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Lockdown Deeper and Down

May 6, 2020 3:00pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 24 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy Whining on a Wednesday!

I want to talk about being in lockdown and my journey through the weeks. This situation we find ourselves in has affected people very differently: some actually like being in quarantine while others rail against it in desperation. Many of us fall somewhere in the middle, bouncing from being OK to not. This has been my experience. 

 

 

In the beginning

When we were first told that everything was shutting down in the UK on 23rd March there was a dramatic feel to it: a mixture of trepidation and dare I say, a little excitement. This was me experiencing something major and historical in real-time.  

The Government have closed the country and leaders worldwide are doing the same

When I started to think about the enormity of that I began to get the fear. How bad is this flu-like virus? What aren’t they telling us? I read all the conspiracy theories; I read fake news on how to avoid getting COVID-19 like gargling repeatedly with mouthwash to stop the germs multiplying in the throat.  Even though I believed I’d had this virus pre-lockdown, how did I know for sure and what if I got it again?  Didn’t I read somewhere that it mutates…

Grime is Crime

I turned into a psychotic germaphobe. I wiped everything down after it had been touched – I even wiped my mail and sprayed parcels with disinfectant.  I washed my hands so much they became sore and irritated and looked like they belonged to a pensioner.  

Going to the supermarket became an ordeal and a trip fraught with danger. For a start off, most people don’t seem to know what two metres is and having someone breathing over your shoulder looking at the cottage cheese whilst you search for ricotta breeds a nasty kind of hatred towards your fellow man. You despair of them, judge them, and treat them like lepers. You despise their logic when panic buying toilet rolls and pasta and call them out on social media. In the next breath, you are willing the Great British spirit of the people to come together creatively and we stand outside clapping the health workers every week without fail.

Social interaction has become a difficult relationship

I look outside and analyse the people passing on my street. Do they look related or are they cheating?  Whilst I am behaving against my will are they ruining it all? How many people have suddenly taken up jogging and cycling, for the love of God? And I swear those people never had a dog before. It’s funny, but I’ve started to feel possessive about my area. I live opposite the beautiful greenbelt and it’s usually very quiet. I can walk along the footpath and maybe come across a couple of people all the way through. All of a sudden my walk became littered with moochers and new hikers. I selfishly worry that they will continue to come after lockdown and my local beauty spot will be ruined. Instead, I drive to various woods and country parks around me, picking my times and venues carefully so I don’t get enraged by other people. My walks in nature have been my saviour as I am not a person that likes staying in. 

You can can’t come too – I’m going to the zoo

Some days I feel so trapped and hemmed in I could burst with rage. I snap at anyone near me finding their conversation banal and irritating. Sometimes I cannot even talk to my friends or family on the phone because it feels too much. Even though I miss and love these people I can’t deal with them all at the same time – maybe just one call a day. Has social distancing made me distant?  

I am overwhelmed at my most underwhelmed

What’s that all about? I have to force myself to focus on a task. I can’t do the things I am supposed to be doing because my new, isolated self cannot seem to cope with them. Procrastination has now become my greatest skill. I find myself gravitating towards mundane and repetitive tasks or new and pointless hobbies like drawing monsters and colouring them in. Am I 5 years old again?

Writing this blog post has been one of the hardest things I’ve done of late and I’ve had to really force myself to get back into my groove with writing even though the content of this particular post is therapeutic, I think I’m having trouble concentrating. On anything. 

Time And Again

Because I do a bit of work every morning, I know what the date is but I easily forget and don’t know the time or the day.  Sometimes this is good and I think it is teaching me to let go and just be in the moment because that’s all that time really is. Then there will be days where I cannot stand the bohemian train I seem to be travelling in and need order and structure to stop myself going insane and it feeling like a purgatorial state between Christmas and New Year. 

The Pros 

Because there are some. The world is having a break from us all and there’s something cleansing and calming about that thought. I notice the lack of traffic and the increased birdsong most of all.  I get excited by a delivery from Amazon or a rustic veg box. I’ve always paid attention to nature but now I do it even more so, appreciating the beauty that is starting to grow despite the unseen evil that lurks in the air. I love the creative spirit that people have found; the things they have made and shared. I am proud of the force of this nation and the goodness of some people in a time of crisis. 

The Cons

My God, it’s as boring as hell. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes you have to have a word with yourself about being a big cry-baby. But I am a baby and I will continue to be a big baby. So jog on. I don’t even know what I’m missing exactly because it’s the gentle layers: the shades, the sounds, the subtleties. I don’t miss the coffee in the coffee shop – that’s not really why I go.  I miss the event that it is. I miss my freedom of movement. 

What have I learnt?

I do not have balanced emotions. I am not a steady Eddie.  And I don’t care to be one. I’ve tried and it’s soul-destroying.

“It’s your inner chimp,” someone said.

“Whatever. My inner chimp had twins and that’s what I have to contend with!” 

What about you?

Because of this new world we find ourselves in at the moment, myself and fellow writer, Miss A -from The Essence of a Thing, have decided to delve more into how people are feeling or coping and what are they thinking about the future. Like an extension from The Meaning of Life, how has life’s meaning changed for you?

How do you think this current global situation bodes for human existence in the near and far future?

It is said that we’re in “the new normal” do you think that’s correct and what do you think the new normal means?

What has this lockdown taught you about yourself? 

Please feel free to share your thoughts and stories with us either here, openly, or by mail anonymously.  We also have a  FB page @TMOLProject where past MOL participants are giving their thoughts and feelings on what happens next.

Tell me, what does “next” look like to you? 

 

Moving into Stillness

April 1, 2020 11:30am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

Satirical Snapshots bringing you whimsy on a Wednesday because whilst Corona Corner is relevant there’s nothing like a bit of whimsy on a Wednesday to make you feel chipper.

Life BC ( before Corona)

A few weeks back when life was normal I did things my way, I started a few yoga classes to get my chi whizz flowing or calming or whatever.  This was when “moving into stillness” was a thing people wanted to do and were not forced to do like we are at present.  All of a sudden, moving into stillness sucks, doesn’t it? 

Anyway, I queued up with all the lycra-clad, barefooted hippies and tried to blend in by not getting impatient whilst waiting in line.  As I stood in the long queue I spotted a man hot-footing around the front, chuntering under his breath and peering in and out of the window of the door to the room we were waiting to enter.  He definitely had attention deficit disorder and clearly needed some yoga though my initial thought was, ‘he really should be going to dynamic aerobics’.

S-s-s-s-s- Saluting the sun

Eventually, we got inside and the man rushed in and walked around and around the room, checking it out while everyone else came in and sat quietly on a mat.  Turns out, he was the teacher.

The yoga teacher.

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher. 

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher with a stutter.

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher with a stutter and the inability to stand still.

Moving into stillness had never been so intense. 

Downward Spiral

To be fair, the man knew his stuff even though the delivery was a little frantic and he took us through a series of moves.  I ended up with my head on the floor, my arse in the air and feeling a bit dizzy.  I didn’t look anything like my other classmates.  The teacher came rushing over to me and shouted, “ That is n-n-n-n NOT d-d-d-d- Downward Dog!”

“It’s downward frog,’”  I replied.

“That’s n-n-n-n- not a thing!” he exclaimed.

“It is now so f-f-f-f-f – put it in the Yoga Sutra!”

I left before things got Namaste.

 

Corona Corner #6

March 25, 2020 3:14pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 11 Comments

Moss on bark

Satirical Snapshots bringing you your daily dose of Corona Corner!

Good morning isolators!  It’s pandemic playtime!  Today I bring you another task to lighten your day and bring amusement to you and your friends.

Corona Corner #6 – Up Close And Personal

During this isolation period, I received the gift of a tiny macro lens for my iPhone.  To be fair, it’s quite a decent little tool – much better than I expected and I have had some very interesting, and some very Ewww – not so pleasant, close up views of things around me. 

Trust me, there’s more than this virus to make you want to wash your hands more!

Anyway, here’s the thing – my task for today is to get up close and personal with a macro lens if you have one  (only a fiver online) and a magnifying glass if you don’t.  

Take a gander…

Wood end

close up of a thorn

Bit thorny

Leafy greens

close up of a patio slab

Patio slab close up

close up of tiny flower

tiny perfect flowers

 

ants close up

Ant music

close up of dog hair

Tex hair!

close up of dog nose

Tex nose!

Grass close up

The grass is always greener!

Fun right?

Take a close look at the world around you today and don’t forget to…

#CurbYourFrustrationAndTaskInIsolation

 

Corona Corner #1

March 18, 2020 2:59pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 18 Comments

Empty aisles in supermarkets due to covid-19

Satirical Snapshots noticing that since Whimsy went AWOL – Corona came calling.

The powers behind this blog have recognised a need to address the balance with a daily dose of…

Corona Corner

 

In the beginning

gloved hand pushing supermarket trolly

They laughed at me, they did.  As I went about my shopping weeks ago wearing disposable gloves so I didn’t pick up any germs from the great unwashed. Oh, how I was mocked by friends, sneered at by strangers, eye-rolled by shop assistants…

Wow.  When I’m the only one without this beastly virus who will be laughing then? 

Yeah…

•crickets•

Anyway, since catching a dreadful virus with a fever and persistent dry cough, I have found myself  in quarantine.  Ordered to stay isolated for 14 days unless breathing in and out gets a bit dodgy. Not panicking about that at all.  The fact that drinking a cup of tea too fast made me very breathless did not incite any Oh-my-god-this-is-it-I’m-gonna-die fear whatsoever. 

DEAR GOD.  BREATHING IS KEY.

But it’s all gonna be fine… *Mantra*

And on the sixth day

…of my quarantine I have recognised that 14 days staying put is a long time for people with monkey brains.  Many people are going to have to come to terms with who they are, because:

Shoppers can’t shop

Amazon is no longer delivering prizes

Foodies can’t go to restaurants 

Goddesses can’t hang out at cocktail bars

Parties are a bit dodgy, and that’s even without the swinging

I think a lot of us are going to find out what we’re made of. 

Corona Corner Corrective

I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m in a movie – it’s very surreal.  Who knew my porch would be the safe-space of the future – a place for people to collect or deposit things?

They said on the news that being supportive as and when you can is important and that community spirit must prevail. People have been very nice to me:

I’ve had beautiful e-mails

Prayers

Many offers of food parcels ( and selflessly I’m not milking this )

Fabulous people walking the wolfit

An activity book

A list of films and series to watch

In return, I have decided to bring you an activity a day.  Something you can do that I have found either helpful /uplifting / stops you from killing someone.

Drum roll…..DRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Corona Corner #1 – Fleece Your Fridge

A clean and hygienic fridge

Now before you start getting all bent out of shape thinking this is a horribly boring job that you don’t want to do and you thought this was gonna be fun, Jules, DUH… hear me out.

I took something from my small refrigerator yesterday and thought, ‘hmmm…that’s a bit sticky.  Ewww.’  I wiped the jar and put it back noticing that something had leaked a little and upon closer inspection realised that,  “OH MY Darkest Days This Fridge is MINGING and no wonder you have Coronavirus, you filthy bitch!”

I’m a very clean and tidy person so realising that I had short-changed my domestic goddess in this area made me feel most sullied and unworthy. 

Out came all the jars and bottles and last weeks salad that had turned into its very own smoothie. Gross.

I ripped out all the funny little compartments and shelves.

I even found a rogue blueberry swimming in the outlet drain.  Explains a lot…

Corona Corner Conclusion

After getting to grips with this task whilst self-isolating the following things happened:

  • I stopped thinking about not being able to breathe properly
  • I rid myself of many out-of-date products that could have killed me
  • The rhythmic repetition of cleaning opened my creative mind and made me think up “Corona Corner”  You’re welcome.
  • I found some mascarpone, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and half a pot of red pesto that I’d forgotten about.  I made a beautiful pasta sauce with this for my tea thus eating healthily and inventing a new pasta dish in a time of crisis. 
  • I will not have to do this job again because I’m going to keep on top of it / have a new fridge by then/ or will have written a best seller on how to survive a pandemic. 

May you enjoy today’s task from Corona Corner until I bring your next one tomorrow, and never forget…

#CurbYourFrustrationAndTaskInIsolation  

 

Gourd of the Manor

October 23, 2019 5:20pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 21 Comments

Gourd squash shaped like a bird

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

So, I got a new pet.

His name is Gourd.

I always wanted a bird.  One of those really naughty ones that shout at people and throw things around.

Instead, I got a puppet.

But now I have Gourd.  Because someone thought this would amuse me.  They were right.

Gourd is very easy to look after: No walks, no maintenance, no feeding, walking or fussing. Unlike my other pets who are incredibly needy. Not Gourd.  You can take him anywhere without an ounce of trouble.

Unfortunately, he only has a life -span of about 6 months. That may seem harsh but it stops you getting attached.

You can stick him outside come rain or shine and he will not destroy your garden.

He will sit quietly until you fetch him inside.

He adds interest at dinner parties…

He makes friends easily…

After some persistence…

He even managed to sneak up on a sleeping wolfit…

And a Jack Russell Terrorist…

He even made friends with my outdoor pet crow (also maintenance-free)  I purchased the crow in order to attract a group of them to swarm over my house for Halloween.  I also got an app on my phone that calls them.  When you say this out loud it makes me sound weird. Huh.

But not Kevin. Kevin hates him.

I love Kevin.

 

 

The Daily Grind

October 9, 2019 11:28am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 29 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I have often said that coffee is not just a drink but an occasion. As a Brit Chick my natural go-to is a nice cup of tea and a sit down but coffee has made its impact as a staple part in my breakfasting and morning mental health. When in America I opt for a bucket of cold, creamy coffee because it suits the Texan heat, whilst in good old Blighty I’m more prone to a simple flat white or an extravaganza with a floating mini gingerbread man. Like I said, coffee is a party. 

Being a naturally caffeinated person I max out on three coffees before becoming unhinged so choosing my favourites is key. Nobody wants to be disappointed by the hot stuff. 

Out in the dirt

view over English country land.

 

Everyday I saunter off out for an hour or so with the wolfit to a local country park. Or should I call it perk? Because situated near the entrance is a little cafe serving coffee.  Not just any old brew, I might add, but a coffee with a fast growing reputation for being a superior sepia supper.  It’s called 200 degrees.  Apparently, they roast their coffee at a lower temperature to make it smoother and tastier. Naturally, it would have been rude for me not to try. 

 

disposable coffee cup

 

And I have been trying it every morning for the last few weeks with rather pleasing results. After meandering through the fields I buy myself a 200 degrees flat white and park myself on a picnic bench overlooking the view.  The coffee is good, the wolfit lies down at my feet and I have time to assemble the ramblings of my mind and return to my desk with vigour and focus. 

Bean Thinking

One of the most wonderful things about this particular coffee are the 100% compostable cups in which it is served.  On the back of the cup is written a Coffee Blog from 1642.  

 

story on the back of a coffee cup

 

After reading this I understood why I felt so sprightly, what with all its wondrous benefits, but what I wanted to know most of all is what the blooming heck is Kings Evil?

Basically, if you get touched up by a King you’ll be OK. 

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