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…

April A-Z: I is for Infection and Isolation

After confirmation of infection comes the inevitable need for self-isolation. One of the hardest things for me about having tested positive for Covid in January (when amazingly my husband tested negative) was that both of us then had to self-isolate at home for ten days, together yet separate.

Luckily we have enough space in our house not to have to share a bathroom, so we just stayed in different rooms for the duration and when necessary each used the kitchen at different times, carefully cleaning and sanitising everything we touched all the time.

On a totally practical, functional level it worked OK – thankfully I didn’t give him Covid – but on an emotional, dysfunctional level I felt truly miserable much of the time and just wanted to feel the reassurance of a loving hug several times a day, but because we weren’t able to touch at all (too great an infection risk) of course a hug wasn’t possible.

But we got through it, and thankfully we’ve made up for it in extra hugs ever since…

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: G is for Garden

I’m not the world’s best gardener but I love having a garden, and I love spending time in it. These images are all from the first lock-down last summer, when the garden was blooming at its best and I was just so happy to have the opportunity to be sitting outdoors in the sunshine with a cup of tea.

I’m really looking forward to the weather picking up enough this year to be able to spend some quality time in the garden again, meeting up with friends and family (Covid restrictions permitting) and enjoying my beautiful outdoor space 🙂

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: F is for Furlough

Stuck on furlough at eighty percent

Helping cover the food and the rent

Keeping millions of folk

Neither working nor broke

But the Government’s coffers are spent

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: E is for Empty

By the time this Covid 19 pandemic is finally over – whenever that may be – I wonder how many previously busy retail stores will lie empty across the UK, how many High Streets and city centres will become facsimiles of ghost towns, how many other businesses will have failed? One way or another this virus has killed more than people; it has taken both lives and livelihoods.

I was made redundant last month as the department store I worked for has ceased trading for good, and so my last two weeks of work after my furlough ended (the first two weeks of March) involved packing up all the stock to be shipped out elsewhere. So even once lock-down is lifted there is no longer the potential hope of everything going ‘back to normal’ for me because like so many others in a similar position I now no longer have a job to go back to.

It was so strange and sad for us to see the store slowly being emptied department by department, but oddly enough the packing up process itself somehow helped give us all some closure on the final closure of the business – a bit like a funeral ritual, at least it gave us a chance to say our goodbyes…

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: D is for Distancing

One year on the signs are maybe showing their age, but no matter – we’ve definitely all got the message by now. And we may be quite comfortably used to keeping our distance with strangers now when out and about, but with those we love it still feels plain wrong to be keeping apart, especially after so long.

It hurt so much being prevented from seeing people from any other households at all for extended periods of time, but it almost hurts more now that we’re allowed to see some people in very limited numbers outdoors only, but not be able to touch, not allowed to hug, not even supposed to stand too close together. Outdoors in the North of Scotland, sometimes even in Spring, neither the temperature nor the weather are necessarily conducive to comfortable gatherings in the garden for more than about five minutes at a time. I mean, we woke to a covering of snow again this morning!

So at this time of year being apart as a family feels almost harder now than it did during the last lock-down. Yes, we’re now legally allowed to meet outside again, but in practice it’s just too damned cold for the kids for that to be a workable solution much of the time. And then even when all other things are favourable and they can come round to visit, not being able to hug someone you love who just isn’t there is one thing, but not being able to hug someone you love who is standing right in front of you so tantalisingly close is almost unbearable… ❤

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…