Z is for Zoom

So finishing this year’s AtoZ Challenge a day late, but I got there.
How can I not mention this piece of tech which has been both a blessed provision and the bane of my life for the last year or more!

Pre 2019, to me ‘Zoom’ was a song by Fat Larry’s Band or something Wylie Coyote did. But what would we have done without this communication software during the last year? It’s been a gift. I’ve been at parties with my family in Ireland, we’ve had family chats, writer’s group, prayer meetings, church services, after church fellowship, and I’ve attended some wonderful conferences and workshops. Having said that, Zoom fatigue is a thing. There are days when I’ve wanted to throw the laptop out the window – just so fed up with screen time.

I have enjoyed helping older folk, or those who are not confident with technology to get connected. I think Zoom will be with us for a while, and though many things will go back to being face to face (thank God), even our small church will never have to cancel services due to bad weather. We’ll just revert back to Zoom. However there are a number of people/churches I know who have not had the devices or the confidence to cope with it. Which is why I’d love to get Sunflower Tech up and running. It’s my new idea. You can read about it here. I reckon Zoom [other communication software is available :)] will remain commonplace even after lockdown.

The one thing I will miss if it disappears completely will be attending meetings in my slippers. That’s been the main benefit of Zoom for me!

So that’s the end of the AtoZ Challenge for this year. Thanks so much for reading, Normal service will resume now, with me appearing on the blog at random intervals.

ttfn, A x

R is for Reservoir

Today was the MIL’s birthday. Her second one in Lockdown, but thankfully, we didn’t have to stand at the bottom of her driveway and blow kisses. We were able to take her out. So we took a picnic to our local reservoir.

Llandegfedd Reservoir is about ten minutes from us in the car. Its restaurant is closed at the moment due to Covid restrictions, but they have opened a takeaway coffee shop. All three levels of their carpark face the lake and it’s a fabulous view. Rich and I go regularly, and REALLY missed it when it had to close. It also has a watersports centre for sailing and paddle boarding. But I just go for the coffee and the view.

Is there anywhere you are looking forward to visiting when stuff opens up? Or have you already been there? I’d love to hear 🙂

I have to say I’m excited and nervous about tomorrow’s post. It’ll be my first time to share my idea for what I’d love to do, now that I’m not working (as well as being a Pastor’s wife and a writer obvs 🙂 )

See you then… A x

L is for Lockdown

Today’s post is a bit of flash fiction that came from a writing group prompt. I was delighted it was ‘Highly Commended’ in two different writing competitions. One locally here in South Wales, and one at home in Dublin. Hope you enjoy 🙂

The Perfect End to Lockdown

Kay slammed the boot of the car. “That’s it, Janice,” she said. “You wouldn’t get a bus ticket in there now. So, if there’s anything else, you’ll have to put it on your knees.”

“I think that’s it, except for this,” replied Janice, emerging from the house with a dustbuster.

“Well done you. I never would have thought of that,” said Kay, getting into the driver’s seat.

Janice tapped the side of her head. “You see? Watching all those old quiz shows has kept my brain alive.” She opened the back door of the car and a suitcase fell out. Janice picked it up and wrestled it on to the back seat, shoving the dustbuster in and slamming the car door, in one move. “Right,” she said. “That’s definitely it. We have everything.”

Janice got into the car and Kay started the engine. They exhaled a little sigh of pleasure as the engine of Kay’s Ford Escort came to life. “She never lets me down,” she said. “I knew she’d wait patiently.”

“And we’re off,” said Janice, as Kay drove out on to the main road.

Passing familiar landmarks of their hometown, they remarked on them as if they were new. The local pub had had a coat of paint. Much needed, Janice remarked. Old Mr Jenkins’ eyesore of a shed was gone, and a pretty small wooden construction was in its place. The flowers in the park had obviously been tended, and the friends gasped and laughed at the newness of some of the old places.

They drove past Kitty Jenkins’ house and fell silent. Kitty was the only other person they knew who loved crosswords and crocheting as much as they did. They were broken hearted to hear she contracted the virus and died only days later, then was buried with just one or two mourners.

After a while the travellers brightened up again and resumed their lively chat. They came to a junction and stopped at the red light. A police car pulled up in the next lane and Kay could see the occupants looking and pointing to her over-crowded back seat.

“Don’t look at them Kay,” said Janice. “Keep looking straight ahead.”

They sat like statues as the light went amber, then green, and both cars pulled away.

Kay freed the breath she’d been holding. “That was close, that was so close.”

“You know, I’m actually sorry, they didn’t stop us,” said Janice. “I would have loved one of the policemen to say, “And where do you think you’re going madam?” I would have answered, “Anywhere I blazes well want. The Prime Minister said I could.”

Janice cackled with laughter and soon Kay was laughing at the thought of it.

Before long they reached their destination.

“I have been waiting for this day for so long,” said Janice.

“Me too. I can’t quite believe we are here,” replied Kay, looking at the entrance with elation.

There was a queue waiting to be admitted, but they were happy to wait, and when they got to the kiosk, a slightly frazzled looking middle-aged man in a hi-vis jacket snorted a greeting and snapped, “NAME?”.

“Well I’m Kay, and this is my friend Janice.”

“Hello,” Janice sang, leaning across Kay and waving wildly.

“Booking name, I meant.”

“Oh, I am sorry, booked in the name of Kay Cavandish.”

“And what have you got with you?”

“Suitcases in the back seat there. A couple of small bags of electrical items.”

“Anything in the boot?” He snapped again.

“All cardboard,” said Kay still smiling

“OK,” he grunted, “Skip four for the cardboard, electrical items next in six and the cases in the last one, number ten.”

“Thank you so much,” said Kay.

“Yes, thanks for your help,! said Janice throwing herself across Kay again.

As they drove through the main entrance of the Recycling Centre Janice said, “I think the council staff are getting younger and ever more pleasant as time goes on.”

“Oh, I agree, said Kay. “They must be glad to be back here, because I certainly am.”

“Me too,” said Janice dreamily as they approached skip number four.

Pushing forward

Thank you so much to those who commented and messaged me about my last post. It’s great to know you’re still happy to read my witterings 🙂 Having completed the plan I mentioned in that post, I was quite daunted by a year’s worth of empty spaces. But already I have most of January filled, either done or preparing to do. It feels good, after a year of sitting around not doing much at all.

My experience of anxiety and depression doesn’t feel like any I’ve read or heard about. Maybe each journey is unique. I’ve come a long way, there are some days when I feel totally normal but others when I get a wave of anxiety every time the house phone rings or my mobile buzzes. Though why I’m worried about calls on the landline, I can’t tell you. My Amazon account is fine thank you very much.

I felt I’d levelled off in my recovery, the two main problems being headaches and not sleeping very well. So I arranged a chat with the doctor, and we tweaked my medication a bit. Already I can feel the benefits. If we weren’t in lockdown, the doc said she’d be advising me to get out and about. I’m sure it would aid my recovery to visit nice places. Meet with friends, have coffee and laughs. Maybe a couple of nights away with himself. None of that is possible at the moment.

But I have to do something. I was on the treadmill this morning for half an hour. After falling and really hurting myself last year AND the year before, I’m still very nervous about being outside. Especially in this snowy weather.

I need to move forward. I want to move forward. but I’m going to take my time and go at my own pace. I’m so grateful to God for the time and space that lockdown brought, but I feel ready to start making my way back in to regular face to face contact, that is NOT on a computer screen.

One step at a time eh?