A first

Well that’s a first. I’ve been looking out over these fields for 20 years now. Never seen flood pools appear on this side of the field. The temporary field lake has friends…

We all need friends.

The pandemic is effecting everyone especially our children. Yes schooling has been disrupted but there is something far more important. For almost a year those all important childhoods have been largely put on hold. Fewer opportunities to meet up with friends (in many cases absolutely no friend contact). Stringent limits. Sports and hobbies frequently cancelled. Cinemas and play areas closed. Opportunities to explore and push boundaries prohibited. No holidays. No trips out. Too much timed cooped up with parents.

9 months and counting. That’s a sizeable chunk of childhood. They don’t get that time back…

That’s so sad.

March

This is NOT today. Just needed some sun. Needed some fresh air and a different view.

This photograph was taken on our last outing before lockdown mode started way back in March.

Back then Covid was a headline but still only one of a number of main stories. It was very much carry on as usual and nothing to see here. A handful of National cases but everything was apparently under control. The Government insisted that Lockdowns would never be required here due to the countries world class response.

So on this walk we had taken the dog with us. A new local walk. In my mind I was planning to return the week after. Drop Hawklad off at school and 15 minutes later I could be running along this track.

But the first tell signs were already starting to appear. As we approached field gates Hawklad refused to touch them. I was asked to try and open them using a stick. When we got back home we both had to wash our hands for minutes. Full change of clothing required.

A couple of days later our family lockdown started. Then one more week later the national lockdown started and schools closed.

Our world shrank and the remains that way today. This wet and windy January day. Seems a very different world now.

Weathering

It’s grisly. Cold, incessant rain and gales. Apparently it’s Storm Christoph. That temporary lake is getting bigger. Might need to name it at this rate.

2020 was supposed to be a really busy work year for the little organisation I work for. Our busiest ever. Then it all went pear shape. The biggest ever pear shape. From March absolutely nothing. Our work is centred round public events, things like cycle races, marches, outdoor concerts and festivals. Not ideally suited to a pandemic. So it was batten down the hatches until 2021.

So we find ourselves in the third week of 2021 and already it feels like batten down the hatches until 2022. Absolutely everything has been cancelled. You never know a few things might be able to pop-up towards the back end of the year but it’s not looking promising.

That’s the reality for many. Many business are struggling. Unable to trade. Just a quick drive will show closed pubs being sold as housing, cafes up for sale, ‘currently closed’ signs everywhere.

In the big scheme of things our little household are amongst the fortunate ones. We have some savings to fall back on. A few benefits still coming in. A small bit of furlough pay. We can survive. Many won’t be so fortunate.

So it looks like hardly any work this year. But that allows more time to focus on the new school at home gig. Maybe the permanent homeschooling gig. Part of me is starting to think in terms of weathering the lack of work storm for the next few years and just focusing on homeschooling. After that hopefully the working world will be much improved…

Day

Sun going down on another day. Another Groundhog Day.

The days are just blending together. No week day seems to stand out. I get up at the same time each day. Check the calendar to try to work out which day of the week it is (never exactly clear). Do my exercise. Take the dog out for a quick walk in the flooded farmers field. Make the same breakfast for Hawklad. Feed the pets. Check the work system – nothing. Survive the school at home gig while squeezing in as much housework as possible. Fight with Microsoft Teams to close the school day down. Prepare the evening meal (the same ones on repeat every week). Look at the clock to see it’s about 6pm. Look out the window and another day is quickly ebbing away.

On repeat.

That’s why the evening’s and weekends are so important. Need to make those work. Work better than they do currently. Too often they drift by as well. I end up going to bed thinking I survived the day rather than I LIVED the day.

Has to change.

Snowball

Trying to figure out if Captain Chaos was starting on his first ever snowman. If it is then he was making a good start on his project. That was until the thaw came along….

I definitely could do with making a good start on a project this morning. I think that we can officially call it. I’m moping around today. Feeling frustrated, flat and bored. Hawklad is cracking in with homeschooling. Needs me infrequently. It’s pouring down outside so can’t really get any fresh air in the garden. Cant pop out. Can’t go for a run. Can’t go to visit anyone. Wasn’t in the mood for music or TV. Housework to be done but not in the mood for it. No work available (going to be that way for months). Can’t seem to settle down to anything at present. Quickly seem to lose interest.

So I’m kind of just moping. Sometimes sat down. Sometimes walking aimlessly around the house. Had a few of those days recently.

Maybe it’s better to call it ‘pottering about’ rather than moping.

So I’m just going to keep on pottering. Feeling just a bit detached from life. I guess I’m not the only one feeling that way.

Why not

Red morning sky over the temporary farm lake.

Red sky in the morning – fisherman’s warning…..

Well the folklore weather phrase is almost right. The forecast is for the weather to cloud over as the day goes on and then the rain starts this evening. Lots of it. Two days solid heavy rain. Then the gales arrive.

That lake might just get a little bigger…..

We were watching the latest Wonder Woman movie last night. Don’t worry I’m not planning to give any major spoilers away. Now I could talk about a few scenes dealing with grief. But no. Not this time. Just to say that even in a bizarre, fantasy, superhero movie – they still can sting……

No the scene that I’m going to mention is one where a wardrobe is ransacked and different outfits are tried on. If you see the movie then you will know the one I mean. It was pretty amusing. But it got me thinking about my wardrobe. An IKEA sliding door brute that even Wonder Woman isn’t ever shifting. The wardrobe is little visited these days. Life happens and things change. I haven’t worn a suit since the funerals of 2016. Most of the shirts are untouched since they were last ironed dating back to when my partner was still here.

Since March 2020 we have been in our local family lockdown. I that time I have worn jeans just once. Walking trousers not at all. For months on end I’ve just lived in tracksuits, shorts, joggers, T-shirt’s, hoodies and jumpers. If your not going anywhere or seeing anyone then WHY NOT.

Maybe I should have a sort out. Get rid of sone stuff as I probably won’t be needing as many things going forward. But then again. What would I do with the space. I could get a much smaller wardrobe but without Wonder Woman’s help I’m not winning that battle with that IKEA beast.

So let’s leave it for the time being and get back to looking at the lake. A much more pleasant thought than that IKEA wardrobe one….

Churchyard

While Hawklad had a sleep in I pushed the boat out just a little. A one minute walk to the churchyard. Yes it was a very short walk in the scheme of things but it felt like a different world. Just to see different sights. Experience a little bit more of the world. An important reminder that there is much more to life than our little house and garden.

A few seconds to lean against the very old wall and breathe.

Then it’s back home all too soon. Back behind the castle walls. Return to our little family lockdown. Virtually all of 2021 looks like it will be spent in the house and garden. But just maybe I can sneak out occasionally. Even if it’s just a few yards to the churchyard. It will be good to breathe.

Water

It’s been almost a year since I stood near a river. Well over a year since I stood by a lake. Won’t be long before it’s two years since I stood in the Sea.

I was looking out over the fields, trees and hills. I started to yearn for a River. A lake. The Sea. To look at, to stand next next to or even better. To stand in the water.

That’s why that little rain water flood pool that forms in the farm is such a big thing for me. It reminds me of that feeling. Of better times. Of freedom.

One day….

Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Soul

We watched the Pixar movie SOUL last night. Felt like perfect timing. Trying not to give the movie away but it makes you think about life and what it means to you. Its really good, funny in places and sad in others. At times I found it uncomfortable as it was a little to close to home for me.

I came away from the 100 minutes thinking

Life is maybe not about the things I thought it was about (confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a while now)

Actually what are the things in life that make me spark and feel alive

Just how time is wasted

Fears of looking back at life and regretting lost opportunities

I can still grasp those opportunities…..

A few hours later and I’m still reflecting on SOUL. Life and the pandemic have kind of hemmed me in (hemmed many of us in). We have been in our own lockdown for almost a year now. Likely to be in lockdown for much of 2021. Time is to precious to just be content with performing endless holding patterns until life changes again. Have to find ways to live TODAY…