Author Archives: Doodlemum

Snow business.

Stop everything. It’s snowed!

Just hearing the silence and knowing that there’s a snowfall on the roads and not just because it’s lockdown.

Magic.

There’s children screaming all around my area from tea tray sledge rides on an icy road and snow down the backs of their necks. They’re all off their screens and legging it down to the park to enjoy the light dusting from the skies.

And yes, my son is in shorts and wellies. I care not, he’s outside and he’s laughing.

Yellow snow, gritty snow, icy snow, roll in it and look up at grey gentle skies dusting us with frozen kisses.

Advertise here.

You going “out out?”

That, in Swansea, means out on the town, all glammed up, drinkies, heels and hair done.

No I am not. I’m dressed in yesterday’s jumper, my shoes are muddy, my coat is soaking and my dog is clearly delighted to be dragged around the block in sideways, January sleet.

Still no winter beach, no big sky.

My only essential travel is to buy food and growl, masked at people who come close. It’s hard to feel so anxious when people forget and reach over to take stuff off shelves. What on earth do you do?

Bonnie looks at me…

She’d growl first…

I might try that next time.

Tuna.

It’s going to take time for the cats to accept this bundle of puppy energy. We’re six months in and tuna is the magic that brings these two opposing parties together.

Today was let’s eat Tuna together and not chase or swipe.

We sit on the stairs as that is neutral territory, both can retreat if it gets too much.

Frannie sits as still as she can but the tail always betrays her, the faster the swoosh, I know we have imminent chase pending and to cancel negotiations quickly…

Gloom.

On some nights, the steelworks on the horizon in Port Talbot, light up the clouds with a fiery glow (like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings). It’s eerily beautiful, you can see flames reaching high into the sky. Last night, it was full aglow, quite something to look at and I was very much enjoying the view.

I was so busy staring, I very nearly collided into a man holding his small dog high on his head cursing my little evening day dream and accusing *Bonnie, (on the lead, by my side, looking as puzzled as myself) of wanting to eat his small furry thing.

I muttered an apology along the lines of “So sorry, miles away, lovely hat” and scurried away.

Cue a fox running across our path and I really wondered where I was, Mad Max or Swansea.

Swansea Angie.

Swansea in a pandemic, Mad Max is little too sensible right now.

*Being a big sized dog, she quite often gets accused of wanting to eat smaller dogs but she’s actually a huge fan of dogs smaller than herself as she can play Queen.

Covid School.

School days are a strange business during these lockdown days.

No car run, no rush out the door in the morning.

Still, early to rise, in the dark for a morning check in, registration or daily work download.

Gone are the assemblies, singing and hanging up of coats and hellos to friends.

It’s find a space away from whiskers and paws and chewing mouths.

Please let mum have a coffee and I’ll figure out that maths I promise.

Dressed and ready but no where to go.

Funny, lonely business this learning on screens but there we are right now, in the midst of a pandemic and figuring out the area of Tom’s Toblerone chocolate bar.

Let me tell you a little secret, us mums are looking at you and are very glad it’s not them having to do this.

Children of 2020, you’re doing amazing, don’t ever forget that.

Snow wet.

It’s cold.

Very cold right now, just above freezing and it’s decided to rain so we are slipping our way around the streets tonight.

Even the billboard is half arsing the light.

There are warmer and lighter days ahead but this month is the queen of dark and cold and she isn’t shifting herself in any hurry. January won’t be rushed.

Dragging our way through this lockdown January.

Drone face.

Can we update the puppy training manual to include how not to chase and destroy drones please, that would be great. Frannie has had a whale of a time chasing one a hundred foot high, she’s got ambition but not wings.

Still in lockdown, still in alert level 4 or whatever that’s come to mean as we’re all out on the covid numbers.

Graphs, charts and projections, I’ve seen more this past year than I ever did at school, all pretty like my tired looking Christmas decorations, must take them down Angie, before twelfth night.

As it’s bad luck.

I laughed a bit too much at that.

Luck rhymed with my reply.

End.

The giant cul-de-sac that is 2020 is gasping it’s last wheezy covid filled breaths, slowly melting at the bottom of my beer.

I won’t miss you.

New year does not promise much either but we can hope and hang on through the dark months.

I’ll raise a glass to that.

Best wishes to you all and all the love from a small sketchbook in Wales.

Ring the bells.

It’s Christmas Eve 2020.

Put down your worries, put down your mobile, turn away from the television, switch off the radio, it’s six o clock. Come on, now, hurry!

It’s time to go to door with your bells, open it and listen. Our street is ringing out into the dry, cold, clear night. You can hear them!
The sound of bells all around, up on Townhill, over to Brynhyfryd, even on Kilvey hill, there’s a fella with a bell app ringing it while sucking on a cigarette. The scrambler bike stops and toots.

We are ringing them. We are little but we are shouting you Santa and you must come this year. The adults have been rubbish, please do your magic.

The moon is lighting the way and we are calling you Santa.

We’ve been so good this year and we’ve tried out best to wash our hands and do our work.

Please come this year, please bring a present.

Merry Christmas.

Covid central.

A letter has arrived from the local council and health service reminding us to remember to stay away and stay at home. Infections here and in the surrounding areas are very, very high. Our hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed if numbers keep rising.
The electronic bill board is still promoting Christmas deals with the odd public service information asking us to keep our 2 metre distances and stay at home whenever possible.
In other news, the cats have decided Gruff’s window is wonderful to watch the birds from and bring their muddy paws in.

It’s still raining, we may need a boat soon.

Flying.

The rain is playing games with me.

Every day this week, I’ve arrived at the park and the heavens have opened.

Nothing stopping Frannie lightning bolt puppy, she’s been busy herding the crows and seagulls and did attempt to herd the red kite that soared over our heads but it wasn’t having any of it.

We are now very wet, muddy but happy to see open space, (even if I’m soaked to the bone).

The news is pretty grim right now, Swansea still has stupidly high levels of infections. Social media is full of experts.

I’m just an expert in tea making and puppy drying. I don’t smell very nice right now.

Midnight.

Midnight last night we went into a full lockdown again.

The news was announced a few hours before and the ensuing rush in my city to the shops was like a tsunami of panic. My social media filled up pretty quickly with images of miserable queuing and cars gridlocking car parks in the rain, in the dark with the backdrop of blinking Christmas lights.
I walked the dogs later and the roads were very busy with speeding cars and honking horns, you could genuinely feel the atmosphere. One of anger and frustration.

The news says it’s a new variant, it spreads faster. We’re all to stay at home indefinitely, there will be a review in three weeks but numbers are flying here as I’ve said before so Christmas day is the only day we are ok to go out and see our other “bubble”.

A very strange Christmas this is going to be. I’m quite deflated to be honest with you as I imagine the whole of Wales is right now but I understand why.

More milk it is then.

Free Christmas colouring pages.

Well from where I’m sitting right now, we are in a full lockdown.

So to keep busy and happy, here are some colouring pages for you.

I’ll keep adding here so bookmark this page and feel free to share.

Christmas is not cancelled, just different and I will do what I can to keep busy hands busy.

Have fun.

They’re all A4 pages.

Click here and download.

The sock monster is real.

Frannie does a great job of cutting down on my sock pairing.

Two Pints of milk for Tier 4 please.

28th of December starts lockdown part three.

Swansea is rife with Covid infections, everything in the United Kingdom and Wales is closing from Christmas Eve indefinitely.

Food shops and Churches get to stay open for comfort and joy.

I’ve bunked up my milk order as my tea consumption is rising exponentially too.

Living dangerously here.

Stay safe, make space and put a smile on your face, it’s Christmas.

Grab Bag

I have a problem.

I want cakes.

But the plastic bag that I have to put my hand into won’t open and I can’t lick my finger.

My glasses are also steaming up so it could very well be a bread roll I’ll be picking up instead.

That’s going to cause riots.

Focus pocus.

Millie’s studying A- levels and Welsh Baccalaureate. Being at home means she has to study remotely with the school.

I can tell she’s doing Welsh, the pencil has been chewed and she’s ignoring the dogs while giving the laptop a stare that would make a grown man cry.

I’m going to hide in the kitchen.

Walking in a winter wonderland.

The lights this year are lovely on my street. I can ignore the litter and the rain when I see the houses lit up.

Schools out for Covid.

Feels like forever for those who only went back recently after more isolating.

So many blaming schools for the rapid spread in our area right now.

So many not seeing how education and school life is everything when you miss your friends and chips at lunch. (Even if you have to study in the classroom with the windows wide open). Please go easy on our young people, they’re struggling too.

I think this break over Christmas will go on a bit longer as Covid infections are not slowing down.

Shortest school run in the world.

Leave for school at 8 am.

Back home by 8.30 am because your school year has to self isolate again as there are covid positive cases.

Fun times.

One is mortified, one is delighted because they missed P.E.

And we wait. Again.

Leg chewies.

Playtime

One pump for hands.

Thief of puffs.

Windows.

I’ve drawn the bottom window, Millie got the top window.

We might be stuck at home in lockdown but we can brighten the world up a little.

Had a text to tell me to isolate Gruff today as one of his class mates has Covid. I hope they’re ok, this is going to happen, this is a virus. Truth is we’re all locked down till the 9th of November so there won’t be much change for him.
Halloween is coming up but we won’t be trick or treating nor answering the door this year.

A very strange year and just getting stranger. Halloween all year round right now.

Outside drawing.

Had a bit of fun yesterday as the Welsh lockdown continues. Outside pavement drawing has re commenced! Nice thing about Swansea rain is that my canvas gets wiped clean for me to do a new one in between the downpours!

I think Renee approves.
Lucky for me, Mr fox is leaving my ladies alone right now.

Good morning.

Wake up, pee, eat, destroy bed, eat the remote control, sleep.

I want to be a puppy!

Lockdown part two.

We’re hours away from the next 17 day lockdown for Wales. It will be a full lock down, we are to stay at home and only venture out for food, exercise and medical emergencies.

And I went to do a food shop.

The shop was too busy, full of people. A lot more than normal.

I stood at the entrance and had to wait to go in as there were too many inside.

I turned around and walked back to my car.

Someone make me a cup of tea, I don’t want to make my own tea any more.

That’s all I want.

Thirteen.

Thirteen years old today.

Thirteen birthday licks.

Thirteen wiggles.

Thirteen kisses.

Umpteen love.

School.

We go to school very differently than we used to.

That’s ok though because it’s easy enough to do, put sandwiches in a bag so we can put the rubbish in the bin straight after eating.

All the parents at primary school queue up outside now and they wear their masks. There’s a lot of cheery ones too. We have Halloween themed ones with skulls and crossbones. There’s even a teddy wearing one, clever ted.

The older ones in high school have their windows open to increase ventilation. They mix in their class “bubbles” and not with anyone else. There are tents in the playground for them to stay in their groups at breaktime. Food is eaten, hands are washed, a lot. Coughs are common but the jokes fly round that you’ve got Covid now. Everyone talks of a year they’ve heard of in another school that got sent home for two weeks because of a positive test.

Home is moan-time, after, you’ve washed your hands, again.

I got told of a smokers shelter today, the people two metres apart, smoking, masks under their chins, grey sky, coffee in hand, steam rising slowly.

Lockdown 2 – the return

We had the announcement at the start of the weekend that our county of Swansea was to go into tighter restrictive measures to control the spiralling covid infection numbers.

As of 6pm tonight, no leaving the county unless good reason to.

So everyone’s gone out and bought all the toilet roll and all the pasta.

Boris Johnson, our Prime minister, addressed the nation too. It felt like a very bad version of the story “The Tiger who came for tea”

Except this tiger bought all the toilet roll, the pasta and rammed me repeatedly with his trolley in the supermarket because I wasn’t moving fast enough in the two metre, socially distanced, queue.

I haven’t gone shopping for food for a few days now because hopefully, by Monday, they’ll all be in their toilet roll palaces eating pasta.

Double dog

Tangles of arms legs, paws and wiggles.

I thought about drawing this one again but I think it pretty much describes with accuracy the chaos of cuddling two dogs, one of whom is a little chewy monster with sharp teeth…but very lovely.

They get on very well, Bonnie lets Frannie chew her legs and in return, Frannie lets Bonnie chew all her puppy toys.

The cats are coping with the blonde Romanian invader, Renee can now share some chicken in her presence but we have more work to do and that always takes time. I think it took me five or so months to really stop Bonnie chasing poor Arnie. Sausage and chicken is already better than chasing pusses so we are getting there…

Achoo

Back to school and here come the sniffles, (oh we are smothering with it).

Here comes a tissue eating puppy.

And a list of symptoms to check off just in case it’s Covid symptoms.

Numbers are still rising again and mask wearing is compulsory indoors in school and in public spaces for children over 11 years of age.

In schools, the children can mix in their class as a “bubble” so if in the instance of someone getting infected, only that class affected needs to self isolate at home. It makes for a strange playtime but it’s a compromise to continue education after so long off school.

Some counties are already in special localised lockdowns restricting movements. There is talk of a bleak winter ahead on the news.

Frannie found a sock in the park today and tore off like a cheetah with it, sprinting with a snotty nose at 46 years old after a puppy makes my face go a strange colour…

Shoe?

Foggy with a chance of clumsy.

Oh god I’m so sorry. My glasses fogged up again. Yes I do wear them on top of my mask but somehow I’ve misted up again. I didn’t see you there in front of the bananas, have a nice day…

Double dog.

Back to school.

Leader.

I am getting the hang of a training lead, I am.

Bonnie is doing a better job than me at teaching our pup to follow on a lead.

Frannie has never been on a lead before and we have spent the week making friends with the lead with lots of chicken too. Now the lead is very exciting because nice things happen when the lead goes on, magic chicken appears and it’s brilliant as Bonnie gets some too.

Other dogs are very exciting too as are cars, as are bees and butterflies.

Everything is exciting and must be barked at.

It’s very noisy here right now.

The cats are upstairs and come out at quiet times but that’s going to take time and if Bonnie can do it, so can Frannie.

And me too.

Chewy.

Everything needs a little chew.

Stair gates, socks and especially nice toes.

Chewy chew chew.

Bonnie’s leg has been tried and found very nice, Bonnie doesn’t think that it’s very nice and tells Frannie in a very growly way to stop.

So back to socks and toes it is.

Meet the housemates.

Frannie’s never been in a house before, she’s never seen a cat before. There’s lots of new things for her to adjust to.

So I have been busy convincing her cooked chicken is far tastier than chasing her sassy friends.

It’s working, there’s going to be chicken stuffed in my pockets for the next few months.

Oh and everyone gets chicken too because then every time Frannie looks at a cat, she’ll think nice thoughts and not chasy thoughts. She now sits the minute a cat enters the room already. What a clever pup.

A street dog called Frannie.

Apologies for the silence but the storms blew in a five month old street-puppy from Romania. I think she’s a keeper. Very scared right now but she’s joined the right family.

Meet Frannie, our new stowaway. Been with us a few days now and settling in so very well after a bumpy start of snarling and being all street tough.

I think we have a very clever pup here, she’s walked this earth before.

Shady

Even in the shade the weather has been roasting.

Breakfast club.

Feed me or the ear drums get it.

Only a cat would know why they are doing this.

Radiator walking, this is a thing is it Miya?

New sketchbook.

Who I am?

I am Angie Stevens and I love to draw that’s for sure.

There’s around 2439 drawings on Doodlemum now.

Didn’t know the time of day when I started drawing in this blog ten years ago!

Ten years of tea, wine and hugs.

The big picture.

Ten years of occasionally filling a page, the rest is lined chaos!

Washing and the like.

You knew it was coming. A mountain of ten years of love hate with the washing basket and all things that involve cleaning. I am not a domestic goddess, I am a domestic anarchist! Enjoy!

More from the archives – over to the animals.

Well without them I wouldn’t have wiggles, hairy sofas and I’d have shop bought eggs. I’m banned from picking the next dog as it will be a great dane or the shaggiest stink hound in history.

I only got to 2012 before I realised there’s an awful lot of drawings. Just goes to show that a drawing a day really does build up over the years!

Here’s to ten years more of animals big, small and fiesty.

Some early Doodlemum.

I’ve loads, I mean loads of drawings from the last ten years so I’m going to dig a few out this week as Doodlemum is now ten years old.

Ten years of drawing the little stuff, the big stuff and the stuff that I tell no one (except an audience of thousands).

Okay, it got a little bigger than a tired mum of three expected…

I hope you enjoy looking through, I’ve spent two hours looking myself and I think I need tea now.

Worlds and pictures.

Not every picture is perfect, not every line hits the page where I want it to either.

Like a big car crash on a white page.

I’m not sure if its the brain involved or my hands or simply everything working in unison.

But words and pictures are intertwined for me and have become more so the more I’ve written my blog.

Which is now ten years old.

Ten years of drawings and words.

Now I feel old.

Old bones.

This beautiful soul came into our lives nearly ten years ago.

A hurricane of life and energy.

Now a gentle breeze and a happy tail.

Life got better once she found her happy home.

Please if you are going to get a dog, go and be a superhero and rescue one that needs a home. You’ll get a lifetime of love and wiggles.

Yes they come with baggage but once unpacked, that little suitcase is there to stay until the day comes when you both let each other go and you put your heart back in it for them to take.

Cat for tea.

Puffling hour.

It’s late enough and Renee has started moving her little knitted kitty puffs upstairs for the night.

The kids sleep through the racket and wake to a landing full of knitted balls.

It’s better than Christmas as you never know what you’re going to step out to each morning.

One got taken out in the rain last week through the cat flap and forgotten about but I’m happy to report it has found its way back in late tonight.

One got placed inside a wellington boot.

One found its way inside the dog crate, Bonnie is very fond of them too.

Must knit more, I now have wool in rainbow shades.

Cuddle monsters.

You have been chosen, fortunate one.

Don’t move while we get comfortable.

A little rest.

Bonnie has been on bed rest all weekend.

No running.

No jumping.

No fun.

I hate sitting still too girl.

I think she’ll be just fine. Age is no fun when you’re a one hundred miles an hour dog.

Miss Bump.

Bonnie, we need to have words about launching yourself off the patio at dinner time. You’re nearly twelve now and you’re not a puppy any more.

A sausage is not worth the pain.

Let’s hope that sore leg is better in the morning eh?

Morning grub.

Gruff.

GRUFF.

Put the bowl down before the cat explodes please!

Yoga is relaxing.

2020

I guess that’s the artist in me. My washing line dies dramatically with all my clean washing on and I grab my sketchbook and ponder the comparisons of the detritus fest 2020 is turning out to be.

The year that in hindsight you’d have hibernated through.

The year if you’d have placed a bet on not going around the world in eighty one days. because you had to self isolate because there was a flight ban from the United Kingdom (so you had to deflate your balloon).

The year if you were a time traveller, you’d have skipped in favour of seeing something like paint dry on a Van Gogh or a Bob Ross (I’m not picky).

The year if you had the choice, you’d rub out 2020 and wake up in 2021, refreshed and optimistic your diet was going to be jaffa cake free.

Best pick up that washing. and put the kettle on.

Friendship.

Swipes before nose boops tonight.

Friendship.

Nose boops before swipes always.

Still life.

Back to school.

Back to school.


Nothing. Nothing prepares you for that wave of emotion watching your child walk into school like this.


Teachers in masks.
Marked out spaces.


Playground cordoned off.


Gruff is beyond happy to be back, don’t get me wrong.
I’ve got mother of the year award as I sent him with a back pack not a disposable carrier for his lunch.

I’d like to wish all teachers the best of luck dealing with what is a very difficult and emotional return.

You’re all stars.

School run returns.

I have just dropped Evie off for her first day back after four months.
We drove past playgrounds taped up, school buses driven by masked faces, empty roads and a cloudy blustery sky.
We both thought it felt like a September day.Cold wind, grey sky, showers on the horizon.
Evie jumped out the car and legged it up the road without a backwards glance.
I sat in the car and bloody howled. I howled all the way home. Big red puffy snotty howls. Nice one Angie.
Good luck to all the little dudes starting school in Wales today.
Us mums will be there to hose you down in the garden when you come home
.

Heroes.

Evie is the first to return to school tomorrow.

One day a week. All schools are running on reduced capacity until September.

Four months of home school, no friends. It’s been tough for children and it will be another adaptation to face returning to school.

And they’ve ALL grown out of their shoes and wellies.

But, we have hand gel.

Weather dog.

Weather dog is at it again.


One sniff of the front door and this diva knows it’s going to rain and she can’t be bothered with a walk.


We went and got soaked.


Should have listened.

Some days be like that.

Out and about.

Evie and Gruff haven’t been in a shop since March. We decided to try the small bargain shop nearby.

They looked at all the queues and the masked faces as we got out the car.

If someone came near them, they looked at me as if to say, “what should I do?”

“Just keep walking” , I smiled, “you’ll be alright” .

“We’ll wash our hands when we get home, don’t worry”

They’re excited to return to school for one day a week.

The school will be quite different with all the new measures in place.

They just want to see their friends again.

Teams.

I had some meetings on my computer today.

You know, where you link up and all talk to each other in little boxes.

Miya decided to join in. She liked seeing everyone so much she showed them her nicely healed tail and watched the little people in their boxes. No one was swiped though, (she reserves that watching wildlife on you tube).

It’s the pandemic isn’t it? Summed up in little electronic boxes. All safe until the paws hit that keyboard.

They didn’t see the cat problem coming did they now?

There’s no muting a cat or it’s tail.

Nature lesson.

Come look.

Look what we’ve found.

It’s not very big.

Just stick a twig in by that sticky bit of web between the wood.

Mum what did you just say?

Day dreaming

Of course I’m busy, I putting the clothes away.

Ask the cat.

The kids will start a day a week at school starting next week.

They are so excited about it.

Freedom to learn is not something they will take for granted like I did.

Small horrors.

Not all bullies are big.

Bonnie would not sleep in her crate tonight until the tiny terror vacated her position in the stinky den.

Had no idea she’d slunk in there and claimed her throne until Bonnie started whining.

All better now.

Miya has had a course of medicine (which she gobbled whole inside a nice piece of chicken).
The nibbled tail is on the mend and is now busy parading around the house and garden with it’s usual sass straight up in the air where it belongs.

Hopefully whoever nibbled her tail has found something else tasty to eat.

Smell of wonderful.

Let me tell you something.

After twelve weeks, a bag of chips really does smell as good as you’d think it would.

Coffee, I’m expecting you.

Solve everything with this one cup in the morning.

Okay. Maybe it takes three these days.

Who’s counting?

Don’t talk to me, I haven’t woken up yet.

A crooked tale.

Mam why is the cats tail wonky?

What do you mean wonky?

Well it’s looking weird.

OK it’s weird.

Yes it is weird.

Oh, that’s really not good.

Someone got into a fight and came off the worse…

Still here.

There were lots of gloves on the floor tonight when we walked. Towering cumulonimbus clouds in the sky, like mashed potato crashing into the hill. I was dodging showers between the sun tonight.

I saw a face mask with a red plastic piece in the middle where the air goes in and out. Thrown on the floor and left with the fast food wrappers that have started appearing again since the drive through re opened. The seagulls were delighted and swept down to grab a brown paper bag with a few chips left in for their dinner.

There were towering weeds and clover covered in bees fighting with the gloves. It’s not all bad, life is thriving on a mini-beast level anyway.

We are still only allowed to travel within a five mile radius and shops are still only food and necessities.

There is talk of a brief return to school before summer but not full time, just a check in.

It’s a strange purgatory.

Sun’s out.

Cubby cat.

Likes to be up high this one.

Drops in occasionally just to keep me on my toes.

Gloriously bonkers.

Gloriously bonkers isn’t it?

Lying on the floor.

But looking up is always the first step to everything.

The Hairball.

And there it lay, cold on the ground. Like a recently deceased creature of the night, slain by the rays of the early morning sun. Glistening and motionless.

The feline gently stepped away from its creation. Denying all knowledge of its part in bringing this thing into brief being.

The humans would rise soon and would fail to see it’s beauty, its purpose to simply exist on the floor of their dwelling and would cast it with disgust, into the bin.

The biggest hairball in living history.

Sketchbook heist.

I know the retribution will be swift and terrible but I really love drawing in other people’s sketchbooks…

Soaking

The cat has come in from the rain soaking wet.

I’ve dried her off.

So she’s just come back in soaking wet again.

I’m starting to sense a pattern here…

I’d like her to get off my sketchbook now too…

Small worlds.

My guys are real tech fans, they love a gadget, why not, it’s fun.

All the screens in the world however, will never replace a massive, cardboard box.

Endless worlds travelled to.

Infinite possibilities within four walls of brown.

Just the best thing in the world.

Climb in and make your den your own, (with the two cats and the dog as well please). Drag in all the cushions and throws in the house, fill it with cars or fluffy animals.

Eat your lunch in it, try it, food tastes brilliant in a box.

Within the parameters of four walls, embrace boredom and overcome it with imagination and fun.

Seeing my boy staring out of a box gives me a perspective on how this lock-down has played out for my children.

Small worlds.

Don’t lock the cat in.

Mam.

Where’s the cat?

Which one?

What do you mean you haven’t seen her?

Walks fifty times past the studio window.

Well I’ve called her. She’s not coming, she’s probably on her rounds.

She’ll be back soon.

She is still not speaking to me.

Stairmaster.

Very exciting day today.

I vacuumed the house.

I terrorised children, I sucked up lego and the cats hate me.

How was your day?

Screen saver.

I know a lot of parents have worried about screen use during lock-down.

It’s not been a problem.

I send the heavies in.

Garden gang.

Nothing to see here.

Because it is impossible to garden with a cat.

Really impossible. Fusses are required every minute or I get swiped or nibbled.

I feel very bullied.

Not much weeding was done.

In other news I went to the supermarket without crying but I forgot to buy chocolate.

I still wash my hands.

Run to the sea.

We haven’t seen the sea in over nine weeks.

It has been cooler and overcast today so to avoid the busy times, we went this evening (as we live under five miles from the sea and our current guidelines are to go within five miles for exercise).

I could write about how wonderful it was for us to see such space again and hear the crashing waves but our old dog stole the show by bulldozing us all out of her way and crashing straight into the water.

Something she has never done in all the time we have had her. She hates water. Getting her out was the problem.

Tonight she was a salty, sea, dog fish. Happy to have sandy paws and stink all the way home.

She is now dead to the world, stinking, snoring, dreaming of long grey shores and a gentle wind.

The other side of the looking glass.

That’s where I think I am.

Or upside down, or inside out.

Like someone picked the world up, gave it a great big shake and some bits fell out and some things broke.

There’s talk of the schools reopening at the end of June here in Wales for a brief catch up before the summer holidays and then, if all things are well, a full return in September.

The roads were busy tonight and I could still make out the birds singing by the reopened Macdonalds drive through. Defiant and indignant.

Are all things well then? I’m still spinning. Hold fast.

Sassy

There’s more sassy in that tail than I have ever seen in a cat.

This little black cat with the huge meow.

One flick and you’re dismissed for the day.

Just hang on a minute.

It’s going to be a while.

No I’ve got to blow it up first.

Well it’s got to fill with water.

It’s going to be a while.

No it’s not ready, bit longer.

Might be a bit cold at first.

IT’S TOO COLD!

Tomorrow is only a day away.

This post is not about today.

This is about tomorrow.

Because tomorrow my children are going out on their own for the first time in over nine weeks.

They will meet with friends and do kids stuff.

While remaining two metres apart.

It’s your eyebrow raising, not mine…

But it’s time.

Wait your turn.

Nice little walk to another shop today to collect toiletries.

I left the car at home and walked in the hot sun, not normally a sun lover but it was lovely. Getting used to queuing up for things now and everyone seems to follow the new distancing without much trouble.
Such a difference to a few months ago. There is calm and talk and laughing at how no one gets it right.
We’re all people, we’re all trying our best.

I was the returning hero with pink bubblegum and smelly, bright coloured soap.
Luxury.

Freedom isn’t free.

So as of Monday, we will be able in Wales to meet other people outside the house.

Within five miles.

And two metres apart.

We are happy but looking at it from a captive point of view, we are far from free. We can roam a little further.

This is far from over.

So much talk of it not being real, of it being as easy as flu.

The news says in an estimated study only six percent of France is actually immune to covid 19.


All about the “R” rate see?

Growing bones.

Parents of children be warned, they are growing.

The lock down and spring combined has created a massive problem, literally.

You might not have noticed yet but you will. Or you may be like me and gawp in disbelief at the extra foot of difference sticking out of the bottom of trouser legs.

Or an emptied cupboard of sweets (you thought were safe) and there’s a smug child sat there looking full and very proud of themselves.

Or the fact they keep bumping their heads on things they used to happily walk under.

Or they just walk up behind you and tap you slowly on the shoulder…

“Hi mum, you look….smaller”.

This is happening right in front of our noses.

Please don’t panic buy shoes, I’ve only got wellies left now…

Go go go for launch.

Houston we have a problem, we’re not go for launch.

We’re in the house, under a lock down.

Have a safe trip to the International Space Station.

Mission control, Swansea, no go.

God speed Bob and Doug, we’ll watch you from the skies tonight.

Big sky.

Got all three to step outside tonight with dog, me and a boomerang.

Up on a hill, long grass, a warm breeze.

And big sky.

I’m busy.

Mam.

What?

Can I have a sketchbook please? Need to draw some monster hands.

From the boy who hasn’t drawn since lock-down.

I’m beyond smiling. But I am being very cool about it and trying not to look. Of course I always have spares because to run out of sketchbooks would not be worth thinking about.

It’s hard not to peek okay?

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