Strange Times

Hope you are well, I really am terrible at updating this website or even blogging. The last blog was October, when life was rolling full steam ahead…

I had not long picked up the keys to our house and started full on renovations; arranging a rewire, taking down plaster board to find what was left of the fireplace which required a major rebuild (Big thanks to Dad for the many hours of work done in the living room alone!), wall paper stripping that resulted in rooms needing plastering, dealing with “rising damp” caused by useless “damp proofing”, ripping out a kitchen and so on. Taking a functional magnolia-washed house (minus hardly any operational sockets, modern day molded plugs don’t fit into sockets mounted on the skirting-boards) to a complete building site, which needed to be in a livable state by the first week of December. All whilst continuing to work at least 30 hour weeks whilst going into the Festive period. Oh and the Other Half was working on the other side of the world for weeks at a time!

In retail Christmas came and quickly and went to January sales in a complete blur. The second week in January is when things slow down for a few weeks, everyone is skint from Christmas and celebrations. just waiting for Valentine’s to come along which tends to bring along the next retail milestone, Easter, the next rush of chocolate panic buyers…

Life ticks along, mornings are getting lighter, still working and still renovating the house. It’s the kitchen now (that was a fun 6 weeks from cooking with the oven in the porch and all pots heating on a camping stove or the fire in the living room) the O.H. still dong blocks of work away, only this time closer to home thankfully. I haven’t lost my creative eye yet, if the colour schemes of the house is anything to go by! Rooms are slowly taking shape and the house getting positively livable again. Weather starts warming up so taming the garden also becomes part of weekly life.

Meanwhile, the dark shadow of interruption to daily life starts creeping in. At first I didn’t think it would become as serious as what it has grown to be. I remember growing up with seeing the news about various new viruses, I thought that give it a month or two it would all blow over. Life would just continue to tick along, but it didn’t. Being a retail worker I watched everything start to crumble, people who could work from home started to stay home and people started panic buying hand wash and toilet roll. I wont lie, it was bemusing at first. Though I never thought I would ever watch customers go down on their knees in an aisle scrambling for pasta at the back of a shelf. Its 2020, shops are always well stocked and always get regular deliveries. Becoming a key worker I was trying my best to keep calm and having faith in the knowledge that shops are always getting stock replenished.

That calm faded when I finished a shift one day and went to go and do my shop for the week. I had been seeing all the videos on social media of empty shelves in super markets but I felt like it was happening further away. But I wasn’t expecting to find completely empty shelves in my local supermarket. Absolutely nothing.  That’s when I felt scared and panicked for the first time. When you work in a shop all day and then go to buy food for the week and can’t get anything is shocking. I hope I never have to experience that again. Things start slowing down for me, life became work, shopping, dropping messages of to family and home. A new normal with a side of fear, as it took a while for social distancing measures to come in and screens to go up on tills (only a couple of weeks) but that’s enough to alert you.

Being cautious, avoiding contact with people and watching the nature of others and their “precautions” they are taking. Just a wee note… wearing the same pair of gloves for at least a week so that the fingertips are getting filthy is not going to help. Being ignorant and rude is also unhelpful. I was just setting into this new way of life and starting to relax a little. Shelves are filling back up and there is far less panic in food shopping. Then I get furloughed. Going from being a key worker to then being sent home with immediate effect one day is a shock to they system, the O.H. is shielded which is the reason I was sent on furlough.

Life is turned upside down yet again, only this time it’s to a much slower pace. I have currently been away from work for 2 and a half weeks. That is the longest I have not worked since being in Uni and its weird. The first week just felt like a holiday, after all that is the normal length of time I typically have off work, when I do eventually have a holiday. It generally always feels like a weekend the time normally flies by so fast. I also felt like I should be doing some sort of “summer project” that used to fill the long break between years of studies.

Staying at home, doing continuous work to the house which is getting closer to completion and planting veg and flowers in the garden along side regular weed maintenance. I look forward to the house no longer being a bomb site and being fully functional. Plus, once the house is completed I will then have the time to break out those art materials that probably need excavated from a few inches of dust at this point!

I hope to be able to unleash the creativity again soon. I have continued to use my phone camera and Photoshop Express, so not completely out of touch yet. Hopefully with some more free time more regular blog posts will happen (probably just kidding myself), more art will appear – maybe, but I am pretty sure some house photography will appear in the nearish future… Once I edit the first batch taken in October when we got the keys. It may give you something to look at when you are stuck at home.

Stay home and stay safe.

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