Taking Time Off

The UK has had some much-needed sunshine and we’ve had a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend, which makes me feel more optimistic, especially as the Covid restrictions are lifting. I’m praying that we keep moving in the right direction.

If things had gone to plan, I would have been on holiday in Cornwall. (Things didn’t go to plan – see ‘Dealing with Disappointment’!) Instead, I’m on holiday at home.

I’m not great at relaxing. I have too many thoughts and plans whizzing around my head, which makes it difficult to switch off. My jobs are basically the same as my hobbies! I don’t take that for granted; it’s a wonderful thing and I’m grateful, but makes it hard to separate ‘work’ from ‘leisure’.

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Staring into Space

Monday 17.2.20

I’m tired today.

We all get busy and stressed – it’s difficult to avoid – but personally, I’m inclined to make myself even busier than I need to be. I sometimes forget that down-time is as important, if not more important, as ‘getting things done’. Without down-time, we can’t function properly. We end up in a spiral of fatigue and then…well…guilt from not ‘getting things done’.

I’m learning that it’s not a moral duty to Continue reading

This Kind of Happiness

There should be a special word for this kind of happiness. I’ve never needed my feet in the sand and sea as much as I needed it today. And what a beautiful day to do it.

As I swished my bare feet through the shallows, a grey-haired lady in a pink and white striped top, beige three-quarter lengths and sturdy trainers, walked by on the beach. Her eyes were open to conversation.

‘Get your feet in here!’ I laughed and flicked my hair for dramatic effect.

‘Oh, not today,’ she said, smiling. ‘I don’t want to get my feet wet and sandy when I have to walk back to St Ives afterwards!’

‘Fair enough.’

We were soon deep in conversation. She told me all about herself, how she lives in Dorset but is from Scotland originally; how she and three friends moved down to London in the 60s with no idea what they would Continue reading

The Joy of Pointless Activities

I now have quiz apps on my phone. I’ve always enjoyed quizzing but have tried not to do it too often because it’s so addictive! The apps reminded me how much I love learning geography trivia – in particular, capital cities and flags.

Next thing I knew, I had bought a book about flags, and flash cards. It took me a few days to learn the flags of all the countries in the world (well, mostly). It’s fun to discover the meaning behind them, when and why they came into use, and that leads on to Continue reading

Little Boy by the Waterfall

Saturday 7.7.18

The little boy kicked his feet, splashing the rock in front of us.

‘Please put water all over it,’ he said. He needed my extra long legs to complete the operation and was pleased when I obliged.

‘Look! Those ones are yellow.’ He pointed to stones submerged by the shallow water. They looked almost golden in the bright light.

We sat on a large rock, hot from the sun, near the hidden waterfall in Penllegare Valley Woods. There were several people at the rockpool – families and dogs. I wasn’t planning to paddle, but I couldn’t resist Continue reading

A Dose of Cheese on Toast

I felt flat last Thursday. Not sad, or anxious, or discontented, just flat. I’d had a couple of late nights. Maybe the flatness was creative burnout. My head had been whizzing around, producing a lot of writing – a lovely feeling, but unsustainable.

I walked down to the Post Office to buy a stamp, taking a deep breath before I left the house. I was particularly jittery that day. I noted that I would have felt the same even if there were no people around, so it couldn’t have been social anxiety in this instance. I couldn’t work out how to walk or how to arrange my face! Disconnected.

When I finished in the Post Office, I glimpsed into the Continue reading

Being Kind to Yourself Won’t Kill You

‘Today, I’m going to focus on being kind to myself,’ I announced to an empty room, on Friday morning.

What a shame that it had to be said!

I removed a few things from my to-do list that didn’t ‘need’ to be done, and set about writing in my journal instead – little, ‘unimportant’ thoughts and observations.

I had already done my Morning Pages (two pages of freewriting as soon as I wake up) during which I realised that for the past couple of days I’d been Continue reading

Silence and Silliness

We sat on a bench on the prom, overlooking Llanelli Beach, with an assortment of food beside us. We weren’t hungry, and neither had we particularly wanted to go out again, but we dragged ourselves out of the Travelodge at 7pm, to make the most of the day. Our last evening.

We picked at the cheese and cocktail sausages, and mustered some enthusiasm for the chocolate-caramel doughnuts. The sea was advancing across the bay and the sun sinking towards the horizon. It was like a race, watching which would reach the finish line first! We were still. We were silent. To move or to speak would have burst our bubble.

I was tired by that point. When I’m at home, I usually escape to my room at the earliest opportunity! We had taken it easy for a lot of the trip, but I was still feeling slightly over-socialised and my mind over-stimulated, not helped by broken sleep. There are many advantages to being slightly introverted, but the lack of social stamina can be frustrating at times. Somehow, this week, it didn’t matter so much… Continue reading

Quiet Moments are Legal

28.6.17

I am lying in bed at half-past nine on a Wednesday evening. There are so many things I could be doing right now – I won’t say should be doing, because I’ve accomplished everything I had on my to-do list, and more. I still have some energy though. I didn’t expect that!

Today has been busy. I’ve been organising a concert, and I did the final lessons before my pupils’ exams, accompanying them on piano. I was nervous beforehand, with the pressure to say and do the right things, and to leave useful thoughts lingering in their minds before the ‘big day’ (if we must view it as such). They were calm and measured, even with mistakes. I was so proud of them. Continue reading