The Magician

And now for something completely different! Our “Learn Tarot #withme” series is now well under way over on our YouTube channel so if you’re looking for something to while away the time under lockdown, why not take a look?

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmooI7savAfP5lNHOZ8-zWg

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 16

How Are You Surviving Lockdown?

It’s starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day already for me, and we’re only on Day 16. Judging by my social media feed, I’m not the only one so for a change of pace in today’s post, I thought it might be interesting to hear how everyone else is keeping themselves occupied during lockdown?

I’m the sort of person who can’t sit still at the best of times even though I love being at home. I always have to be doing something – blogging, knitting/crocheting, tarot cards, yoga, meditating, guitar, reading, PS4, Candy Crush! And then there’s the more mundane tasks – cleaning out garages, cupboards, every room in the house from top to bottom. And when all else fails, there’s always the Netflix/YouTube rabbit holes to fall down.

It’s not often that people in every country in the world find themselves going through an event like this all at the same time. So whether you’re in lockdown in the UK like me or elsewhere in Europe, North or South America, Australasia or Asia, why not get involved and add a comment to this post telling us where you are and how you’re surviving lockdown.

If nothing else, it’s a way to fill the time – ready, set, go!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 15

Boris Johnson Taken into Intensive Care

Shocking news this evening, that Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister who was hospitalised last night having tested positive for Covid-19 over a week ago, has in the last hour or so been transferred to an intensive care ward as a “precautionary” measure.

I don’t know but that word “precautionary” seems to have been used a lot by Downing Street during Mr Johnson’s illness. He’s clearly more ill than what we have, until now, been led to believe.

And that’s the frightening thing about Covid-19; some people, like Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, seem to have mild symptoms and are back to work in a week. Others, with underlying symptoms, tend to have it far worse and can need help breathing if the condition isn’t to become fatal. I’m not aware that Boris Johnson has known underlying health conditions – it certainly isn’t being reported that he has – but of course, any one of us could have an underlying health condition that we don’t yet know about, Mr Johnson included. I certainly hope he, and all others affected, make a full and swift recovery soon.

Today has also seen the start of a 7-day Yoga Retreat at Home in the Yoga Ritual series on the YWA website, Find What Feels Good – link below if you’re interested. It’s about 15 minutes a day of yoga, followed by a 5 minute meditation, a daily walk and drinking plenty of water. Usually, you have to be a member of the site to get access to this particular content but you can sign up for a 7-day free access to have a go and start it anytime:

https://fwfg.com/

As the Easter holidays have now properly started, it’s a challenge for us parents to keep the brood entertained. My masterplan today was to teach my 8-year old, Twinkle, Twinkle on the guitar, just on one string which did actually keep her entertained for a while. Hopefully, she’ll be as keen tomorrow to get back on it and perfect it whilst I belt out Someone You Loved on mine – our neighbours must be delighted!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 14

An Address from Her Majesty the Queen

This evening, Her Majesty the Queen gave a televised pre-recorded address to the nation and Commonwealth. I’m very much a royalist through and through, so I’ve been looking forward to this since I found out about it a few days ago. As ever, Liz didn’t let us down!

As expected, it was full of references to other times of crisis, most notably the Second World War and the Queen’s very first address to the nation, when she was only a teenager herself. I personally loved the reference to Vera Lynn’s famous song, We’ll Meet Again:

Social distance now so we can meet again sooner!

I found it all very emotional and caught myself fighting back the tears at times.

In other news, in Scotland, the Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood, had to apologise having been caught flouting the very advice she’s been giving out, having been reported to, not once but twice, having buggered off to her second home, something like 44 miles away from her main home. Personally, I think she should resign; I mean I get what Nicola Sturgeon is saying in that she has expertise that they’d like to make use of but, come on – She’s not exactly to be trusted is she. Surely we’re not that short on talented experts that can be trusted who could step into her shoes, are we? I’m more concerned about what a poor example she’s set in doing something that she, more than anyone if she’s such an expert, should know better than to do. The message that her thoughtless behaviour has given out.

And I don’t know who got that promised warm weather today but I did not think it was all that warm in Manchester – sunny yes, windy very much so but warm – not really. Still got out and gave the car a bloody good clean inside and out but I won’t lie. I’ve got a bit of cabin fever this evening. Restless, even though I’ve had a quick walk with the dog and been on the drive cleaning the car all afternoon. Goodness knows how I’d cope if the government has to take away our allowed exercise breaks, all because some people are incapable of following the rules. I think the increased threat of this is what’s making me a bit antsy tonight actually.

I’ve tried to combat it by coming up to the bedroom to type this tonight which is something I never do, just for a change of scene. Maybe the best thing to do is to get an early night and hopefully sleep it off.

Oh well, at least I don’t need to set the alarm for Monday morning!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 13

Second Weekend of Lockdown

It’s only the second Saturday of lockdown for us here in the UK, but already it’s my favourite day of the week just because it still feels like a normal day for me. Saturdays usually are a day for me to catch up with jobs around the house and garden that I don’t normally get the chance to deal with through the week, as well as a time to spend doing things I enjoy doing but I’m usually too busy to do.

And this Saturday was no different. I’ve been meaning to go through my youngest child’s room and give it a good clear out for weeks – and after two unexpected weeks at home, believe me, it needed it! So that took up a few hours on top of the usual household chores. By the time we’d got all that out of the way it was 3:30 pm and that was the first time the news stations went on all day.

Sad news again as the death count here continues, like so many other countries, to climb. Even a 5-year old boy has passed away from Coronavirus today it has been reported. When I hear things like that it really does make me wonder why in the next news story it’s the police, NHS and government having to beg people not to go out tomorrow because it’s going to be warm. Seeing footage of people on Brighton beach today just absolutely boggles my mind. I can only assume that these people really do not understand the danger that they are placing themselves and others in to be acting so selfishly. If it continues, then I fear the next step will be that none of us will be allowed out at all, even once a day for exercise.

I also think that we’ll be made to wear masks when we do venture out soon if things don’t start to improve, with the World Health Organisation changing its opinion on how useful they actually are in the fight against Covid-19. The cynical side of me does wonder though if we’re only being told this now so that we didn’t all panic-buy masks until such time as there was a sufficient stock for PPE.

Finished the day off with learning to crochet a headband (there were a few bad words but I got it in the end!), taking the dog for a walk with my eldest and then this update to the journal.

A big day of cleaning the car planned for tomorrow since it will be warm. Let’s stay home and save the world guys πŸ™‚

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 10

Wimbledon 2020 Cancelled

The daily death toll figure reaches its highest yet – 563 in the last 24 hours or so, according to Sky News. One of those being a young boy of just 13 years old with no known underlying health conditions.

These sad and sobering facts and statistics remind me of studying the Great Plague of 1665 at school and learning about those employed to push a cart around the streets of London crying, “Bring out your dead”. Most of us probably know that phrase better now from Monty Python of course. Maybe a very British humour, a gallows humour, is just what is called for at a time like this.

Wimbledon is the latest sporting event to be hit by the pandemic. It has now been cancelled this year for the first time since World War Two. This I’m sure hasn’t been all that surprising for most of us on the back of Tokyo 2020 being postponed last week. There simply wasn’t room in the tennis calendar to postpone Wimbledon as well as all the other tennis tournaments already vying for a space.

Some might wonder why bother to write a daily journal on such a sad time. Assuming that I do get out of this alive myself, I think it’s going to serve me well to look back at a time when our usual lives were thrown into chaos and nothing could be taken for granted. It’s a reality check for my future self. For me in the present, it’s also a good space to get my thoughts, fears and anxieties out, instead of bottling them all up.

In better news, not had a wobble yet today! I think yesterday was just my way of dealing with the shock of the last few days and reality setting in. Now I’m starting to realise the horror of the situation we find ourselves in, not just the virus, but its reach and affect on all of our lives, hopefully I can come to terms with it and make the best of a bad job.

After all, isn’t that too part of the British way? To “keep calm and carry on”, no matter what the situation.

I’m pretty sure that popping the kettle on and having a nice cup of tea is also the patriotic thing to do if you’re British at a time like this so I’m off for another cuppa!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 9

Not Okay

For those of you familiar with the music of My Chemical Romance, it will perhaps be telling that tonight I find myself comforted by listening to their back catalogue. In the words of one of their better known songs, “I’m Not Okay!”

Today has been the hardest so far with some of our services at work having to be reduced. I shouldn’t complain. I’m getting paid full wages for doing less work in that live remote lectures are being suspended for the foreseeable future on the basis that exams have been postponed. I don’t know why this upsets me so much. Maybe it’s because up until now I’ve been able to pretend that it’s business as usual.

My heart goes out to everyone who cannot do their job at all because of the nightmare that is Coronavirus. My 18 year old works at McDonalds and hasn’t been able to work for over a week now but I haven’t once seen her cry. But tonight here I am, twice her age and crying like a baby because the fortnightly live remote lectures with my students are cancelled. I am clearly not coping with this situation as well as I thought I was!

I’m trying to find the positives – I feel more tuned in and connected to the collective tonight than I have in a long time. On a personal level, I will have time to mark more coursework than I would otherwise have had. And, both me and all those that I love and care about are safe and well. I’m almost angry at myself for being upset over a work issue which, in the grand scheme of things, is something and nothing.

I always say that I’m not religious as I do not follow just one faith, but I am spiritual in that I do have faith that things happen for reasons that I do not always understand, but that always seem to somehow work out for the best. As heartbroken, sad and afraid as I feel tonight, I know that these feelings will pass and all will be well again. I guess I wouldn’t be human if this situation didn’t affect me at all from time to time:

β€œBran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’

‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”

George R R Martin, A Game of Thrones

In that case, I guess at least I’m brave tonight then because I am quite terrified in this evening’s mini-meltdown!

I’m sure that I’m not alone. Everyone, all over the world, regardless of nationality, colour, sexual orientation, faith, gender or class, is going to be affected by Covid-19. It is, if nothing else, non-discriminatory in its reach.

But we are brave, even in the face of fear and frightening statistics and realities.

I’ve had a wobble tonight but I know I’ll be fine tomorrow. I guess I wrote this in case anyone else is feeling the same to let them know that they aren’t alone.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay sane – we got this πŸ™‚

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 8

Back to School

Monday morning here in the UK, being the start of the working week, saw many of us returning to work – remotely. For kids, it was back to the homeschooling started last week. For keyworkers, back to saving the world. For everyone, it’s trying to carry on as normally as possible as we start Week 2 of Lockdown.

In the news today, there is a glimmer of hope that the number of deaths in England, although high, have been relatively stable over the weekend, so at least they haven’t continued climbing for a few days. Can’t count our chickens too soon but maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that things may not be as apocalyptic as feared. Maybe some of the measures enforced are beginning to work.

It will no doubt be one step forward, two steps back though for some time to come so I don’t want to give anyone false hope. But hope itself can be a powerful thing:

β€œThe world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”

 J R R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

When I first read The Fellowship of the Ring, I highly doubt that I truly appreciated the significance of that particular statement, but its relevance to our current circumstances is remarkable.

The world is, and always has been, full of danger; it’s just that now it seems more dangerous than we have, perhaps, become accustomed to. The challenge is to find that which is fair in it – even when it seems surrounded by the darkness. For in that is Hope.

Doesn’t Hope become more “precious” in times such as these? What can you find in today to be “my precious”?

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 7

Lockdown: The First Week

Has it really only been a week since Lockdown started? It feels twice that. I’ve not seen the news much today but, when I have, I was pretty surprised actually to see that the Prime Minister has written to every household in the UK, apparently indicating that tougher lockdown restrictions may soon have to be introduced.

A letter from the Prime Minister to every household? Probably not unheard of ever but almost certainly a rare occurrence.

Tougher lockdown in other countries has meant people in some places not being allowed out at all, heftier fines and an increased military presence. Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of time before these tighter restrictions have to be introduced here too.

And no sign of Lockdown lifting anytime soon either it seems, with even the most optimistic estimates suggesting that they’ll last throughout May at least.

In case you’re running out of things to do, I’ve added a couple of videos to our YouTube channel under the playlist, Learn to Read Tarot Series. Even if you’re not thinking of learning to become a reader yourself, you might find it interesting to check the series out as there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what tarot cards are and how they work. And who knows, you might discover a new hobby:

Want to Learn More About Tarot Cards?

With 78 cards to get through, it should keep us going for a while!

And don’t worry if you don’t have a tarot deck of your own. Why not make one? Get a piece of paper and a pair of scissors and cut 78 “cards” out. For now, just write the names of each of the cards on each of the cards you’ve cut out. The first 22 cards will be your Major Arcana, as follows:

  • 0 – The Fool
  • 1 – The Magician
  • 2 – The High Priestess
  • 3 – The Empress
  • 4 – The Emperor
  • 5 – The Hierophant
  • 6 – The Lovers
  • 7 – The Chariot
  • 8 – Strength
  • 9 – The Hermit
  • 10 – Wheel of Fortune
  • 11 – Justice
  • 12 – The Hanged Man
  • 13 – Death
  • 14 – Temperance
  • 15 – The Devil
  • 16 – The Tower
  • 17 – The Star
  • 18 – The Moon
  • 19 – The Sun
  • 20 – Judgement
  • 21 – The World

The rest of the cards are divided into 4 suits of 10 cards numbered one through 10 plus 4 Court cards in each suit, Page, Knight, Queen and King. The suits are:

  • Wands
  • Pentacles
  • Swords
  • Cups

You won’t really be able to shuffle in the traditional sense but you can “stir” the cards round and round, face-down and select your cards that way. And now you’re all set to learn how to read tarot!

The Covid-19 Diaries: Day 5

Coronavirus Infiltrates Downing Street

Breaking news today was that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, have both tested positive for Covid-19 after displaying symptoms of the illness, with England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, also said to be symptomatic. Probably not a great sign for the rest of us then.

On a personal level though, today was a far better day with it being results day for the further education law students I teach across A-Level and Degree Level qualifications, all achieving a 100% pass rate and a good portion of those actually obtaining distinctions. Proud tutor moment!!

Today was the first day of the year when I actually took my yoga practice outdoors into the back garden to make the most of the glorious sunshine. Feeling the warm sun whilst listening to birds singing makes it such a different experience to indoor yoga that I’d quite forgotten how much I’d missed it through the colder months.

Finished knitting the Easter Bunny for my eldest, Chloe all ready to make another one for Mia tomorrow.

My husband, Lee, went and did the weekly shop and had to do the whole queuing outside and being restricted to a certain number of items once inside. Nothing over the top mind – it just seems having chicken nuggets and chicken burgers is frowned upon currently! All in a good cause so I’m sure we’ll make it through the week without the burgers!

The lockdown restrictions are now noticeably being enforced with someone Lee works with having a family member fined for being outside inappropriately. Hopefully, the message starts to get through but I don’t know. Unbelievably people are still having BBQs on Winter Hill in Bolton, leading to a fire up there today, which our already overstretched emergency services had to then deal with. I’m almost praying for a change in the weather just to keep the selfish ones in.

We’ve big plans for tomorrow – clearing out the garage! To be honest, one of the real positives of this situation is that it’s forcing us to crack on with jobs we’d normally procrastinate about just to stave off the boredom. I’m a real homebody anyway with too many hobbies to fit into one day as it is, but I think Lee and the kids are already starting to climb the walls.

Myself, I’m quite ready for the Rise of the Introverts…