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 no een 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 17 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

Storm Dennis South Wales

So I’ve been I’ll all day V &D due to the 3 ft of raw sewage that spewed it’s way into my cottage early hours Sunday morning.

Beginging of storm Dennis.

We knew what to expect we endured exactly same 18 months ago storm Callum

I’ve been reading alot in praise of what council and environment services have done for canalside (our forgotten street) in this flood ..
Here are a few facts
I live at no 20 no one was there in the street when the flood came at 2.30 / 3 am
No one came apart from the guys dropping off 4 sand bags and placing one useless row at top of the street.
I moved here 14 years ago and a team of council employees came to do a dummy run of what would happen in a red alert
They came fitted new flood gates front and back.
Then they promptly took them off and put them back on the lorry?
Asked if we could keep them we were told no that on red alert they would be brought out and fitted along with advice and help to elderly and vunerable to lift furniture ect
So storm Callum…
WHERE WERE THEY
Storm Dennis WHERE WERE THEY?
No one knows where these flood gates are?
No one knocks doors helps the vunerable warns us
We look.after our own

There was a meeting in the legion after Callum
Promises made about prevention highering walls, finding elusive flood gates,
More storm drains
And money from Europe for flood victims … False confidence given to vunerable people.
I have been scrubbing what can only be described as liquidised s@@t from all surfaces in my cottage the sewage was 3ft deep spewing up from toilets bath sink.
Help advice on contaminated water would have been helpful
Also we have vunerable tenants in the street in rented property.
Land. Lords now have to have a licence (rent smart Wales)
One young couple have had their tenency ended by their landlord no where to go…
The twins having to stay with a friend as their land lord has failed to help and find them.alternative accommodation.
It’s easy for people who aren’t experiencing this devistation for second time in 18 months to sit in their warm dry uncontaminated homes
With their opinions
They aren’t living it.
Not only is my home ruined my car is too.
For the amazing people who have knocked on our doors and walked the walk with help and support… I truly am grateful.
But council and services could have done so much more BEFORE and after the event FACT

Home is where the heart is. Canals, lakes and waterfalls my town.

I am forever grateful for this small row of cottages and the bank of the tenant canal in South Wales where I live.

I settled here fourteen years ago.

We originally looked a bit further out from the city as houses were cheaper.

I’m so glad we did.

Don’t get me wrong readers of my blog will know we’ve had our fair share of problems massive flood thanks to storm Callum in Oct 2018

But in a way it made me fall in love with this magical place even more.

Family’s helped each other bonds and friendships were made and strengthened

It’s not a posh place to live.

Small two up two down cottages

But it’s paradise to me.

Our home is here.

Our cancer retreat and therapy cabin is here.

Our cats our dog geese swans and birds

Home is where the heart is.

My heart is right here.

For that I’m truly grateful.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

There are no strangers just friends we haven’t yet met.

So as most of you know I live in a little canalside cottage nothing posh just two up two down on a tow path in South Wales.

I also have another cottage on the terrace Ravens Retreat.

Where as a soul midwife I provide respite free Therapies and breaks for cancer patients or anyone with life limiting condition.

We are slowly rebuilding the retreat after we were hit by storm Callum in Sept 2018 most of the terrace was flooded by sewerage it was a challenging time to say the least.

My hubby Jeff has been beyond amazing he is a jack of all trades and has self leveled floors, tiled bathroom fitted a shower room.

He’s almost finished tiling kitchen and living room

Fitted a new kitchen aquired from Facebook marketplace.

We are doing all this on a shoe string

We have had a cabin built (our healing hive ) on the land behind the retreat and are also trying to get this up and running insulated electrics flooring fencing the list is endless

And as I’ve been off work for a year on half pay I have really been holding out my hands to the universe and trusting we can get things finished.

Offering free Therapies to cancer patients. Holding healing clinics Reiki, Omni, and Soul Connection healing workshops teaching reiki to community

I know this work Is so very important people need to be treated holistically.

This is my service to the community a way of me giving back. A thank you for leading me to this beautiful place.

This post is about just that giving back and paying forward.

I always believe that people are for the best part good

And what you put out there you get back.

That’s what storm Callum has taught me.

This tiny street in South Wales is a community

Very commune like.

We all pulled together. We baled water, carried furniture, cleaned each other’s houses supporting each other in any way possible.

I cooked for the street my son made flood gates my hubby helped anyone and everyone. Reporters came and went we we’re on T.V for the weekend then people forgot.

Or did they.

Friends and neighbors are now closer

People come and gift me time in return for Therapies or healing or perhaps lunch.

Fab electrician had helped wire the cabin, my friend Han from work helped dig out old trees and clear garden. My son, daughter and daughter in love helped clean and grout tiles

Zoe and Ross helped clear up after cabin was erected

My grand daughter Tamika pushed wheel barrows full of garden rubbish.

Out neighbor Paul plastered the bathroom ceiling.

The twins next door brought food when Jeff was working.

My friend Sharon very kindly lent us a digger! How awesome I’ve been truly overwhelmed with kindness I’m truly blessed.

Last week I had a phone call from a lovely guy Chris who wanted to know more about what we we’re doing having heard about us from a mutual.friend

He visited and from minute I opened the door I knew we were destined to be friends.

Today he came over and painted fences helped Jeff out then had Sunday lunch with me and my family.

I guess what I’m telling you is there is a positive in every situation no matter how bad things are

Our little retreat was a lovely little cottage before the flood but we had made do and mended with what we had.

The flood pulled our little street together into a fabulous commune it pushed us to do work that we couldn’t really afford but somehow we’ve done it.

We now have that all important healing space I so desperately needed. A shower room that will make things much easier for wheel chair users or guests with dogs!

Most of all I have met some of the most amazing people who gave us the gift of time and true genuine friendship .

That to me is priceless.

So when life gets hard remember hold out your hands and trust the universe.

It may be hard but it is always beautiful.

So if your passing through neath valley south Wales

Come take a walk down Canalside drop in say hi.

A liminal magical place

My paradise.

My Tribe

My family ❤️