Lockdown update part 4

Lockdown measures are easing a bit and many of the shops are opening again. While going for a wander around Primark or going to Greggs for my first cheese and onion bake in months is tempting, I think it might still be a while before I have the energy for a full on shopping trip. I don’t fear setting foot in a shopping centre, I’ve just become a whole lot lazier these last few weeks. I’ve also focussed more on getting the stuff I need rather than the stuff I want. Amazon, surprisingly has become a lifesaver for me the last couple of months, as I’ve found that things I would normally have got online from other suppliers have been much easier and quicker to get from them. I never knew that they sold certain toiletries until a near three week wait for a delivery from a well known health and beauty retailer at the height of the lockdown period forced me to source some of the more urgent items sooner.

I’ve been spending more time sorting stuff at the house, ahead of the final stages (hopefully) of the renovation. It seems like I find more magazines from years ago the more often I go. I mean, I did read a LOT of comics as a kid as well as anything that I could get my hands on bar the more grown up stuff. I’m just shocked we still had so many of them when I’m sure we were regularly recycling a lot of them up until a few years ago.

I found a sketchbook at the house from when I was about 13. Was reminded I did have a bit of drawing ability back then, even if it was mostly drawing cartoon and video game characters. My drawing skills are practically non-existent now (my sister was the real artist in the family), but I was always more into writing.

I’ve added more to my Spotify playlist because I was bored.

I’m looking forward to being able to go away again. Some might moan about “staycations”, but I love going on holidays in the UK. I admit I currently have limited options, what with having not renewed my passport yet. But even if I did have a valid one I’d still choose holidaying on home turf. It’s just how I am.

I miss my friends more than ever, but I’m feeling more hopeful that I’ll get to see them before the end of September at least.

I learned that another term for smartphone addiction is nomophobia. I’m not one to self-diagnose based on what I find on the internet, but…

My Life Story were a hugely underrated band. “If You Can’t Live Without Me Then Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” should have been massive, as should “12 Reasons Why I Love Her” but I think we already knew that.

And that is about it for now. Hope everything is well with you.

A letter for whoever needs this right now.

Hi,

I hope this finds you well.

I know that right now things seem more than a bit weird. You might also be finding it a tad overwhelming at the moment, what with the near constant stream of information (and misinformation) that is coming through every day from media outlets. It’s natural that you will be worried about your friends and your family, especially all those who are at high risk. I know right now my own priority is ensuring that myself and my own family are safe and healthy.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to you in a situation like this is, don’t stress yourself out. Stress doesn’t just affect your mental health, it puts a strain on your physical health too. It can impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. So even if you don’t pick up coronavirus, you could still pick up something else. Be aware of what’s going on, keep yourself informed, keep washing your hands (it’s very important), but please don’t let your attempts at protecting yourself from this virus mess up your health in other ways. It really isn’t worth it.

In the meantime, if you’re feeling a little more anxious than usual at the moment, take time for yourself as much as possible. Also:

Mute anything or anyone on social media that is posting negativity. Better still, take a break from social media altogether, it works wonders.

Restrict your news consumption. Having BBC News 24 on all day when you’re already feeling down will just make you feel worse, as will following news sites on twitter all day. Check the news once a day, any time apart when you wake up or before you go to bed. Maybe even get a newspaper (yes they still exist) just avoid the S*n or Daily Fail.

Try a mindfulness app. I’ve found that using Headspace has helped me a lot when I have had bouts of stress and anxiety. I particularly recommend their sleepcasts if you’re having difficulty sleeping.

Sleep well. Eat healthily. Exercise. Read. Listen to music and podcasts you love, or discover new ones to enjoy. Watch your favourite films and TV. Play games. Have a go making that thing you’ve said you wanted to make but have never had the time to. If you are having to self- isolate at this time, now you’ve a chance to do it.

Be kind to your body and mind. Remember life still goes on, just in a different way from what you’re used to.

Take care.

Scorchio.

There’s a heatwave over here at the moment and like many people, I can’t handle it. I mean, this is not the kind of weather we are used to getting. Even when we get over a week of it we’re not used to it. The longer it lasts, the more I want it to rain hard. No doubt this hot spell will end in a raging thunderstorm like it nearly always does (they’re already forecasting it). In the meantime, all we can do is keep hydrated, as cool as possible and avoid getting sunburn as best we can.

Oh and also resist the urge to hide out in a walk in freezer because that rarely ends well.

Easter

It was a four day weekend this weekend (or rather three and a half for me as I was working on Saturday morning).

As well as eating a load of chocolate, I helped my nephew build a hotel in Happy Home Designer, tried to play the Super Mario theme on the smart keyboard in Garageband  and did a hell of a lot of sleeping.  The clocks going forward really takes a lot out of you.

And now I am trying to find out if Truprint still make the envelopes you used to send the films in to them. I’ve got some 35mm films that need processing but I’m too busy/too scared to hand them in to my nearest Boots. They’ve been taken with a Lomography camera and I’m pretty certain I’ve taken some really crappy photos but I suppose I’m learning how to get used to film again.

Five years on.

Five years ago, before the last general election I wrote a blog post like this one. The night before this year’s one I found myself looking back on it and trying to see if anything had changed in my view since the last time I blogged on the subject. To be honest, there isn’t much difference between how I feel now and how I did back then. I am just as sick of all the press around it, the wall to wall TV coverage and the amount of junk mail I’ve received as before.  In fact I’m even more sick of the latter, especially coming from one particular party. Our Conservative candidate, for example thought it necessary to send the same leaflet three times. There was one each for me, my mum and my dad. Clearly they didn’t care about the resources they were wasting.

Last time round, I had yet to fill out my postal vote, still unsure as to which box to mark on the ballot paper, if to do it at all. This year, I have already filled it and posted it off. It still took me a long time to decide who to give my vote to, after marking off the ones that definitely wouldn’t get my vote. In the end, I went for the one that I thought would do the job best. I’m not going to tell you who I voted for, well not yet anyway. I don’t particularly like being asked how I voted when I’ve only just done it, I hate exit polls for that very reason. When the dust settles, I’ll probably tell you. For what it’s worth, I voted Liberal Democrat at the last election and yes I did end up regretting that a little. But don’t let anything I say influence your vote. At the end of the day, you should vote for the person you want, not the person that others are telling you to vote for. And if you don’t think much of any of them, then that’s cool. I still wish there was a “none of the above” option on the ballot paper myself. In fact I would introduce it if I were in any position of influence to be able to do so, for all those people who’d feel guilty if they didn’t vote.

Anyway, enough of the political rambling, I’m rubbish at it. Let the ones who can do their bit tomorrow and let’s all hope for the best shall we?