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.

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

A Catalogue of Errors

Growing up, I used to love the thud of my mum’s new Littlewoods catalogue on the doorstep.  As a little girl, I would quickly thumb away to the toy section, making lists and whittling down my Christmas and birthday selection months in advance.  Then as I grew, I’d spend hours poring over what constituted fashions of the times: hooded tops, Joe Bloggs jeans, and apple catcher shoes, circa 1990.  All the materialistic wants of any child, any age, any era…

You’ve all done it haven’t you?  And not just with the ‘club book’ as it was known in our house.  The Argos book was a bible for many years: the miracle of writing your catalogue order, handing it to a cashier, and receiving it in minutes!  No phone call, postage, no long wait for the postie.  Holiday brochures, Avon, leaflets, Sunday supplement offers, and the Kleeneze book have all played some part in all of our lives haven’t they?

Only, as we happily wrote lists, ringed our wants and saved our pennies, we could often be disappointed with the fact that when you cut your Girl’s World doll’s hair that it wouldn’t grow back.  And that to make your Tiny Tears cry she needed lots of batteries and very often.  It all looked so good on the telly but so shite in the real life…

A bit like 2020

With the anticipatory drum roll of a new decade…on the eve of 2020, I created a fabulous evening of Asian food, cocktails and fun shenanigans.  With my nearest and dearest close by, we dressed up and partied into the new decade feeling full of promise and joy.  Plans were made and excitement bubbled.  Very quickly I had two weekends away booked.  By the end of January I’d been out for a glorious lunch and attended a fabulous party.

‘What next?’ My family queried, whilst travelling back from a thoroughly good trip to the big smoke.

‘Let’s look at our summer holidays!  Make some plans!’  It was all so exciting.  I should have known it was all going too well…

Now, as we approach the last Bank Holiday of the year, and we can see the cold winter woolly nights on the horizon, I have to tell you that Spring/Summer 2020 was not what the catalogue described:

2020

The start of a brilliant new decade full of fun, family and friends!

Why not embrace this new chapter with fresh challenges and make more memories to keep you entertained in your old age.  Start new projects and find time for yourself.  2020 is to be the age of challenging the way we think.

Or was it?  Did this promotional description actually hit that nail on the head?

Take the fun times with ‘friends and family’.  Physically, we’ve all had times, and for some of us, ongoing times, of being disconnected with our nearest and dearest.  Who wanted a hug mid April?  Well, I bet we all did.  Who wanted to see a new face?  Hold a new conversation? It was tough wasn’t it?  So crap in fact that we found new ways to communicate.  Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime…we did it all,  Karaoke, quizzing, parties, fitness classes, teaching, meetings, football, funerals…every event was brought to us through the power of the Internet.  We had to think outside of the box.  We have to learn to manage our expectations.  We had to make these sacrifices for the greater good.  Mostly, we had to just ‘get on with it’.

And those memories.  Well there’s been plenty made, but not the ones we thought.  Nothing spectacular, however the smallest things became appreciated.  A meal out after weeks of cooking for the same audience.  A socially distanced barbecue with new faces.  And seeing my MoominTroll after weeks of waving at him through windows.  Simple things.  It all meant so much.  And as much as we dreamt of sailing around some Greek island, we kept ourselves amused retelling those stories of holidays past.  We realised we are, and continue to be lucky.

However different 2020 has been, it has paved the way for new projects.  We have all seized this unprecedented pause in life to achieve ‘stuff’.

Those new projects kept us all occupied one way or another (you only have to look at the lack of flour in the supermarket to see how many bakers emerged…).  Many of us became creative in a multitude of ways, and this led me to fall down the rabbit hole of Instagram on more than one occasion, when becoming inspired by various characters who were winning at lockdown,

But did you win?

I might have done all the above.  I achieved much and that should mean that I should be skipping off into an autumnal sunset with a smile on my face and a lightness in my heart.  After all, I’ve had that time to pursue my passions and to uncover old talents.  I began to paint again.  I cultivated my garden into something of colour and fragrant beauty.  I wrote my first novel.

My first novel!

The love affair of creating interesting characters, believable settings, an intricate plot…I hopefully did it all.  All those years of half-started novels, sketching of characters, images tucked away for a rainy day.  Well, 2020 brought those rainy days in abundance – a St Swithins worth of them!

But am I skipping?  Not quite.  You see, just like the anticipation of a new year, achieving can open up a can of worms.  With the end of one thing, comes realities of the new chapter.  The elation (nothing like it) is followed by what next?  (Waits patiently thinking I’ve written 85000 words of nonsensical drivel)

So, I wouldn’t say I’d won at lockdown, as when you put your all into some things, you neglect others (looks in the mirror).  However, I would say that I tried to take this rare opportunity and see where it would take me.  As a result, I’ve tried to ‘challenge the way I think’ and that has undoubtedly fitted the remit – whether o intended it to or not.  Swings and roundabouts…

So, if we cast our minds back to that club book order: we aren’t super happy, it doesn’t look like the picture but seeing as we’ve worn it and played with it, we can’t really send it back.  But, it wasn’t so terrible and we can live with it. Wouldn’t buy it again though.

And as we look at the autumn/winter edition, we find a confusing description:

Remember that we should go to work, not go up work, wear a mask, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow, stay alert, stay apart, eat out, stay alive, save lives and most of all embrace what we have!  Oh, and order that dress whilst you have somewhere to wear it, you never know, we might be back in lounge wear before you can say stay safe!

Let’s Hear it for the Boy!

Lockdown has been tough for us all.  With it we have faced many personal challenges, which have pushed many of us out of our comfort zones.  Things we previously took for granted: family, friends, going to the shops…have been taken away from us and with it we have lost our freedom.  But what are the things that have kept us going?  Or more importantly, who?

Firstly, I’ve thought about this loss of freedom a great deal.  It made me think about prisoners and how their physical worlds can shrink, but with it they seem to experience new worlds – ones which open new doors and possibilities.  And when I say prisoners, I’m not just talking about people incarcerated in HMP, who are encouraged to learn new things and to broaden their horizons (because it helps with rehabilitation) I am referring to anyone who is confined in a space and has been stripped of their liberty.

Recently, I remembered a story about a POW in Burma, in WWII.  He secretly sketched his ‘love’ on scraps of wood and paper.  He said that he did it as he needed hope and to remember another life.  Thankfully, he survived and was able to bring them home to her.  This story of hope and love made me think about the link between doing something physical, as a reactive emotive response, to a situation.  There is lots of evidence of ways they managed to stay sane and alive in such POW camps.  Some created art work and carvings depicting their incarceration, whilst battling the relentless and inhumane treatment from their captors.  Although this might be an extreme example, you have to ask why they did it?  Where did they get the strength and determination to do something which would have only been able to be done under subterfuge?  Well, obviously it was to help them, and others, to survive.

The human mind needs occupying.  We are genetically programmed to gather knowledge.  The term ‘you learn something new every day’ has never been more evident during recent times.  Stories of people learning new things or taking up ‘old fashioned’ hobbies seem to have become the norm.  And although we have relied heavily on technology to communicate, we have also looked elsewhere to find an inner peace and calm.

However, something else we need when our freedom is taken from us is ‘togetherness’.  And this is my story….

On the surface, I’ve done the same as everyone else.  I’ve kept busy and achieved many things during lockdown (art, writing, my garden, etc) I’ve learnt new skills and found a peacefulness from just taking a breath and stepping away from the craziness that we call life.  But I am not going to go into all that.  Instead, I need to tell you about how looked after I am.  After all, being imprisoned means you need a certain camaraderie and understanding to survive.   

My world has shrunk more than others.  Living with sightloss has meant I’ve been really restricted over the past twelve weeks.  And this has meant two things: I have had to be innovative and patient, and I’ve had to rely on Him.

Him: my carer.  Obviously, he is my husband and I didn’t marry him so he could look after me.  In fact, bizarrely, when we first married, I was his carer.  He was recovering from stage four testicular cancer and was half-way through treatments.  Luckily, he got through it and we have led a good life ever since and he has been clear for fifteen years.  But unfortunately, since my eyes have recently begun to deteriorate, I’ve had to lean on him more and more.  I feel a massive pain in the neck for this and find myself (annoyingly for him) apologising constantly.

To say I’m high maintenance is an understatement.  Any of you who know me and been on the end of guiding, note taking, putting up with the ‘panic’ that can descend…can vouch for this!  But you should try living with me.  On an ordinary day he helps me in the mornings and evenings.  Stuff like cups of tea, ironing, driving me to where I need to be, and generally just bring amazing! However, during lockdown I feel I have started to lean on him more and more.  And that is quite scary.  After all, who wants to be a burden?  And when you’re as independent as me, it can make you feel frustrated and guilty too.

So what does he do?

One problem has been that I can’t social distance.  Not because I don’t want to, but I can’t! I could easily walk into someone and jeopardise either of our health.  I also can’t always read labels in shops.  Therefore, picking up things and reading them isn’t an option either.  Going out: it’s not worth the danger or the death stares!  So, as far as essential shopping has been, he’s done it all.

Also, he makes all my drinks and food.  Whilst I sit at the table working away, he’s there with food and drink 24/7.  Now this is something new: I don’t get this level of attention at work (I wonder how I’m going to cope).  And, I write lists of things I want doing and he does them!  (My house has never looked so good).

In amongst these tasks, he manages to also be in charge of entertainment.  He mixes his music on the decks.  He pulls me away from headache inducing screen time to watch a funny programme.  And he also makes me further headache inducing G and Ts.

This new period in our relationship has been both surprising and lovely.  This week, we’ve been together for twenty four years.  In all that time, we’ve never spent more than a two week holiday together (the thought of a holiday…) We even lived apart for a while whilst he worked away.  And for this period I loved it!  We got weekends together and the house was tidy all week (he’s messy – everyone has their issues).  And…I’m not going to lie, at the beginning I was thinking ‘this isn’t going to work’.  After all, he’s worked all his life and there he was caring for me and our girls.  He was so tightly coiled and wound that I thought we’d fall out if he didn’t learn to chill.  He did though, and quite quickly we established a routine that suited us all.  Twelve weeks later and it’s actually been quite nice.  I’ve been looked after like a Queen, loved and spoilt at times.  Who’d have thought it?

We never married to become each other’s carer.  That’s not why you marry.  However, you should marry your best friend.  Someone you could be locked up with and not kill, who cares about you no matter how high maintenance you are, and has got your back.  And whilst I’ve been creating and doing things to occupy a restless mind, he’s been my sidekick, DJ and barman.  And, as always on our journey, he’s shared my hopes for a better, healthy and brighter future than ever before.

This week I’d carers week.  I am dedicating this blog to Him: my https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s7FGbhpr2pg

The Hare and the Tortoise

After ten weeks in lockdown, I’d expect that those of you who know me, might have expected me to blog more.  And that fact is, I would have if not every man and his dog were doing it – and have been doing it well.  It’s been lovely to see that people have been so creative and shared so much with us over the past few weeks.  Music, art, writings, lovely debates, live cooking…what weren’t people doing to alleviate cabin fever and help their mental health?  Busy lives switched off.  Brains have had time to rest and reset.  So I took a break from the weekly blog and decided to spend the time perusing my list.

My list was created by the psychologist who helped me at the beginning of the year.  My list was filled with things, which I wanted to do but felt disconnected from as the clock ticked and my sight has deteriorated.  The list was to take me in a new direction, and intended for me to build my confidence.  Which, would  require me to use the coping strategies I was being taught at the time.

So, The List:  It’s not been easy.  At times frustrating and not pretty.  However much I look forward and see there’s a long path to go, I can now look back and I can no longer see the beginning – it seems that I’m well away!

You might think that tackling a list of self-indulgent to dos, might make me selfish.  After all, using lockdown for self improvement, whilst the world is falling down all around me…shouldn’t I be doing more to help?  ‘Well, yes, probably I should!’ Shouts the self-deprecating voice in my head.  Whereas, the newer CBT me shouts louder ‘You’ve done more than you think!  Working, teaching, supporting friends and family’.  And then there’s a little tap on the shoulder, as I trip over the dishwasher (again), reminding me of my limitations and I have to concede that I do plenty.

Living with sight loss through lockdown has been particularly frustrating.  Also, as we ease out but are told to adhere to the two metre rule, it will become busier, and even worse for those of us who struggle with little or no vision.  However, you don’t need to know about my traumatic shopping trips, or having to explain to people that Him is my carer…my experiences are through a hazy lens.  I’m sure you’ve all had your fair share of bad experiences since March.  We’ve all been in this together.  But things are easing and with or without a disability, we are all going to struggle.  Therefore, if I’m to keep my anxiety in check, I’ve got to keep on that list and follow that journey.

But what is this list? You ask! Well, that’s the thing, it’s quite simple.

Firstly, it involves gardening – my garden will soon resemble Eden but I still have a massive ‘to do’ list (it’s all about the hare and the tortoise on this journey).  Spending hours in my little patch of England not only boosts my vitamin D (doctors orders) as I’ve not enough, but it also creates a calm within me.  From my garden you can hear the sea.  You can hear bird song.  You can just relax – no clock, no time frame, just nature growing at its own sweet pace around you.  So we’ll gloss over the fact that I’ve killed a courgette and that I’m struggling with the difference between weeds and flowers…but the serenity, beauty, fragrant air…

And being outside has ticked more things off the journey list.  Accessing art again.  A channel I’d shut off as I felt inadequate and untalented – in something I was once applauded for.  And I’m not sure what did it, but I began to paint, sketch, design.  And something I’d locked away for twenty odd years awakened and I’d forgotten how freeing it was to paint.  So what if it’s not perfect? Art is what you see.  No one dismissed Monet for the blurry lilies.  No one told Picasso his portraits were inaccurate.  (Well they might have done but no one remembers them).

Then there’s the book.  Ironically, it’s the writing I’ve struggled with the most.  I’ve had spurts of inspiration.  I’ve finished part one of my book.  Only, then I spiralled into a despair of worthlessness and inadequacy.  I think that because it’s the thing I feel I’m investing the most emotion in, I’m losing that confidence of my ideas and convictions.  Sometimes it’s the things we hold closest too us that hurt the most.  I’m not done yet though…

Even though there is more on the list, and as you are only having a coffee reading this, I won’t bore you to death about every item.  But, what I did want to highlight was that like my list, we’ve all come a long way over the past ten weeks.  We’ve probably learnt more about ourselves and others than ever before.  We have all been on this weird trippy journey and we all might have theories but no real understanding of what our futures will look like.  Just like I need to find the confidence to continue with my list, my journey, my book…we all need to learn how to live this new life and not go backwards.  Like the tortoise said to the hare ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

My Adventures in my Lockdown Journey

Upon that fatal speech seven weeks ago, we all freefalled into a perpetual state of battening down the hatches and preparing for an unseen war.  Our first thoughts were to food, cupboard essentials, and toiletries – things such as toilet rolls became rarer than gold and rubies.  And, as Him and I work full time, all such essentials were cleared from the shelves whilst  was brave ring away at the chalk face and he was moving furniture.  Therefore, paying £2.50 for a bag of artisan penne pasta, and £3.00 for a bag of ‘wild rice’ was apparently very expensive.  ‘You don’t do the food shopping and have no idea about how much things costs’ argued Him ‘And you shop in M and S and that should not be used as a guide’.  Anyway, I do know that we reached a point where it was even difficult to buy the basics for egg/beans/tomatoes on toast – no matter the cost.  A man nearly killed me with his death stare when I bought the last chicken in the butchers.

And then the panic was over.

All was quiet and all was still.  And that’s when a new lockdown world opened up.  Ingenious ways to communicate became the norm.  So whilst we all ate very expensive pasta dishes and ate our chicken dinners guiltily, Zoom workouts and WhatsApp parties became en vogue.  We all started to plan, dress and do our hair and make up to a ‘digitally ordained social life’.

Instead of having to be at a class, at work, or at a place for a certain time, I have found myself planning to be available for a ‘live lesson’, ‘live cook’ or a ‘live art club’, at the appointed time.  And when that’s not enough, my social life extends to Thursdays, just before eight, when we shout neighbourly pleasantries and concern from house to house, before clapping for carers at eight.

But I must admit, it all gets too much.  And I don’t want to be a mood breaker with all the awful news we keep hearing.  However, these last couple of weeks have been tough.  Also, the feeling of Groundhog Day grinding us down doesn’t help.  With this endless boredom and without (whatever is said on Sunday), an end in sight.  What do we do?

Some say it’s the perfect time to learn something new.  TikTok seems to be a popular way to pass the time – if you like a dance! Along with (judging by the empty shelves Him tells me about in the supermarket) baking.  It’s like the whole bloody world has gone banana bread mad!  Maybe you’re learning a new language?  A new skill?  And if you’re not, are you getting through the to do list like us?

Him, being furloughed, is certainly getting all the jobs done! All the ones I can find him!  Painting, gardening, cleaning (is it that day again, he asks?) seem to fill our days between my work and home schooling.

However, it’s important that explain my next thought.  As I’m in the position I am, with sight-loss and always on the look out for new experiences and making memories, it’s important to me that 2020 isn’t a write off.  This year needs to count and like all years in my precarious world, has to be a time for new adventures.  Not all safely…

Firstly, we are so lucky living next to the sea.  Secondly, RosieDog is even luckier as she gets to go out every day on the beach and run wild.  The fact that we are bored means we have begun to vary our walk.  All for a little of something different.  All good, although every walk is an adventure when you live with nutters like me…Then this week the R Dog and I nearly become stranded between home and the dunes.  A dead seal, an incoming tide and a wet dog later and we were free!

Then the biggie: Another new adventure is me having the actual time to write.  My life and job mean I have limited time to write.  My illness last year meant to didn’t have the energy.  However, with a renewed vim and vigour, I’m now able to knock out a few words quite quickly (why get they’re any good…) The upshot of this is that I’m very excited that I’m making progress on something I’ve longed to do for a number of years.  20,000 words in and I’m feeling good about it and myself.  Whether it’s shite, well that’s another story and one I’ll soon find out about!  But it’s all part of my journey.

Lockdown hasn’t been easy.  I’m not going to lie.  However, I’ve been determined to continue my upwards journey of better mental health.  And although some days (and nights) I’ve felt like it’s all going to fall apart.  And some days that the weight of the world is on my chest, new adventures and experiences have stopped me from veering too much from my path.

I hope you’re all staying safe and well.  Make room for your adventures: anything is possible xxxx