Comfort Blanket

For today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda wants us to write about what’s next to us when we read the prompt, not when we sat down to write… Well for me it’s usually likely to be the same thing, because I only ever blog on my laptop and I usually only sit in one place to do that – on my sofa.

So, next to me on my sofa is a crochet blanket I made – one of many – and it’s there because I like to snuggle up under a blanket in the evenings to watch TV. It’s a comfort thing carried forward from childhood, and is also the reason I’m usually wearing a scarf all year round – it’s the comfort of fabric wrapping around me I find so soothing.

And particularly right now with everything feeling so up in the air and insecure because of the corona virus pandemic, and our current Stay at Home policy creating a kind of life-limbo in which we all hold our collective breath and wait for the peak of the virus to pass… Or whatever it is we’re doing as a nation, rest assured I’m happily finding comfort wherever I can ๐Ÿ™‚

Welcome to the New Normal

The world feels like such an alien place right now. Schools are closed, all pubs and restaurants and gyms and social spaces are closed. Those shops that are still open have more staff than customers, except for supermarkets which are constantly rammed and desperately recruiting new staff. No-one shakes hands, no-one hugs, everyone tries to keep a safe distance away from everyone else. Staying at home and staying safe for the duration is the order of the day for the bulk of the population. Welcome to the new normal…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Welcome

To The Wire

I think I mentioned last month that I was finally job-hunting again, looking for part time work here in Inverness now that life feels a bit more settled for us. We’d allowed for around a six month grace period after moving the 600 miles from London to Inverness, living off our savings while finding a house before starting looking for work. And here we are having taken that six months to the wire, now living happily in our new house, ready to move forward in life.

So at the end of January I started job-hunting locally as planned, but discovered to my frustration that in Inverness, January is probably about the worst time of year to look for work. It seems that everyone who has worked on temporary contracts over Christmas is now back on the hunt for work too, but in general companies have not yet begun recruiting for staff to cover the tourist season – and Inverness always expands hugely over the summer months due to tourism.

Anyway, undaunted I initially applied for eight part time jobs throughout February, most on a temporary basis and only a couple offering a permanant contract, and from those applications was offered four interviews out of that possible eight. Of those four interviews, two were unsuccessful, and to my delight two have resulted in prospective job offers. But one of those job offers turned out not to be quite as suitable as the other (due to anticipated ongoing hours of work), so thankfully for me it was a no-brainer as to which job I accepted.

Anyway, I actually had my staff induction in a local department store on Thursday, and have worked my first two shifts over Friday and Saturday, so here I am finally back at work again – woo-hoo! It’s certainly not been as easy finding work in my late fifties as it was in my twenties and thirties, or even in my forties for that matter, but I’m relieved to have found a permanant part time job with exactly the right amount of hours I was hoping for in a store I regularly shop in, in a department that seems to suit me so well ๐Ÿ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Drawing a Blank

Some days, however many ideas I have careering around inside my head, I just can’t figure out what I want to post about. It’s like I get a last minute brain glitch that stops the passage of thought from memory to keyboard, frustration coursing through my finger tips before fizzling out, falling flat, drawing a blank… Sigh! Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Glitch

Neither Perfect nor Correct…

Perfect, all I have to do for todayโ€™s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post is select and connect a collection of words with โ€˜ectโ€™ in them and direct them towards a delectable subject I can reflect on dialectically. But I expect itโ€™s not as easy as it sounds to inject any level of respect into such an ineffectual post. On closer inspection I detect Iโ€™ll elect to correct myself, protect myself from becoming an object of derision by infecting the English language with such suspect useโ€ฆ

Seagulls and Wood Pigeons, but thankfully no Foxes!

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is ‘Animal Noises’ and the first noise that springs to mind is the sound of seagulls. Not the odd one or two squawking occasionally, but living on the coast here in Inverness we have soaring and swooping seagulls all around us, all day, every day, and I just love it – I even wrote a poem about it ๐Ÿ™‚

And the soft, deep, hollowed-out coo of puffed-up Wood Pigeons has followed me up and down the country wherever I’ve lived for as long as I can remember. There’s one that must like to sit right on top of our chimney pot because when it coos contendedly it echoes loudly straight down the hollow chimney space, which gave me quite a start when we first moved in but I’ve grown used to it now.

And what about the noises I don’t hear any more, and definitely don’t miss?

Dogs barking dementedly in houses whenever people walked past outside, or dogs straining on leads growling and snarling aggressively at other dogs while passing on the pavement, was a thoroughly common sound in London. Lots of dogs are walked around here too, but are perhaps less terratorial with more space at home to make their own? Or maybe people own dogs for different reasons up here, purely for companionship rather than as a status symbol, encouraging friendliness rather than fighting? Who knows… but the dogs are definitely quieter here.

And foxes… OMG we had loads of city foxes in London, skulking around as if they owned the place, unafraid of humans, scavenging in bins and rumaging about noisily in back gardens all night. A fox bark is such a creepy sound, rough and grating and eerily staccato in the urban darkness, the kind of sharp nocturnal cut-short screech you hear in horror movies, a scary scene-setting sound that sends shivers straight through you.

Cats too at night – not gentle purring, cute mewling kitten-cat noises, but the violent, visceral caterwauling of sexually active tomcats tomcatting around as they do, echoing across the gardens and through open windows. It never ceases to amaze me how cats can appear so docile and demure and delicately passive by day, and yet make such a bloody racket when actively mating! ๐Ÿ™‚

Gardening by Google

Now that we have both a front garden and a back garden, two greehouses and a conservatory, I seriously need to up my game on the gardening front.

The sunny South-facing front garden is going to be fine as it is, pretty much – there is a flat rectangle of grass surrounded on all four sides by a slim flower border, with three sides currently housing roses and spring bulbs, oh, and a big fuchsia by the gate. The fourth side, the shorter border by the drive, was previously used for annual bedding plants so is surrently an empty line of earth – but I’m really not a bedding plant kind of girl. So I’m going to plant a few herb bushes to give it all a bit of an informal update, and will add a couple of stepping-stone paving slabs to give proper access on to the grass, rather then just stepping across the border.

The back garden is lower, but terraced not sloped, and is again a patch of grass with plant borders around three sides. Being North facing it’s more shaded, and the ground is more damp than at the front, so I need to think that through before I start adding anything to the mix. There are a few shrubs, and some brown died-back ferns which will hopefully rejuvenate this year, and of course more spring bulbs. But again I’m probably not ever going to be the kind of gardener who happily propogates new plants each year, so I do need to have a plan in place for this summer so I can create an easy-to-keep garden that pretty much does its own thing year after year.

I know from seeing the garden when we first viewed the property last August that the previous occupant had lots of large plant pots dotted around the garden, so I may choose to take that route too. And we’re debating whether or not to keep the two old plum trees, both seriously past their best wood-wise but perhaps not quite terminal as they are still clearly producing abundant fruit – we may keep them once they are pruned to a more manageable size, or they may indeed go altogether over the next few months.

And when it comes to using the greenhouses, I’ve got no idea what to do as I’ve never had one before, never mind two! Gardening by Google is the name of the game for me at the moment, looking things up and reading up on plants and getting my head around it all is proving to be quite a steep learning curve for me. I used to have a garden in the rented house I brought my kids up in, but apart from my herb pots on the doorstep it was mainly all about essential maintenance of what was already there, keeping the grass cut, pruning the roses and weeding the minimal flower beds along the front fence.

But this feels very different somehow – we now live in a house we own where we plan to stay for the longterm, and I want to grow into being a proper gardener who potters about outside for the sheer pleasure of being in nature. And the man who lived here before us obviously enjoyed his formal high-maintenance garden and clearly spent a lot of time keeping it looking perfect. So it feels a bit of a cheek for me to be saying – nope, that level of high-end horticulture is absolutely not for me, I have to admit I’m probably aiming more for a Jane Austen style ‘prettyish little wilderness’ in my ideal garden.

Hmmm… oh well, only time will tell… watch this space! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Cheek

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Debate

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Terminal