New horizons all round

Time is definitely the weirdest it has ever been. As we get older it seems to move more quickly, as the pandemic and lockdown continue it seems to have stretched and bent and almost caught up with itself coming around the other way.

I can’t believe how quickly Friday comes around every week and often wonder if there are not somehow two of them each week instead of just one. It surely cannot be mid June already and yet 18 months ago feels like 18 years ago…

Anyway, since the last blog post which was only last month (just!) lots has changed for us.

Davies has started an informal work experience opportunity at the local art gallery. It is an excellent place which in ‘normal’ times hosted not just regularly changing exhibitions of amazing art but also events. In the year before lockdown we attended many such events there, indeed I covered a few of them for the newspaper. These included live music, a book launch, opening of art and ceramics / sculptures / photography exhibitions and talks and an amazing artist demonstration.

The gallery also has a framing service and as well as being open to visitors has an online presence on social media, an excellent website and sells online. Davies is getting a fantastic overview of all of these aspects to the business, learning loads and really enjoying being there for a day each week.

Davies has finished his studying for this academic year and has slightly altered his planned path for next years studying taking on a more increased study load and adding in philosophy to his psychology studies which he is really looking forwards to starting in the autumn.

Scarlett is continuing to love her job at the croft and is really enjoying the combination of learning new skills, doing lots of hands on practical stuff and getting plenty of time to hang out with the animals. It’s perfect for her.

Ady also continues to love his job too and is really looking forwards to the times ahead when the full on PPE is no longer necessary and his clients can see his whole face!

Meanwhile my jobs have rather changed….

When Ady took on extra hours at his job and negotiated use of a pool car which meant we could very happily go back to just running one family car rather than two we stopped our holiday cottage cleaning contracts, which was just as well as Scarlett soon started her job. My work at the community centre / youth work had stopped during lockdown and as I was on a zero hour contract there was no real certainty as to when and indeed if that would start again.

My writing work for the newspaper was less than it had been although I have still been writing a semi regular column for them, alternating between writing about Crofting and Mental Health Matters, diverse but both very relevant to the Highlands. I have also been doing increasing numbers of hours for the local mental health and wellbeing charity I started freelancing for last summer including some writing, some project management of various initiatives and some development of new services.

I have also been doing various voluntary bits and pieces including joining the committee for the local newspaper which was undergoing a slightly difficult phase but has a lot of local support having been running for 40 years. When it became apparent that there may be an opportunity for a paid role as editor of that I decided it would be a perfect fit for my other bits and pieces of freelance work and applied.

Yesterday I had an interview, was offered, and accepted that post. So I will now be combining the three roles of editor of the local newspaper, columnist / correspondent for the larger newspaper and project officer for the mental health charity. I feel incredibly fortunate to be combining my passions, interests and the things I would have told you I wanted to do when I grew up when I was a little girl to being the things I get paid to do.

It is wonderful that currently all four of us are managing to follow our passions, feel as though we are contributing to our local community, learning new skills and still have time for the other things we love doing and spending plenty of time together at home too.

Meanwhile whether it all falls into place or not we are starting to book and plan things for the coming months and into next year, which feels filled with promise and hope.