Well this made me do a double take this morning! I have two cats but I was looking at three.
Who on earth is this and most certainly not respecting social distancing!
This gorgeous slink made an appearance in our house at six o clock this morning. A very well looking, beautiful, pale tabby.
My two had no idea and didn’t care either as it was feeding time so slinky stripey burglar cat made it’s escape back out through the cat flap before the dog woke up…
I’m sure it will be back.
Now it’s hammering down.
Washing is soaking wet, my socks are wet, the cats are coming in wet, the dog stinks of wet.
Another day in? Ah go on then.
Grey skies are back with the rain, the smell outside is earthy and heady. Blossom and fabric conditioner from a neighbouring tumble dryer on the go and petrichor.
News is arguing with itself about the death numbers.
They’re higher in care homes now but they’re old and they weren’t included initially as they didn’t die in a hospital (because they weren’t tested so they didn’t belong in the Corona death party) and now they are because the news realised they were human too.
The rest of us are just folding washing and wondering what is going on.
Now this is Swansea, this is the great, grey, gloom that descends when everywhere else is basking in sunshine.
And a bright green face mask. (Get off Bonnie you don’t know where it’s been).
The rubbish tells its own tale of the pandemic, gloves and masks litter the floor. Why the rush to drop these things? Does it chase you?
I hurry home just in case.
Lots of rainbows in the windows as I pass by with dog.
Drawn by children. Thanking nurses, doctors, healthcare workers and front-line workers.
Some are painted, some are pieces of paper stuck together, some are prints of little hands, safe behind glass.
None have been drawn by dogs, or cats just in case you were wondering.
Weekly shop time.
I was doing well until I lost my pound for the trolley so had to make two trips with a basket, queued up twice to get in and queued up twice to get everything on my list.
No one can go near anyone else, one person in at a time. It’s pleasant enough but it’s strange and I cried when the announcement was made over the speaker system.
No one else looked up so I got away with it, felt a bit stupid crying amongst the dairy produce but I suppose I didn’t cry around the beer or I’d had just looked like a desperado needing her Special Brew.
I forgot the beer too.
Tonight’s walk highlights, a blue protective glove on the floor, a few discarded face masks, a discarded hedge cutter and a pile of broken children’s toys.
The news tells us that the pandemic is peaking here in the United Kingdom.
I see graphs and charts and explanations of numbers. Beautiful graphics and animations. A huge moving virus. If it was that big, I’d be able to avoid it (like my washing pile).
The dead are numbers, on a chart. Wavy lines that ascend and now, like a roller coaster, are plummeting down and down.
School work is proving hard to negotiate. Everyone is having the same issue, we just have to be patient but that’s hard too when you’re not sure what you need to be doing.
It’s like being cast adrift right now. I’m sure we’ll find our new normal but right now we’re a bit lost.
Emotions are pressure cooker high and they need releasing. Sometimes you just need to cry, that’s okay you know?
Because quite frankly it’s really rubbish right now. You may insert a stronger expletive if necessary.
The dry weather we have had since the middle of March has no sign of letting up. We are no strangers to rain in Swansea, I have often joked that a day without rain is indeed a drought around these parts.
Spring has unfolded itself, pretty much rain free and the longer days and warm sunshine have made this lock-down feel most surreal.
The dry streets, now littered with plastic don’t feel like Wales. There are few puddles. The grass is growing, the trees have leaves again and there is blossom.
The birdsong is easier to hear with less cars on the road and the jackdaws flock on the rooftops in full nesting fever. There isn’t a chimney around here without a battle of black wings and chattering.
Just the humans, locked up, safe from the world.
Dog has noticed I’m up and has come out for a sniff.
Television off very quickly as news shows a higher death total.
Before you leave the house, wash your hands. When you get back, wash your hands. Remove your gloves and face mask, (if you’ve been wearing some) and bin.
You have probably wondered by now should you be wearing something to cover your mouth when out. The advice is that it’s either a brilliant idea or it makes it worse. The science delves into the various materials and their uses. I’ve seen various masks and they are becoming a normal sight in the supermarket along with gloves, I think that’s a post in itself…
If you go out for your essential shopping, go alone. Stand two metres apart. By all means strike up a conversation through the face mask, it’s all in the eyebrows see?
When out for your daily exercise with dog, if you see someone approaching, walk on the road. If they don’t move out of the way mutter an apology or a quick greeting just in case they didn’t understand (not that they didn’t by now but you never know).
Did I mention wash your hands?
Another day in.
Been anywhere nice?
I went up the greenhouse, poked at some seeds, sewed some more just in case knowing they’ll all come at once again but you never know…
Laundry basket was over flowing again so I rammed another wash in the machine.
Bumble bees were ginormous in the garden, did you know they were queens? I didn’t. Evie read somewhere that you only see the queens this time of year. These ones are black with red fluffy bottoms, I have no idea how they manage to fly being so huge.
The police helicopter has been hovering too above the houses for an hour this afternoon, the scream of police sirens in the distance made it all feel quite normal (well for the area I live in it did).
The week before I fell ill and the subsequent lock-down, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t function, I felt I was frozen, like you do when faced with a big task but you have no idea where to start so you just sit there, frozen. I had lots to do but I just couldn’t knuckle down, I was restless and annoyed with everything. The news made me scared, now the death numbers become a daily thing and the news has done a full u-turn and is trying to remind us that these are people.
And now I am again, frozen to the washing basket.
Darks or whites first?
Got Evie to trim my hair as it’s fast growing, I think she did a marvellous job and I’m now going to tie it back for another *six months.
*by then hopefully we’ll see the hairdressers open again.
There was a mass singing of the Welsh National anthem tonight at eight o clock, everyone was to stand on their doorsteps and sing for Wales and all key workers.
I bellowed it out at only a key that humpback whales and sonar can understand.
To everyone else it was painful and very annoying but I think the whole street appreciated my efforts.
I feel better now.
Weirdest Easter Sunday ever. Evie shook her head while removing a rather lovely large chocolate egg from it’s cardboard home.
I think that sums up the last month Evie.
Very, very weird.
I can’t articulate more than that today as a mini fog has set up camp in my brain leaving all household tasks half done or very badly done. I look like the hedge monster and I haven’t even drunk a full cup of tea today.
I’ve sat on the sofa being slowly licked by the dog for an entire film and not moved.
My walk with dog this evening was weird, There was falling paper in the air, coming from an evening bonfire. Fluttering around me as I walked, still smoking.
The cat we saw up the lane was weird, all lion like and bright ginger. It looked at me like the Cheshire Cat would, I swore it grinned at me (or maybe that was the whiff of marijuana in the air from an open window up the street).
I took two attempts to draw my drawing tonight.
Ah this fog can go do one, send me a breeze please.
Sky for miles, air was fresh.
Can see a little bit of sea where the docks are.
No cars at all so me and dog walked down the middle of the road.
Was a lovely walk until I got nearer to home and saw most of Swansea police parked up outside a house attending an incident. All masked and gloved up and very serious. The news headline entered my mind of a forty year old mother apprehended for walking down the road with her dog illegally and it made me laugh.
Dream on Angie.
Oh well. Never a dull moment eh?
Was very much looking forward to my turn to do the weekly shop this week. I was up and dressed ready to go at eight o clock this morning my bags ready and my shopping list written.
Even so, the queue was quite large when I pulled up at the supermarket. Most people, this time wore face masks and gloves. There was still a good variety of age groups, elderly included. The rule of one in, one out of the shop was being adhered to and the neatly sprayed lines on the floor let us all fall into our respected distances as we waited in the car park. People sat in cars as the rule of one person per shop is strictly enforced by the security on the door.
It didn’t take me long to enter the shop and once in, I hurried round with my list and was done quite quickly so I joined the nicely spaced queue. My day was going okay, my shop was a good one, I’d got everything I needed, I would return a food hero and save the day with crisps, bananas and flour (amongst other sensible things).
Unlike the woman who decided to jump the queue with only her four bouquet of flowers in her basket. Bright and cheery and completely inedible.
No matter if you use social media or not, the message is pretty clear right now. We leave the house once a week for essential food shopping.
Flowers? Oh dear.
She’d jumped the queue for starters so the gentleman in front of me let rip in no uncertain terms as where she could place her behind in the queue whilst glowering at the cheery flowers. If the supermarket checkout lady could have killed flowers with her eyes, that would have been the moment.
As I drove out of the car park she was hurriedly packing her bunches of cheery posies whilst a furious masked woman (who had broken her place in the queue), gesticulated at her little load of flowers. Through her mask the words screeched that those weren’t going to feed anyone and making sure the entire car park knew of her cardinal sin.
I presumed they were for graves for Easter Weekend but I hope she realised the cemeteries were shut for now and her flowers, although well meant, won’t meet their intended destination and will stay cheery in her house whilst she’ll have to face the queue again for her actual food shop.
In other news, the lock-down has been extended and the sun is warmer than ever today.
Myles attached an old plant pot with an old viking shield to make a basket ball hoop onto the side of my studio today.
Gruff has not stopped all afternoon. Evie and Millie have played with it too.
Within the course of the afternoon various toys experienced the joy of being hurled through the hoop and being fished out of the compost heap (which is to the side of my studio).
Gruff is now filthy from fishing things out of the compost heap and his feet are black from being barefoot all day.
The laughter and cackles were wonderful to hear.
Head full of headlines and frustration.
Social media full of new experts and opinions that make my head spin.
I should be sleeping now but I’m not.
Fourth week inside now and the cold screen of my mobile at three o clock in the morning is full of the same headlines the World over. My stomach left the building two hours ago and I’m not sure when it’s coming back.
Nothing I can do.
Stay home, stay safe but stay sane?
I hope so.
It’s not Christmas day.
We don’t have presents or a roast Turkey.
No tree with decorations.
But the Queen’s on the telly so be quiet I want to listen, this is historic, she doesn’t normally do this.
Who’s turn is it to make the tea?
I want a bourbon biscuit with that please.
The sun was beaming through the windows this morning.
Gruff and myself were up early. We’re both early risers so the pair of us tinker about (him with the animals, me with coffee), before the rest of the house wakes up.
Some school writing briefly with his bright red pen and then out into the garden where he has made a comfy chair for himself in the sunshine.
He hasn’t been outside for a few weeks now. I know we have the garden but it makes me feel sad when I think that the last time he was outside in the world was at school with all his friends.
My news is getting microscopic, its not important to anyone else but me but some things have the potential to send me into a full on flappy hands artist’s rant.
I got the rage this morning because Myles put the forks in the cutlery draw upside down again.
The cat ate half a mouse and left me the head godfather style this morning.
I put a dark sock in the white wash and failed to spot it. Grey is in okay.
Someone put their socks in the dirty washing basket in a sock ball, this is not okay when there are five pairs of feet in the house, this is very, very annoying.
I drew another picture on the pavement outside the front of the house. It’s now looking very colourful outside our house, I really thought it would have rained by now but it has stayed dry. This lock-down has brought us sunny dry weather, unusual for March and April in Swansea.
So yes I’ve just drawn myself drawing my drawing. I’m confused too.
Hey you, the Health care worker. (Please feel free to send this to someone who might need this today).
Hey you with the sad face.
I see you.
Long hours without end.
I’d love to make you a cup of tea and make you laugh.
But I can’t so here I go again outside my front door and send you angel hugs and rainbows.
What time is it?
What day is it?
I don’t know. I really had to look on a calendar to see it was Friday.
Apologies for apocalyptic look, it’s trending right now but us mums did it first.
We did our weekly shop today, Myles went this time, he tried a large supermarket but turned around when he saw the queues of people and trolleys.
He went to a smaller one instead and came back victorious with chocolate, crisps, pop, some vegetables and pot noodles. Other sensible things were bought but those are, (let’s face it) the ones that are getting us through this time inside.
Just like last week, at eight o clock in the evening, the whole street opened their doors and stood at the entrance of their houses and clapped and cheered for the amazing men and women who are doing such an amazing job in the face of this pandemic. In the silence of the early evening, the claps carried from all around the area while someone released their stash of fireworks and a passing moped squeaked a little beep.
To the healthcare workers, the doctors, nurses, surgeons, cleaners, the porters, the ambulance drivers, the armed forces. Thank you.
The shelf- stackers, the checkout people, the workers in the stores keeping us fed. Thank you.
The butchers and green grocers, the factory workers, the postie who sees me in my pj’s every morning (sorry)
The wonderful teachers who must be missing their children, even the naughty ones.
The care home workers, the respite workers I see you working so hard with so little and such long hours. Thank you.
The vets and charities working without end right now.
You have our gratitude, love and admiration.
A handy and slightly funny guide to surviving lock-down with a lot of children and animals in your house.
Yes my longest title yet but forgive me, it accurately describes the current battle for space in our house. It’s a bit of a squeeze with three kids, cat traffic and random sleeping dog. (who I have tripped over three times today).
Myles is in the back room working from home so he claims that room.
The front room is where the television is and is occupied by Gruff and Evie within minutes of them waking in the morning. There is you -tube played on repeat right now and I hope you can relate to the despair I feel when Britain’s Got Talent bloopers, or You-tube road blocks tutorials are played on back to back loops. Or when the tablet gets pulled out for a game to be played on full volume to appreciate the ambience.
But I appreciate we all have different ways of relaxing.
So yes, I have resorted to headphones and may I say how blooming wonderful they are. My little bit of space created with podcasts, playlists and random heavy metal throughout the day.
Snacks are bought with the weekly shop but are now seen as a challenge to devour as soon as possible so I have smuggled a few nice ones to a higher cupboard which require more of a Mission Impossible way of thinking to get to. I like to think I’m helping their ingenuity as the cupboard gets moved every few days to keep everyone on their toes.
We still eat at the table every evening. New topics of conversation have dried up a bit so we play the “Where have you been today ” game. Riveting and exciting, do you know someone actually went upstairs today? We were spellbound. My trip to the supermarket last week was met with so much excitement.
And if all else fails and you want a bit of “me time?”
Get out the vacuum cleaner. Clears a room in seconds, just don’t forget to leave it running just in case anyone thinks you’ve finished…
Not going out again, ah well, good old sofa it is then. Move over, don’t spill your tea and get the dog off the sofa please.
New one this week.
Some colour on the grey pavement outside our house.
Not many around either so I managed to do the self isolation and exercise very productively. The pavement isn’t as nice to draw on as the stone slabs outside the house but I’ve managed. My neighbours are looking through their windows. They tell me by the time this is up, they hope the whole area will be covered.
Sue was a person that lit up a room with her lovely, smiley face. She wore her kindness like a large fluffy, feather boa. It wrapped you up with warmth whenever you’d talk to her.
She was a classy, sassy, lovely lady and she was my friend.
Sue wore her long blonde hair up in a high bun and tied it back with a braided hairband.
She wore a lovely shade of bright coral lipstick.
Although Swansea it is in short supply of the sun (which she loved), she provided the sunshine on rainy days.
Sue was a nurse and a carer too. I never heard her moan about her work or her life. She simply took what joy she could and gave it back a hundred fold.
I will never forget your kind heart and your beautiful hugs.
And I think the world needs to hear how kind and lovely you were.
So if you are reading, know this beautiful lady’s name and raise a drink for her.
You will be missed by many.
The World is in captivity, closed in, shut down, no go.
We will paint Rainbows in our windows.
We will plant seeds in our gardens.
We will thrive on ten cups of tea a day and that forgotten pack of bourbon biscuits at the bottom of the draw in the kitchen.
We will watch the news on repeat, looping around until the information spills back out the other ear.
We will wonder what day it is, even though it isn’t Christmas.
We will stop buying.
We will stop.
Came outside and stood on the doorstep with my coffee this morning.
Just the wind and an army of jackdaws claiming chimneys for nests.
The clocks have moved forward for springtime, it feels pointless. I hardly know what day it is, a bit like Christmas holidays when you’re all stuck in the house but with less chocolate, more cabin fever and a nasty virus pandemic sweeping the globe.
The death toll has risen again this morning.
I sip my coffee and wonder where I’ve put my hairbrush.
So currently we are allowed to only leave the house for essential supplies and as infrequently as possible. One person is allowed to go. If you are over seventy years of age, you are told to stay in the house for the next twelve weeks and also if you are in certain medical at risk groups.
We managed to leave it a week so it was time to go to the supermarket, I picked my local one nearest to the house. List in hand I waited behind newly laid strips of stripey sticky tape laid out a two metre intervals in the car park.
I wore some plastic gloves, the woman in front of me wore a face mask. Another woman shouted at her young daughter to stop running up to people.
Somewhere up the line, a man coughed and everyone took a step back at the same time.,
A security guard waited outside and as one person left the shop, one was let in. It was a mixed queue of people, from women with prams and babies to elderly people. I had no judgement of these people, I am sure they all had their reasons to be here today and we all waited for our turn to go into the shop.
The shop was quiet and calm, I moved around with my basket putting in my shopping. Tins were in short supply as was bread but there was plenty of food for me to cook with and I certainly hope the panic buying has passed now as there are now strict guidelines on how many items we can buy.
The roads were quieter than I have ever seen today.
The sun still shone.
The death toll rose again.
I drove home and washed my hands.
Tonight up and down the whole of the United Kingdom, we all came out of our doors and showed our love and appreciation for the people who are caring for us during this awful time.
Up and down our road and in the silence of Swansea right now I heard claps and shouts of well done. It was the most incredible sound.
We all clapped for the people who put their lives at risk on a daily basis, the doctors, nurses and surgeons and people of the NHS.
For the porters, the health care workers, the carers, the nursing home attendants, the ambulance drivers to the admins, the receptionists and the cleaners.
For the supermarket checkout people, the shelf stackers, the lorry drivers, the people we see every day that take no credit at all as it is their job.
We clap for you all and we know your names tonight.
Well I can’t go out but I can still draw.
This post is dedicated to all our friends in work who are on the frontline.
You have our gratitude, admiration and love.
I will see all my lovely friends again after all of this and I will be buying the drinks.
Today was the first day the whole country was locked down with the new measures to control the spread of Covid 19.
Powers have been brought in to prevent us from going out unless for essential supplies of food, medicine and fuel.
I woke early, just before six o clock. The birds were singing loudly before it dawned on me that I couldn’t hear rush hour starting on the road outside.
Alongside the lockdown, weddings are being postponed as to prevent gatherings of people.
My neighbour, who makes wedding cakes, left me a gift outside our house.
After a brief knock, we opened our door to see a large white box inside which contained a large, white wedding cake.
There was much excitement as we carved into the giant cake as the slices were enormous and very delicious.
Also sadness that for now, we all remain separate while we wait for the virus to peak.
My evening walk tonight was even quieter than last night. Hardly any traffic on our street lined with terrace houses and neatly stacked recycling bags of tins and bottles and grass cuttings from today’s lawn mowing. A broken mower has been dumped outside one house, its electrical cord hanging, severed after a mishap when someone decided looking the other way to the electric mower would be okay.
The electronic billboard wasn’t working tonight and I was glad not see the Covid 19 symptom advert. There has been news saturation for me today. Too many people still flocking in groups to enjoy the beautiful spring sunshine and infecting each other amid images of Italian and Spanish hospitals.
Tonight the easterly wind moves up the main road free from cars and carries the scent of fire from the hill over the valley. As the hill looms into view, the huge fire burning looks eerily beautiful and I take time out to watch the flames and smell the air.
My walk brings me to our local play park which has today been sealed up with red stripey tape and a notice.
The parks are closed in the city as of today to prevent the spread of the virus. The council says it is because the virus lives on metal and surfaces and therefore children are likely to spread it when they play outside.
My throat still hurts from last week but I feel well and the children are well which is a relief. We played in the garden today as our world became even smaller around us.
First time shopping after being in quarantine for a week and the world’s gone bonkers.
Queued to get in the supermarket this morning before it opened. People stood there coughing, sneezing and talking.
Once the shop opened a tense huddle formed at the opening of the shop as people politely but hurriedly grabbed their trolleys and baskets and rushed with quiet pace around the store.
I bought coffee, fruit and some croissants. I looked at the spaces on shelves where there were tins and couldn’t for the life of me remember what was there before.
I still forgot what I came in for too.
But I’m not going back for a few days.
I’m walking the dog later at night so I can stay away from people.
I noticed a new electronic billboard being installed the other night. The first adverts are ringing out the message.
It is here and it is spreading so very fast.
We are in a new world right now. The new buzzwords are self-isolation, quarantine and death toll.
My children are making rainbows to put in the window today as the sun shines and the death toll mounts.
I am mam.
Made by tiny fingers and hearts of love.
Sobs of sleeplessness and sicky shoulders.
Mountains of washing, crayons and food on the floor.
I am mam.
And they made me.
This is my view when I stand on my doorstep and look out. There are rows of stone terrace houses, there are fast moving clouds in the blue sky today but there are no aeroplanes flying.
The air feels fresh with a hope of spring.
I can hear the bus coming up the steep hill. Plenty of people on it too, I hope they’re keeping their distance (but also I hope they’re talking to each other too).
There are dandelions growing by my feet ready to flower.
I can see a bumblebee flying by, it’s a whopper, (god knows how that manages to fly) and Bonnie (my dog) wants to snap at it.
This is my view of my world. It’s become an awful lot smaller recently due to us self isolating.
What is your view? What do you see? Is is nice? Is it busy? Is it ugly? What do you hear? What do you smell? Tell me, let’s talk. Let’s make the world bigger for a bit. Doesn’t matter how small, if you mopped the floor today I want to hear it.
I lost my temper today. The type where your fingers shake. The reason wasn’t anything to do with my family nor anything that had happened in the house.
As we are self isolating, we are all in the house so the telephone call I was making was overheard by everyone and repeated to me word by word afterwards by my kids who thought Mam had handled herself admirably.
I tried to stay calm but a single sentence during this phone call sparked a fury in me that even surprised myself and I’m ashamed to say I erupted and hit the roof.
There really was no justification for my outburst so I removed myself upstairs and I tried my best to do some yoga. The cat cuddles from Renee helped more today but It was nice to do some flows and calm down.
Keeping active is important to me and has helped enormously over the years to help me and has evolved into me realising I am capable of so much more (but that’s a whole other blog).
We had a meat delivery today from a local butcher so we have food again and we are stretching out what we do have. It saddens me to hear that the panic buying is continuing. We all need to eat but we all need to get a little more inventive right now with what we have.
I’m quite down right now but I’m sure five minutes of dog licking my face will snap me out of it.
The kids are great and very positive, I’m very proud but I think today I’ve let my positive crown slip. Tomorrow will be better.
We can’t go out. We can’t go to the shops.
I’ve got food in and we can cook.
But it really involves not going out.
Self isolation is four walls and many faces of boredom, many times a day.
Read a book, draw something, mam’s got a raging headache and a face like a tomato.
There’s no school today.
We can’t go out darling because I’m not well.
That means we have to stay in just in case, to make sure we don’t make anyone else ill.
It will be ok, Mam is just a bit sick and I’ll be better soon.
And you will be ok too. We have to make sure no one else gets ill so the shops may be shut for a bit.
It will be ok.
They see me rollin.
But what they don’t know
Is that the virus is not in your
It’s in your chesticles.
I wanted to
but the only
with it is
And that’s a bit shit.
So that’s it.
I did wash my hands!
But there we are. I’m sweating one minute, cold the next. Throat is swollen, glands are sore and head feels full of cotton wool.
And I’m so very, very grumpy.
So we’re washing our hands at every opportunity as we’ve been told to.
Shops have been stripped of painkillers, soap and bog roll.
Just come off the phone to my elderly 90 year old neighbour.
I was asking if she needed anything from the shops as you do.
Imagine if we all did that? All of us picked one elderly neighbour who was on their own and asked if they needed anything. Because it’s going to matter a whole lot more in the next few months when they cant get to the shops because they’re too ill to or because they have no bog roll or paracetamol because someones’ bought it all.
So I’m appealing to you, the person who filled up your trolley with toilet roll and pasta in the supermarket. I want you to redeem yourself and pop round to Bob at no 42 and see if he needs anything. Take a few rolls of your precious bog roll with you and see him alright.
That is what will make a difference rather than this utter selfishness I’ve seen over the last week. Do better, please.
“I have something for you mum” are words that every parent knows are laced with a few meanings.
The first is innocent and lovely, probably a little handful of daisies or a hug.
The second, however, is something unwanted, sinister and must be approached with extreme caution and cynicism.
“Oh yes?” comes my reply (raised eyebrow). I am the master after years of being tricked, poker face is on and braced for impact,
And there they are in my hand, a scrunched up pile of months and months of school letters, casually handed over without a single drop of sweat shed.
Months of letters.
Suppose it could have been a slug or a dead spider.
Puberty one end, menopuase the other. Both made better by hugs.
I don’t want my children to have the same experience I had, we talk and we laugh about things and how rubbish hormones are. We slam doors and shout and cry. It’s good to.
I can’t protect them from the outside world though and it stinks that my daughter is constantly questioned over her decision to have short hair.
She’s twelve and she’s having to already fend off questions about appearance.
I tell her sometimes people just aren’t ready for fabulous but to carry on anyway and to be just so.
If you have a stroppy teen in your house, remember how much it hurt to be that age, it sucks majorly and you as mum are there to keep them going until they are ready to be a big person.
Until then, hold fast and try not to think about the hormonal plughole that you’ve become.
Had a very loud thunderstorm last night. Ended up with a shivering 30kg wreck on me for the rest of the night…
So to continue from my recent post about the starlings in my road, may I introduce our next individual.
This fearless ball of feathers can normally be heard most of the year round.
But come January the showing off starts. My current robin redbreast has inflated himself to the size a tennis ball and is rampaging from wooden post to branch, telling everyone this is his garden. His bright red chest breaking up any happy gathering of sparrows or blue tits.
He’s not quite worked out the new streetlight we have either and can be heard singing at midnight on a late night sing off with another street robin. I’m not sure that’s any good burning the candle at both ends.
Don’t cramp the robin’s style, that little bird is a born show off.
What I tell my little ones as they drag themselves into Monday.
Anything else can wait.
Anything else is just that.
I’m dedicating January to the birds that come to my garden. I have no exotic varieties, just your average Joes of the bird world but to me they are wonderful and they think I’m great right now as I’ve hung three brand new feeders from my studio in an attempt to encourage more into my little urban garden.
My house is part of a Victorian terrace built by the miners and their families 150 years ago. A descendent lives a few doors up and says that they were built to house the families who kept chickens and grew their food here.
Fast forward a century or so and the city has grown around these houses and the mines have gone. But the wildlife is still here, hanging on and adapting to the pace of life and the endless rain.
Today’s post is in salute to the starlings that frequent my garden. Sleek and noisy little birds. Starlings are wonderful mimics of sound. They will copy what they hear and repeat it back with relish. Well you can imagine that Swansea is a feast for these little flocks of sound machines. From car alarms, mopeds to mobile phones it is never ever quiet around here and these little birds congregate on the telephone lines in the winter and belt out their whistle and chirps.
In deepest January they are most welcome to strip my feeders, tease my chickens and entertain me in my studio to a Swansea mega mix of noise. Demolishing fat balls within ten minutes and then entertaining me with their sound effects.
One summer morning you could hear the noise of a single alarm clock coming from an open window, within seconds, the voices of twenty alarm clocks were ringing out over the rooftops and telephone wires.
There’s magic in drawing. Not sure how it works but it’s made me stop in my tracks today.
I painted this about 15 years ago, long before Gruff was born.
We were tidying up his room today, so we dusted it down and cleaned it up.
We were laughing as he asked me did I paint this for him (as it looks exactly like him right now).
It has always been in his room on his shelf.
I said well how could I?
I loved the idea of a gangly, little boy with messy hair, running so fast like a cheetah. I like to draw animals, I always have.
Here he is in my house, today. My little running bean who loves to run.
A little mix of my best bits at Christmas.
I wish you all a peaceful time and remember kindness is always better than a plateful of sprouts.
Been laid up ill with flu. That was fun. Somehow it’s now Christmas and I’m in headless chicken panic mode.
A poem I made.
I had some wine,
It went to my head,
And off I went,
early to bed.
Cwtch is a Welsh word. It means cuddle.
And cats all over the world know exactly what it means when it’s cold and there is a warm lap waiting to sleep in.
I’m under attack from a little, black, permanently ravenous cat.
(Not that she’s been put on a diet by the vet or anything for being a bit chunky).
I think the girls out did themselves this year. Evie’s wig was spectacular and Renee worked that Halloween cat vibe like the sassy puss she is. Millie ever resplendent as a 1920’s flapper girl.
(Wondering how long that feather will last with two cats in the house though).
Organised? I laugh in the face of organised and bring you morning anarchy!
I’ve just been looking through all my drawings on Doodlemum. There’s so many now. (2285 posts so at least that many drawings so far). It’s really made me quite proud I’ve kept going.
Anyhow, Evie has now turned twelve so here’s an Evie montage of my beautiful, sassy, fiery book monster!
Enjoy this selection of drawings of her over the years.
Angie bakes six layers of different coloured sponge cake and leaves them to cool on the kitchen counter.
Renee cat comes along and takes a nibble out of EACH layer.
A) The level of swearing from Angie at the discovery of nibbled cake.
B) The exact percentage of remaining cake.
C) The exact amount of extra buttercream needed to cover the nibbled cake.
D) The amount of tea needed to calm Angie down.
In comes the herd of arms, legs. noise, bags and school letters. Remove shoes with a lovely hands free manoeuvre only children can do with carefully bought school shoes.
Some days are longer than others. Some days have seen homework disasters and others brilliantly funny things involving a protractor, a frog and a how so and so from the other class thinks something that is so stupid.
And hit the sofa with a biscuit of triumph.
And Mum’s head spins.
There are morning people and there are people who shouldn’t see morning at all.
It’s autumn, it’s lashing down with rain outside. Curl up with a good book and get lost somewhere.
Yes I have the knitting pattern right here. Use for your cats, use for yourself, knit millions and take over the planet with little woollen puffs. Knit kitty puffs, knit chickie puffs, knit lion puffs, raid your wool stash and get knitting.
The pattern is very easy and quick so great for beginners.
You don’t need much materials, a small amount of wool, if you have to change colour half-way through, great, your puff will look even better.
Get an old pillow and take out the stuffing, stuff with some cat-nip for very happy pusses.
Cast on 18 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4 : Purl
Rows 5-20 (repeat rows 1 and 2 8 times)
Row 21 : [K2TOG] across row – 18 stitches
Row 22 : Purl
Row 23 : [K2TOG] across row – 9 stitches
Cut your wool leaving a very long end. Thread the end into a needle and go back through the last 9 stiches left. Pull tight. Face the right sides of your puff together and sew up the seam until you reach the original cast on stitches.
Turn back out so the right sides are facing back out.
Stuff your puff.
Sew up the cast on edge with a running stitch so it creates a flat edge. You can get creative here and try and pull up little ears if you want. Doesn’t matter if your puff looks strange. You cat will still adore it.
Sew on a nose with a different colour wool and a mouth.
Sew on eyes.
Leave somewhere for your cat to stare at it for days until four am in the morning when you will hear the happy yowling of a cat with it’s puff.
Just so I’ve kept you in the loop. Renee was adopted by us last year shortly after saying goodbye to her kittens who had also gone off to loving homes.
Renee had just been spayed and was calling for her babies for a few nights before she settled down and enjoyed the life of a pampered, happy puss.
One night, we heard an almighty yowling (similar to an air raid claxon). In she marched with one of Evie’s *kitty puffs in her mouth, gently placed it on the floor and went back to find another one. At this point, we all came to the same conclusion.
We gave her all the puffs we had.
Last nights puff activity was off the chart. Howling galore from Renee. We woke to puffs outside our door, on the stairs, in the sink, in Bonnie’s crate, one even found it’s way inside a wellington boot.
Renee, is now busy sleeping off her antics ready for tonight’s mass movement of puffs.
*Kitty puffs, for your information, are little balls of knitted wool, stuffed with stuffing and have sown on eyes and a nose. They are my idea in response of Evie asking me to knit something fluffy and cute. They come in various colours (whatever is in my stash of wool) and I think I’ve knitted at least over a hundred over the years for various children as they are very cute and totally squidge-able…anyway…I’m digressing….
Evie has a box.
Not just any old box.
It’s a box of happy things.
So when things get bad or sad.
She pulls the box down off the shelf and looks through it.
The box changes throughout the year.
(I think there’s a few conkers in there right now).
Sometimes mum sneaks in some chocolate…
There’s a bar of soap too as it smells lovely.
There’s fluffy and shiny things.
Small things of wonder that when picked up, replace sadness or worry with smiles.
What would be in your box?
So Renee and Miya have decided to “allow” Bonnie upstairs.
We didn’t know this was happening as Bonnie would slink off downstairs as we were stirring.
It was a 2am trip to the toilet that they were all rumbled, happily snoozing on the landing.
So my mornings now look like this. I really don’t need an alarm clock and there’s one animal per child to wake up with purrs or licks.
…coming in from the rain and sitting on my sketchbook! Quite an authentic, collaborative drawing tonight.
Millie and Evie joined millions of children across the world today to send a message that it is time for a change.
They made their own sign and took an alarm clock to ring out at one o’ clock.
The turnout was wonderful, so many school children came to make their stand for our beautiful planet.
Well done to all the children who protested today.
I hope the world is listening.
A drawing a day keeps the cobwebs flowing in my house.
Your inboxes have been a bit empty recently.
Expect it to get very, very busy.
I’ve knitted little round cats for my guys to play with but Renee has officially moved in and adopted them as her surrogate “kittens”. I’ve never seen a cat do this before. She’ll call to them, pick them up and distribute them randomly around the house. Some have even found their way in this fine weather, out in the garden.(But they are always brought in for night time). Her favourite is the largest, knitted with a very fluffy wool and with blue eyes.
Evie started her transition week for high school today. I remember drawing about her first adventures in school when I first started the blog.
And now there she is off to new ones.
And I’m reaching for the higher strength glasses to draw about it.
Animals find humans who will help them. I’ve had many over the years. From a little sparrow up to a horse and her foal. (I don’t know what I’d do with anything bigger so if there are any elephants reading this, please consider, I live in quite a small house ok?)
Some I’ve saved and some have passed on.
Last night was brief and brutal.
A soggy, trembling wreck slipping away but in a terrible state.
She purred as I picked her up, warmed her up and dried her off.
She’d come to die and we knew it.
Later on the that evening, I went to bed and turned off the lights. One of my cats brushed softly against my legs at the foot of my bed. She had sneaked in (as she does most nights) so I gently laughed and asked her how she’d got in.
I switched on my light to see where she was only to find an empty room.
I think I was being thanked.
Once upon a time, there was a magic laundry basket.
Whatever you put in it, would multiply ten fold overnight.
Until a wicked witch stuffed it with Semtex and detonated it.
And then everyone celebrated with gin.