My not-quite-happy list…

I’ve been struggling a little bit mentally the last couple of days, so here’s a list of things that are keeping me relatively sane and not-quite-happy:

1. Dungarees. I bought some a while ago, from FatFace, tried them on, loved them, but then nearly sent them back. Surely I’m too old for dungarees I thought, surely I will look a bit tragic in them….I ummed and aahhed but, in the end, I decided to keep them, but only to wear on days when I wasn’t going out anywhere. So, that’s now. I wish it wasn’t but it is.

Today I am wearing them and I feel pretty good in them, and just knowing I’ve been brave enough to put them on (oh, the teenage daughters are going to have a field day with this, which seems kind of apt, as they are ‘field’ kind of attire…), makes me smile.

2. Books and box sets. I’ve just finished The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and I bloody loved it. I had no idea what it was about, when I embarked on it, other than it was set on a US morning news show. Wowsers! It was certainly a whole lot more than co-anchors not getting on….and Steve Carrell is FANTASTIC in it. If you have Apple TV, do check it out.

3. Telly. I’ve always been a massive telly addict but none more so than now, and I want comfort telly all the way. I want Rick Stein, cooking a fish on the side of a canal in Venice, I want the WTF nonsense of 90 Day Fiance (total trash TV, can’t watch more than two episodes in one go without brain explosion). I want any and every episode of Sex and the City.

4. Chocolate. Goes without saying. Just a little, every day.

5. Bike rides

6. Sunshine.

Things I’ve learnt this weekend…

1. Bedraggled, scraggy-looking cats who’ve had a cone on for ten days following surgery, can make themselves look BEAUTIFUL again after a matter of mere hours, once they are able to wash themselves again. Fudge went from dejected zero to bouffed-up fluffy hero in about three hours twenty minutes. He was beside himself to be allowed out again; he trotted off through the back door like the king of the realm … the wind in his fur and the world at his paws. Magnificent. And I think he has forgiven us for his captivity. (I’ll post a photo when he comes in…)

2. I have perfected a new move, in the new socially-distanced supermarket environment. I call it The Lean. When Sandra and her basket of non-essentials come up the aisle a bit too merrily and look like they’re veering carelessly in my direction, I lean like Pisa over the baked beans to keep the two metres thoroughly upheld, whilst maintaining a side-eye WTF glare. Oh Sandra, don’t you know how serious this is?

3. There is nothing like a bike ride down a country lane on two fully inflated tyres.

Bike rides and box sets…

My son and I went out for a bike ride yesterday. My bike had a flat tyre. We have two bikes that have had flat tyres for AGES – we haven’t attempted to do anything about them for ages, either. Neither Matthew nor I are very technically minded (this is an understatement, in my case. Anything mechanical I just stare at blankly and say ‘what…?’ and I’ve never even been able to get my head round how the telly or the landline phone works… fairy unicorn magic, right?) and we don’t do out cycling as often as we should, so the bikes have just sat there, in the shed, tyres flat. Except now I REALLY want to go out cycling. Really, really, really.

My son hopped on his bike yesterday afternoon; I plonked on mine and immediately felt deflated. As we set off down the road, it was like riding something with a squelchy welly as a tyre. And about as effective. It was like cycling through mud. My poor legs, already in recovery from a frantic Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ workout that morning, were killing me. I got hot. I took off my woolly scarf and tied it round the cross bar. I looked ridiculous. My son was about two miles ahead of me and four times as fast. Nice jogging neighbour passed us (at a safe distance). I smiled and gave a cheery wave. With my welly boot tyre and my red face and my thick Fairisle scarf tied round my bike, I looked utterly ridiculous.

It was not a great success. Since then, Matthew and I have both stared forlornly at the bikes. The bikes have looked blankly back at us. Then, at 5am, awoken by a post-op cat who needs to be intermittently let into the conservatory to do his business inside a flower pot, I looked online and saw that Halfords is still open and doing bike repairs, as the Chief Medical Officer has decreed cycling is a Good Exercise and they have all the right distancing measures in place. We’re going to take the bikes in tomorrow. By Sunday I shall be coursing down the road, waving at nobody at all, on the crest of an inflated wave…

In other news, I’ve always been fond a good box set and never more so, at the moment. I can highly recommended The English Game, on Netflix, recommended to me by a friend during a Zoom video chat the other night (the new girly get-together. We brought wine). It’s about football in the late 1800’s and how a working class team from a Northern Mill team reached the final of the FA Cup, but it’s also about women and motherhood and the class divide and loyalty. Well worth a watch!

PS. Just had a call from the vets and the dreaded cone is off! Hurray!

Cats, cones and home school…

Well, I’m afraid I haven’t been getting on with my memoir challenge AT ALL – I still can’t quite bring myself to do it – read about real lives at the moment. I’m not sure what to do. Do I cancel the whole thing, delete the reviews I’ve done so far and forget all about it? Do I try again after a while, and read less than 50…? Maybe I will just adapt what I’ve done so far and go with the flow…It’s really no biggie, is it? I’ll just write what I want to write here and see how things go….

We’re Week Two into homeschooling and things are going ok so far. I have a year 10 and a year 8 child, both getting on with their work really well, and a year 13 daughter who is doing nothing at all, because A levels have been cancelled (we were so upset, but have accepted it now), and whose only current goal is to TIDY HER ROOM.

And a cat.

On the first day of Lockdown I had to venture out to the vets to take him to a pre-booked operation (doing the admin for it with the vet through the window as they weren’t letting people into the surgery, all felt very strange…). Since he’s come home, we’ve had all sorts of shenanigans…the cone was off after two hours, as Houdini managed to somehow, very quickly, shake the damn thing off in a couple of ninja head flicks (…mass panic ensued); he’s broken through a taped-up cat flap with a mirror propped against it, Andy from Shawshank Redemption-style; and he ran out of the house when I was dealing with a spider at the back door, to pitch black fields opposite our house, never to be seen again, we feared. Luckily, all stressy scenarios were quickly rectified – a cone re-tied, a cat flap re-fortified and a nonchalant cat returning ten minutes later to saunter past the back door without a care in the world, grabbed – and he is still safely behind bars (and cone) with us all.

He’s received a lot of love. Tablets hidden inside microwaved white fish. Attempts to put him on the litter tray and, when that failed, a large plant pot full of soil. He’s had his fur brushed and his tummy tickled and his ears scratched, because he can’t do it himself.

The cone is hopefully off tomorrow. He has been SO cross with us, having to have it on, we will all be enormously relieved!