October is here with it’s greywash.
I have been playing hokey cokey with the rain and the washing.
I love this game so much.
I lost. (A rogue shower flew in and dumped a car wash worth of water in two minutes).
I’m not drawing my face as you can guess the shape of it.
Queen Elizabeth the second died last Friday.
She’s currently lying in state in London. The queue to see her coffin is currently a couple of miles long. I don’t think you can go twice or perhaps you can (if you forgot to say something the first time around or if you left your coat I suppose). Her state funeral is on Monday and everything is closing for the day. A national bank holiday. No school, no work, nothing will be open.
My kids tell me it feels like lockdown is coming. It’s only for a day I say, it’s ok, the world will continue at breakneck speed the next day.
Books of condolence have been opened around the United Kingdom and online to write in.
I’d rather draw a picture. But then, I always did.
Even through lockdown and beyond.
Find me a phrase that drives up emotions in you like this one does, go on, have a try.
Then add in that you are young, with those said emotions.
A backpack, new shoes, and a dread so deep that it still wakes you up twenty years or so later in a cold sweat and a racing heart.
Now we are talking the stuff of nightmares. But then we realise, it was all a dream and we laugh at how it used to be. The relief is wonderful.
I don’t have to go to school any more!
And then we drop our own children off as the leaves gather colour.
I see you brave ones who hate school. Draw pictures in every exercise book. Day dream in maths lessons of better days. Draw on your arms in biro, draw on your rulers, on your rubbers, (stick holes in it too). Draw of robots and lasers, draw that evil student that hates you with a big asteroid plummeting towards them. Draw that teacher that shouted at you in the classroom being chased by a hungry minotaur. Draw of superheroes and villains and gather stories that make you snort aloud in the middle of French because it contained farting noises (and something awful in the dinner queue with a cheese and onion sandwich).
Draw it all and hold fast.
Just one woman with a pen and a sketch book who still really doesn’t have a clue how she thinks of the world. I guess that’s real honest drawing, I’ll figure it out. I always have perceived my world through these lines. Mistakes after mistakes. Processing and redrawing. I drew Bonnie after six goes, it helped me to do so.
On difficult days the only way for me to process events is to draw. A language in itself of sense.
I’m deeply grateful for all your well wishes regarding Bonnie’s passing, you’re all in it with me, some of you for ten years now. It’s not the Never Ending story though, it’s my life on concrete streets and there’s no dragons I’m afraid.
Just this cat who really is going to be the death of me. I make no apologies for the anatomical mess in this drawing, I will look like that if she gets me one day. Much love.
All tennis balls have been marked safe today. All socks and fluffy toys. All annoying spaniels. All cats and chickens too. Sausages have been marked safe today. Grass is less yellow, there is less hair and no mugs of tea have been knocked over.
You were the good girl.
There is a crater were an almighty heart once beat.
Your long legs and huge ears, the pneumatic tail, the gaze of absolute, unconditional love right until the lights gently dimmed.
Goodbye my sweet, gentle giant.
I know you all know how I am happiest when I am drawing in my sketchbooks.
Bob came out of my sketchbooks so here’s a little gallery of how I developed the drawings from rough sketches.
She started quite wolf like. (Obviously my own dogs had a bit of a say here and Pat the Cat is looking a bit like Renee…) Bob is a very clever dog and I felt the best place to start was with a smart pair of pointy ears… I drew Bob doing awesome things. (predicting sunny weather in Wales is awesome ok?)
And then I tried making her legs shorter and her ears fluffier. There was lots of room for expression here. I gave Pat a white face so we could see her better.
And then I added some colour…
And then, make some roughs.
Bob isn’t any particular breed of dog, I didn’t want to draw a specific breed, I’m probably biased towards mixed breed dogs anyway haha but I like the fact you can’t tell what she is. She is simply Bob and rather brilliant at solving problems in her own way. Pat is along for the fun too, in her very cat like way, (there under your feet and then gone in a flash).
Hark at me getting the landscaping done in my garden.
Frannie is planning a moonscape (or dogscape) she hasn’t decided yet. It’s obviously going to have mostly two foot deep craters as Frannie loses interest and moves along to the next virgin patch of grass once she’s dug the thing. My ankles are really loving the new rugged terrain.
Another question. Why does the laundry pile grow in the spring? Because everyone has outgrown their clothes again and nothing fits so everyone throws out said clothes to be washed and for me to put it back once dry and the cycle continues…
Did I mention I’ve illustrated a book?
One of Renee’s many sleeping places is a little wicker basket on the landing. She likes it here very much as she can place all her knitted kitty puffs in one basket before a days screeching (carrying them all around the house and leaving them in random places).
This was a fine plan.
Until we got Frannie.
Stair gate is up but skinny necked pilferers do find a way.
Kitty Puff numbers have declined rapidly since the introduction / invasion of this blonde, dog tornado.
Renee is not impressed.
I need to knit more.
Sunday baggage check. Filmed too because it has been a while (because I’ve been up to something rather exciting).
The bottom of a school bag is never a pretty place. Don’t go there. If you’ve lost something in your bag, accept it’s loss, just stuff more books back on top. It will turn up in a few months with that old banana skin you forgot about.
Wet cat alert. Racing through the garden, scaling up the side of the house in sideways wind and rain and screeching at the window.
Now happily purring and drying off in a pile of clean, (was dry, is now not), laundry.
We got a tree!
Millie and myself chopped it down ourselves too and carried it off the hill.
Talking, laughing, wiping pine needles from our hair, our car filled to the brim with prickly branches and laughter.
I care not for mess, I care not for resentment, I care not for mistakes. I care about my children, growing up and becoming free.
And it is the most liberating experience watching them fly.
I am proud.
Job done good Mam.
Swansea is glowing. NASA have confirmed we are shining out to the universe a message of neon and tinsel through the endless, cold rain and wind. Even through the grey, permanent cloud that envelopes the city in a wet hug, we are shining. I haven’t tripped over in the dark all week, it’s lovely and bright.
Every plug socket, overloaded with nine cable extensions, of course it’s safe, they’re LED’s, plug it in Mam, light it up.
We are so bright, we are shining, come on then Santa we haven’t got all month you know, can’t you see we’ve been ever so good?
Now pass me a mince pie, no it is my first one, honest.
No not quite there with the coming back to me. In fact it’s a hilarious game of catch me if you can. Being a sight reactive dog is a tricky one to navigate as Frannie is very fast and there is no way I can catch her. Poor Bonnie is too old to join in and too busy sniffing out crisps to eat.
We get sneaky and cunning. We use sausages and chicken, we throw fluffy toys.
Today was a new tactic.
Keeping still and lying flat on the ground.
Click, back on the lead.
No really they’re not allowed up.
Not at all.
There is no dog here, I have no idea what you are talking about. It is simply a messy pile of cushions admiring the autumn sun streaming through very wonky blinds.
No dog here at all.
Yes Autumn is most definitely here. After a period of denial and a few weeks of early morning school starts, we can safely say we are on the downward slope of darker, wetter evenings.
But do not doubt the resilience of the people of Swansea to get their washing loads out on their scaffolding pole lines in between the showers and lob a beach ball over the back gardens while doing it.
You are just not living unless you are.
Come at us Autumn, we’ll get the bedding dried and folded in between your deluges.
Oh that phrase. Strikes anxiety into the hearts of every school child that didn’t think summer would ever end.
Like a guillotine for fun times and lie ins. The harbinger of Autumn.
Here come hard shoes and stiff trousers, time tables and breaktimes, packed lunches and P.E., assemblies and assessments. Gym hall smells and nippy mornings.
Heads down parents, morning battle has commenced, get on the road and growl at the morning traffic.
Lockdowns and isolation never stopped growing bones.
Obligatory family drawing to show that my clothes budget was grossly underestimated this year.
Gruff is saving all his growing for night time, coming downstairs in the morning, visibly taller.
It’s all change they say.
You’ll look back and wonder, where has the time gone?
A big fast moving blur just happened and we’re ten years on.
And then I see all the drawings and I smile.
Artistic snapchat, illustrative Instagram, whimsical facebook all in a little sketchbook and all from the day I’d lived.
Technology is indeed great and I love it too but there really is something lovely in looking at your day and picking out what mattered to you, what was funny, what was hurtful, what was just great and then detangling it through lines.
I hate socks right now. Who invented socks? Please show yourself and pair all these please.
That is all.
Humidity and thirty degree heat means one thing. Ice lollies, shade and fan on.
Frannie is being kept in as she has only one fast speed setting and Bonnie is setting a lovely example of a dead dog and sprawling her long bones wherever I seem to step.
Everything is sticky.
Swansea is baking hot today and our old stone terrace house has heated up lovely and is roasting us slowly.
Just like that, it’s over.
No more mornings at the gates.
I wasn’t allowed to take a photo and that’s quite fine as your mam would prefer to draw you anyway.
I’ll remember more that way.
But I would like to know who stole the years from me.
The last year in particular was a huge heist.
It’s a bit hard seeing a whole stadium full of football fans shouting for their teams on the television yet you can’t leave the house because there’s been a positive Covid case in your year at school.
Last week of school before the summer and it’s back to online learning with the cats.
Miya likes to come in through the roof window this time of year. Obviously as late as possible and normally making quite a racket as she plops onto the floor of the loft, startling Millie.
How does she climb up?
Well, she scales a stone garden wall and then leaps vertically up the side of our house to access the roof. Terrifying.
Both agree the swift show is wonderful and are very happy the sun is warmer and the clouds are bubbling high into the long, light evenings.
Pointy nose, perfect shape for sneaking in pockets.
We have a pocket thief and she loves tissues. Tissues are very nice and tasty, sweet wrappers are lovely too.
We have an eighteen year old in our house! A grown up!
Here’s to Millie Lion Heart. You are amazing, we all love you and are so proud of you.
When you run at one hundred miles per hour over broken glass it’s not going to have a great outcome.
Enforced rest and knocking over of everything for the next few days while the superglue and antibiotics mend those power pads then it’s back to flying.
The march of the dandelions and my dog is as relentless as the flying masks in the spring breezes.
The sun is coming back…well now, in a minute, as we say.
The first invitation for a vaccine has landed on our doormat.
Nearly a year in a new captivity, a new world of masks, home learning and fear of getting close.
A year of extremes.
A year that screens became the window to the world.
A year of superheroes in blue.
A year that saw my children grow out of their shoes and I didn’t need to replace them.
A year of insomnia and stars I didn’t know existed, early morning breath and bird song, dogs racing through discarded masks and gloves.
A year where the doorstep and the sky outside felt too big.
A year we are still here, lucky to continue, reluctant to move forward for fear of leaving behind that which we’ve lost.
The wind is bitingly cold today. Straight from the North Pole and very bitter it is. Flurries of snow in my face and my hair.
A boot full of food to last the next week, no end to the lockdown as yet but we all are holding our breath and hoping.
The house we live in was built around 150 years ago by miners and their families working in the area. That means that at one point. there were families in these very houses, going through the last pandemic of 1918 when a flu virus ravaged through the world and took out indiscriminately, from our communities.
Also a place of birth, I know Gruff wasn’t the only baby born in this house, there have been many births too. He arrived on a mid Tuesday morning cheered on by a small handful of midwives (and a few neighbours stood outside listening to my swearing).
I have dreamt of death a lot in the last year, of about people I have lost, often I have conversations in these dreams with these people and they are angry at me. I’ve got no idea why, (for probably talking too much?) In real life I have no idea what I would say as I would really rather dream about dogs or food or a nice day on a warm beach getting sunburnt.
They say death is an end, but also a beginning, and of better times ahead. I’m clinging on to that thought a little to much right now.
Covid infections are on the decline again, the roller coaster once more is slowing down.
There’s talk of the children being phased back into school throughout the next month.
My children are drained, they are bright, articulate individuals but they are deprived of their friends, the contact, the interactions, the conflicts.
They long for a nice day, without rain with some warmth and sand in their toes, not litter, discarded masks and gloves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One is mortified, one is delighted because they missed P.E.
And we wait. Again.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Very exciting day today.
I vacuumed the house.
I terrorised children, I sucked up lego and the cats hate me.
How was your day?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Fill me with coffee.
Keep it going.
Right to the top.
After a long sunny day, the old paving slabs out the front of the house stay warm throughout the evening, long after the sun has gone down.
It feels wonderful on your feet.
Myles’ brother left his house for the last time today.
Long steps, hat off, the funeral director bows his head. The hearse leaves the house slowly, slowly down the steep hill to a small ceremony of fifteen at the crematorium. There can be no more.
The escort of twenty Welsh Water vans and the children in their rugby shirts waving from the sunny streets.
Goodbye Hugh, Swansea turned out for you today.
Thank you for always reading my blog.
Heaven has a huge cheeseboard but don’t eat the chives, your Dad picked them.
Rest in peace.
Gruff loves maths, he loves numbers. He hates writing but loves to scrawl, (there’s hope there…)
Anyhow, the moment every great mathematician dreams of.
This particular problem to solve was four days of scribbling on sheets of paper, vast amounts of midget gems eaten and a refusal to give up.
I had no part in his struggle, I was kicked out of my studio.
He got there! What a moment.
This birthday is very different this year.
No party*, no shopping trip, no friends and not very many presents and a global pandemic. It’s a bit rubbish.
I promise you that the postman has got a bit lost and I’m sure that the present I ordered will be here very soon…
In the meantime, let me remind you how utterly lovely you are and how unique you are. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are many people on this planet but I got one of the very best the day you were born and I knew it (even though at the time I still didn’t know how to do your nappy, you always gave me the look that it would be alright).
I will always love you for being you.
*I did make a cake and so far the cat hasn’t eaten it.
I was going to write about the afternoon I spent in my greenhouse.
But Bonnie has beaten me with her enormous crater she dug that will fit all of the plants I’ve been growing in one go.
White feathers and white blossom in the air this morning.
It has been an awful week. The very worse.
The air is too heavy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
What I tell my little ones as they drag themselves into Monday.
Anything else can wait.
Anything else is just that.
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).
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.
There are morning people and there are people who shouldn’t see morning at all.
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.
Spent most of it trying to remove a pair of knickers that got rammed down the vacuum cleaner.
It’s time for GCSE revision. Time to revise for the exams that are looming fast after the Easter holidays. Time to focus on being something in the world that holds weight through a grade.
If you have a young person about to sit exams, remember to cut them some slack over the coming months. They have a lot going on in their heads to deal with and the best thing you can do as a parent is to be that wall for them to bounce off.
And don’t forget to tell them that this isn’t the end of the world, it’s just the beginning. Even if the sun is shining outside and they’re stuck in a stuffy exam hall, it will be over very soon.
Doodlemum book is six years old now!
Six years ago, a wonderful, extraordinary thing happened. Doodlemum got published in a book. Here you can see my grinning face as I signed my very first book for a friend. It felt wonderful.
So why was it extraordinary? Good question and if you have ever had the time to trawl your way back through the 2250 posts that I had placed drawings onto, you can see my journey from a shell shocked mum who just wanted to tell someone about how boring mopping the floor was.
I started Doodlemum as a way to cope with lots of things, and I still do use it as a means to talk about my funny, ordinary world in my way.
You see, when you write about things in your way, it becomes special. It grows arms and legs, pictures appear and stories happen. You stop caring about what others think and you run with your imagination and your pen.
Not only did my progress as an artist develop but my abilities and confidence did too. At the time I started the blog, I was quite depressed and very sleep deprived, there wasn’t much confidence there.
Today is a very different picture I am drawing, I have confidence in my own abilities but that doesn’t mean I go around shouting about it, I sit down and draw and write (and sometimes I do other extraordinary stuff but that will be a whole other blog that will be coming soon).
So happy book anniversary and please, whatever you do, always grab onto your dreams and if you can, run with them with all that you have because you never know where they will take you and it is always worth the risk.
Gumball decided she was off to bigger pastures this morning. Never nice when they go.
We go way back the moon and me. I’ve walked many times in the dark over the years when the moon has been high and bright in the sky.
One night, I walked up the garden in my pyjamas, clutching a howling newborn. The moonlight was a welcome distraction whilst I soothed my little bundle of noise.
Some nights, the sky has been filled with the noise of drunks singing, some nights have been filled with barking dogs and other nights, there was simply the whisper of trees and wind.
One full moon, I heard the shrieks of a tawny owl over a floodlit valley.
I’ve huddled under a bridge while the moon shone, hoping my problems would melt away but it just shone as close as it could to my crouching figure in the shadows.
And one time, I walked in despair, neither caring nor looking and the moon continued to shine.
Last night I walked in the cold, solstice, moonshine and it shone right through me and dog for our whole walk.
I was taking a walk with an old friend you see.
I’m sure there are many people taking a walk tonight to escape this time of year and I hope they find their answers under the moon or at least know they are not alone.
Wishing you all a peaceful time at mid winter. To moonlit nights.
New cat, how will this one fare with a nice, sparkly tree?
Answers on a postcard…