Random Harvest 17

 

Hello again after a few weeks absence! I’ve been tuning in with some of you in the interim and we all seem to be trucking along as best we can, while striving to stay safe in these turbulent times. I’ve put together another random harvest here to sum up the last few weeks for me, so you can see what I’ve been up to.

I made it back from visiting my mother and sister in England, just over the border from me, unscathed. All of a sudden I was entering my sister’s house, which became my social bubble for three to four days, after having not set foot over anyone else’s doorstep for months –  it was a weird and slightly scary feeling. And of course, there were no hugs to be shared. We got quite a few jobs done at my mother’s house and had some interesting talks on how our different lives have been affected by the virus in both positive and negative ways. My sister has been relishing working from home, saving money on petrol, having more time to get plenty of walking and cycling done through not consuming so much time commuting to and from work. My mother has been enjoying her jigsaw puzzles and the lessening of external life stresses that the lockdown has brought with it for her. It’s also been a time of deep thinking and life reflection, realisations for some over what isn’t working anymore and the resolution to change this.

With regard to taking advantage of the opening up of cafes, we modestly celebrated my mother’s 82nd birthday by having lunch in a nearby tearooms which had just reopened. So this was our first experience of sanitising at the door, the track and trace record taking, the staff wearing visors, no menus to touch, order at the counter, and we took our own plates off the trays and put them back on again when we were finished. It was okay, but it was scientifically robotic by necessity with no spontaneity possible. It was also ironically symbolic because we’d had lunch together in this same café just before lockdown. The staff in restaurants and coffee shops are working so hard to make the experience feel safe, and I do really feel for them having to do so much wiping and sanitising over and over. The repetition of this behaviour, I do fear, may imbed a cumulative mentally unhealthy aversion to invisible dirt and germs in the longer term, just in the act of constant cleaning itself, which is a worry. How simple and free it feels to get home to one’s safe zone after doing the shopping or having met up with someone socially in a Covid-controlled environment.

My own Covid learning curve has been modest but still significant. I have been weaned off my coffee shop routine to a great extent, and I’ve lost total interest in browsing for bargains, whether it’s a vintage glass vase or a half price tunic dress. You’ve got more than enough ‘stuff’ I say to myself, and you can wear what you’ve already got. The blind man I guide has been getting regular socially distanced walks with verbal instructions from me and another guide (as opposed to body contact guiding in the usual manner) , and if me and my colleague hadn’t piped up and reported that this person was getting seriously depressed because he was totally flat-bound, and if a few separate organisations and a GP hadn’t talked to each other to come up with a workable compromise, this gentleman would have had a very bad time indeed with no walks at all. It was nice to know that this collaboration was possible when so much red tape can choke the life out of what is so obvious to do to help someone feel better. And another thing I have realised more fundamentally than previously, is that although this new way of being is moulding our very behaviours in an Orwellian 1984 fashion, it is also generating  new habits, new priorities and considerations, to give us the chance to really tune into what makes us switched on and feel fulfilled. We can’t solve the problems of the world, we can’t fix social injustices by ourselves, but we can be responsible for our own attitudes and beliefs, our own actions and values, and we can live by them right now. We can also tune into who we are as individuals, what we really want from life in how we express ourselves, and that of course includes our creative lives, and we can do all this now, without waiting for some hazy moment in the future when the virus has gone away.

And so on to the rest of the harvest:

1. I’ve finally got stuck into the background of my poppy painting, with more ideas brewing for what I’m going to tackle next. The reason why it’s been languishing untouched is because I’ve been working on a new website for my art. I’ve been learning about themes, templates, galleries, light boxes, plug-ins of all types, block editors and sharing and social media buttons. It’s coming along nicely, but I still have to price all the originals available, and this is a very difficult task indeed!

Little screen shot of a page section:

2. The response to my second novel, After Black, has been sluggish, perhaps because reading slowed down in the first few months of its publication as its timing coincided with Covid 19 and lockdown, where people had so much to comes to terms with and reading novels really wasn’t on the agenda. But the responses I have had have been fabulous and I’m very grateful for this. I have found sales very disappointing, but I’ve worked through these feelings, and I’m happy to have this second novel out there as part of my writer’s journey. Here is a shorter review I received on Amazon which means a great deal to me:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish and kept me in suspense right till the end. This was due to the story line having a twisted plot and being full of surprises right through the book. The description of the main characters was so vivid and detailed that I could imagine I would recognise the people if they were real. The author provided me with a snap shot of what the main character had to endure working in a luxury department store for endless hours, facing domestic violence and being weighed down by many secrets, of which she was so ashamed of. Can’t wait for the next book.

3. I’ve been carrying on with my current WIP novel, entitled Hardcastle. Hardcastle is a fictional English town in which various midlife characters are struggling to change their lives, creating mayhem and magic along the way. The main character, Jim, is struggling with a serious midlife crisis and is afflicted by anxiety and depression, while his rocky marriage to status-conscious Patsy, who loves dinner parties and constant home improvements, teeters on the brink. Jim is forced to visit his local GP, Roger, who is facing retirement without a clue how he wants to spend his time after the surgery. Roger is also haunted by an old friend who has disappeared without trace to lead a new life, leaving his wife and children behind. What possessed him and where is he now? And finally there is Monica, brought up by Bohemian parents, and now a newly qualified counsellor, who thinks she’s as personally developed as she can possibly get and is determined to help others, but who has a troublesome ex husband, who made sure they had no children together, and she’s never properly fallen in love. Other Hardcastle residents help or hinder, and I’m using an air balloon as a symbol in the novel; make what you will of that!

4. I’ve been working away on my crochet, and the afghan throw is ready for its border. I’ve so enjoyed the colours in this and the border edging will be picking one or two of the shades out  to finish it off. I think one of them has to be purple!

5. Nature, as always, sustains. I’ve recently being contemplating the difference between town gardens and country gardens. Town gardens can look so tidy, so nourished and healthy, while country gardens like mine can look a bit haphazard, a bit dilapidated, with bird droppings on flight paths, and thistles and grasses, seeding from nearby fields, always threatening to take over. It’s an ongoing battle. But there are some compensations –  fat raindrops glistening like crystal cabochons on fat sedum leaves, and sprinkled drops in an adjacent barley field shimmering in the low light of the sun – one of my absolute favourite things, but hard to capture with a camera!

 

6. Finally, I’ve discovered contemporary Country music, and for some reason which I just can’t fathom, the sounds, rhythms, Nashville twangs and lilts seem to conjure an easy feeling of the simplicities of life, despite the virus, as one drives along listening and joining in by singing the choruses.

I’m going to share this one, which has been written specifically about these Covid times by Luke Combs, to remind us that one day we won’t have to be six feet apart! I hope you enjoy it and do let me know how you are doing.

Cheers for now :>)

About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Writer's blog: lynnefisher.wordpress.com Art: lynnehenderson.co.uk Twitter @writeartblog Writers page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/ Artists page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnehendersonartist/
This entry was posted in Nature, On Craft, On Music, On Painting, On Writing, wellbeing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Random Harvest 17

  1. Good to see you are surviving in a positive manner Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margie.Merc says:

    Painting, novels, nature and country music. And they all serve a purpose. I just finshed watching a Netflix documentary about Garth Brooks. There was so much about him that I did not know. I will have a new appreciation for his music. I loved listening to the music you posted. It made me tear up for the days when we will be able to shake hands and hug again. Sending you thanks over the miles for such a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. galenpearl says:

    Country music??!! I didn’t see that coming! So funny. I grew up in Memphis, about 3 1/2 hours from Nashville, but with a very different music heritage — blues (and of course Elvis Presley).

    I love the colors in your afghan — so cheery. Yes purple for the border, and maybe the turquoise or teal? And love the photos, both of them. There is a waxy plant that grows in my neighborhood that the raindrops bead up on. I’m always so intrigued by that. The field looks like one of your paintings — reminds me of the one I have!

    And I’m with your mom on the jigsaw puzzles. I already enjoyed them on my cabin weekends, but now I do them occasionally at home as well. I look up and hours have passed by. Just one more piece and then I’ll stop, I keep saying to myself. A harmless addiction, I suppose.

    Always enjoy your random harvest posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Oh yes, Blues, I like that too. But for now, it’s contemporary country! And I had a sudden conviction that my sister might like it too, so I sent her a CD for the car – she did like it and now we are both listening to a second CD. Sibling bonding through music! It just takes you to a place of miles of sky, open road, farmhouse porches, and easy living, which contrasts nicely against all the covid complexities and socio-economical problems on both sides of the pond.

      I love that you’ve suggested a second colour for the border, I’ll be sure to give it due consideration, Galen. Your comment about the beading up of water on waxy leaves – well there will be a botanical explanation, I expect, so I might well look it up. The field in the pic is at the back of our garden, barley in the field at the moment, but it’s always changing. It’s only a hop, skip and a jump across a stream to what we’ll call your field – the field in the painting, which has a stream skirting aroud it, hidden by the tree-line.

      Yes, puzzles are addictive. I get stuck in with her when I visit. But we have had a few jigsaws lately where there have been pieces missing from brand new puzzles – that ought to be worthy of a manufacturing penalty, a crime no less. I’ve now got a lovely image of you doing puzzles in your log cabin – heaven!!
      (And I enjoy writing the random harvests, so pleased people are liking them :>))

      Like

      • galenpearl says:

        PS re missing puzzle pieces. That happened to me with a new puzzle. I went to the seller’s website and contacted them. They let me pick out a replacement puzzle of my choice and sent it to me right away. Very nice customer service. You might try it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lynnefisher says:

        Thanks, Galen – I’ll definitely do that – thank you!

        Like

  4. Bryan Wagner says:

    These are times of constant readjustments. I truly love the statement about taking responsibility for my state, my attitudes, etc. That’s exactly it. What I have found is this has become a wonderful time for honest introspection that facilitates the direction of my adjustments. Perhaps distancing socially has allowed me to focus in areas that might not usually be examined. Big smile.
    Happy Birthday to your Mom! 82, that’s amazing. A lot of life experiences there. i so glad you were able to visit.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank you, Bryan. Ah yes! There is more to what you are saying here perhaps than meets the eye. The physical social distancing may well be working some personal development magic, in almost unconscious ways too. The having to keep oneself physically separate, to protect ourselves and others, whether in our abodes, or in the street or in a shop somewhere, naturally results in a shift of perspective where we become far more aware of ourselves and our own nature. Things can come to light and then we can examine them. Many thanks, Bryan :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. anne54 says:

    There are so many things to come to term with at the moment, aren’t there? The response to your novel must have been disappointing, so coming to terms with that would have been difficult. However, it must have been lovely to see your Mum. We are back in very strict lockdown again, so there is no chance of seeing my Mum for a while. But I will get to see her, and hug her again, that’s what we are doing this for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank you, Anne. So sorry to hear you are in lockdown again. I think many countries, or areas within countries, are expecting another phase of lockdown. Over here at least two city areas are undergoing this. I think there is a sense of getting things done, like selling houses and moving for one, while ‘the going is good’ so to speak. So I’ll be back to my mum’s to get some interior painting done very soon. My task/treat today is having my first haircut after lockdown with my favourite hairdresser!

      Liked by 1 person

      • anne54 says:

        Oh, a visit to the hairdresser!
        Our latest lockdown is Stage 4 and much stricter than before ~ curfew, very limited outside movement, only permitted workers to be at work etc ~ and it seems to be working. However the economy is taking a big hit, and I feel so sorry for so many people. And for my lovely Melbourne, which has become a ghost town.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lynnefisher says:

        Oh God, it sounds very hard, Anne, but I have seen it on the news here. Hopefully it is working. Anything can happen, anywhere, just now in this regard. We’re simply stuck with this pandemic for the long haul, whatever that happens to be. Thank heavens we have plenty to do! The hair appointment is done. I had over an inch taken off to last me for a while. I wore a mask, Rachel wore a mask. She is only doing booked appointments and doesn’t open the door of her salon to anyone just passing and asking. I also had to wait for her to open the door to me. No coffee offered, quite naturally. She didn’t get any financial recompense during the lockdown! Stay safe, cheers, Anne :>)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So good to hear from you, Lynne! I’m glad your trip home went well, despite the restrictions. Creating a better website is on my to-do list, so I understand the time and learning curve involved. I think keeping busy, even too busy, is helpful these days. I’ve launched two books since April and am in between projects right now, yet still have so much to do. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank you, Alexander! Lovely to catch up with you too. Yes, I agree, keeping busy is key, and putting time into what really counts for us as individuals in and around the life committments. Good luck with your website building, it is rewarding as well as challenging :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely to read your news. You’ve a lot going on as usual and it all sounds good. I love the Colours in the Afghan throw.xx

    Liked by 2 people

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