Hello and Happy March. How are we all? Here I am once again, blowing the dust off this old blog of mine. I always intend to write regularly and have a few ideas floating around, but real life gets in the way.
I last posted in February, the month of nearly. Nearly out of home schooling, nearly into Spring. Nearly at the end of deployment, nearly time for homecoming. Not quite, but getting there. There’s been a couple of bumps in the road. Last month I went down with a rotten virus, thankfully not the virus but enough to knock the stuffing out of me. And this month, news from foreign shores that Mr THL is ill and has tested Covid positive.
All to say, it’s been tricky. Lockdown and social distancing, means no village. Not being able to visit family, have a cuppa with a neighbour or a day out to lift the spirits doesn’t just make life lose its sparkle, it robs people of their support network. What does make a difference in difficult times are acts of kindness. The lovely thing about kindness is that it doesn’t matter if you are the giver or the recipient, the benefit is mutual. Makes everyone feel a bit better. Brighter.
Last year as we came out of that first Summer lockdown, I wrote a post about travelling with kindness. I had no idea at that time that we’d be looking at multiple lockdowns. Or that despite a renewed appreciation for travel and itchy feet, we’d once again be stuck at home. So until we can travel, let’s spread some kindness from home.
Be a Pest for A Purpose.
I’m a firm believer that if you have a voice, you should use it. Mr THL would likely roll his eyes at this and say, yes don’t we know it. Lobby your local council on local issues, write to your MP and stir the pot a bit. Sign a petition, write on behalf of Amnesty International. However big or small the issue, be a bother to the people who can make decisions. The squeakiest wheel gets the oil, as they say.
Heritage & History
I adore getting out and exploring this one. Country piles to local history museums, tiny historic churches to Victorian parks and gardens. ..it all endlessly fascinating. And all endlessly in need of support if they are going to flourish for the future. In better times I’d urge people to get out and visit them, but since that can’t be done there has to be a different way.
If there’s an attraction that is local or special to you, fight for it from home. Follow their social media, share their posts, join in online events. Virtual tours and talks are often free/ donation or an absolute steal compared to the cost of a day out. If it’s in the budget buy from the gift shops or the book shops that support these places. Buy gift vouchers now that can be redeemed on site later. That’s my tactic with National Trust gift cards, the ulterior motive being that I’ve guaranteed myself coffee and cake on the next visit. Keep them going, keep them relevant, keep them on the radar.
Garden for Good
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that since moving down South, I’ve found a bit of love for pottering in the garden. With more enthusiasm than talent, and learning by doing but I’m enjoying the process. Apart from being good for the soul, working on the garden gives you a little place to spread a bit of loveliness. Wildlife friendly planting, composting, providing water for drinking and bathing, feeding the birds…it all adds up. A lovely garden doing lovely things.
And when restrictions lift, said garden will be a nice place to have people round for coffee or a tipple, a place to sit round the fire, chat and be connected. Oh, won’t it be lovely?
Indulge with Benefits
The pandemic has changed the way I live and spend much more than I could have imagined when it all began. I spend much less on travel and entertainment outside the home, obviously. Conversely, I’m more willing to indulge on at-home treats in a way that I haven’t historically. Home is my haven these days, I want to stock it with mini pleasures and products that bring me joy. My completely unscientific research of asking friends confirms I’m not alone in thinking this way.
Happily, being self indulgent doesn’t mean being selfish. There are a range of products out there where the pay off from your purchase will be a contribution to a good cause. My favourites to date include a coffee that supports Emergency Service charities, Aussie Haircare hair masks that contribute towards habitat restoration in Australia and the pretty Pink Ribbon Boobs candle with a donation from each purchase going to the Pink Ribbon Foundation. I’m sure there are many more , if you have a favourite please do drop details in the comments.
Community Spirit & Spreading Smiles.
I know the key to stopping a virus is to stay physically apart, but I reckon the key to getting through time apart is to stick together. Just not literally. Army life has taught me the time your forced apart is exactly the time to pull together. Don’t let distance diminish love. How to do it? Well, any way you can. I’ve seen windows decorated with hearts, rainbows and flowers. Woodland has been transformed into a fairyland full of little doors, a fairy campsite and even lines of tiny laundry strung between the branches. A local florist has left bouquets here and there to be discovered by lucky recipients. There’s been painted ‘smile stones’ to find and re-hide, online quiz nights and virtual meet ups.
On a more serious note, I’ve also seen the community come together like never before. There’s lots of informal support going on, people have set up donation points, pet food banks and a page to for the asking and offering of goods and skills. I’ve seen peoples gardens being cut, a whip round to pay the excess on someone’s vet bill , an 18th Birthday cake baked and donated to a Mum who hadn’t the funds. There’s no questions asked and no judgement, just people helping people. How brilliant is that?
Also just be a smiler. Be an encourager. Remember to smile extra hard if wearing a mask, you can only smile with your eyes then. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write! Give a wave , say good morning, compliment someone. Oh, and if you read someone’s blog post (like this one) and like it, drop a comment or a like below. Because even that tiny little kindness can make a persons day. It would certainly make mine.
As Jerry Springer used to say…take care of yourselves, and each other.