Hanging in There

Suddenly, September is over and there is a change in the air. A chill in the morning, darkness falling early and we know that Winter is Coming. Usually, I welcome the onset of autumn, with Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes night, Birthdays for me and Daughters to come and, of course, Christmas itself. But as in Game of Thrones, winter this year seems to bring only fear and dread.

Once again, the Tarot card picked at random is the Hanged Man. Still in limbo, unable to move forwards or back. We are powerless. All we can do is wait. I have been feeling flat, not depressed exactly, just demotivated, tired and headachey. After months of waking early, I am now sleeping soundly all night, with vivid dreams, even one about Covid. That is an improvement. However, falling downstairs last week and jarring my operated knee has been a physical setback. My exercise regime is on hold. I am eating too much. I suspect many of us feel a bit low just now. We have been good, patient, following the rules. Life should be moving on, but for now, we have to endure. Keeping in regular touch with friends helps. We are all struggling with decisions about whether to join classes live after months of Zoom, making plans for going out, seeing families and friends.

Over the summer, outdoor living has been a way of coping, socialising outside. We took down our gazebo a few weeks ago but plan to reinstate it as an outdoor ‘room’. Adding our fire bowl and some fairy lights would make it cosier. Replacing a 14 year old thermal blind and planning a new gas fire for the dining room have involved some useful research and will make the house warmer. We’re glad to have had our trip to Glasgow and family visiting here before the latest restrictions came in. Taking the campervan up to Gairloch gave us a nice break from everything for a few days.

I counted starlings on telegraph wires, played my guitar badly, swam in the sea and read three books by Jane Casey.

I sent a fan tweet to Jane Casey and was surprised and delighted to get a reply!

Elinor Kirk@elfsmamma·@JaneCaseyAuthor Reading ‘Cruel Acts’. Totally hooked on your Maeve Kerrigan books. They’ve been getting me through times of Covid. Thank you.

Jane Casey@JaneCaseyAuthor· Replying to @elfsmamma No, thank you! It’s so lovely of you to let me know. Just about to dive into writing the next one!

As always, I also have an audiobook on the go. Currently, it’s Troubled Blood, the latest Cormoran Strike thriller by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) My listening experience has been enhanced by my new Samsung Galaxy Ear Buds – see photo – which have replaced my collection of broken, patched up headphones. The book is satisfyingly long and has an epigraph from The Faerie Queen at the start of each chapter. I remember struggling to study this very long poem at university and have looked it out, intrigued by its tale of magic and monsters, to read again.

Cannyrob and I have been binge-watching The Walking Dead. Immersing ourselves in the experience of survival in a world where all who die become flesh-eating zombies is a powerful distraction from the daily graphs of Covid cases. The fates of Rick, Michonne, Carol and Daryl have become important to us. I reckon I could kill a zombie effectively with a blow to the skull if I ever had to.

Succession, starring our own Brian Cox, has been another viewing pleasure, and this week I’m happy to be watching a supposedly socially distanced Made in Chelsea. Ghosts is a clever comedy featuring the Plague and a surprisingly cheerful severed head. Sometimes reality is just too much. Take the US elections. Fake news, Proud Boys, tax evasion, the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She said, Dissent speaks to a future age. I like that. Even if dissent now has little effect.

I have bought myself a new jumper. Like make-up and nail varnish, clothes can be cheering. And it’s from our excellent local fair trade shop, Dos Mundos. It’s the kind of perfect Fair Isle I’d like to knit but have neither time nor patience.

Wee Boy is taking an interest in bird watching. When I joined him at our kitchen table recently, he told me he’d seen a robin in the garden and was watching to see what came to the hangers. I saw a penguin, he said, it was flying. I knew it was a penguin because it was black and white. We discussed possible scenarios: lost penguin, toy penguin, pet penguin….Later he said, Look Grandma, there’s the penguin, on the hanger! It was a coal tit, black and white, an unusual visitor. We went to tell Grandpa about it. Moments like these are worth remembering, as is his acceptance that Covid is still here and we have to wash our hands. But he has school, his friends, Lego, games and stories and takes each day as it comes.

That’s what I need to do. How are you doing? Thanks for reading my posts. I really appreciate your feedback, in whatever form. Message, comment, or email me personally at timewithelinor@gmail.com

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