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.
Here’s the highlight of the season, hunting for my dog’s “gift” in the beautiful autumn leaves.
Autumn is a quiet time of year. I am a bit quiet on here after the chaos of last year.
Life has needed to slow down, and enjoying the winter months is something I look forward to each year.
So hello soggy leaves and drenched, muddy clothes.
You can’t see me.
I am very very sneaky.
I am so flat on the ground, like a little golden pancake.
This pancake is stalking you and I will pounce on you and eat your shoes.
Or I might just chase that crisp packet…
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.
We’ve had Frannie a whole year now and only now has she realised who the boss is in this house.
It’s a small black angry creature who eats, sleeps and screams if you get in her way.
And she is very very angry that you ate one of her kitty puff babies.
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.
There’s a dog on the other side.
We must make contact.
We must let them know we are here.
And then tell them that we’re bigger than them and their mum.
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.
Lots of creepy crawling flowering plants grow in little places on the old stone walls. They always have thrived and grow on everyone’s walls. Brightest of purples this time of year with the happy drone of busy bees.
I’ve added lots of pots this year with herbs and trailing flowers. It’s plant chaos and I love the mess.
The lavender is enormous this year so the bee party is going to be lovely. I’m hoping to see a return of the hummingbird hawkmoth I saw one year, it really looks like a little hummingbird.
No chemicals, no weedkiller, just a pair of hands and a cat interested in digging.
Today on the menu, AstraZeneca part two.
Part one was four days of feeling a little rough and a sore arm, not much to get concerned, I grew no second head and disappointedly I didn’t develop an affinity with anything Microsoft.
I drove to the same building as I originally went to for part one, a small community centre, one way in and one way out. I waited 5 minutes before being ushered to a chair where a trolley was moving up and down the line of waiting people. One to inject and one to ask the questions.
Are you well?
Are you allergic to anything?
Whispers in my ear…Are you Pregnant?
My enthusiastic shaking of my head went on a little too long.
Fifteen minutes of waiting and wondering will this make a difference. Will enough of us get the vaccine? Will it work? Truth is we will have to wait and we will have to hope that it will. I feel very small again, insignificant in the bigger picture.
I got my phone out and ate melted sweets from my glovebox.
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.
There are drop in clinics running this weekend for currently the youngest portion of the national Covid vaccination program, the eighteen year olds.
Millie had her text through a few days ago notifying her she could attend one of these clinics.
She had to take a photographic identification so we dug out her passport.
I drove down with her to the enormous film studios on the outskirts of the city, it was quite something driving into it, lots of run down industrial units colonised by flocks of noisy seagulls.
We parked up and she put a mask on and joined the queue with lots of other young people. Red stripy tape and orange bollards, they all stood apart without being asked. Some on their own, some with mates, some with parents, most on their phones probably checking in with a nice selfie and a hashtag #gotstabbed
Our children have had many vaccines in their lives already, this one felt different. Probably because of it’s newness and it’s immediacy. The other vaccines as babies you knew there was a slim chance of them getting the said diseases. This one is different isn’t it?
I waited an hour in the car watching other parents in their cars, watching the shuttle bus pull up bringing more young people. It was busy.
Millie texted me while inside, in her words:
There was no daylight inside, the building was really big but the ceilings were low and everywhere was white..
Corridors were white too with small windows in where I could see people sat inside. Lots nurses and doctors walking around in their uniforms often wheeling trolleys with large computers on and stacked up carts with the medical supplies on.
I sat in a waiting area next to another girl (well 2 metres next to her) and we chatted about stuff. When it was my turn, I was taken through to a station and they asked me some questions about if I was well. Then I received the injection and waited for a few minutes to make sure I was feeling fine.
And then out she came, clutching an information sheet and asking for lunch.
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.
The council weed killers were out last week spraying down the walls and pavements to get rid of the weeds.
Most unfortunately, it poured down right after and washed most of it away judging by the explosion of colour between the cracks and the gutters.
The smallest little flowers, easily ignored by big feet but loved by little bees and insects. I never really noticed myself until I was drawing on the pavements last year during lockdown. They grew through discarded masks and broken bottles.
Last year, because of the pandemic, we had less spraying and as a result, the most beautiful wildflowers grew on the pavements and the gaps between the old walls.
Beats all the grey any day.
Two hedge trimmers in action, one cuts the other shreds. It’s a good combination.
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.
My hands are filthy with cool earth because the cat is lying on top of my new gardening gloves and I’m not getting swiped.
A small packet of seeds with 100 count, how many to sow, to broadcast or a few in a tray? (There’s no way my long sighted eyes can read this tiny packet print).
You know the answer already.
I sow the lot and I’m hoping a few will come and not be like last year when I couldn’t bear to thin out one seedling and ended up giving the whole street tomato plants potted into toilet rolls or any container I could fill with soil.
This year there are vegetables but also flowers.
Catmint or the snuggle plant as I like to call it as my cat will snuggle the poor plant the minute the first tiny leaves appear in the spring.
There will be violas, phlox, cornflowers and poppies. Nasturtiums and hanging pots with trailing flowers.
For now, empty soil trays with little labels.
I’ve just to wait.
The cone has it’s fun for a pup that misses her favourite toys.
Throw them into the cone for chewies.
I think they call it mindfulness these days.
To be present and part of the moment without self conscious thought or overthinking.
I’m absolutely rubbish at it.
I can see the moment like no one else and I can slow it down, turn it upside down, take it somewhere and show you.
To watch a moment and the hand to produce a heap of lines on a page that my brain understands. That’s crafted over and over and over for years and years and never perfected but perfect in it’s imperfection.
That’s drawing. I like drawing, the only reason I ever started was not because I wasn’t any good, (I was just a toddler) I just saw the moment.
I was a young child sat in a church silently drawing with my finger, the backs of people’s heads sat in their benches.
I was a sad teenager with no escape from my head so I drew my moments that gave me hope.
I was a tired mum with seeing no value in my life that picked up a sketchbook and saw a moment.
I’m getting older and my glasses are thick (and give me huge eyes) but the moments are there and they matter.
So I will draw.
Four days back in school.
One positive Covid test in the year group and it’s back to isolation for the whole of that year and back to online learning.
This is very hard, this is very frustrating. We understand but it’s not easy.
Masks have been handed out to each school child to wear. Shops have free masks in their entrances.
Hand gel in every pocket, mask in the other. Don’t forget your car keys, your phone and your mask and know the year you live in.
Covid is here to stay.
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.
Wild garlic and a cacophony of bird song, there’s no social media in the woods, just the excited chatter of a new season.
It’s been a week of snow, sun and dying Royals. A week of sad television.
We all go the same way, we’re all earthworm food.
I’ve always liked that thought, I don’t want a golden carriage, just chuck me in the hole and plant a cheeky dandelion on top.
Late last night I had my first shot of the Astrazeneca’s Oxford vaccine for Covid 19.
Got my little card with a date and a batch number on it for when I need my follow up dose.
Hope in a little vile but with so much media opinion.
When it came down to it, just quietly administered with small talk and a smile.
Twelve hours on, just feeling tired and a little peaky, nothing more.
I had a lovely hair cut and colour the other day. The first one in a long time too.
I wore my mask and enjoyed it being styled and cut.
Then I went home and popped it back in a bun.
Frannie likes fluffy and soft things to chew.
Anything inanimate or living, no preference really, slippers, shoes, Bonnie’s legs, cushions, cats, chickens, it’s all lovely.
So we’ve given her a little blue unicorn to love.
He has now been loved very much for 2 minutes and there isn’t much left of him.
But everyone else is safe and my shoes…for now…
Millie and her classmates are testing for Covid 19 twice a week before school. They do it themselves. For the record I have tried a test to gain some empathy for this process.
There will be sneezing and retching.
Do not touch the fuzzy bit of the swab.
Do not let the dog touch the fuzzy bit of the swab.
Do not let the dog touch the test.
No silica gel is not the liquid.
Did I mention do not touch the fuzzy bit of the swab?
Enjoy your day at school.
Little nip anyone?
Training is underway, teenage pup loves to nibble and it’s easily redirected. Just don’t give up on them, they want to be good.
The cats love home learning, piles of paper and warm laptops.
Makes essay writing a challenge but I have it on good authority they have never missed an assembly.
Our lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift. We can stay local, schools are opening next week on a gradual slow return, more people are receiving the vaccines and Covid infections are for now, very low.
This three months of lockdown has felt an awful lot longer. Two of mine are taller, one has got into college and one dog has grown gangly legs.
Feels like spring is coming and with it, more changes.
Not sure really, it’s a strange dog, lady creature clutching milk bottles and dressed in pyjamas. Blinking at the bright morning light and scowling at a passer-by for daring to look at her and her two dog heads peaking out of her legs.
The schools in Wales are starting up for the older children, staggering the return until full time education resumes after the Easter holidays. They have been learning from home for three months this time. It’s been challenging and lonely for them, the lack of interaction has been hard.
There will be years ahead when we will see this play out I think.
Summer catch up school brings a look of sheer horror to my three’s faces. I can’t imagine there will be much enthusiasm at the prospect of that.
Covid infections are now at levels we saw in October 2020. The vaccination program brings me hope we will see normality of some sort and a return to leaving the house very soon.
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.
It’s the art of making things look funny when really I’m hating every minute and would rather be sipping espresso martinis on a beach in Barbados with sunburn and giving no hoots about beach body ready or any of that rubbish.
The news has caught more people going to parties, having their hair dyed in car parks or actually being outside and having the audacity to drive somewhere nice and drink a coffee. We are told we must wait another few weeks and see if we are allowed out to travel to a destination for exercise without infecting each other with more variants named after nice places.
But the sun is shining!
Do you not know how lovely it is in Swansea when the sun shines? It’s so rare that a day without rain would be classified as a drought. I walked to my local park and felt the warmth and smelt the fumes from a passing moped piled on with screaming teenagers.
But anyhow, children on wheels are much easier to manoeuvre.
Last week Boris Johnson gave tentative dates for England to come out of the lockdown.
Wales, where we live, gave a more tentative approach to lifting the restrictions we have been living under since before Christmas. We are still under lockdown, we are still very much restricted to no travel and no unessential journeys, meet ups or socialising.
The media have erupted into euphoria.
I can’t share that sentiment. I am not euphoric, I am far from euphoric, I am tired and I am fed up and my hair is resembling an aged Rapunzel. My children are all still at home, their school lessons are still on a screen. They struggle, they can’t see their future as all they can see is the back of their bedroom door.
But moan as I do, Hope has been lobbed at us, like a big floundering fish that might flop away and slide slowly back into the water while I in slow motion grab it with both hands and miss.
Frannie is a year old now and in the middle of being a beautiful terror in our lives.
But when she runs, she flies. If she had wings, I don’t think we’d see her again. Once this lockdown is over, we are going to walk for miles on long sandy beaches. Until then it’s apologies to the *seagulls in the park.
*No seagulls were harmed. She just enjoys the chase, if it was a crisp packet it would be equally fun.
Stepping outside in a sideways ice blast to get those milk bottles is as far as I’m reaching today.
Dog print pyjamas, bobble hat and complete the outfit with some fluffy socks. A passer-by scurries on past either oblivious or terrified at the sweary mess of a women trying to keep her glasses on and picking up milk bottles with hair writhing in the cold wind like the wicked witch of the morning.
Where is my coffee?
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.
I see where this is going and I am powerless to stop it, my jumbled corpse and broken bones while being lovingly purred at.
Pandemic didn’t cause a washing shortage that’s for sure. I’ve lost the will to live pairing socks and everyone’s got each others and is having fun negotiating them back. Don’t say I don’t make it fun.
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.
You going “out out?”
That, in Swansea, means out on the town, all glammed up, drinkies, heels and hair done.
No I am not. I’m dressed in yesterday’s jumper, my shoes are muddy, my coat is soaking and my dog is clearly delighted to be dragged around the block in sideways, January sleet.
Still no winter beach, no big sky.
My only essential travel is to buy food and growl, masked at people who come close. It’s hard to feel so anxious when people forget and reach over to take stuff off shelves. What on earth do you do?
Bonnie looks at me…
She’d growl first…
I might try that next time.
It’s going to take time for the cats to accept this bundle of puppy energy. We’re six months in and tuna is the magic that brings these two opposing parties together.
Today was let’s eat Tuna together and not chase or swipe.
We sit on the stairs as that is neutral territory, both can retreat if it gets too much.
Frannie sits as still as she can but the tail always betrays her, the faster the swoosh, I know we have imminent chase pending and to cancel negotiations quickly…
On some nights, the steelworks on the horizon in Port Talbot, light up the clouds with a fiery glow (like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings). It’s eerily beautiful, you can see flames reaching high into the sky. Last night, it was full aglow, quite something to look at and I was very much enjoying the view.
I was so busy staring, I very nearly collided into a man holding his small dog high on his head cursing my little evening day dream and accusing *Bonnie, (on the lead, by my side, looking as puzzled as myself) of wanting to eat his small furry thing.
I muttered an apology along the lines of “So sorry, miles away, lovely hat” and scurried away.
Cue a fox running across our path and I really wondered where I was, Mad Max or Swansea.
Swansea in a pandemic, Mad Max is little too sensible right now.
*Being a big sized dog, she quite often gets accused of wanting to eat smaller dogs but she’s actually a huge fan of dogs smaller than herself as she can play Queen.
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.
Very cold right now, just above freezing and it’s decided to rain so we are slipping our way around the streets tonight.
Even the billboard is half arsing the light.
There are warmer and lighter days ahead but this month is the queen of dark and cold and she isn’t shifting herself in any hurry. January won’t be rushed.
Dragging our way through this lockdown January.
Can we update the puppy training manual to include how not to chase and destroy drones please, that would be great. Frannie has had a whale of a time chasing one a hundred foot high, she’s got ambition but not wings.
Still in lockdown, still in alert level 4 or whatever that’s come to mean as we’re all out on the covid numbers.
Graphs, charts and projections, I’ve seen more this past year than I ever did at school, all pretty like my tired looking Christmas decorations, must take them down Angie, before twelfth night.
As it’s bad luck.
I laughed a bit too much at that.
Luck rhymed with my reply.
The giant cul-de-sac that is 2020 is gasping it’s last wheezy covid filled breaths, slowly melting at the bottom of my beer.
I won’t miss you.
New year does not promise much either but we can hope and hang on through the dark months.
I’ll raise a glass to that.
Best wishes to you all and all the love from a small sketchbook in Wales.
It’s Christmas Eve 2020.
Put down your worries, put down your mobile, turn away from the television, switch off the radio, it’s six o clock. Come on, now, hurry!
It’s time to go to door with your bells, open it and listen. Our street is ringing out into the dry, cold, clear night. You can hear them!
The sound of bells all around, up on Townhill, over to Brynhyfryd, even on Kilvey hill, there’s a fella with a bell app ringing it while sucking on a cigarette. The scrambler bike stops and toots.
We are ringing them. We are little but we are shouting you Santa and you must come this year. The adults have been rubbish, please do your magic.
The moon is lighting the way and we are calling you Santa.
We’ve been so good this year and we’ve tried out best to wash our hands and do our work.
Please come this year, please bring a present.
A letter has arrived from the local council and health service reminding us to remember to stay away and stay at home. Infections here and in the surrounding areas are very, very high. Our hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed if numbers keep rising.
The electronic bill board is still promoting Christmas deals with the odd public service information asking us to keep our 2 metre distances and stay at home whenever possible.
In other news, the cats have decided Gruff’s window is wonderful to watch the birds from and bring their muddy paws in.
It’s still raining, we may need a boat soon.
The rain is playing games with me.
Every day this week, I’ve arrived at the park and the heavens have opened.
Nothing stopping Frannie lightning bolt puppy, she’s been busy herding the crows and seagulls and did attempt to herd the red kite that soared over our heads but it wasn’t having any of it.
We are now very wet, muddy but happy to see open space, (even if I’m soaked to the bone).
The news is pretty grim right now, Swansea still has stupidly high levels of infections. Social media is full of experts.
I’m just an expert in tea making and puppy drying. I don’t smell very nice right now.
Midnight last night we went into a full lockdown again.
The news was announced a few hours before and the ensuing rush in my city to the shops was like a tsunami of panic. My social media filled up pretty quickly with images of miserable queuing and cars gridlocking car parks in the rain, in the dark with the backdrop of blinking Christmas lights.
I walked the dogs later and the roads were very busy with speeding cars and honking horns, you could genuinely feel the atmosphere. One of anger and frustration.
The news says it’s a new variant, it spreads faster. We’re all to stay at home indefinitely, there will be a review in three weeks but numbers are flying here as I’ve said before so Christmas day is the only day we are ok to go out and see our other “bubble”.
A very strange Christmas this is going to be. I’m quite deflated to be honest with you as I imagine the whole of Wales is right now but I understand why.
More milk it is then.
I have a problem.
I want cakes.
But the plastic bag that I have to put my hand into won’t open and I can’t lick my finger.
My glasses are also steaming up so it could very well be a bread roll I’ll be picking up instead.
That’s going to cause riots.
Millie’s studying A- levels and Welsh Baccalaureate. Being at home means she has to study remotely with the school.
I can tell she’s doing Welsh, the pencil has been chewed and she’s ignoring the dogs while giving the laptop a stare that would make a grown man cry.
I’m going to hide in the kitchen.
The lights this year are lovely on my street. I can ignore the litter and the rain when I see the houses lit up.
Feels like forever for those who only went back recently after more isolating.
So many blaming schools for the rapid spread in our area right now.
So many not seeing how education and school life is everything when you miss your friends and chips at lunch. (Even if you have to study in the classroom with the windows wide open). Please go easy on our young people, they’re struggling too.
I think this break over Christmas will go on a bit longer as Covid infections are not slowing down.
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.
I’ve drawn the bottom window, Millie got the top window.
We might be stuck at home in lockdown but we can brighten the world up a little.
Had a text to tell me to isolate Gruff today as one of his class mates has Covid. I hope they’re ok, this is going to happen, this is a virus. Truth is we’re all locked down till the 9th of November so there won’t be much change for him.
Halloween is coming up but we won’t be trick or treating nor answering the door this year.
A very strange year and just getting stranger. Halloween all year round right now.
Wake up, pee, eat, destroy bed, eat the remote control, sleep.
I want to be a puppy!
We’re hours away from the next 17 day lockdown for Wales. It will be a full lock down, we are to stay at home and only venture out for food, exercise and medical emergencies.
And I went to do a food shop.
The shop was too busy, full of people. A lot more than normal.
I stood at the entrance and had to wait to go in as there were too many inside.
I turned around and walked back to my car.
Someone make me a cup of tea, I don’t want to make my own tea any more.
That’s all I want.
We go to school very differently than we used to.
That’s ok though because it’s easy enough to do, put sandwiches in a bag so we can put the rubbish in the bin straight after eating.
All the parents at primary school queue up outside now and they wear their masks. There’s a lot of cheery ones too. We have Halloween themed ones with skulls and crossbones. There’s even a teddy wearing one, clever ted.
The older ones in high school have their windows open to increase ventilation. They mix in their class “bubbles” and not with anyone else. There are tents in the playground for them to stay in their groups at breaktime. Food is eaten, hands are washed, a lot. Coughs are common but the jokes fly round that you’ve got Covid now. Everyone talks of a year they’ve heard of in another school that got sent home for two weeks because of a positive test.
Home is moan-time, after, you’ve washed your hands, again.
I got told of a smokers shelter today, the people two metres apart, smoking, masks under their chins, grey sky, coffee in hand, steam rising slowly.
Tangles of arms legs, paws and wiggles.
I thought about drawing this one again but I think it pretty much describes with accuracy the chaos of cuddling two dogs, one of whom is a little chewy monster with sharp teeth…but very lovely.
They get on very well, Bonnie lets Frannie chew her legs and in return, Frannie lets Bonnie chew all her puppy toys.
The cats are coping with the blonde Romanian invader, Renee can now share some chicken in her presence but we have more work to do and that always takes time. I think it took me five or so months to really stop Bonnie chasing poor Arnie. Sausage and chicken is already better than chasing pusses so we are getting there…
Back to school and here come the sniffles, (oh we are smothering with it).
Here comes a tissue eating puppy.
And a list of symptoms to check off just in case it’s Covid symptoms.
Numbers are still rising again and mask wearing is compulsory indoors in school and in public spaces for children over 11 years of age.
In schools, the children can mix in their class as a “bubble” so if in the instance of someone getting infected, only that class affected needs to self isolate at home. It makes for a strange playtime but it’s a compromise to continue education after so long off school.
Some counties are already in special localised lockdowns restricting movements. There is talk of a bleak winter ahead on the news.
Frannie found a sock in the park today and tore off like a cheetah with it, sprinting with a snotty nose at 46 years old after a puppy makes my face go a strange colour…
I am getting the hang of a training lead, I am.
Bonnie is doing a better job than me at teaching our pup to follow on a lead.
Frannie has never been on a lead before and we have spent the week making friends with the lead with lots of chicken too. Now the lead is very exciting because nice things happen when the lead goes on, magic chicken appears and it’s brilliant as Bonnie gets some too.
Other dogs are very exciting too as are cars, as are bees and butterflies.
Everything is exciting and must be barked at.
It’s very noisy here right now.
The cats are upstairs and come out at quiet times but that’s going to take time and if Bonnie can do it, so can Frannie.
And me too.
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.
Bonnie has been on bed rest all weekend.
I hate sitting still too girl.
I think she’ll be just fine. Age is no fun when you’re a one hundred miles an hour dog.
Bonnie, we need to have words about launching yourself off the patio at dinner time. You’re nearly twelve now and you’re not a puppy any more.
A sausage is not worth the pain.
Let’s hope that sore leg is better in the morning eh?
I guess that’s the artist in me. My washing line dies dramatically with all my clean washing on and I grab my sketchbook and ponder the comparisons of the detritus fest 2020 is turning out to be.
The year that in hindsight you’d have hibernated through.
The year if you’d have placed a bet on not going around the world in eighty one days. because you had to self isolate because there was a flight ban from the United Kingdom (so you had to deflate your balloon).
The year if you were a time traveller, you’d have skipped in favour of seeing something like paint dry on a Van Gogh or a Bob Ross (I’m not picky).
The year if you had the choice, you’d rub out 2020 and wake up in 2021, refreshed and optimistic your diet was going to be jaffa cake free.
Best pick up that washing. and put the kettle on.
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.
Weather dog is at it again.
One sniff of the front door and this diva knows it’s going to rain and she can’t be bothered with a walk.
We went and got soaked.
Should have listened.
Of course I’m busy, I putting the clothes away.
Ask the cat.
The kids will start a day a week at school starting next week.
They are so excited about it.
Freedom to learn is not something they will take for granted like I did.
Not all bullies are big.
Bonnie would not sleep in her crate tonight until the tiny terror vacated her position in the stinky den.
Had no idea she’d slunk in there and claimed her throne until Bonnie started whining.
Miya has had a course of medicine (which she gobbled whole inside a nice piece of chicken).
The nibbled tail is on the mend and is now busy parading around the house and garden with it’s usual sass straight up in the air where it belongs.
Hopefully whoever nibbled her tail has found something else tasty to eat.
Let me tell you something.
After twelve weeks, a bag of chips really does smell as good as you’d think it would.
Solve everything with this one cup in the morning.
Okay. Maybe it takes three these days.
Don’t talk to me, I haven’t woken up yet.
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.