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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Monthly Musing - June 2020 - Upside down

I’m sitting here looking at a blank page, wondering what on earth to write my Monthly Musing about.  The theme of my blog is “looking for the extraordinary in the everyday”; the idea is that it makes me look past what I’m doing all the time to see what’s special, what’s different, what I might miss if I don’t take the time to see it – but after weeks and weeks of the same four walls, the “extraordinary” of being in lockdown has become “ordinary” and things that really are out of the ordinary now but would have been ordinary before are sometimes a cause for concern.

 

Just this afternoon, I was standing outside the vet’s practice waiting for the veterinary nurse to bring some medication for one of our cats, chatting to a lady whose pet was inside with the vet and another man, whose enormous St Bernard dog was sitting companionably on his feet whilst they waited their turn.  It’s not ordinary to have to stand outside, no longer allowed in to see the vet or even into the waiting room.  Our pets go in without us (“I really don’t like that”, says the man, and I have to agree with him) and we are given advice from a half-open door.  We might not like it, but it is how it is.  Extraordinary becomes ordinary.

 

Going to the beach, however, is a completely different matter, especially when it makes the news headlines because of the sheer volume of people crowded into one space.  Ordinary becomes extraordinary.  I found that watching the TV pictures during the recent heatwave actually caused a physical reaction in me – I felt real worry and anxiety for all of those people, their loved ones at home and the people who lived in the area.  I wanted to them all to be at home and I wanted them all to be safe.

 

It made me wonder how I am going to feel when the lockdown restrictions are relaxed completely, or as completely as they are going to get.  Before I went to the vet’s this afternoon, I took the dog for a long walk through the nearby woods but cut our walk short when I saw that the pathway was busy up ahead.  Ordinarily, I would have paused because the dog is especially talented at sniffing out the person with the best treats and Giving Them The Eyes until they hand them over, but now I pause because the pathway is narrow and I don’t want to have to squeeze past with a dog trying to do his eye thing in close proximity to too many people.  How long will it be before we don’t look at people and judge how far away from us they are, and whether we are all at a suitable distance?  How long before the dog is free to hypnotise other dog walkers into handing over their own dogs’ treats?

 

Ordinary and extraordinary have been turned on their heads, and I think it will be a long time, if ever, before our lives go back to anything like they were before, at least when we’re out and about.  A different way of living for us all; not chosen but imposed with us left to make the best of it.  Which we will, of course.  It makes you think, doesn’t it?


A woodland path, framed by trees.  The sun is shining and there are shadows on the ground.  In the centre of the picture is a large metal gate.



19 comments:

  1. You are right, Christine - and I really feel for those trying to do their normal jobs in extraordinary circumstances too. We had a similar vet experience a couple of weeks ago - except that no medicine could make our very elderly and sick rabbit better again, and he had to be put to sleep. I'm sure the lovely kind vet never imagined she would ever have to give someone that kind of news standing outside in the car park with everyone else listening in, and I really felt for her...

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    1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear about your rabbit, our pets leave such a big hole when they are no longer with us, don't they? Sending you lots of love xx

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  2. Thanks for your monthly musing Christine, your comments rang so true with me. I've loved following your blog before and during 'lockdown' and have been inspired by your knitting and gardening tips. I bought your book 'Super Socks' and after many years of knitting I set myself a goal to try knitting a pair of socks, yay, going slow and steady I managed it, yay! My first time trying dpn's too, it's the little thing at the moment.
    Thanks again
    Susan x

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Susan, I'm so pleased that I've been able to offer you some distraction from the outside world - and I am delighted that I've been able to help you knit a pair of socks! I hope you're super-proud of them and here's to many more pairs! xx

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  3. It certainly does make you think! I felt more angry than sad when I saw the beach scenes last week as I felt that they were endangering so many others - and possibly were the very people who had refused to send their children back to school as it was too "dangerous"! I also felt very sorry for local residents who had to see and help clear the 44 tonnes of rubbish left behind and who's roads were blocked with illegal parking! I am all for staying at home a lot longer! And I also avoid people on narrow paths in our woods! I love your photo - very emotive!

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    1. It's certainly going to be a difficult few weeks for everyone as we adjust to being able to go out and about more, I think. I hope you still manage to get out and about in the woods! xx

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  4. Thank you for your comments, they expressed so eloquently my feelings. Our lockdown was partially lifted and now the virus is spreading again. How I long for normal life again. I am thankful for your book because I am almost finished with my first pair of socks, knitting has been a lifesaver during this time of isolation. That, and my 3 dogs who attempt to keep me busy all the time. Thank you for being there!

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    1. I'm so pleased that I've been able to help you knit socks - definitely a skill for life now (someone called it post-apocalyptic skill once but that is a bit closer to home than I would like these days!) and I hope you and your loved ones manage to stay well xx

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  5. Hi Christine, look forward to your blog every month I agree with your comments this month feels so odd going outside again I really do feel strange. The only happy place for us we go fishing we are members at a fishery on a farm we had paid our membership before the lockdown so we do not have to deal with anyone when we go just drive in park at our peg we want to fish and have a lovely peaceful day. Hubby fishes so he is happy and I can sit and do my knitting we have food with us and a portable stove to make out tea happy day.
    We could go every day but that would spoil it a bit so it’s maybe three times a week we also need to do shopping that I do not like at the moment have only been once as we have benn going to Asda with Click and Collect which worked very well for us.
    Anyway thanks again for your blog and comments looking forward to July.
    Regards
    Margaret Woodcock

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    1. It sounds like you have the perfect way of being able to get outside and do something that both of you enjoy - I hope the weather holds out for you, or you have one of the very biggest fishing umbrellas! Food shopping is definitely an experience these days ... :) xx

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  6. I live about a mile from the beach and saw all the people heading there and back. Like you, I feared for them, their loved ones and the wider community. I fear sunburn was the least of their worries. It still feels strange to avoid passers-by, but this is the new normal and will be for quite a long time. I'm making very slow, tentative steps out of lockdown. As I keep telling myself, there are some things I'd risk my life for, but a meal out isn't one of them. xx

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    1. That's a very good way of putting it! We would have been more than happy to support our local pub if they had been one of the ones offering takeaways (sadly, they weren't) but we're not in any great rush to go back in to eat a meal at the moment. Slow tentative steps indeed! xx

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  7. It does make you think. I had the same reaction to the photos on the beaches. I am not wanting to go anywhere at the moment, I prefer being at home although I becoming aware that I am starting to struggle slightly with that. I would love to be able to see my friends again without restrictions, I haven't seen any of them with restrictions and not sure how I will feel if I tried to make that happen. It does all feel upside down and inside out.

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    1. I agree with the struggle about being at home. I work from home so I'm used to being here, and now I'm used to being here with the family and I like it more than I expected to (I do like my own space!) but it will be nice to go out again without having to worry. When that will be, I have no idea, but I am sure that day will come! xx

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  8. Once again, Christine, you have hit the nail on the head! Things are changing fast, maybe too fast. I am spending a lot of time recently thinking about my family, my friends and, as you say, people we don't know and hoping everyone stays safe and well. It has been a trying time and I think may continue for some time yet.

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    1. I think it definitely will, no matter where we are in the world. Perhaps we just need to think about what feels right to us and not be rushed by government announcements - there's no rule that says we have to go out just yet if have that option, after all! xx

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  9. Life has certainly taken a change. Same for us and vet's office. My personal thoughts are it leaves a bit of uneasiness in our/my world. However, uneasiness seems to be new
    normal for foreseeable future. Onward we go, stay safe and knit happy.

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    1. Yes, I think you're right - underlying uneasiness is one of those things that we will have to learn to live with. Not ideal for those who already struggle with day-to-day living though, so I do hope that there is going to be more help in place for them xx

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