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Showing posts from 2020

That’s so 2020

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  So this weekend has been really enjoyable and I’ve hardly left home. We had a fun firepit evening, with our daughter and our friend,   having curry and great chat. We laughed and that was so welcome. The next evening we had virtual pre dinner drinks with friends ( the drink wasn’t virtual you understand!) on zoom. It just made the evening and we avoided politics and pandemics mostly. It was almost normal, or maybe I’ve just forgotten what that is? Then today we met our son, daughter-in-law and grandson in the Botanic gardens. I stepped outside onto my mobility scooter armed with winter woolies and realised just how mild it was. We still have our heating off during the day, unheard for this time of year in Edinburgh. Cue conversation about climate change and an ominous hint at what that means for years to come. The autumn leaves were glorious but no longer on the trees. Their glory is fading and it’s hard not to think of winter edging forwards. In the distance Edinburgh castle sits

A Grannie Rocket?

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 A side effect of spending time at home is seeing what might be done in the house with some investment. From being a young adult in our first home we’ve always prioritised holidays over home improvements. And being busy with work and life and children etc I have always been easily distracted from what needed done. Even when we could only scrape enough money to pay the essentials we would still rather pack up a tent and head off. Also spending time with family was and is always the priority. So  redesigning dining rooms for example could always wait. Until this year. 2020.  Who knew what you could achieve with time, energy and money saved by sitting at home. So we’ve had a lot of boxes arrive, redecorating to arrange, cushions to chose and we have a completely different room. I’m delighted with it. Cara especially likes to lie on the sofa while I’m working at the table. It feels so bright and yet comfortable. The sofa becomes a bed if you want it too and at times I’ve needed to know I d

Facing fears in October

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  Just one of those days when you want to coorie in. It’s already October with the vibrant autumnal   colours arriving so soon after a sunnyish September. Strange that it comes with the inevitability of more lockdown restrictions, pushing our heads a little lower. I’ve socks on and out come the boots again. A benefit of not really being able to walk any distance outside means your shoes don’t wear out. There you are, jealous now?   October 1st, I was tidying ( oh stop...I have been known to tidy) and found my printout from the genetics department. No one expected it to be positive for a BRCA gene. BRCA2 with all the accompanying percentage risks. A 45%-85% risk of breast cancer. Well that train left the station and had a few stops along the way. Then I saw an article on BRCA2 and it dawned on me, it’s the start of breast cancer awareness month. A weariness settled over me. I’ve put the cancer to one side of late. I’ve donated my breasts and ovaries to the cause of ridding my life of t

The tentacles of Covid 19

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                                                            Crail, East Neuk of Fife   There is a sadness in our home just now. An old friend has died very unexpectedly and he’s with us, in our desire to have said goodbye, to have hugged him when we saw him last. His wife is also very ill but the curse of visiting restrictions means we haven’t seen her at all. Will this awful virus never lose its tentacles on our so vulnerable lives. A friend dying unhugged or unseen is a loss unaccounted for in the daily tally. Or a family member, locked down in a care home; again unseen and unhugged. Locked down, even the words make me shiver. And when the home developed a system to see family members, it was through a Perspex screen, accompanied by a carer and communication was through a phone. The similarities to prison life not lost on anyone. And what is their offence? It’s getting frail, older and to become the unseen; protected from viruses and hidden from life. For a time the families’ rebel

Who knew it would be hugs

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  Who knew it would be hugs that were our undoing? Those taken for granted moments where we gather to connect. Our hearts meet clasped carelessly  and we feel each other’s warmth. Sometimes it’s more hesitant. Is this Ok?  The boundaries of  our friendship are defined in that moment. Maybe a brief awkward  touch of shoulder. Or an envelopement that secures a friendship. A synchronisity of touch that celebrates our affection. Those warm embraces restore a sense of equilibrium. The family embrace  that can say So much more than words. The clasp a little longer even a flutter of kisses as we leave  or arrive. I’m so greedy I often want both. Give Grannie a hug? I call with trepidation. Mostly it’s a fly by catch with a giggle. These moments are tucked away.  A squirrled collection  of connection Of love. Hugs I yearn for them. 

No vaccine for compassion.

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Up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh  Today , in Scotland, shielding ends. If you are reading this in the future I don’t know if you can really appreciate the importance of this for some people. As I wasn’t properly shielding ( no letter for me) but being very careful, I’ve been a bit more mobile in the last couple of weeks. But I remain very cautious. It’s a bit like a slow motion Hokey Cokey without the fun. I’m back as quick as I’m out and I relax only once I get through the door. It will be so hard for people until they gain confidence. I’ve lost some mobility, perhaps that would have happened anyway, but it’s making stairs harder. And so another bit of independence is eroded. COVID-19 is shaping the advice against taking holidays abroad. For us it would feel a mountain to climb to holiday abroad on our own anyway. We’re planning a trip to the north of England  to see my much loved sister-in-law and I’m fearful as the numbers slowly rise around there.  I want to parachute in an

Stars of lockdown

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Koshka plotting... And he won....of course  I was on a zoom call earlier and the window cleaner was washing the windows. I was very spooked initially but then it got me thinking about some earlier days when I worked at home. It wasn’t the norm but that day I had a tricky call to make then a report to write and I decided that on that winter day I would work from home. The pets were delighted to have me there and I’d forgotten how much their need of attention was less than helpful.  I decided to sit by the Christmas tree and put their lights on so I was lifted from the December gloom. I had my laptop balanced hopefully alongside Fruin the cat who would only settle on my remaining lap.  Robbie the golden retriever finally went to sleep with a toy in his mouth ( it’s a retriever thing-it’s often underwear that’s stolen only to be presented to people who come to the door). All was quiet so I made myself pick up the phone and make that phone call which was too easy to put off. 

Anyone for the pub?

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So I’ve used knitting projects to help me get through lockdown. It’s really helpful as it’s mindful and you get to create something for people you care about. That part is especially satisfying. I’m also writing something which is taking time and not just energy but emotional energy. I hope in time it will be valuable.  Now I’m telling you this because it’s not leaving much space for writing my blog. And life is still in a very predictable pattern which in some ways is comforting and creates a boundary it’s difficult to breach. Not because it will result in anything terrible ( hopefully) but it feels safe. England are opening the pubs today. I can’t be alone in thinking I’m going nowhere near a pub once they open in Scotland. I live in a city with a plethora of pubs, many with ancient history’s of body snatching, stories of loyal dogs, of hauntings or famous visitors. Our pubs have books describing them, there are many pub crawls and even literary ones.  In a medieval city, they t

Let love win.

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I’m realising my life has become two dimensional and since the weathers changed, also a bit grey.  Till now I’ve been content to be in the house and garden. I’ve managed to get some sun and even have lunch outside. I’ve listened to bird song and enjoyed seeing the flowers come out in our garden.  But it’s joyful to see the family in the garden. The activity of our grandson is entertainment itself and life so full of discovery. Cara and Davie are becoming sound friends. Yesterday they sat together and Davie realised the fun of feeding the dog all your food, even as Mum says no. Especially as the dog then tickles your hand as she licks it off. He was in a kink giggling and Cara was living her dream. We laughed so much it was impossible to stop the dog or Davie. Social distancing is not in their lexicon.  For me social distancing means I have to sit to one side of life. I realise I’m sort of seeing it through a lense thats greyed off. Only Davie beyond the household has breached the di

We need to talk about Shielding

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We need to talk about Shielding                I’m not sure why I cried after I saw my grandson in more than two months. Maybe it was the goodbye without a hug that was my final undoing. There was something unfamiliar and anxiety provoking about this. We played in the garden, he loves my wheelchair and in normal times he would snuggle in for a read. I missed that.  We had sent him a book about Greyfriars Bobby and he loves it, I hear. He’s a sponge of new words, yesterday was digger and then to my delight, Grannie’s house. He kept climbing the step and knocking on the door with my walking stick. ( fine practice for being Black Rod as is the medieval way in the Palace of Westminster!). But he wasn’t allowed in to enjoy his resident toys and in this case a favourite clock that aroused a memory. Thankfully the sun was shining.  Our neighbours six year old Grandson recently cried himself to sleep, saying ‘ I want my old life back’. At times I have felt the same. My heart

Relationships before work; the new normal?

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I saw my Grandson today and had a great virtual catch up. He like to sing bits of songs now so we can join in. Three craws, the current one. So as we know in Scotland, Thursday is the big day. It’s the day that we know if the numbers are still  going down and we get let out of lockdown, cautiously and we get to meet in person.  So those numbers are crucial. If I hear you’ve all been down the beach at Porty or been to ‘big Isa’s’ caravan* and the numbers have gone up I will not be happy!  But if we’ve all been following guidelines then I get to see my family this weekend. Sadly not all together but I will take what I can! We will have to avoid our Grandsons full on mouth kisses but if I can just see his smile, smell his hair as he rushes bye I will be happy. I want to see how his Mum and Dad are fairing too! Working and full time parenting a cheeky nearly two year old is seriously difficult. But for him having his Mum and Dad all round the clock has been a gift. Our dau

The week we cried

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At first we locked down With anxious giggles, With anxious shrugs, With cautious sighs, We closed the door. What can we do? We weren’t sure. Shopping, no not us. We started the online search. A sudden realisation, this was difficult. We zoomed. We Housepartyed. We FaceTimed. It was fun, in its difference. A family quizz,happy until the connections cut We shared jokes, Endlessly. Have you seen this one? We laughed. This strange time, soothed by one shared joke. Then we shared the articles, critical of government. The numbers of deaths increased. We watched the endless updates. We held our breath on lockdown decisions, beyond our control. We shared music created in rooms apart. Dancers weaving their spell just for us, alone in our homes. The sun shone as if to mess with us, gardens tended and parks never so enticing. But this week, this was the week we cried. For our own losses, For the losses annou

So there IS such a thing as society...change starts there.

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The Boy Mole Fox and the Horse Charlie Mackesy At heart I’m an optimist . I can usually see an upside. In recent years as well I’ve been practicing mindfulness and I do feel gratitude for all I have. And by that I don’t mean stuff, I mean people, I mean love and kindness, I mean all the things money can’t buy. But it’s also having enough to get by, to buy food and wine, to pay bills, to pay for Netflix,WiFi. I’m a struggling optimist this last couple of weeks. I can’t see the upside of this virus and worry about how it will affect us long term. I value not having to rush around and to have time to read and be mindful but in some ways it feels like the eye of the storm. We’re protected from the pain and suffering of others and maybe I’m struggling with survivor guilt in a way? I’m very aware daily of my privilege. I’m comfortable, I have a house, a garden, great support from my husband and I’m able to do things to keep me engaged and feel useful. But I’m fearful for t

Unlocked

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Unlocked Dropped off with  mobility scooter  doors opened for me in the corridor of muted colours, my guide. Masks or smiles, distorted greetings. Hand gel and thermometers, lift doors open to another empty temple. An echo of a staged performance without the audience I settle in a chair. I’m linked to a drip. More bloods are taken. I wait. I know now how to wait: the watcher from the chair A stream of nurses pass to stock trolleys, with a strange dearth of patients. I try to disengage from the grip of anxiety low in my stomach. I read a book whose title I’ve forgotten. I text family to reassure them. I want it to be over. Finally it is. I leave in a flourish of hand gel. Should I have gone?  For an infusion to prevent cancer? A hospital visit my only contact with the outside. My lockdown release, an incalculable risk benefit Then I notice the wind in my hair, the on my face. Odd glimpses into others lives, Small