Dark feelings, hope springs and peanuts (7.21)

A nighttime walk is good, but it’s not as good as a daytime walk. Especially if the only extended periods when you left the house during the week were during the nighttime. By the time it gets to Friday you will feel tired, inexplicably sad, depressed about all kinds of things and generally lacking enthusiasm and energy. Or maybe that’s just me when I get S.A. D. Yes, another important life lesson about why, even in lockdown, getting out of the house every day is important.

I’m not dissing nighttime’s walks though, I did two this week and I do enjoy getting out of an evening. The energy is different at that time of day and by the time I get home I have digested my dinner, and usually am yawning and ready for bed.

I had a bonus day off this week on Monday – my work gave us all an extra “bank holiday” to rest and recover (and probably to encourage parents to take some days off because it was half term). The weather wasn’t great, so after doing some necessary house things in the morning I sat myself down in a chair and did some work on the novel, which has now been over a year in the making. My aim was to edit it into some kind of proper flow, with bits of editing and re-writing in the way, as well as finally getting all the names of the characters sorted. I’m working on the principle of “done is better than perfect” that I heard from Liz Gilbert. If I get a first draft done and ready, I can get it to a first reader and get some feedback, and take it on from there.

I wish I would take a similar sense of satisfaction and achievement from my four-day working week this week but alas, no. Instead I saw this tweet this week and thought – yes, that’s exactly how I feel this week.

This was the week of the new rugs. Husband and I are not always good at spending money on ordinary house things, but over the past few weeks we decided that the hall rugs and our bedside rugs were probably past their best, and certainly not bringing us any joy, so after much online searching, we found some replacements, and they arrived over a couple of days this week. I particularly love the bright rainbow rugs in the bedroom. Now when I get up in the night my feet sink into something soft; and during the day I look at them and feel instantly cheered. Fans of muted tones will probably hate them, but that’s ok, you don’t live here.

This week I heard that ex-military personnel who were sacked from the British military for being gay had their service medals taken away from them, but under a new scheme to remedy past wrongs, they can apply to have them reinstated. Husband and I were both shocked and disgusted at this – not that LGBT people can get their medals back (if you earned it, you deserve it, not matter what your sexuality), but that LGBT ex-military staff lost their medals in the first place, that the military negated their years of service and took their military recognition away. Yes this new initiative does go some way to restoring past wrongs, but it’s still shocking to hear it didn’t happen sooner when the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the military was lifted in 2000 (the ban on trans people wasn’t lifted until 2014).

This week it was Pancake Tuesday, probably good fun for some people who don’t eat pancakes every weekend (umm… like we do…) We chose not to have pancakes for Pancake day. I remember it was only in the last 10 years or so that I realised Mardi Gras is “Fat Tuesday” in French. The day when you eat all the good things from your larder before your start the 40 day fast of Lent through to Easter.

On the subject of Easter – which is a spring festival, at least here in the northern hemisphere – although Easter itself is still some way off, here are some flowers from the garden, just to brighten the days of any northern hemisphere readers still feeling stuck in winter. These flowers really brightened up my week, appearing as they did so soon after the week of freezing temperatures.

And speaking of places with freezing temperatures, this week the Perseverance landed on Mars. We tuned in to watch the landing, although there wasn’t much to observe, just a graphic of what was happening, a woman in a mask describing what was happening and some very excited landing engineers who burst into spontaneous applause at various points when things went right. Was anyone else watching? And if so did you notice the guy who seemed to be the head of the landing mission had a big jar of peanuts behind him? I’m wondering how many other people got distracted looking at that jar of peanuts.

NASA screenshot with man and peanuts
Peanuts off to the left there.

After watching the Mars landing, we decided to continue with The Race for Space, watching the live performance by Public Service Broadcasting at the BBC Proms in 2019. If you’re not familiar with their work, you should be!

This week’s Covid update – I’ve noticed on the radio now they still give the daily number of deaths but no longer the cumulative number, as though now we have passed 100,000 the number of dead is just too huge to consider (in fact we’re now over 120,000 and I hurt to even think of that many grieving families). Instead they have started giving updates on the number of people vaccinated (currently 17.5 million have had their first dose). I know six people in this country who’ve had their first vaccine (four with health conditions, one is a carer, one is NHS staff), and that is good to hear. It feels reassuring. It feels hopeful. It feels like we finally have something solid to hang our hopes on that’s not just masks and hand sanitiser (not that I’m dissing the importance of masks and hand sanitiser). Could it be time to consider the return of hope and optimism?

Wishing you all a good week!

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