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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

Come sit with me.

I have too any words tonight to write. Too many emotions.

The end of May is here.

The trees are full of leaves, the breeze is cold today.

The nights are so light now, that dawn chorus is so early. Can’t be morning yet?

The news is full of outrage and retribution today.

Social media is the same.

It’s draining and pointless. There is no solution, not yet. There is talk of a vaccine and trials and an antibody test to be rolled out soon but nothing concrete.
I just want more of that mint chocolate from the cupboard but I’ve eaten the last square.

There’s a robin singing, I think it’s been singing all night under that new LED streetlamp.

It’s not two metres.

Thoughts when someone comes closer than the required two metres in the supermarket checkout queue.

You’re standing too close to my broccoli!

Get back! (outstretched arm, palm up for dramatic impact).

Please would you mind taking a step back.

Oh hi, I can see you’ve stepped over your two metre line, that’s interesting. Glares.

Please stop moving forward.

Where’s the fire?

Runs…

If you build it…they will come.

Here they come!

Invaders!

Defend at all costs.

(No cats were harmed in the defence of this splendid lounge den and much chocolate was consumed and squash drank).

How do you like your head in the morning?

Fill me with coffee.

Keep it going.

Right to the top.

Floats away.

Step outside.

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.

Good morning four walls.

There’s sorcery in coffee and vision in spectacles.

Combine the both and I transform from shadow to human.

Magic.

Ta daa.

Still life.

Nothing to see here.

The dawn chorus.

Sleep hits me when the birds start singing.

Might sleep in the garden, might sleep in a tree.

Might sleep.

Might not.

Can I have a coffee yet?

Let’s go to the park.

I watched a little boy scoot past today with his face mask on. Happy to be going to the park to play with his mum.

Are children going to play face masks in school history lessons and write about what it was like to stay in their houses?

What did you do in lock-down?

Discuss



Cat on a hot slate roof.

Mam. The cat’s on the roof!

Again?

Yes!

Goodbye.

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.


Evening song.

The walk was quiet tonight. My first steps outside today.

Tomorrow’s rubbish piled up outside each house. Black bags and pink plastic. Tonight’s litter dances around the empty streets in a happy scuttle, the ground is dry making for quick passage. Gloves, masks and cans of energy drinks race each other amongst the growing weeds.

The news is baffling, in England there is news of the lifting of restrictions but you’d need a code cracker to understand the words out of the Prime Ministers mouth. I don’t think anyone is the wiser right now.
Here in Wales, we are still grounded and we are still no go. There is still too much infection. The lock-down remains. We are allowed out twice a day, garden centres can re-open and fast food chains.
The shape of my cat with a squeaking mouse in her mouth can be seen leaping the walls of the back gardens in the evening sun.

That is not coming in the house.

Problem solved.

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.

Head in the clouds.

We might not be able to let our feet roam right now but our heads can soar in the clouds any time we like.
A book, a day dream, a song, a drawing, a tree that sways, the clouds that build in the sky, the birds that ride the wind, the perfume in the breeze from the blossom.

Float away and never feel the time is wasted because that is when your mind is truly free.

Remembering.

It’s the 75th anniversary of V.E. day today and there is bunting everywhere. The street behind us have all moved into their front gardens and are having a socially distanced street party. The music is thumping away and I hear laughter. There is an eager d.j. on a microphone and children laughing.

The sun has been shining all day, a light breeze and dancing seagulls in the sky.
Our road is a little busier so there is no sitting outside in the spring sunshine here.

I didn’t make bunting, I drew it on the pavement outside with chalk. Coloured arms and a smudgy face.

We don’t really feel like joining in.

Myles’ brother will be cremated next week. It was sudden and quick.
He didn’t get to say goodbye. There wasn’t time. Cancer moves in that way, I know too well of that.
The sun shines on and the news can’t tell me enough how the lock down will be gradually eased and that it’s brilliant.

I see no good news yet, I see 30,000 dead.

I want to stop crying now.

Dogs and lock down.

They know when you need them. Even if you have to pay them in sausages.

They know.

Feather busting.

Cats on stairs.

Cats in pairs.

Watch out!

They go for your toes, they go for your head.

Sneaky little murder mittens swipe-swiping through the banister.

Watch out!

Suspended animation.

The Cwtch.

The Welsh do the very best hugs although the debate really should always be, do you hug enough and the answer should always be, never.

The irony being that we all have to do it from 2 meters away.

Just seventeen (during a global pandemic).

Dear Millie,

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.

Feathers and blossom.

White feathers and white blossom in the air this morning.

It has been an awful week. The very worse.

The air is too heavy.

Wet.

Now it’s hammering down.

Washing is soaking wet, my socks are wet, the cats are coming in wet, the dog stinks of wet.

Wet.

Another day in? Ah go on then.

Petrichor and fabric conditioner.

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.

A Grey Day.

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.


Grubby toes.

Get off my sofa and wash those feet, they are as black as soot!

White wash.


The rise of the rainbows.

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.

A grand day out.

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.

Busy.

My poor washing machine doesn’t moan as much as I do putting it in.

Quarantine is rubbish.

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 Longest Spring.

sunshine

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.

The early bird.

not ok at 6 in the morning

Coffee sorted.

Television on.

Dog has noticed I’m up and has come out for a sniff.

Television off very quickly as news shows a higher death total.

More coffee.

I’m dizzy.

 

 

Rhyme or no reason.

The air is lava.

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?

Freeze.

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?

In the upside down.

Bored with your four walls? Just hang the other way. Sorted.

A little trim.

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.

Bellow.

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.

Foggy.

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.

Weird.

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.

Weird.

I’ve sat on the sofa being slowly licked by the dog for an entire film and not moved.

Weird.

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.

Weird.

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.

Big Air.

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?

The four bouquets of the apocolypse.

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.

Essentials.

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.

Shoot.

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.

Public Service.

The electronic billboard is working again.

Nothing for sale this time.

The Queen’s Speech

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 Great Outdoors.

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.

Daily Exercises.

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.

Hold on.

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.

Hello World.

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.

A great big show of hands.

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…

Home life under lock-down.

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.

Front door art.

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.

In Captivity.

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.

Lets not go for a drive.

Came outside and stood on the doorstep with my coffee this morning.

No cars.

No buses.

No people.

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.

Form an orderly queue.

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.

Now clap your 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.

Thank you.

Art on the streets.

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. 

Wedding cake.

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.

Just birds.

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.

Shutting down.

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.

Siopa

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.

It is written on the walls.

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.

Stop, look and listen.

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.

Tell me.

Inside.

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 didn’t.


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.

Do not pass go.

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.

No school today.

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.

It will.

Under house arrest.

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.

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