Monday, 30 March 2020

Monthly Musing - March 2020 - Balancing act

Trying to keep a sense of normality ... here's this month's Monthly Musing.  If you're new to my blog and you've not seen these before, it's a one-off post every month about something that has caught my attention and fits with the Winwick Mum theme of "looking for the extraordinary in the everyday".   

It's Monday morning, and we're about to get up. 

"Do you hear that?" my husband asks. 

"No ..."  I'm listening hard but I can only hear the birds. 

"Exactly," he says.

We live quite close to a main road, close enough to hear the traffic faintly (and not so faintly sometimes), but there is no sound.  That's usually a sign that the traffic is backed up for miles, held up by strategically placed traffic lights and a difficult right hand turn, so I look out of the window to check.  There is no traffic.  Looking up into the bright blue sky, there are no aeroplane vapour trails either. 

It's a bit like Christmas, but the sun is shining and small daughter isn't blasting "Last Christmas" around the house - and even at Christmas there is plenty of traffic and aeroplane trails in the sky.  It really is as if the world has stopped for everyone to get off for a while. 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Keeping on

"It's Day 4 in the Lockdown House.  Christine is at the computer."

At the moment, it's still quite amusing that we can walk around the house giving a running commentary in the style of the Big Brother TV programme (although my Geordie accent does leave quite a lot to be desired!) but I am under no illusions that the novelty will wear off before too long.

"It's Day 20 in the Lockdown House.  Christine has been shut outside in the garden because everyone is sick of her terrible Geordie accent ..."

Anyway, we're not at that point yet so whilst I've got happy things to talk about, I'm going to do that instead 😀  

I'll start by getting the obligatory baking photo out of the way ...

Image shows chocolate brownies which have just been cut into squares

Everyone, or so it seems, has been baking and posting their photos on social media, apparently much to the annoyance of some people who are clearly already feeling the strain of being kept inside.  We do a reasonable amount of baking just as part of our usual weeks, and yes, we do make sourdough bread, so I am not going to apologise for small daughter wanting to bake brownies.  These were really good, by the way - the recipe came from the Jane's Patisserie website and they're actually vegan brownies which means that big daughter (who is lactose intolerant) can eat them too.  You would never know if nobody told you.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Reasons to be cheerful

So here we are, home for the next 3 weeks.  It's certainly a strange time, isn't it?  I don't think that anyone has lived quite like this before - even during the World Wars people were still allowed out of their houses freely during the daytime  - and in a funny kind of way, it's exciting to be part of history.  Ask me again in 3 weeks' time whether I still think it's a good to be part of this particular historical event, but for now, it is what it is and we need to make the best of it.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post, I really appreciate all of them.  It's always sad when things change, but hopefully something new and exciting will fill the void.  That's pretty much how I was brought up to try to look at things ... we have the choice of "going down like a cow's tail", as my Nan would say, or just getting on with it.  I don't subscribe to the "stiff upper lip" mentality that encourages us to swallow our feelings and our problems rather than speak about how we're feeling, but I do think that dwelling on what we don't have rather than what we do have is a sure-fire way to go down like a cow's tail faster than you can say "Jack Robinson".  Ha!  I've got all the old family sayings in there! 😀  And on that happy note, I can assure you that I am going to do my best to just get on with it, appreciate how lucky I am to live in a house with a garden and in a time when I can still communicate through the internet and be thankful for all this gifted time that's come my way!

You (you lucky things!) get to suffer enjoy more blog posts as I am planning to write as often as I can whilst I am just getting on with it - for my own sanity as much as anything - and it will be lovely to have you around if you feel like it.

Image shows a scattered pile of seed packets

Monday, 23 March 2020

Yarndale Sock Line - the end of the Line

By now, you may well have read Lucy of Attic24's blog post about how she has chosen to step down from her position on the Yarndale team, and you might be wondering what that means for the Yarndale Sock Line this year.

For the last 5 years, I have been in the fabulous position of being able to take up residence for the Yarndale weekend in the Knit n Natter lounge with my good friend Lucy, surrounded by hundreds of pairs of socks which have been sent from all over the world to be passed on to people who need them.  

I have had a wonderful time chatting with people about socks, whether they are already on their feet or they are just about to start their sock knitting adventures, and it's been fantastic to meet so many of you whom I might only speak to online through the blog, Instagram or Facebook.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the whole Yarndale weekend, from setting up to clearing away before the auctions start again the morning after Yarndale finishes.  

Friday, 20 March 2020

Striding out

Hey there, how are you doing?  It's a lovely sunny day here, and with the schools closing in the UK from today (Friday) until further notice (I'm trying not to be nervous about quite how long that might be!) and goodness knows what else might happen over the coming weeks, big daughter and I are taking the dog for a walk whilst we can.  Come with us!  You'll need your jacket - it's warm in the sunshine but there's still an early Spring nip in the air.  We're going to up Culcheth Linear Park so you'll need your wellies too as it's been very wet there recently.

Image shows the shadows of two people against a very muddy path!

Look at that path!  I told you that you'd need your wellies!

Image shows footprints in mud

You've been to the Linear Park on the blog with me before but that was quite a while ago so I'll just remind you of what it is.  Many years ago, it used to be a railway line but the platforms and buildings were cleared in the 1960s and since then, it's been managed by Warrington Borough Council and is now a long straight footpath (hence "linear") that runs up to the edge of the new railway line.  There are a few other paths that intersect it and take you off to different parts of Culcheth, but we tend to stay on this path. It's about 2.5 miles from the car park to the top and back, which is a good run for the dog and a nice walk for us.  The train tracks have long since gone and over the years, nature has reclaimed the area between farmers' fields and a golf course and there's now an abundance of wildlife, birds and flowers here that mean there's something to see whatever time of year it is.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Keeping well

Many years ago, when big daughter was not much more than a toddler and small daughter hadn't even been thought of, we were in Canada on holiday with my brother.  We were staying with relatives at either end of a three week holiday and travelling around in between - or at least, that was the plan until the Twin Towers in New York crashed to the ground.

Planes were grounded, people were frightened, nobody knew what was going on.  The whole world ground to a halt.  We headed straight back to my aunt and uncle's house - we couldn't have got home to England even if we had wanted to - and stayed there for the next week.  During that time, we read all the newspapers and watched TV reports on endless loops.  We cried as we read about families torn apart, or still searching for loved ones, never knowing what had happened to them.  We hoped desperately for an answer to it all and for life to go back to normal, but in that week there was no answer, just speculation.

It wasn't until we spotted big daughter, who really was very small back then, using sponges and shampoo bottles in her evening bath to re-enact aeroplanes flying into skyscrapers that we realised that it had to stop.  No child needs to be playing those games.  And co-incidentally, there was an article in that day's paper from a psychologist imploring people to stop reading all the papers and watching all the TV reports.  They were just emotion, and not facts - because nobody had any - and very addictive because people felt they should be keeping up with what was going on.  Real stories, indeed, but not ones that were helping anybody to understand what was happening - and actually making things worse in some cases as people thought of and read nothing else.  There was, the psychologist claimed, a real risk of PTSD being caused by absorbing too much traumatic information.

I've been thinking about that experience a lot over the last few weeks as the Coronavirus pandemic has unfolded across the world.  Not for one minute am I suggesting that it's not real, not scary or that it doesn't have the potential to involve far more people than those poor souls caught up in the terrorist attack, but I am worried about how it is affecting us.  It's the not knowing, the waiting, the worrying about what might happen.  As much as we need to look after our physical health, we need to look after our mental health.  

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Another day

And just like that, it's March!

Meteorologically, Spring has sprung (on 1 March), but the equinox isn't until the 19th and, to be honest, it doesn't look all that much different out of the window than it did on 29 February when it was still Winter.  Same grey skies, same threat of rain, same old, same old.

It does makes us very grateful for the brief sight of the sun, doesn't it?  And also those early signs of Spring around the garden.

There's a path down the side of our house with a border that has taken a long time to become established, but finally is a Spring border with splashes of colour amongst the greenery.  Hellebores,  snowdrops, ivy, ferns ... the ivy can be a bit of a nuisance and needs firm attention to stop it taking over, but I love it all.

Image shows hellebore flowers to the left and purple crocus to the right amongst green leaves

Oh, those crocuses!  We didn't have crocuses for such a long time because the bulbs are a tasty dish to field mice but at last we've got them appearing in all their vibrant purpleness.  Is that a word?  It really should be! 

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