards ‘winning at life’.  Winning, to me, and many others, was being successful in all matters of materialism.  To have your own home.  To have a happy and healthy family which you could provide for.  To have a successful career.  To have all the trappings…it’s not greed, it’s just human nature.  We want the diet which is fed to us through the media.  We strive for bigger and better.  We just don’t want to be left behind.  

But was any of it beneficial?

Well…house, family, job are always important.  They are our bedrock.  But how do we measure success and is it beneficial to us?  I don’t think it is.  Although having a regular wage helps me sleep at night, it’s never been what’s motivated me to get out of bed in the morning.  If it did, I’d be very worried about my emotional well-being.  Instead, I push myself out of my really comfortable bed (which I craved for in my early twenties) and think about the positives for the day.  I think about my family, my students, and just recently, I think about myself.  Is that selfish? 

Well no!  It’s called self-care.  

Self care is the new buzz word.  A trend which has sprung from the need for highlighting the importance of mental health awareness.  Everywhere I look: emails, magazines, Instagram…everyone wants me to be mindful of my self-care.  And I am!  Guess what?  I’ve needed no persuading.  

You see, once upon a time my plate was very full.  There were times that I never thought I’d get to where I am without killing someone or robbing a bank (but I don’t want to go into that).  All I need to say is that until you are forced to really think, you have no idea what is good for you.  Instead, what I have learnt is that self-care is not selfish, and should be everyone’s priority.

Learning about loving ourself s and our own Self-care, should be a turning point.  Looking at what makes us tick is important.  Isn’t life too short?  It soothes us.  Keeps us calm and happy.  There’s a lot to be said for contentment – I personally think it’s underrated and extremely beneficial.  

So what am I doing about it?  Well, the usual list of: mindfulness, exercise, eating clean (you should see the chicken and kale broth on my job at the minute) etc.  But whats caught my eye is the new trend of cold water therapy.  And this is, in a rambling type way, is what I really wanted to talk about – it’s revolutionary!  After many celebrity endorsements and  reading about the health benefits (mental and physical) I’ve embarked on a daily cold shower.  And at first I thought – trend!  But I’m thinking not as it’s a game-changer… and that takes me back to the Norrh Sea…

So…as much as I love the Ionian, I do have a love for our rolling, iron seas (see the earlier lamenting about the North Sea) as I walk daily along the beach, with the water calling me.  Over time I’ve become an all-weather-Walker, who balks at the fair-weather people who only make the trek on a sunny day.  I’ve grown to love the Baltic wind and the icy skies.  The sea just continues to call me.  And bit by bit,  I’ve seen a trend emerging: a number of  swimcapped heads bobbing above the swells – and I think: can it be any different to a cold shower?

Pretty soon I intend to find out. I’ll have to let you know.  And if it’s a trend?  So what.  I’ll be fulfilled, happy and living.  

In the meantime:

Whilst I buy my wetsuit and cap, I’d like you all to think about what you could change.  Make it beneficial for you and see where your new journey takes you!  It might be a hostess trolley, fondue, or a flirtation with joining a gin club.  Whatever it is, make sure it’s about you.  What benefits you and is all about your self-care.  After all, it’s allowed now.  So quieten the noise and make this a turning point for your future.  

The Ennui and the Pants Full of Ants

2020 has an air of dissatisfaction shrouding it.  Well actually, to say the above, is an understatement.  There’s no ifs and buts, it is true.  And really my blog could stop there.   I could cut short my tales of listlessness and instead tell you some hilarious story about the RDog’s latest obsession with rolling in dead fish…but what would that solve? I’d only be filling a gap, treading water: the equivalent of killing time at the bus stop and having a fag (circa 1995).  Not only would I be avoiding the big issue, I would also be ruining my ‘health’ (this time mental) by not sharing my angst.

You see, that’s what it is.  I feel an angst – like a petulant teen.  2020 has forced me into a metaphorical teenage bedroom: trapped by school, curfews, and the feeling that if you enjoy yourself that ‘I’m bound to get grounded’.  And, as you read this, you’ll think that I’m acting like one too!  Sulking because ‘things haven’t worked out like I wanted’…

But this is where I’ve changed.  

Yes me, I’ve resisted and after being ‘high maintenance’ (Him’s words not mine) I’m growing into something resembling an independent grown up.  

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve been stubborn for the past, oh-not-so-many-years, it’s more that I’ve been a bit of a bulldozer at times.  Fearlessly striving for a better life.  A good life.  I never recognised ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ and found ways to make it happen.  Not just for me but for my loved ones too.  I’ve tackled it all head on: 100mph…

And then 2020 hit.  A perfect shite storm of unprecedented times.  A hurricane of a year, which spent the first part ripping our ‘lives as we know them’ apart.  Such times challenged the way we thought and although covid was a constant worry, come June I couldn’t help feeling like it was like the phony war of 1940 – we ain’t seen nothing yet.  So, we filled our time with all those things we never had time to do and never would again.  We started projects.  We learnt new skills.  We attended many events on Teams and Zoom…

And like all perfect storms we had a brief respite.  A tiny window where we could try out the ‘new normal’.  We are out on more weekdays in August than I ever thought possible – where we ate out to shit out’.  We wore masks and attempted to follow complicated one way systems (or was that just me?).  

But there were no summer jaunts.  There was no va va voom…it was all like cheap flat pop.

And so I put my big girl pants on…I was so patient (yes me!). 

We had freedom (to a point), but like like all junta run states, we were watched, reported on, tracked and traced (all right, they weren’t so hot on the latter).

So that was then and this is now.  I can only manage so long.  My patience stamina has begun to weaken (a bit like our government).  The second storm is now encroaching.  We are fatigued.  Nine months on and the ennui of ‘living in a pandemic’ has made people agitated.  There’s more careless behaviour as more ‘irresponsible people’ (not my words) have been having illegal rave ups, secret gatherings of seven (I’ve been invited to neither disappointingly), and begun stockpiling toilet roll again (Sadly, I can’t get any cushelle for love  nor money).  Months of doing nothing has left us with ants in our pants (and it appears requiring the loo a great deal) – we are itching for change.  Even R-Dog has had enough of me and has turned to diseased marine life to entertain herself. 

So, as I write this with my gale-force covid sou’wester firmly on, I urge us all to stick with the relentless boredom.  To stifle the impatience, like a yawn, and face the battle head on. In the words of Henry V ‘once more unto the breech dear friends’.  The battle might be bloody and tough, but like all storms, we can survive and see the other side.  

Meanwhile, I’ll be mostly found creating my next masterpiece…TBC