15 March 2020
This social distancing malarky is strange isn’t it?
Stay safe everyone!
20 March. 2020 • Category: Covid19 | Addiction | Mental Health | Family | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Stanley and I at the beach today.
We’ve known for years that the way we are treating the world isn’t sustainable. We know that we can’t go on the way we are, and yet we have.
When I was young (and I’m not that old), recycling wasn’t even a thing. Then banks popped up in car parks to take your recycling to. Our first collection from home was when we first moved into the house we are in now, and we’ve been here 19 years. It was fairly hit and miss, one green box for all the mixed recycling, and it frequently wasn’t picked up, so we would have to throw it away with the rubbish. It was way harder than it needed to be. Now it’s easier, I recycle religiously as many other people do, but it is possible it is too little, too late?
This year we have had storm after storm, creating so much damage and destruction. It’s almost like the earth is fighting back and putting us back in our place. But still, we haven’t stopped. Australia has experienced terrible wildfires and the rest of the world has watched with sympathy, and yet, nothing has really changed.
We’ve had Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and now Coronavirus… Finally we stop.
And yet, no one wants to. If we do, businesses will fail. Things as we know them will change and it is frightening. I’m not sure how many businesses will survive. Even in light of the governments plans which offer so much to so many, there are still so many more who will slip through, who don’t fit the categories they are offering the help to. It’s hard to make a provision when no one really knows what they are dealing with.
I’ve never known anything like this before. Most people of my age and younger won’t have. The unknown is scary. We can do all we can, but it doesn’t feel like it is enough. Self-isolating is fine, but it is only a matter of time before things grind to a halt.
I’m aware that provision is made for key workers to remain in work and their children in schools. But what if they also contract the virus. What are the contingencies then?
I can’t imagine we are looking at the future as seen on TV in an apocalypse programme, but I’m not quite sure what we are looking at. Especially with the food shortages we are already seeing.
I think this one might take a while to bounce back from. I think changes are afoot and I hope we begin to listen, to slow down while we can because who knows what is round the corner?
On the positive side, my daughter showed me a photo online, the smog had cleared and there were blue skies over China. My son showed me another where the water had cleared in the canals in Venice allowing swans to return, fish to be clearly seen and dolphins have even been spotted.
Maybe on some level we need this? Maybe we need to reset a little? To stop and just be. What else is there we can do? So this morning after I’d done the housework, we played boardgames. This afternoon I took the kids to the beach. It was quiet, with the few people who were there all giving each other plenty of space. It was cold, but sunny and it was beautiful. We just spent time together, and while it won’t pay the bills, it was lovely. I’m going to try and make the most of it if I can.
Stay safe everyone.
This made me laugh, but it might answer some of the craziness right now! 😂 Let’s remember to laugh where we can!
19 March. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Me and Barn at our 10 miler.
You may have gathered I like to run. I sign myself up for a lot of races because I find it very easy not to run, and to find other things to do instead, but when I run I feel a lot better, both inside and out. Having a race to go to is like a little nudge that I have to go, rather than put it off. It gives me a focus to train for and a reason to keep going. I do feel the pressure, I have a habit of biting off a little bit more than I can chew, and then worrying about it beforehand, although so far I’ve only done one race longer than a half marathon. It always seems like a good idea, even though the closer they get the more nervous I feel, but because I have put my name down and paid for my space, I always go, even running a half marathon in terrible weather with a warning out for wind and rain like I did recently!
Having a reason works well for me though, it takes away the thinking part and stops me making excuses for myself. I have good intentions when I get up in the morning, but rarely run before work as there is no one about to look after our little one then. By the time I’ve been through a day at work though, that run doesn’t seem such a good idea. I’ve been a bit better since my running son joined his club. Taking him to training at least twice a week means I’m waiting for him for over an hour. It’s about ten miles, so a bit far to go home before I go back to pick him up, so I use the time sometimes to write as there is a lovely cafe at the track, but also to run. While he is on the track I go for a little explore around the local area. It’s good to have a reason and nice to run somewhere different too.
Going back to racing though, my first ever ‘long’ race was a year ago and called Hillish and Hellish. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? It’s ten miles out and back from a town in Cornwall and it is mighty hilly, but as I was training for my first half marathon I thought it would be good as an interim race. I resigned myself to just walking some of it if I had to, but I shouldn’t have worried, all but the fastest did walk the hills as they were so steep. Although it was hard I really enjoyed it, and it was the first race I’d been to where there was very little waste, for example, they gave all the finishers a great little rucksack full of goodies rather than a plastic bag. Even better, but the goodies themselves included tea, which was a welcome change to the beer I often find thrown in.
Like I said, although it was hard, I actually really enjoyed it - well I must have, because I signed up again this year. I quite like races with hills, it gives me a reason to slow down and pace myself, rather than go flat out (for me) and end up hurting! Although to be fair I still hurt! When it’s flat though, I do struggle to realise how fast or far I am going.
I was very surprised to see a post from the event organisers a week before the event, telling the runners that only the first ones to book, before the early-bird closed would get their medals on the day. I’m pretty sure that I was in early, I normally am, as I panic I won’t get a place if I wait too long, but I can’t be sure. The organisers said that they would post out the medals as soon as they got them to all the other runners, but they were currently in quarantine in China due to the Coronavirus outbreak! Now, I don’t have a problem with the quarantine of course, if it’s a delay due to safety then fair enough. But, I do have a bit of a problem with the need to import them from the other side of the world when there are plenty of companies that can make them in this country.
I do love a good medal, as many other runners do, but do we really need to source them from so far away? Putting the environmental impact of the making of the medals to one side, it seems at odds with many of today’s values to be obtaining something from so far away and in such high quantities. With many runners enjoying the environment and the freedom of the outdoors, and races moving towards generating less waste, this just feels a little wrong to me. I know that there are other alternatives out there too, and it’s frustrating not to see other options being explored. I wish I had the nerve to say something to the event organisers, but I am so afraid of upsetting people that I don’t. Someone else did though, not long after I read the comment, and they clearly weren’t impressed with the fact that the medals weren’t remotely local. I watched eagerly to see what would be the response. The organisers replied that they do use a local company as many of the other races in the area do, but that company outsources to China. That doesn’t seem much like a local company to me, in fact it just seems a poor excuse to try to say something is local when it clearly isn’t. It’s sad, because I like to support local races, companies and well everything really, but in an event like this, when they are asking for local companies to support them, but then increasing the number of runners considerably, it seems like they are taking the help for granted and not really considering what the local businesses are having to donate in order to support the race, especially when they are then paying foreign companies for their medals. I’m not sure who is meant to benefit in a situation like this.
There were a lot of comments on the post, of runners offering to give their medals away to runners that really wanted them, but I don’t know if that happened. In a world where we are meant to be focusing on less waste and more sustainability, this whole issue doesn’t really sit well with me. If you’re wondering though, I did come away with my medal which probably makes me hypocritical in some ways, as I don’t necessarily agree with how it’s made, and yet, it would have only been wasted if all the runners had refused them. It’s a hard one isn’t it?
What do you all think?
Thanks for reading,
18 March. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Stanley running away from things at Lands End yesterday.
I don’t want to complain, but I am going to. I’m quite angry you see.
I popped to the shops this morning, not for a lot, just for a few bits that we were running short of and dinner for tonight. I often go on a Wednesday morning as it’s my day off work. The shelves are pretty bare and it’s impossible to buy meat, eggs, milk, flour or toilet rolls, but thankfully they have stocked up on biscuits since I was last there, when they had completely run out. On the door, along with the hand washing advice was a sign to say they’d be closing at midnight rather than operating 24 hour opening times in order to restock shelves. I’d seen that on the news this morning, well at least, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons had been mentioned, but I assume Asda had just followed suit.
I was shopping with Stanley so didn’t want to be ages, shopping with a two year old is stressful at the best of times, but I have to say as I wandered around the store, I began to feel pretty positive. I didn’t want to buy indiscriminately, as I am conscious many people also need to make do with what is on the shelves at the moment, but I managed to sort out a few meals. The lack is making me nervous, I haven’t panic bought, but it is obvious others are, and having a little bit of food for the family made me relax considerably.
Once we had finished I loaded the shopping onto the conveyor belt to go through the self scan. A lady came up to me as I was scanning and told me she’d, “Have to take this”, pointing to a packet of chicken Kievs on the end of the belt. I wasn’t sure I’d heard and asked to her repeat herself which she did to my surprise. I asked why, to be told they’d limited it to three items. I was really surprised, and asked why no one had told me. She said, “There were signs everywhere!” I hadn’t seen them, and to be honest, unless it was really obvious, I may not have noticed with Stanley helping me shop. But I told her I needed that amount for dinner, it’s not like I was buying excessively, I just wanted enough to feed all of my children rather than some of them. She told me unsympathetically that I’d have to come back tomorrow. It isn’t particularly helpful, as that means not only braving the bare shelves of the shops again, but considering we have been advised to reduce our socialisation, it seems silly to encourage people to return more often than needed to the shops.
I was annoyed, to be honest. I get that we need to be considerate of others, but I feel that needs to be extended to everyone in this situation. I, like many, have children to feed, and I don’t want them to go hungry, I was buying considerately, and had very little in my trolley, so while I get there needs to be rules, this just seems unfair. But, I couldn’t do anything about it, so I tried to let it go and continued to scan the rest of our things. The lady then came back and began to paw through the rest of my shopping, checking what I had and removing a packet of tortellini, and some chicken goujons.
At this point I was beyond angry. I felt violated, having someone pick through my shopping and take what she saw fit. I’d purposely picked things with long dates to feed the family, that would avoid me having to come back to the shops over the next few days, and her attitude absolutely stank. What also didn’t help was that I had seen other people putting multiple bags of frozen chicken and other items into their trolleys as I had walked down the frozen aisle. I guess, where I made my mistake, was by not scanning as I shopped. It seemed that the people who packed their bags in their trolleys as they went were left alone. It just makes it worse, to me to think that those really loading up are left to it, and the honest people are the ones who miss out.
We are all in this together at the moment, so the sooner people start realising that and being less selfish, the better.
17 March. 2020 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Parasailing in Corfu.
I was driving to work this morning when my little boy saw an aeroplane flying overhead in the distance. He shouted out to me, “Mummy! Airplane!”, in his excitement and in reply I asked him if he thought it was taking people on holiday. It was such a throwaway comment, one I have made many times before, well, that or asking him if he thought it was going to the moon. But of course, things are a little different at the moment.There can’t be many people going on holiday at the moment, in fact, it’s more likely that those who are away, are worrying about how to get back. I feel terribly sad for all of those who are affected, don’t get me wrong, but actually surprisingly it helps make me realise what I have and feel incredibly grateful for that.
We’d never taken the kids abroad before, well at least on a plane. When Joe and Katie were small we drove to Spain, and when we had Barney too, we drove down to the South of France a few times. We didn’t like the idea of inflicting three small kids on a plane full of people, and having the car gave us the freedom to explore with our tent, moving about the country as we chose, rather than being confined to one place or another. We’d always wanted to go somewhere on a plane, but as they got older we wondered if we had missed our window, and if they’d even still want to all come away with us.
A couple of years ago something changed, we realised time was slipping away by putting things off and as a last minute deal we booked a holiday for all of us to Corfu. We flew the day after we booked it, so there wasn’t too much time to get too worked up. For me this is always a bonus, because I over worry all the time anyway, so it was a relief to go without having too much time to build it up. I still had a major meltdown in the departure lounge, because I felt trapped, but once we got moving again and onto the plane I was fine. It was a brilliant holiday, simple and fun. Seeing the enjoyment on the kids faces made it so worth it. So last year we went back to the travel agents again and booked a holiday to Almeria in Spain. Again it was brilliant, and again, we were some of the lucky ones. We had two holidays in two years with Thomas Cook, and literally a week or so after we got back the company went into administration. I know a lot of people weren’t so lucky and lost their holidays. We don’t get to go on many holidays like that, so to have two that we could enjoy safely was amazing.
It’s easy to see all the negativity at the moment. There is a lot to worry about to be honest, but I try to look for the good where I can. Over the years trying to have faith that things will work out in the way they are meant to has been one of the things that has kept me going. When things get rough, I try to remember that there is a bigger picture, that things are sent to try us and although times may be hard, on the whole, they work themselves out in the long run. I once read something that said, if you won’t remember the worry in five years, don’t spend five minutes on it now. Or something along those lines anyway.
In the same vein, I learned over the weekend that my next half marathon, the Tavy 13 has been postponed. Quite frankly I am relieved. It takes the decision away from me. I don’t have to worry about missing out, because no one will be running it, and while it is disappointing, I am glad that the organisers are being proactive. I’m grateful that it’s one less thing I have to think about. I know that so many people are disappointed that their races are being cancelled at the moment, and I know that it’s frustrating when so much time and effort has gone into training, but there will be other races.
It got me thinking… I was so disappointed that I didn’t get a place in the London Marathon Ballot. Equally, I was disappointed that I didn’t get a place in the London Landmarks Half. That was what prompted me to book a place on The Vitality Big Half that I ran a few weeks ago in London. The thing is, if I hadn’t been disappointed about missing out, then I wouldn’t have booked that one, and enjoyed running it. And if I had got a place in either of the other two, then I wouldn’t have been able to run them anyway, as they have both been postponed. So actually, looking on the positive side, I think I’m pretty lucky. Things worked out quite well for me on this occasion.
It’s easy to focus on the negative, or if not focus on it, then just see that side of things more easily than the positive. It’s just about changing the way we look at things. I’m even trying to apply it to work. I work with my family, and recently we moved into a new premises. Our new building took some work to get to where we wanted it to be, and at one point we found there was a leak in the roof. It wasn’t a major deal, but it was something that we didn’t need at an already busy and costly time. However, rather than focusing on the leak, I actually managed to feel grateful for it. The reason I did was because it happened before we got all of our machinery and equipment into place. If it had happened then, it would have cost us a fortune.
So let’s try to look for silver linings. Who knows what good things we might find when we do!
16 March. 2020 • Category: Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
I drove to work this morning with the sun shining. I think everything feels better when the sun is shining. I feel lighter if you know what I mean? Even my worries seem smaller. I have a twenty-five mile drive to work across the Moor which is wild in the winter, but stunning on a day like today. I arrived in town and along the side of the road where I have to wait at the traffic lights, the bank is filled with daffodils. It’s lovely.
Daffodils are my favourite flower. They are simple and yet beautiful, in fact they remind me of the sun shining. My two year old son Stanley saw them the other day and pointed, daffodils is quite a hard word for a toddler, but he remembers their name now, and tells me in the mornings when we see them that they are his favourite and mummy’s favourite too. It’s very sweet.
I have a bunch on my desk, it brings the outdoors into the office, and the fairies (my mother in law) refills them from her garden when they start to wilt. It’s not warm today, but looking out to the sunshine from the window it looks like summer, and everything feels nicer. It’s good to have the rain, but it makes such a change to enjoy the sun too.
Spring is coming, and little reminders are popping up everywhere, from the model lambs on the table in Stanley’s nursery to the flowers dotting the hedgerows. It’s surprising what an effect the weather can have on your mood isn’t it? Everything else is the same as it was yesterday, and yet, everything feels so much better.
I do love the changing of the seasons, I appreciate the difference and the beauty of the world around us, but I have to say, I’m looking forward to more and more warmer days!
Thanks for reading!
15 March. 2020 • Category: Running | Addiction | Mental Health | Recovery | Mindfulness | Anxiety | Authenticity | Sobriety
Are these really as funny as they are meant to be?
I’m getting a bit sick of all the posts trying to convince me that I should be drinking more in light of the current situation with Coronavirus. I know they are meant to be funny, but I’m beginning to find them more and more offensive, especially when they are coupled with comments about wanting to escape from the kids to hole up alone. I don’t get it. Why do people feel the need to drink away all their sense at the moment, or at least joke that they are doing it?
My news feed is filled with drinking related posts and memes like it at the moment, and I just don’t understand it. Surely if the situation is as bad as it looks like it’s getting, we should be aware, we should be looking out for ourselves and others, not just drinking? I understand too, that many people moderate, but these posts, at least the ones I’m seeing aren’t relating to moderate drinking, they are all pointing towards the excess and that is the bit that bothers me.
You name it, I’ve seen it recently, pictures of fridges full of wine with comments like, “I’ve got no loo paper but I’m ready!” I understand that we need to retain our sense of humour but I don’t see why so much supposed fun should be alcohol related.
I’m glad I have a clear mind, a calm (as far as I go) outlook, and am not panicked about the stocks of wine at home. That would be the last thing I need right now. It’s bad enough when I went shopping last week to see the shelves empty of pasta, soap and toilet rolls. If I had to worry about wine too, it would probably push me over the edge.
Then there are the jokes about drinking alcohol as protection due to the lack of antibacterial soaps and handwashes at the moment. I’m sure that again these are supposed to be funny, but I’m not sure that I really think encouraging drinking is helpful. We’re experiencing a pandemic that is making many thousands of people ill and killing many more, why should we joke about replacing it with alcohol, another substance that causes more harm than good and can create a disease that makes many thousands of people ill and kills many more?
We have to think about the example we are setting for our young people too. Do we really want them to think that in tricky situations we have to reach for a bottle (or three) and drown our sorrows? Do we want to teach our kids that we have to bury our heads in the sand, or a bottle, rather than deal with difficulties? Or that we’d rather spend time drinking than with them? I know I don’t. I want to do the best job I can, and that means being 100% present whenever and wherever I can. Alcohol removes your inhibitions and barriers, but it doesn’t help fix anything. On the whole, it just makes things worse, and then you have a hangover to deal with too. I can say for sure, that I don’t miss it at all.
Thanks for reading, stay safe everyone!