Marking Time

I have been prompted by email that I have not blogged in a month (thank you Lynda! xxx)

It is the strangest time I hope we ever live through, on the one hand not a lot has changed, on the other everything feels as though it has changed forever. We are still mostly doing what we always do but alongside our day to day lives, which have been altered due to lockdown and furlough it seems the whole world has been turned upside down.

This is not the right place for me to share my views on politics, racism, capitalism, the patriarchy, environmental issues, education, how to come out – or not – of lockdown, trans-rights…. but suffice to say there have been many conversations, learning opportunities and wider reading happening here.

Meanwhile time is rushing away. It feels as though every other day is Friday again already and another week has rushed past. I have not opened my google calendar now for weeks and weeks and weeks. not filled out a work timesheet or submitted an invoice but of course there have been ways of marking time.

Celebrations – Ady’s birthday. Celebrated in the sunshine with nice food, nice drink, shell art on the beach, fabulous cards from Davies and Scarlett and traditional birthday brownies.

June brings the anniversary of Ady and I being a couple – 27 years this year. Fathers Day – also celebrated with nice food, nice drink, fabulous cards and a cake yesterday.

Obviously celebrating with family and friends on various birthdays and other occasions has been done remotely. So hard not to be together for these special times but at least technology allows for virtual togetherness.

It has been the solstice weekend. Summer solstice is never quite as special as winter solstice, because that is marking the lengthening of the days and the return of the light. The weather this weekend has been very changeable and in fact sunset and sunrise were both not actually visible due to heavy cloud. I managed middle of the day swims and some shell art on two different beaches creating suns on the longest day of the year though.

I have been at the beach most days, swimming and making shell art, often with one or more of the others. I had a truly magical swim last weeken. There have been increasing numbers of moon jellyfish in the loch. Moon jellies are non stinging (well they do sting but too weak to be felt by humans) so perfectly safe to swim with assuming you can get passed the mental block of doing so. A friend and I had embarked on swimming across the loch and back at one of the narrower points – a swim of about a kilometre, which is a fairly usual distance for us but feels a bigger deal when you are committing to a there and back adventure. Mid way across we realised that below us were hundreds, maybe thousands of jellyfish.

My cheapie camera does not accurately reflect the scale, colour or beauty of them but gives an idea. They were mostly below us as we swam but when we stopped to take photos and our legs dangled deeper into the water we could feel them brush past us. I was on a complete high for the rest of the day from the combination of achieving a daunting swim and an amazing wildlife encounter – definitely up there with my top best memories.

The swim sketch book exchange I mentioned before continues, I think we are on our fourth rotation now and that has been lovely. I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with more art and seeing the work of others too.

I have been doing a bit of writing for the paper alongside phone line volunteering too. I’ve also been joining in with the Great British Home Chorus choir, attending virtual choir practise online and recording and uploading my contributions. There is an EP coming out soon of the songs that many thousands of us have participated in learning and singing ‘together’.

Ady continues to enjoy his job. He is learning so much, finding it challenging and rewarding. It will be a great day when he no longer has to wear so much PPE as while it is of course essential for keeping him and his clients safe it also makes the job physically difficult and hampers communication, particularly with clients who rely on lip reading and facial expressions.

Davies and Scarlett are maintaining their social lives online and are both out and about for walks at least once most days, often twice. Nature continues to provide entertainment, education and wonder from the changing of the weather and the seasons, the wildlife encounters and altering landscapes. Living amid ancient oak woodland on the shores of a saltwater loch provides endless opportunities. Scarlett has discovered newts, rescued tadpoles from a rapidly drying ditch, happened upon and spent time watching an otter.

The garden or micro-croft has begun to yield early harvests along with joy as crops establish, fruit and flower. We have been eating home grown salad leaves for weeks, along with strawberries and herbs such as rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano, coriander, basil. Peas are now cropping and my pot filled decking is promising a riot of colour sometime very soon as buds begin to form on nasturtium, lavender, borage, sunflowers, cornflowers, gerbera, sweet peas and comfrey.

I am engaged in an ongoing battle with the slugs though, who are decimating my lovingly grown cabbages and broccoli.

Scarlett and I are hatching a plan for a wildlife pond and we have tadpoles growing legs ready for release once we have it ready with hopes of keeping future slug generations a bit more in check.

I think that’s us caught up a bit. I anticipate the coming weeks starting to bring some answers to what the rest of the year might start to look like – whether we will be able to welcome friends and family to visit, have more get togethers with local friends, plan trips away from home again and start to pick up our various jobs again.