While the world takes a breath

I know we’re in the middle of an awful time.

People are sick and dying, all over the world we’re at the mercy of a common enemy that we don’t as yet have any way to attack, nor do we have any means to defend ourselves, apart from social distancing and isolation.

The world is taking a breath and exhaling in a long and luxurious fashion. Life is slower in many ways, smaller in many ways, and I can’t help but admit that I’m loving it.

I’m loving being at home. I know that I am privileged, living here in South Australia. Both our State and Federal governments have done well in doing what we can in this situation. The people have been sensible on the whole, and embraced the new restrictions gracefully, understanding the benefits for the common good.

My mind is working differently in this slow lane, and I’m remembering things that I thought I had forgotten, things from so long ago it seems like another life entirely.

Hubby and I walked the dogs the other day, and at one point we crossed a dry creek bed. My mind went back to when I was four or five years old, perhaps younger. We lived across the road from a large wood. I was forbidden to go there because of all manner of unnamed dangers. However I thought I had a handle on them as I knew all the fairy tales and what they said about going into the woods.

The problem was the three or four other children I played outside with were all months or one or two years older than me and they would lead us towards the woods and I would follow, despite knowing it was forbidden.

Just after entering the woods we would come across an obstacle. There was a small stream with muddy banks. It always went the same way; my older and taller companions would jump the stream one by one, clearing the banks. I would then try to do the same, but inevitably would land in the glaur, or mud.

We would play for a while amongst the trees, and then on return once again I would land in the middle of the glabber (yes, Scots do have a lot of words for mud).

I would go home, my feet slurping and squelching, my shoes and white socks covered in mud up to the ankles, and the conversation would always go the same way.

Mum: Have you been over to the woods?

Me: No (squelch, schlurp).

Mum: Then how did your feet get all wet and your shoes and socks all muddy?

Me: I don’t know.

Mum: You don’t know?

And then I’d get a couple of belts before she cleaned me up.

I wonder why I never learned.

But actually, thinking about it, I did learn. I knew what the consequences would be every time I went to the woods, but I had such a good time playing there that I was prepared to wear it. 

Eventually I got taller and was able to jump the stream without getting wet, and she never knew that I got to walk amongst the hip-high swathes of bluebells that carpeted those woods in summer. That was my secret. Until now.

And then suddenly I’m 58 years old and I don’t need that skill for jumping streams, because for much of the time the creeks are dry here in Australia, and I have a handsome husband to hold out his hand to help me across.

Another thing that the self isolation situation has brought about is that I’ve got back together with my colleagues Kate and Kehau and we’re ‘getting the band back together’. We toured a comedy show for about five years, called Three Stuffed Mums. Since about 2015 we’ve all been doing our own thing, comedy wise, but now we’re about to start doing an online show – The Viral Edition – to try to inject some levity into the new way we’re living.

Check us out at the Three Stuffed Mums facebook page for more details.

Like a Drunk in a Tumble Dryer

Like a Drunk in a Tumble Dryer

Yesterday one of my friends asked on Facebook – ‘How are you handling the new normal?’ and the instant reply that came into my head was ‘like a drunk in a tumble dryer’.

It describes perfectly the amount of grace, or lack of it, that I have on hand right now to handle this dystopian loony tune of a situation that both I and the rest of the world finds ourselves in right now.

After all, I have no control over anything much, and like the metaphorical drunk, I I tumble and fall at the whim of the ground beneath my feet.

I’m seldom literally drunk, though. Although I do enjoy alcohol, I don’t enjoy the feeling of inebriation, so I take it to the edge of tipsy usually, before retreating, wind in my hair and the waves crashing on the rocks below.

I’m ageing rapidly, and the invisibility I began to discover with horror as a 45-year old woman has now morphed as I screech towards the end of my fifth decade into kind of wholistic, healthy, tiny ball of Chernobyl-strength fury that sits somewhere near my root chakra.

It fires up whenever I lapse into being ‘nice me’ when it’s at the cost of being ‘real me’. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what I mean, and if you haven’t, no explanation will suffice. Just take my word for it.

My lovely husband has prostate cancer. This fact alone is the major feed of the tiny ball of fury, and gives it just enough radioactive anger to keep me seething along.

They can treat the cancer, but can’t operate on it or cure it. Best scenario is they come up with a cocktail that will prolong life as much as possible. We’re about 18 months into this journey (yeh I know, journey is such a hack expression but tell me a better one – voyage? escapade? experience? cruise? safari? road to hell?)

We were looking forward to growing old together, travelling, mucking around when it came time to retire. Now all that is up the swanee and we have to pack as much living into the near future because we don’t know if or when he’s going to be too ill to do that. And now that we are actually coming to grips with all that, the world decides to go on a pandemic sabbatical! You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Thank goodness we’re slightly extroverted introverts and don’t mind too much being at home.

Anyhow, by all accounts we’re just at the start of this COVID-19 hibernation, so join me as I document the experience.

Expect sarcasm, expect venting, expect to be treated to the details of my weirder than usual dreams (mangy satanic highland cows, for example). Expect alcohol. And swearing – expect swearing. One of my ex bosses said I was fluent in Wharfie.

Welcome. It’s good to have the company