Thursday Doors: Thistle Inn

I came across the back of this unusually-shaped public house while out for a wander locally, and wondered what kind of exciting front door would go with such a quirky building – disappointingly it turned out to be plain and brown and about as boring as you can get…

And of course like all pubs here in Scotland it’s still closed for at least the next couple of weeks due to current Covid restrictions so I have no idea what it looks like inside… Oh well, I suppose you can’t win them all! 🙂

Thursday Doors

April A-Z: M is for Mask

Is it honestly too much to ask

That we cover our face with a mask?

It’s not all about us

So stop making a fuss

Just one small thing – no onerous task…

For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge I’m aiming for an alphabetical exploration of my personal thoughts and feelings on the continuing Covid 19 pandemic one year on, using a mix of poetry, pics and ponderings…

April A-Z: L is for Lock-down

Across the world over this past year different countries have taken different approaches to lock-down, but overall most have imposed restrictions of some sort or another on their population as a whole.

Here in Scotland since 26th December last year we’ve been on our second full national lock-down. Initially required to ‘Stay at Home’ this has only very recently been changed to ‘Stay Local’. Thankfully such tight restrictions are finally beginning to ease and a handful of business activities were allowed to re-open last week – things like homeware stores and car showrooms, and also premises-based hairdressers, plant nurseries and garden centres.

And yesterday the Scottish Government announced that travel outside our local area will now be allowed from Friday. Non-essential retail can finally start to open up and also some self-catering and hospitality businesses (still within strict limits) from April 26th. However socialising at home indoors with family– the one thing I want more than anything – remains restricted for at least another three weeks from that date, and even at that point permitted numbers will remain limited for a further period of time.

Last year our first full lockdown lasted from March until things started opening up again from mid-July onwards – even so, many businesses were still required (or had no option) to remain closed well beyond that date.  Still everything was a long way from normality, as nationally we were all put into varying levels of restriction depending on local infection-rate numbers coupled with several other relevant criteria. Those same blanket levels are being applied again now, although country-wide this time.

One way or another we have not had any real freedom of existence for over a year now, and people are becoming increasingly tired of the continuing national caution even though we do understand the reasoning behind it. We all just need this to be over, but we’re not there yet, so we’ll all just have to bide our time a little longer and hope the introduction and implementation of the ongoing Covid vaccine programme eventually helps render the long-term threat of the virus null and void.

April A-Z: K is for Key Worker

Our Key Workers have pushed through it all

Many struggle, some stumble and fall

Yet they keep going strong

Working hard for so long

Though exhausted, still answer the call…

Throughout this pandemic, some people have continued working as before, perhaps in an even busier environment than usual. Doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers are an obvious example, but what about teachers and supermarket staff and postal workers and refuse collectors, taxi drivers and bus drivers and train drivers and myriad others. Life behind the scenes and beneath the surface of lock-down has continued to function regardless, so I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has kept things going for us throughout – your ongoing contribution is much appreciated ❤

For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge I’m aiming for an alphabetical exploration of my personal thoughts and feelings on the continuing Covid 19 pandemic one year on, using a mix of poetry, pics and ponderings…

April A-Z: J is for Jab

Regarding the thorny subject of Covid vaccinations – I’ve been freaking myself out a bit about all the scare-stories surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine and an alleged link to potential blood clots.

I had my first AstraZeneca jab a couple of weeks ago, resulting in a couple of days of even-more pounding headaches and bone-aching chills and an extra level of dogged tiredness, but since then I’ve felt reasonably OK again. I say ‘reasonably OK’ as in feeling pretty much back to the same way I was feeling immediately before, which generally means tired a lot of the time, frequently breathless and headache-y and still a bit post-Covid-yukky, even three months plus down the line. But I am getting there, slowly but surely, so far with every week that passes I feel a little less run down than the week before.

My head tells me that of course there is always inevitably going to be a lengthy list of possible risks and side effects with every vaccine and every medication, and naturally this particular jab is no different. I know that millions of people have had it and are absolutely fine afterwards. I know that science tells me this vaccine is perfectly safe. But my heart reminds me that as a small number of people have died from having it, safety is a relative term. And the simple truth of that fact scares me. Surely I didn’t survive Covid only to risk dying of complications from the vaccine that’s supposed to protect me?

Having said all that, having already had my first AstraZeneca jab, I’ll definitely still go ahead and have my second dose when it is offered, though. How could I not? I just need to feel the fear and do it anyway… 🙂

For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge I’m aiming for an alphabetical exploration of my personal thoughts and feelings on the continuing Covid 19 pandemic one year on, using a mix of poetry, pics and ponderings…

Passport to the Past

I need to renew my passport, so needed a new photograph with which to apply.

Our local supermarket has one of those photo booths that does digital images for passports and other formal documentation, so I went along this morning and did the deed exactly as instructed. I came home and duly completed my online application, and now it’s all done and dusted I’ve been sitting looking at my strange new photograph staring back at me from the little print-out provided.

There are of course so may rules and regulations around passport photography – no smile, no fancy accessories, no hair covering your face, no careful posing to get your best angle. No camouflage or intrigue allowed, no tactful hints nor graceful subterfuge. In fact no visible individuality or personality required to be shown at all – just a straightforward full-face-on mug-shot that bares your soul in a most disconcerting fashion. Raw reality packing its punches with no holds barred.

In my photograph I look… How best to describe how I look?

Blank, I suppose. Empty of emotion. Just a set of unremarkable features set into a gently ageing female face. Wrinkles showing quite clearly on my forehead, decidedly drooping eyelids and unsightly fleshy pouches gathering under my deepening eye sockets. The high cheekbones of my youth have lost a little of their shapely definition. Thinning mouth beneath a small neat nose, soft rounded chin, wrinkled neck. Greying dark blonde hair sitting with an easy, devil-may-care attitude on my shoulders. I look exactly like the middle-aged woman I am.

I am fifty-seven years old, and in this starkly unapologetic image I see myself as most of the real world probably sees me. Not carefully posed with my standard fake-prepared photo-smile or my preferred pouting-in-the-mirror-face, but instead I see a real reflection of me captured in the raw with resigned, been-round-the-block-a-few-times eyes and a defiant look of focused concentration. A little haggard, maybe, slightly careworn, but nevertheless appearing to carry my almost three-score years with the pride of a battle-scarred badge of honour saying – yes, the life I have lived shows in my face, and what of it?

I am surprised to find I quite like this blank-expressioned image.

She is growing on me, this mature in-my-face me with nowhere to hide. I am reminded of a portrait my mum painted of me fifty years ago. In the painting I am looking directly out of the canvas, straight on. Mum has painted me with my resting face on after hours of sitting still, not with the now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t fleeting flash of a smile, and I realise in this new passport photograph I look just the same, but so much older. The association pleases me… the feeling of continuity across the decades, of shared common ground between me then and me now… a kind of visual deja-vu with a difference… 🙂

Abstract Roses Again

A few more abstract motion blur zoom burst roses before they start their journey to the great rose garden in the sky… OK, the compost bin… I really enjoy playing about with my camera like this, with a bit of cropping the effects can be quite spectacular, almost dream-like. And I love the way the colours blend together in such an artistic fashion – all images are variations on a theme of pink, yellow and orange roses in a vase placed on a blue rug 🙂

Flower of the Day