Highs and Lows

Another week over and life is starting to fall into a routine. Actually getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge. Not sure how I will manage early starts when all this is over as my body clock seems to have found a new rhythm which means breakfast is happening nearer to lunchtime. I do put my clothes on so that is something. I hope it doesn’t get too warm before the lockdown ends as I have no summer clothes in Northampton.

The daily (ish) walks are becoming a challenge. There are three parks within walking distance, none of them pretty but they offer space, birds and trees. I found a different route around one park yesterday and the way the trees joined together overhead looked like a tunnel. I think we are all in a tunnel at the minute and not sure where the light is at the end – but it will come.

I found a clump of cowslips and they looked so pretty in the sunlight but it made me so homesick. My parents lived at Cowslip Hill and the sight of the flowers brought back all sorts of memories. The woods around their home were indicators of the months and seasons. Snowdrops in January/February, Primroses, Cowslips and Violets in March/April, Bluebells and Wild Garlic in May, Dog Roses over the summer and then blackberries, wild raspberries, conkers and falling leaves in the Autumn. I played in the woods all the time, climbing trees and walking for miles. I collected frog spawn from the café sand pits and then got chastised from my mother for all the frogs in the garden. The sand pits are now a housing estate so not sure where all the frogs and newts went.

There are lots of hints and tips on Facebook on how to stay positive through the coming weeks which is good but I also think it is fine if you feel sad or a little down. These are strange times with feelings of anxiety and lack of control over the events unfolding across the world. IT IS OK TO CRY. I love Katherine Jenkins and she performs a live concert every Saturday at 6pm on Facebook. This week she sang ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story and I cried, and cried and cried. I didn’t beat myself up for doing so, I accepted that this will happen from time to time. I am with my husband but away from the rest of my family and that is hard. I miss my cat, Luna, as I spend most days when I am at home talking to her as there is no one else around. Now I end up talking to myself. I miss seeing the lambs playing in the fields. I haven’t seen one this year and it has always been a time of great optimism when I see the first one.

One tip that I thought was a great idea is when you think ‘I wish I could…’ , write it on a piece of paper and put it in jar. When we can go out again you can pick one of the ‘wishes’ out of the jar and do it. I wish I could go out for a walk in Sywell Park or have a latte in an independent coffee shop. I wish I could hug my children and cuddle my cat. Try it.

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My highlight every week is going to Waitrose. I hate shopping but the fact that I can go in my car to a place where there are people is a real positive. There isn’t a great deal of food on the shelves but it doesn’t really matter. We make do with what is there.

The on-line yoga sessions are going well including Barre Pilates. The picture froze but I continued on with the sound not knowing what I was doing but improvising as the class progressed. Maybe I invented some new ballet positions. My legs are very stiff. There is a current challenge to see who can stand on their head longest. I haven’t attempted it yet but who knows, maybe one day I will give it a go. Watch this space.

I hope that everyone is well and keeping safe.

 

 

Magnolias

When I was in Australia in 2017, I was fascinated by the number of jacaranda trees in gardens and the stories behind why there were so many.
On my daily walks around the streets of Northampton I have been enchanted by the number of magnolia trees there are in front gardens. They are full grown trees not little bushes and come in a range of colours. I am not sure why they are so popular, but it is warmer ‘down south’ and they seem to thrive here.


It was always going to be a culture shock living somewhere other than Northumberland. The coast and hills have always been on my doorstep and any troubles seeped away when you put one front of the other and took in all the beauty. Northamptonshire is different.

The nearest hills are probably the Chilterns. The nearest beach is a two-hour drive away in Norfolk. The good things about it are that London and Birmingham are both an hour’s train ride away so handy for work meetings.

Northampton, as a town is like many struggling town centres. Retail has been hit by out of town developments and it looks sad and unloved. It was once a thriving. The centre of the boot and shoe industry it has a proud history. I live in an apartment in a converted mansion. Once owned by the Manfield family. How many people remember Manfield shoes? It is still the home of luxury shoe brands; Churchs, Crockett and Jones and Trickers. There is currently a sculpture trail of 12 different types of shoes across the town. I have so far, found six. More on these in a future blog.

I discovered Sywell Country Park on Monday – I was so happy. It is an old reservoir and there are a number of trails you can follow. The sun shone and I was treated to the sound of a woodpecker tapping, a robin singing a song (just for me), blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, goldfinches, nuthatch wrens and peacock butterflies. I also saw a bird I did not recognise and had to research when I got home. A reed bunting. It was a day when I felt both joyful, because the sights and sounds made it clear that Spring had finally arrived and desperately sad, as this would be my last long walk for some time. Sywell Country Park is closed for the foreseeable future.

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We have entered a period of great uncertainty. We are concerned for our family and friends, our work and the aftermath of it all on our lives, the economy and the world. But life will go on. I do feel isolated, but grateful for technology so I can keep in touch with my family and friends. Everyone has different challenges, but we are resilient beings and will find ways to get through this.

Stay safe, well and look after each other.