Empty

I sat on the sofa looked and round my tidy living room. I had been cleaning the house all morning as I normally did on a Wednesday which was my half day off both of my part-time jobs.

Something wasn’t right…It was too quiet.

For the last six months, I’d had six children stuck at home creating havoc and testing me none stop! My role of mother and step-mother had suddenly expanding into primary and high school teachers, artist, examiner, organiser, peacekeeper and technician.

Today, though they had all gone back to school!

The house felt too big suddenly and I a mouse. Shutting my eyes, I took a few deep breaths and told myself I didn’t miss the stress of those days. Yes, it had been nice to spend time with them all but wasn’t nicer to have a few hours to myself now?

My second husband, Dean, had missed all of this. As a key worker he hadn’t stopped and ‘normal’ had carried on for him.

‘We can send them to school you know,’ Dean had said, ‘key worker children are allowed. Paula’s children go.’

‘I know, but I feel safer with them all here. Let’s see how it goes and maybe the older children can go to school in a month or so?’ I had replied.

‘You know they are saying this virus doesn’t really effect children? All of ours are under the age of eighteen so they are fine,’ Dean pointed out.

‘On the other hand, it’s a new bug and they don’t understand much at the moment. I know keeping them out of school isn’t good but for the time I just feel it’s the right thing,’ I explained, ‘when there’s more information we can decided then.’

Maybe, I was being a too protective mother hen? Or perhaps, I felt more prepared then other parents, having once been a school teacher before ill health and the death of my fourth child had impacted.

It didn’t matter now. It was September and they were back at school. The virus wasn’t gone though but at least it was mostly being controlled and understood. I was even going back to both my jobs tomorrow. My ‘office’ job was still work from home but my house cleaning one which had been on and off was regular again.

I looked at the clock. It was creeping past lunchtime and I should get something to eat before going on the computer.

I wonder what the children are doing right now.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

My favorite season is here and the official countdown for Halloween can began!

Though, I’m not sure how Halloween will look this year with everything going on but I shall try to make it as normal as I can. I’ve not really started much planning, though I’ve found a website to get my own Halloween sweets from. Have to buy some soon to give them a test!

The kids are all going back to school throughout the week and though most adults are still working from home, there’s this feeling of putting the spring and summer months behind and getting back some sense of being normal for the rest of the year.

On the other hand, things are still going to be effected. There’s people, like me who can’t go out and do what we want. Everyone is wearing masks and washing their hands like crazy and conversation still turns to how things have going and do you know anyone who’s had the virus?

The news is full of numbers and chats; here’s the latest update on deaths, testing and how the rest of the world is fairing. Here’s what the people in charge and scientists say, plus local views. After awhile it all starts to become the same.

It’s just become a part of life now.

Making plans keep me going and trying to claw back some of this year. I might not be able to go out to the shops and look through the Halloween items but there’s the internet to wonder through and everything I could need on there.

Life needs to carry on and new normals need to happen.

Packages #FridayFictioneers

The doorbell rang and I went to answer it. On the doorstep was a medium size box. Looking up, I saw the deliveryman waving as he went back to his van. I waved back then gathered my parcels.

‘Postman?’ my husband called from the study where he was working from home.

‘No…it’s a thing for me,’ I answered.

‘More Amazon?’ 

I went to deny it but I couldn’t. Since starting lockdown my world had moved online. Everything I wanted came at the click of a mouse and it was like Christmas everyday but if it kept me going then it was worth it.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/07/15/17-july-2020/ with thanks).

Coffee Art

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I had always admired the art designs on top of my lunchtime coffee from the posh cafe next to my office.

Since working from home though, I had missed it. My home coffees looked so plain, so normal and I missed that treat that broke up my day. In the morning, I looked forward to the coffee art; what design would I get today? In the afternoon, energised, I enjoyed thinking about the creativity.

There was only one thing for it. I had to learn how to do the designs myself. Perhaps, that way, I would feel better about working from home.

Post It Note Short

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Summer is here but holidays are cancelled. There’s no trips to the beach or the zoo, instead we must stay inside and fill summer’s long days entertaining ourselves.

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

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.

It’s just another day in lock down.

Summer Rain

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The rain dripped off the cafe’s canvas shelter. I looked up and just listened to the soft, steady beating noise. It was nice and calming and eased my anxiety more then the hot chocolate in front of me.

There was only handful of people on the street and they were hurrying about their business, masks on their faces and shopping bags crinkling beside their legs. Of the cafe tables, two or three had people sitting at them, the rest, spaced out were empty. Inside the cafe no one was allowed to sit, it was outside or take away only.

Two staff were behind the counter, masked and gloved and working as best they could. No food was on offer today, so the chocolate chunky muffin or slice of banana cake with thick frosting, I would have got to accompany my drink wasn’t there.

‘You okay?’

The gentle voice of my boyfriend broke in to my thought.

I nodded, ‘just adjusting. The rain’s helping. How’s you tea?’

‘Fine,’ he said and took another few sips.

Watching a man and his dog walk by, silence crept between us again.

Normally, we’d have lots to chat about and catch up on but this wasn’t a normal date. It was the first time we had been outside in public in twelve weeks and we decided to move in together before, perhaps that had been too soon but things had been fine.

‘We can leave whenever you want to,’ he spoke again.

‘I know. I’m okay.’

I picked up my hot chocolate and took a deep drink. It was nice and rich, the chocolate heavy but creamy. The warmth spread in my chest and I felt better.

Book Tower

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My to read pile had been tall before but being in isolation had made the tower seem never ending which was just how I wanted it to be!

Trying to Juggle

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Working from home sounded great but in reality it was horrible. The kids always wanted something then the dog wanted something, then the wife was yelling at the kids or the dog of just in general.

Having a meeting was like dealing doing a deal with the devil. I was tried of telling people to un-mute themselves or turn there sound out or was that a fire happening in their background?

I just wanted a few minutes peace to write this report. My children stuck stickers to my back, I ran the dog’s paw over with my chair and my wife was asking what time I’d finished work because it was my turn to cook tonight.

The house was always a mess, the children kept moving my things and I just wanted my nice clean office back!

Right, enough is enough! I’m going to empty the shed and turned that into a office. I could lock the door and be at peace in there. I could carry my briefcase across the garden each morning and pretend I was going into work. I could get a radio and a coffee machine….

Yes, that’s what I needed, an office away from office.

Grow

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‘What did you grow during lock down?’

‘Herbs, tomatoes and flowers.’

‘I managed peas, lettuce, radishes and carrots.’

‘We could put a salad together!’