It Can’t Be 2023 – Can It?

Blog, it’s been a long, long time.  A year to be exact. What happened to an entire year’s worth of Time?  It feels like planet Earth has been turning at the speed of light.  I looked up how fast the Earth actually turns, thinking it was probably a sedate 5 mph or something. Well folks, Earth spins at just over 1000 miles an hour, the planetary equivalent of that reckless motorway driver in the fast lane.  How gobsmacking, but also how scary.  This led me to question why we don’t all spin off into the void.  The answer is Gravity keeps us tethered to our cosmic home because Earth’s rotational force is too low to overcome the force of Gravity (I think this might be true; Google came up with other dodgier answers which I chose to disdainfully ignore.)

Anyway Blog. We meet when I am beset and bothered by a cold, not helped by the media going overboard (a la Covid) in the doom and gloom department re: the Flu, Strep A and bad old Covid. What have I been doing since my last post?  Which I see was all about Peter Rabbit (the film.)  Well, I’ve mostly spent the last 12 months doing what I’ve done for the past 724 months of my life (since becoming an almost fully self-aware human being – 4 years old I estimate) and that’s worrying about Life, the Universe and absolutely Everything.

There was one halcyon moment however, back in January 2022, when we came out of Covid restrictions. The viral curtain had been lifted and the play could go on. Hurray I’d thought, we can start living again, at the husband’s and I’s advanced ages of 61 and 62, instead of feeling like precious years were being wasted. But then, almost immediately, Putin invaded Ukraine and the curtain (this time iron) dropped again.  Would this go global?  Would we all be nuked?  Was this the final curtain?   Already programmed for non-stop terror, after a couple of years watching the Covid Apocalypse on my telly screen, I rapidly descended into WWIII terror, completely losing my blog writing mojo in the process.  And then in March I got Covid.  I thought I had a cold and wouldn’t test – I had a strange resistance to testing. The husband and I had the exact same symptoms (he’d started earlier than me) and he’d tested negative (he tested due to being vulnerable.)  I then tested 5 days in (at the insistence of a friend) to find I was glaringly positive. The two, coloured lines couldn’t have been more pronounced. This immediately caused me to believe that the end was nigh and, instead of just carrying on with what I’d thought was a common cold, I went about the house wailing and moaning like Marley’s ghost.  The Covid passed but left behind chronic low back and tailbone pain for reasons known only to the virus.  Maybe a form of Long Covid?  I consulted with our GP via an online form – our surgery’s Brave New World means of communication since Covid – who immediately ordered a load of blood tests and bowel cancer tests, sending hypochondriacal me into a tailspin.  The tests were ‘fine’, some were ‘satisfactory’ (again tailspin inducing, as in what does ‘satisfactory’ actually mean?)  So, I have no explanation for the pain.  Interestingly, the husband had continued to test negative for Covid during our ‘cold’. I can only assume he cocked the test up each time.

In May we went on our first major Podding trip, to Norfolk.  A lovely CL site called Brisley Hall Farm. The holiday was quite idyllic but there’s no denying that a caravanning holiday is hard work, especially when your van’s interior is on the tiny, made for elves side, and its occupants belong to that derided demographic known as boomers and are hurtling towards old age.  The trip taught us a few hard-earned lessons though, useful for further Pod trips.

In July we did a couple more very local Pod trips to a large Caravan Club site. It’s amazing how holidaying just 20 minutes from your home can open your eyes to the area you’ve lived in for 37 years. We found stunning walks we didn’t know existed and had lunch in a very nice tearoom hidden away in a village just 4 miles from us.  We must get out more, I kept exclaiming to the husband. Look at all the things we’re missing out on, right on our doorstep.

In August we embarked on our annual family holiday, this time to an amazing Airbnb house halfway up a mountain (well, a very big hill) in Gwynedd Wales.  The location was stunning. A mountain range all around us (so LOTR) and the Mawddach Estuary running by. The seaside town of Barmouth was a couple of minutes drive away. This short description belies the fact that I spent most of the holiday (as usual):

  1. Terrified of the 6+ hour car journey to get there
  2. Terrified of the short but steep, narrow and windy drive down to Barmouth from the house
  3. Terrified of a little boat ride across the estuary (a matter of minutes) to reach a little steam engine ride, and then terrified of a little tunnel it went through, in which I inhaled masses of toxic steam.

And I’ve continued with my singing lessons, which are an oasis of all that’s right with the world.  And continued with choir, performing at several Christmassy events. And continued downloading books to my Kindle.  I’ve read up to 50 books now since I splashed out on Amazon’s basic Kindle.  I’m currently back with Stephen King and dashed off The Dead Zone (so good), Fairy Tale (reasonable, if a little wacky, but what did I expect?), Everything’s Eventual (good) and Four Past Midnight (good) and am now working my way through The Dark Tower series. I’d never heard of The Dark Tower – that’s what’s so great about King, his output is so massive that there’s always another book to discover.  Book 1 of The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger, is extremely well written, to the point I questioned whether King had written it. That’s not a slight (even Stephen King must know his books are never going to make a college syllabus.)  It’s just the style of The Gunslinger is so ‘literate’ and the prose so succinct and almost poetic that I wondered which author King had decided to channel back in the late 70s. I also (King heretic that I am here) wished King had continued with the writing style used in The Gunslinger.  But no.  The Dark Tower books 2 (The Drawing of the Three) and 3 (The Wastelands) are King back to being King again.

I admit to finding The Dark Tower series, which King referred to as his ‘magnum opus’, heavy going so far (except for The Gunslinger.)  But I’m determined to keep going to the bitter end with this peculiar time-twisting mash-up of spaghetti westerns/medieval courts/New York crime and – most mind-boggling of all – Lord of the Rings.  But us constant readers rarely go to King for the sane and the sublime, do we?

And I’ve been crafting all year long. Without my crafting things fall apart and the centre cannot hold.  I finally finished the LOTR scarf for son no.3

And I finished a Star Wars scarf for son no.1, just in time for Christmas.

And I made an advent calendar, using left over bits of felt, for the grandkids, filling it with chocolate coins which went down an absolute treat with the grandkiddiwinks.

And a felt Dumbledore for the tree. The tiny embroidered face represented a new level of tricksy faffing about with felt. I also made Harry, Ron and Hermione from a felt kit from Wizarding World, gifted to me by son no.3 last Christmas, and which I only just got around to opening. It’s such a faff to upload photos to you dear Blog, that I couldn’t be bothered to post H, R and H in the midst of a cold. Have you noticed, as I just have, that our Potter heroes’ initials spell out HRH – could I have landed on another HP fan theory?! Like our Narnian heroes, could the Potter clan be Hogwarts royalty? You can tell how befuddled I am by this dastardly virus.

Anyway, belated Happy New Year to you Blog.

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