Friday 27 March 2020

Waving from my window

I hope this finds you well, despite everything.

Here at Above the River Towers we are no doubt doing many of the same things as you. Walking once a day, dog in tow, online school and PE, a little basketball and tennis in the garden, mowing the grass and adjusting to the new normal.

The boys have been playing together more than they have for ages. There has been bicycle maintenance and even voluntary room tidying. And obviously some enforced, reluctant room tidying as well, I wouldn't want you to think we are abnormal or anything.

Two of them are already in shorts and t-shirts, as if summer was already here. I suppose for my eldest this really will seem in retrospect like a never-ending summer.

The streets are incredibly quiet, despite the allowance of an exercising outing every day. I imagine dogs are missing their doggy chums and wondering why it has all changed.

The little local pharmacy has a queue of around fifteen people standing down the street at any one time, with only one person being allowed in the tiny shop. I am not quite sure what they're all waiting for, given that no-one is unwell at present.

It was lovely to see a post from Soule Mama recently. I especially liked her edict to embrace boredom. I am always saying that sort of thing around here, to much eye-rolling of course. The children have been more creative in the past few days though, digging out old half-built models, rediscovering art, watching things in the pond, playing games and just generally having fun together. All the sorts of things that get lost in the usual busyness of life.

I hope you and yours are all well and that things aren't too difficult for you. I'll pop in again soon and say hello, but in the meantime, take care, and thank you for visiting, it is always appreciated.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Well then

I hope I find you all well in these troubled times. Things here are no doubt much as they are everywhere else. We are slightly shell-shocked from it all to be honest. The biggest boy was working hard, ready for his GCSEs in eight weeks' time, and then suddenly cut adrift. I am so disappointed for him. Not only will he not have the chance to take his exams, but all of the other rites of passage have gone too. The last day of school before study leave, the leavers' assembly, saying goodbye, the scary weeks of exams and revision and more exams and more revision, the hard work, the sweat, the tears, the really earning something, then the exhilaration of it being all over and the sudden hard-won freedom, the prom and the endless weeks of summer. And finally, that envelope, after doing his best and trying his hardest.

I feel very sorry for all of the GCSE students and even more so for the A-level students who are no doubt also worried about their university places. I think it will take us a few days to adjust. Apart from anything else, life has suddenly become rather empty for him and his friends. Days have gone from a rush of school, gym, revision, football training and matches and cricket practice, with every spare moment used, to wondering what to do all day. He did some chemistry today, I think the study habit has become ingrained. But I do also know that we are so very lucky in everything we have and that this is just a bump in the road. Onwards and all that.

The school has closed already, so the house is full and the dog is wondering what is going on. There are a lot more opportunities for naps when everyone is at school.

I am rather struggling to come up with other things to say today. I am limiting myself to reading just a few headlines every day, and having heard some of the ludicrous stories doing the rounds I think it's a wise move. But still, it is tending to fill my thoughts, as it no doubt is for everyone else.

I did read somewhere today that reading for just six minutes a day reduces stress by 68 percent, so I am taking that on board. And wondering if I read for 8.82 minutes whether 100 percent of stress will be gone. That must be right, no?

Look after yourselves my lovelies, and stroke a dog if you can find one. xx

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Of frogs and drama

There are a hundred shades of brown out there at the moment and a whole lot of mud. No doubt it is the same where many of you are. I have been slipping and sliding about the place and endlessly washing shoes and boots. Football has been called off, over and over, and the streams are overflowing.

I've been busy trying to effectively split my time between freelancing and fiction writing. I find that I can focus on one, but both - not so much. It's infuriating. I so want to be one of the people who can do all of the things. I maybe need to jig my day around a bit and do more of the concentrating stuff early on. I try and work in the evenings, but the creative energy has mostly evaporated by then.

During the day the dog keeps me alert by demanding regular walks. We pound round the green until oxygenating blood is pumping through our brains, then we zoom home and I work while he lies on his back with his paws in the air recovering. At least I don't suffer from sitting still for too long.

Now it's March I can detect the season turning. The Bewick's swans have departed for the Arctic tundra ready to raise new cygnets and many of the pochard have headed off to Eastern Europe and Russia.

It seems to me that the media have reached hysteria point with their coronavirus coverage. Honestly, the children came home with umpteen dramatic stories on Monday, not one of which was true. Tales of it being in the next town, in the next school, of teachers who have it, of the school being closed for three months, of the end of civilisation as we know it. Hurray for all of the apps and the connectedness of everything, otherwise we'd all be ignorant of the impending doom.

I make light of it, but the fact is it has caused real anxiety to some. Anyway, that's more than enough from me. I didn't come here to be all dramatic and philosophical. I am very much concentrating on channelling light at all times at the moment. Although I did actually come here to share the death of a frog with you so that you could sympathise with me vis-a-vis the clean-up operation. The frog in question appeared one day, floating upside down in the pond, having shuffled off his mortal coil. I like to think it was a natural end from old age, after a happy and fulfilling life. But the fact was that someone needed to Deal With It. And believe it or not, there were no volunteers. Every time I went past, I would think, that needs to be dealt with. And I would pop it on my mental to-do list and hope that it was indeed dealt with soon.

And then one day, as if by magic, it was gone. There is a message for us all in there I think. Put off the dreadful stuff as long as you can and it will all sort itself out. Or something like that.