Strange times.. wonderful times

These last few months have been history in the making.

What ever you believe regarding the origin of the corvid 19 pandemic it has affected us all.

Never before has something touched us globally.

I live in a small terrace of canalside cottages.

2020 had been challenging before the pandemic we had to deal with the trauma of being hit by floods that ruined our homes destroyed our possessions twice in fifteen months.

But we are an amazing community and we had helped each other through it.

With love support cleaning each other flooded homes endless cups of tea and smiles.

Over half the families had to move out whilst their homes were rebuilt.

We stayed grafting my hubby jack of all trades repairing our cottage and the cancer retreat we run.

Then a month later Covid arrives bringing more disruption in a very different way.

So now we are in lockdown my hubby’s garage closes.

The tiny street is quiet

The building work stops. No one can get building supplies social distancing affects our community in a completely different way.

The street seems surreal only eight houses out of thirty are occupied.

We open at Canalside page on Facebook and we keep in touch through the page if one of us is going shopping with post to ask does anyone else in the street need anything picking up? Is everyone ok does anyone need any help

we arrange local businesses to deliver fresh fruit and veg.

we look after elderly residents check they have enough food and they’re feeling ok. Mental health is more important now than ever.

Thursday evenings we stand outside clapping for the key workers waving to each other smiling we are Canalside we are community we are family the floods strengthened our community the pandemic even more.

The more challenges this street has the closer our community becomes.

It really is a magical place to live

Thankfully the weather is good.

Newspapers and every day on TV they tell us the death toll rises they tell us to wash our hands to only go out to buy essential shopping not to visit close family or friends and to stay stay six feet apart.

when I was 16 very long time ago I spent my time chained to the fence at greenham common protesting about cruise missiles fearing for the future of my children I was 16 at the time and pregnant.

I had hitched a lift from my home just outside of Wigan to greenham common I’ve been befriended by a group of Welsh women who would sit and chat about the fear the nuclear weapons.

Each of them had been taken there by the fear they felt for their families future we would join hands singing blocking the path of these huge lorries transporting these huge cruise missiles.

Women trying to make a difference to change the world

Women of all ages from so many different backgrounds but with one common belief life is indeed precious

it seems strange now that this pandemic has created the same wave the fear but this time it is a fear of something none of us can actually see.

That experience as a young teenage pregnant girl instilled something within me I always believed that people are inherently good. This gift this realisation was given to me by those women at greenham common.

And I’ve lived by that positive thought ever since I’m not saying that life is a bed of roses but I am saying that life is sometimes hard but it is always beautiful.

I always remember their unshakable belief in a better world when I need hope and reassurance.

That when something threatens the thing that we love the most our families our communities then so many of us stand up to protect those things.

We’ve pulled together and we try your best to make a positive difference.

So it’s been 8 weeks now since this pandemic and lockdown began “pandemic “it’s global and we’ve I’ll have to slow down we’ve all had more time on our hands we’ve had time to think what matters most to us to reflect we have witnessed so many things that have happened in this world and those things have often been positive.

And I thought of that circle of strong Welsh women.

Here in the UK we have the national health service it’s .

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s always been appreciated but it’s always been struggled under financed I work for the NHS and I’ve seen so many changes over the years we haven’t got enough staff we haven’t got enough beds, psychiatrists supplies, the list is endless I could go on but you get the picture.

When something goes wrong within the community or crime happens and it’s a mental health patient it’s mental health services that are blamed but often it’s a deeper problem that we really just can’t cope. Huge caseloads closure of wards .

Patients are sent home from hospital far too early in my opinion there are so many unsafe discharges but that’s because we haven’t got the beds and patients are accused of bed blocking this is all down to the government.

My daughter-in-law works in general nursing and it’s a very similar story there too waiting list for operations are years if you would like a counselling appointment if you are suicidal 12-months 18 months how can that be?

but that’s the way is a wonderful NHS has been slowly run into the ground the staff are on their knees but now in 2020 during this pandemic we have seen people out on the streets clapping for the NHS politicians who have deprived us of money who haven’t supported us a clapping for the NHS I wonder and I hope if after the pandemic they will realise just how amazing the staff and the service is.

it has broken my heart to see friends of mine going into work dealing with this virus with no PPE armed with only a an apron and an inadequate mask.

This is true care they don’t go into work for the money obviously they need their pay packets but the pittance they are paid is nothing compared to the service that they give willingly everyday.

And I think is a nation we have been reminded of this throughout these difficult times.

as I said earlier the weather has been amazing and that in itself has been a blessing I can’t imagine coping with lockdown if it been raining or terrible weather and we are all stuck inside.

What a difference no aeroplanes and no traffic has made. Everyone has commented look up how blue are the skies how quiet are the roads less pollution less chemtrails

We’ve had reports of wildlife roaming in city centres of dolphins swimming in the canals of of Venice clearer water in lakes less pollution breathed in surely all of this is positive.

Families are getting to know each other interacting more walking together.

How many people walked before the pandemic I know the footfall past our cottage on the canal has probably quadrupled.

Just these few things we can reflect on and maybe keep some of the changes we’ve had to make.

I don’t think we can ever get back to “normal” because in reality the way we were living wasn’t at all normal.

Isn’t it sad that it’s taken a pandemic for most of us to notice this?

So before this ends maybe we could take that time of reflection to go inside ourselves and to ask what are the changes we would like to keep.

Because this really is history in the making so when our grandchildren ask us about the pandemic of 2020 what will be the story we tell them? What will the world be like that they are living in and how will we have helped to create that.

This is our planet our world our country our community and it’s up to us to take personal responsibility so will you be that change you want to see?

Remember life is often hard but always beautiful

Fog of Grief

In my lonley and self imposed fortress of darkness.

Wrapped in a foggy cocoon, playing inner cine films of you.

In a large empty theatre for one.

Talking to you of how lost that I feel

Listening and knowing all your replies. making new deals as I stare up at the night sky.

Wishing for just one more day spent with you.

To just watch the clouds maybe share a drink or two.

Dancing to pink and taking you home

Then waking and knowing I’m still here

Alone.

Without the madness of my random best friend

Knowing I must go on get a grip and not spend.

Days fretting without you I have no choice but to be strong

Knowing your still.beside me

Knowing what you would say

You’d give me a row

For loosing my way

And so now I have

found the courage to lite a candle within myself.

Embracing the shadows asking for enlightenment.

In the darkness of grief I found my true self.

I was not completly lost.

Just waiting

For the flickering of the returning light.

Of hope

Before the madness

I found this note I had written at the end of 2019 before the madness of 2020.

It’s seems a life time ago .

When we could sit next to strangers and chat in a public place.

I wonder how the lovely gentleman is now.

I pray he is okay.

I’m sitting in foyer of the hospital. Just waiting.
It’s freezing,

I kid you not people are wearing hats and coats.

I think it’s warmer outside in the winter sun.
Is the heating broken?
I sit watching an array of people walk through the doors.

I work for the NHS encounter the affects of cutbacks everyday.

It’s affecting patients and staff.

It’s going to hell in a hand cart.

The staff are amazing we care but you can’t pour from.an empty vessel and believe me we are scraping the bottom.

Hailed as best heath provider in the world but for how long..

I feel so sad as I look around

An elderly couple sit beside me. Chat about lack of disabled parking.

He leans his head on his hands.

Milky eyes, papery skin and wrinkles tell a thousand stories.
He struggles for breath, she smiles. C.o.p.d.

Years down the pit she says.
I smile my heart aches. I come from a mining town I know the graft the blue scars and toil of pit men
All my life he says as if reading my mind.
My son’s too.

One still a miner now he’s says with pride in his rasping voice.

Our other boy is a teacher she says in Australia. I think that I hear relief in her proud words.
We are hoping to get a nebuliser to help him breath marvellous they are.

Expensive maybe we can get one now,
his chest is so much worse than the last appointment.

Maybe? I think?
Why oh why hasn’t he got one now?

This lovely proud hard working man.
Struggling to breath without complaining
Worked all his life
Asked for nothing.

Now retired.

Time that should be enjoyed.
Outdoors with his loving family.
He sits in a cold hospital corridor.

On a shabby uncomfortable chair.
Struggling for breath.
Where is his rewards
For a life hard worked.
Give him all that he needs.
Give it to him now.
No waiting
How can you be expected to wait to breathe?

He smiled as they call his name.
Nods
Goodbye he says with a wink.
Nice to meet you.
It’s a honour to meet you sir. I say as he shakes my hand
I forget about the cold.
As I concentrate on the wonder and blessing of my breath.

Raven.

Full moon, ivy, and a new friend.

Matthew Goodridge we met unexpectedly on Oct 30th Samhain eve 2015 when the veil between our two worlds was at it thinnest.
I had walked through the graveyard under a ink black sky.
Heading to my favourite cross roads to perform my ancestor ritual.
There is a beautiful avenue of ancient yew trees in this tiny 13c churchyard an ideal place to honour our ancestors.
The sky so clear I sat down beside the end of a ivy covered tombstone my son Matthew and I have been estranged for quite some time and today as most days he had been on my mind.
The atmosphere this night was heavy.

I sat looking at this old tombstone covered in ivy and moss. who are you I whispered.Opened my bag took out my candles and incense placed them beside the coffin shaped base.
Something told me this is where I needed to be.
I gave thanks to my ancestors who have walked before me.
Sat with my black mirror to scry then after ritual I sat watching the sun rise birds began to sing.
I was still sat on the grave stone I began to pull at the ivy. It had pushed its way into the stone but somehow it felt the right thing to do.
Who are you I asked again as slowly a name was revealed.
My samhain companion.
I chatted away until I had a full name..
Matthew Goodridge.
Aged 43.
Died.. I smiled..
Samhain.31 October 1888.

.

So Matthew it wasn’t a coincidence I was drawn from my usual path.

He had been hidden in in knot weed and brambles covered in ivy for years and years.
Forgotten .
I remember you Matthew Goodridge.
I said out loud touching the top of the stone.
Further down were the names of Matthews two daughters.
Sarah Anne 14
And Tirzah 9.

.

No mention of a wife or mother.
As I finished removing the rest of the brambles from the corner of my eye a tall man in a flat cap stood watching me his cigarette smoke blew across to where I stood .

Gardener maybe?

I smiled and nodded.

In the blink of an eye he was gone.
I looked over towards the yews and the big wrought iron gates
But there is no one about.

A crow caws above me.
Your welcome Matthew I say.
As I pick up my bag..
The sun light picks our the names on the stone.

I’ll be back soon to finish tidying .
That was two years ago.
Since Matthew and I met.
I go there often to keep the ivy at bay I have found the missing end piece of the tomb dug it up repaired and fixed it back into its original place.

He is my peaceful place

An ancestor of this land I call home.

Flowers and vase now show that someone cares and remembers them.

He won’t ever be forgotten whist I speak his name.
I will remember him.

One hundred and twenty seven years to the day.
Matthew Sarah and Tizah my samhain ancestors of this place that I love.