I just wanted to write this notice post, though I’m sure everyone is aware of what is going on in the world right now.
Currently, I’m well (if I get the chance, I’ll change that to ‘not well’ etc when needed) but I am in the high risk group as I have severe asthma and ulcerative colitis – a bowel disease- which has given me a weakened immune system and also the drugs I take for it are immunosuppressant.
I’m staying as well as I can, following all advice/instructions and keeping up to date with coronavirus reports. I am thinking about self isolation in general to lower my chances of getting the virus, it may or may not help me but for me as I’m at risk of complications from having the virus or even worse, it makes sense to do what I need to to be safe.
With regrades to this blog and posting a short story a day, I will carry on as normal. I’m writing a few stories extra when I can to have ready to publish in case I can’t write.
However, if days start to become missed then please understand it’s because I’m too ill to write. I will catch up on them when I can.
Dad’s shouting woke me. Rolling over in bed, I rubbed my face and tried to understand through the fog of sleep what was going on. I heard footsteps along the hallway then the stairs. Mum’s voice in the kitchen and dad replying.
I got up, climbed down the bunk bed’s ladder and went, yawing and groggily, to investigate.
‘Look in the sink!’ mum cried as I entered the kitchen.
Confused, I did so and what I saw shocked me fully awake.
A fluffy, brown, fat hamster was trying to climb up the back of the sink but he kept sliding down because he couldn’t get a grip on the smooth surface.
‘Houdini!’ I yelled and grabbed the wiggling hamster, ‘I thought you were lost forever.’
‘So it’s him, then?’ dad asked.
‘Houdini has been missing a whole year,’ mum pointed out, ‘are you sure?’
Peering into my cupped hands at the ball of fluff and I nodded.
This is a true event from my childhood. Houdini was so named because he would escape and we’d never find out how he did it. He would be missing for awhile but this time it really was a whole year that he was gone for.
A few years after Houdini passed away, we got a new washing machine and a hamster nest was discovered in the vent. We believed it to have been Houdini’s nest and he had lived in the kitchen were there was always access to food and water.
Nancy running along the path in the woods. We were chasing each other under the shade of the trees with a grey sky peeking through the leaves. Nancy was laughing and tossing her head back often to see how close I was gaining on her.
My shirt, she had begged to have because it was cold and she was just wearing a vest top, was sliding off her shoulders and billowing out like a cape as she ran. I think my shirt give her wings because I couldn’t catch her.
Nancy flew away.
I heard the snapping of branches, the tumbling of soil and rocks. The ground left my feet and air rushed around me but unlike Nancy I couldn’t fly.
Was that Nancy screaming and crying as the world spun like a top or were they my screams and cries?
The ground was hard underneath me, I was covered in soil and small stones. It took me a few minutes to release I was in a quay crater. Despite the broken bones, bruises and pain, I looked for Nancy but she wasn’t with me.
All summer events were cancelled and tickets had been refunded. Donna couldn’t believe it. She had been saving so hard to buy a ticket and now because of the virus, the rock festival had decided cancel.
Sadness filled her. She wouldn’t be able to sing her favourite songs alongside the bands. That feeling of being a part of something big and the rock music shaking her whole body wouldn’t happen. Donna only felt truly alive when surrounded by loud noise, the cancer had taken everything else.
There was nothing for it, she would have to create her own rock music festival in the living room.
The bright yellow duckies had always attracted me. I loved playing with the one I had as a toddler in and out of the bath. Often, I went to bed with it too and my parents were baffled by my attachment to the plastic bath duck.
When we went to anywhere that had a ‘hook a duck’ or something similar game stall, I had to play like an addict at a gambling machine. I didn’t want the stuff animals or other toys for a prize though, I wanted to keep all the duckies!
‘She’ll grow out of it,’ my dad often said but he was wrong. Now, I’m twenty-eight and my collection of plastic duckies has just got me a place in the Guinness World’s Records.
It was still raining and it would carry on no matter what I did. Signing, I turned back to the jigsaw puzzle in front of me on the dinning room table. I had been wrestling with the 2,000 pieces of the solar system for days now. The boarder was there and some of the middle was starting to stretch out but I had a long way to go.
I got up, abandoning things for the fourth time that day and went into the kitchen. There was nothing amusing in here. I made a coffee but not just any, it was a nutty latte with a thick layer of foaming milk on top and a sprinkle of coco and nutmeg on top. The smell was amazing and like being in a fancy coffee shop during a break from the Christmas shopping rush.
Gripping some soft biscuits with creamy buttercream in between them that I made this morning. I took my hot mug into the living room and curled up on the sofa with a huge book about all the known myths and legends around the world.
I could have had something simple inscribed on placate placed on the bench I’d made for my parents. The normal thing of their names, birth and death dates and perhaps stating this was their favourite spot.
I knew they had walked the cliffs often. They had meet on the beach below as teenagers so this area did hold special memories for them. Why my dad had chosen to bring my mum here to end everything, I could only guess.
Perhaps, it had been the easiest place for him to tell the old people’s home to take them on a day trip. It had been their special day after all. The career had said, my dad had asked her to go and get them ice creams whilst he and mum rested on a grassy spot.
Mum had been in a wheelchair, gone to dementia and dad with numerous other illness had recently been told he had that disease too.
I guess he couldn’t bear it anymore and that’s why he’d done it.
The placate reads;
In memory of Harry and Betty who committed suicide here on the 2 .8. 2019, their 55th wedding anniversary.
Their love began and ended on the beach below. They were always together.
On the back playing fields, growing along the far edge where the children didn’t play, the raspberries grew.
I only knew about them because once I’d had a friend who lived in the houses down the lane there which backed onto that part of the field which had been left wild. It was his parents or grandparents who told him about the wild berries growing around here and he told me one summer.
Since then, I always come back here in summer to pick the wild raspberries and taste a burst of summer sweetness.
The branches hang heavy with the plum red berries which peer out shyly from large leaves. When they are ripe they fall to the long grass and bugs delight in their feast.
I bring a basket and spend a few hours taking the ripe raspberries off the plant and collecting them. Sometimes when I pause for a few moments, I put a raspberry in my mouth and enjoy it like it’s my first ever one.
At home with my prize, I put some in the freeze to keep and others I make into pies and smoothies.
I don’t know what it is but there’s something so satisfying about picking your own food.
I hope you are well. London is another short stop in this whirl wind adventure. It’s very busy here, loud and none stop. We visited museums and admired the ancient statues and huge paintings. We went to see the Madam Butterfly at the theatre which I most enjoyed. St Paul’s rounded things off- that place is huge and yet so quiet.
We did a little shopping and I was able to pick up a few things. Next we are going to Cornwall and the coast. I’m looking forward to that as it will be a nice break from all these cities we have visited.
I’m so glad I decided to spend my summer on this ‘grand tour’ as you suggested I need to see the world.
It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.
In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.
My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.
In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.
I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.
It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.
The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.