The Joy of Meeting our Neighbours #WATWB

We Are the World BlogFest (#WATWB) celebrates special people and small stories of inspiration and hope in the world. Let’s face it, we need some inspiration and hope during this time of pandemic and social distancing.

#WATWB We are the World Blogfest black

This month I have been working through a personal crisis relating to my husband’s refusal to acknowledge that his mental illness is damaging our marriage. He currently works six days per week, leaving home at around 5:30am and returning from work somewhere between 9 and 10pm every night. These hours are way beyond what his employers expect of him, but he is a site manager and he feels the need to complete his to-do list every single day. This impossible task is something that we all battle with, but he cannot see my point of view. He rarely answers his phone and never attempts to check in with me during the long days of lockdown. I feel I have been abandoned with our children for the past two months. This isn’t very cheerful, you might be thinking, how is this a good news story? Let me tell you…

The Joy of Meeting our Neighbours #WATWB

I have redecorated most of our downstairs space at home during lockdown. Then I moved my attention back to our garden, which had grown wild and unkempt because I could not keep up with the maintenance while working inside. I have engaged the children to help with weeding and digging borders, they have shopped for new plants and helped me make the garden look much nicer and more cheerful. While I was working in our front garden earlier this week, I glanced up to see my elderly neighbour next door-but-one. My neighbours on either side have continued to work full-time throughout lockdown so I rarely see them to speak to. The elderly lady called out to me, and after a few words shouted across the driveways, I moved to the bottom of her driveway for a more personal conversation. It was the longest I had spoken to her in the two years we have lived in this house, and I came away feeling like a weight had been lifted. I need the companionship of my neighbours. Our previous home was a terraced house with small gardens, and we used to congregate with our neighbours regularly on the street or in the communal alleyway. I miss those gatherings, and I want to be able to chat over the garden wall like I used to. Hopefully, I can now develop a friendship with my neighbour, observing social distancing guidelines of course. She is a widow and said that she needs company as well. This could be the start of a beautiful new friendship.

We are the World Blogfest #WATWB

We are the World BlogFest (#WATWB) focuses on positive stories no matter where they’re found. It is all about spreading peace and humanity on social media. All participants post on the last Friday of the month, sharing a positive news story that contributes to making our world a happier, safer, and better place to live.

You can find more about #WATWB over on Belinda Witzenhausen’s blog.

Our hosts this month are:

Damyanti Biswas, Lizbeth Hartz, Susan Scott, Mary J. Giese and Shilpa Garg

#WATWB We are the World Blogfest black

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Daily Tarot Reading for Lockdown Life

It all seems a bit pointless these days, getting out of bed. I mean, what have I got to do with my days? Well, I have two children to care for, and a dog to train. I have my blog work and my freelance writing. I have my novels to write. And I have a house to work on. Our garden requires a lot of maintenance! So yes, lockdown is keeping me busy, and I barely had time to do today’s Tarot reading, but here it is. See if it makes sense to you.

May Tarot Reading @SpookyMrsGreen

1, Work – Five of Wands (reversed)

Everything seems upside-down where work is concerned. You struggle to fit it around lockdown life, and yet you feel that you should find the task easier. In my case I have worked from home for almost ten years, so this is my natural environment. My struggle is prioritising work above the children and their needs. I am fortunate to have my husband providing the family income, but I still need to work for myself at some point. Hopefully, it will become easier as time goes on.

2, Home – Eight of Swords (reversed)

This is supposed to be a good time, safe at home, if you don’t catch the dreaded coronavirus. That is what everybody says on social media, isn’t it? We can do home exercise, home working, home leisure, baking, crafts and all the fun stuff. And yet perhaps home hasn’t been the haven that you dreamed about. Real life is not social media. Real life is having children to care for, pets to tend to, bosses to answer to, and so many boring responsibilities. It is all about perspective. There is something about all of this that you have wilfully ignored, but you have plenty of time to formulate a plan.

3, Unexpected – Knight of Pentacles

It was all supposed to happen so smoothly, but then the pandemic hit and now nothing is certain. Your dreams remain on the horizon. All you can do is take one day at a time, with no expectations. It may seem a hard slog, but such is life. Just enjoy the fun when you can.

4, Your Role – Ten of Wands

You carry a heavy burden and you have no idea when you will be able to share it with someone. For now, you are the silent labourer, working quietly. It will all come good eventually.

5, Outcome – Wheel of Fortune

There is a good result awaiting you at the end of this ordeal. Your hard work and perseverance will pay off. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, you will achieve your goal. In fact, you can achieve all your goals. This is just a temporary glitch in the big plan.

Daily Tarot Reading for Lockdown Life

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OLPRO Summer Offers

Did you get your special offers from OLPRO last month? If not, they have some deals to offer, but only until the end of May. Get prepared for your summer staycation, and check out the latest in family tents, caravan accessories and camping equipment.

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Return of the Vampire Hunter by Catherine Green

Just your average Cheshire housewife – who used to hunt vampires!

Hannah Oakley used to be a vampire hunter. She retired from active service when she fell in love with the female vampire she was hunting, but old wounds refuse to heal. She and the vampire fought almost to the death, and now it seems that the vampire has tracked her down. Hannah must return to work, grudgingly accepting help from a new hunting partner, and she is determined that this time she will finish the job. But can she ignore the old lust for her vampire lover? Is the mother able to be a vampire hunter one more time? And will her marriage survive the ordeal?

Return of the Vampire Hunter

Return of the Vampire Hunter is pure urban fantasy with a hint of seduction thrown in for good measure. Set in Manchester, Northern England, it is a contemporary story with all the darkness of classic Gothic monsters.

Return of the Vampire Hunter is available from Amazon US; Amazon UK and in your favourite eBook store – Click here.

UF Contemporary English Gothic novels 2018

Excerpt

We were on the motorway and I was in the passenger seat. I had been passing food to the children in the back seat, and as I twisted back round to face forward, I glanced at James. My heart skipped a beat and then pounded heavily as the world spun around me.

“What is that on your neck?” I asked sharply.

James glanced at me and then checked his mirrors as he moved into the middle lane.

“What?” he asked absently.

“That,” I said, “On your neck.”

I reached across and gently touched the mark on his skin. It looked like two small, neat puncture wounds. A vampire bite. Shit.

James touched the bruise, winced, and then shook his head.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I must have cut myself shaving.”

“That is not a shaving wound,” I said.

He glanced at me again and frowned.

“Why are you so upset about it?” he asked curiously, “It’s nothing.”

I stared at the tiny wound as my whole world flipped upside down. Was it Elaine? Had she finally found me? Or was it another stray vampire? One thing was certain; I had to return to work. This one had to be destroyed before it came for my whole family. Gathering my senses, I shook my head and smiled.

“Oh, forget it,” I said lightly, “It looked more serious at first, that’s all. But if it doesn’t hurt then it doesn’t matter. Can you see the sea yet, girls?”

RotVH Book Blurb

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How to say Thank You to our Key Workers

There are a lot of people that we as a nation are thankful for during this Covid-19 crisis. We are thankful for our NHS workers, community responders, local nurses and GPs. We are thankful for our carers, our supermarket workers, delivery drivers, warehouse staff, waste management teams and so many more. We should be thankful that we responded so well to the announcement of lockdown. If you are reading this blog post, I am sure you fall into the category of “carer.” I don’t mean someone who does it as a paid profession. I mean as a family member or friend. Perhaps you are at home caring for your children 24/7, like me. Perhaps you have vulnerable older people to consider, or someone with mental illness (like me). How do we unwind when the stress becomes a burden? What can we do to relax, and how can we honestly say thank you to the people that are helping our lives to continue, even under stressful circumstances?

How to say

Are you a crafter with access to a digital cutting machine, like a Silhouette or Cricut? Then you might like to try these svg cuts for your projects. Scalable Vector Graphics can be altered to suit your requirements without spoiling the effect of the image. You can transfer these images onto paper, card, vinyl leather or other fabrics, depending on the capability of your machine. They are ideal for making card toppers, scrap book detail, and to decorate photo frames, tote bags, mugs and t-shirts. There is a lot of scope for the imagination with these bundles! You can use them simply as printed toppers, or you can take a little more time, use some technology, and make a beautiful handmade gift for the carer in your life.

Design Bundles Dog Quotes

I like the look of the HUGE Dog Quotes SVG bundle, and there are lots of dog people in my life that I could craft for. My husband is a key worker in the waste industry, so perhaps I could make him a special dog themed Father’s Day card from the children (and dog) to cheer him up. We could even use our die cutting machine and get creative, perhaps making him a drinks coaster for his bedside table or make something he could take to work as a reminder of his family. Not only my husband would benefit from this bundle. I have friends with dogs whose birthdays are imminent, and a wider network of family members with rescue dogs that would love some of these quotes to hang in the window or put up on the wall. There are lots of other SVG bundles available from the Design Bundles website, covering everything from food fun, to joke themes, “handle with care” bundles, and much more. All you need is a funny quote to cheer up an exhausted care worker after a long day at work. Find your bargain bundle and see who smiles when they receive your handmade craft gift.

Design Bundles Huge SVG Bundle

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Chocolate Trading Co Special Offers

I don’t know about you, but chocolate has always been my comfort food. It is my reward at night when the children are in bed and I can finally relax for an hour. It is my reward for doing a good job or completing a challenging task. And it just tastes so nice! Here are some special offers from the Chocolate Trading Co, who will deliver to your door contact free during these uncertain times. You might like to order in some birthday and special occasion gifts to cheer up your friends and family.

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This week only, get your Bank Holiday special offers (valid until 25th May)

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Visit Chocolate Trading Co for your supplies, and check out their short date sale offers and baking ingredients.

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CraftStash 5th Birthday Celebration

Who has been indulging in their crafting habit while on lockdown? I have! In fact, my dining room table has been a glorified workspace since March. My daughters have made paper dolls, painted posters, created decorations and window displays, and I finally got back into card making once I finished the bulk of my home decoration project. My craft stash is currently spread out in large crates and a storage case in our living room, because I need to buy a new cabinet to store it all in, once I finish painting the wall in the room where it will live. It’s all very technical! Anyway, here are some bargains for you this weekend from CraftStash. I recommend CraftWork Cards products from personal experience.

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Being a Modern Witch means Being Mother

As the coronavirus pandemic continued to ravage the UK, and our lockdown showed no sign of easing any time soon, I began to worry that I was distancing from my witchcraft and pagan practices. Not that I practiced the craft specifically before lockdown. I find it is more of a feeling, a way of life, a set of habits that separate me from other people. Then I realised there is no right or wrong way to be a witch. The old meaning of this word relates to salt, being of the earth, being in service to others. Midwives were previously associated with witchcraft during the Dark Ages, because giving birth was dangerous and mysterious. We might understand the science of having babies nowadays, but it still takes skill and care to nurture a baby, give birth, and raise a healthy child.

Being a Modern Witch means being Mother

And therein lies my witchcraft of today. Whether I like it or not, I have fallen into the profession of caring. I am the nurturer for my family. I am the sole parent, indeed the sole adult for my children during lockdown while their dad keeps himself busy at work. I cannot send them out to school, they cannot visit their friends’ houses or have sleepovers with their grandparents. I am their everything. I feed them, support them, keep them clean and healthy, and try to entertain them. I persuaded them to help with my recent home renovation projects which have been ongoing since we moved house two years ago. They enjoyed stripping wallpaper and painting the walls for a little while. The children have helped with some home baking projects, but they refuse to try home cooked meals. We have worked in the garden, tidying borders and replanting flowers. We get through one day at a time, living in a bubble, separated from the rest of society. I hope there is an end in sight for lockdown. I cannot parent alone any longer.

Witchy Wednesday SpookyMrsGreen

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How to be a Single Parent during Lockdown

I joined the social network for A Chronic Voice because I needed to find people who understand what life is like with chronic pain. Today I have written a post using the May link-up prompts, to show my experience of living with a chronic pain disorder. Click here to find other blog posts from fellow chronic pain sufferers, or #spoonies as we call ourselves online.

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Foreseeing

When I first heard about the impending lockdown, I foresaw a very lonely and trying time for me personally. My husband has severe OCD and high anxiety which translates in him feeling the need to be at work constantly. He is a site manager, and when they received notice that they are classed as key workers, he cheered. When he told me the news, I knew I would see even less of him at home than I did before the pandemic, which was sparse to say the least. He won’t even take holidays willingly.

Panicking

My husband panics constantly about losing his job. He refuses to seek professional help, and he is even prepared to ruin his marriage in favour of staying at work. He says he loves me and the children, but he has a funny way of showing it. His actions do not match his words, and I am sick of making excuses for him. During the past couple of lonely months, I have experienced my own moments of panic, and I am usually a very calm and controlled person. I panicked that my mum would contract coronavirus and I would never see her again. I panicked about my recently widowed Nan, who is home alone, and I am unable to visit. And then I panicked about what might happen if I contract coronavirus, and I am sick at home, unable to care for my children. Luckily, they are self-sufficient enough to know where the food is, and I know they would be fine, but I still worry about them. I am the only person who can care for them right now.

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Upbringing

I am quite proud of my achievements in the past couple of weeks. I have single handedly stripped away 30 years’ worth of old wallpaper from our hall, stairs and landing, and I have repainted all the walls, with a little help from my daughters. The task seemed impossible when I first thought about it. I couldn’t reach all those high nooks and crannies above the stairs! But then I realized that nobody else would do it for me, and I wanted the job done. It would make me feel better. So, I got on with it, in the spirit of my Mum and my Nan, who never shy away from manual labour when the need arises. My Nan raised four children while my Grandad was in the Navy, and my Mum raised three children and progressed her career in social services management. I called on the spirit of my ancestors, rolled up my sleeves, and got the job done.

Accessing

The government advised people to use online shopping services as much as possible to avoid visiting supermarkets during lockdown. I found this impossible for the first month, because there were no delivery slots available due to high demand. I waited five weeks for an order to be delivered! I did not want to take my daughters to the supermarket with me, but luckily my husband made time to do our shopping. Since he is going out to work six days per week, he isn’t bothered about visiting the supermarkets. He doesn’t worry about contracting coronavirus, and he definitely doesn’t worry about passing it on to other people. I also struggled to receive timely deliveries of my eye medication for my chronic pain condition, but fortunately I had stocked up ahead of lockdown, so I was ok. I am struggling to access the internet at home. We have a basic service, which is all we can afford, and we have over a dozen devices connected. It drops out frequently, much to the dismay of my daughters! As I write this blog post, my laptop cannot connect to our Wi-Fi because my husband is using his laptop and streaming music on his phone. My phone can connect without problems, but my laptop is always the first device to fail. I cannot understand that, and it is very frustrating when I need to work online.

Soothing

How do I soothe my anxieties during this strange time? Usually I would resort to meditation and quiet time for contemplation. That is now impossible because my children are pretty much attached to me all day. They won’t even go to bed early anymore, which I find frustrating. They are anxious too, and they need me to reassure them. They miss their friends, their school, their regular routine. I miss my friends and family. Oddly, I find it soothing to sit down and play a game that I have become addicted to on my phone. It’s a simple puzzle game where you can earn rewards and refurbish an old mansion. It satisfies the dreamer in me and helps me escape from mundane life for a while. We must take comfort in small pleasures these days.

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Why I don’t Want to Meditate

How long have we been in lockdown now? Six, seven weeks? I don’t know. I half-listen to the BBC news updates on radio and sometimes on the TV, but I haven’t found time to sit and read any online articles. Yes, you heard me, I do not have time to read the news these days! Lockdown life is exhausting, and I am currently feeling lost because I should be working on my 3rd Degree Reiki Masters course, but I am not doing the coursework. I have books to read on the subject, I should be keeping a diary of my daily experiences, and most importantly I should be practising daily meditation for at least 20 minutes per day, ideally more. I just can’t do it. My children have been home with me 24/7 since 23rd March, my husband is out at work for six days of the week, and when he is at home, he is either asleep or on his work laptop. I am lonely. I am bereft of the connections with my friends. It’s just not the same over Zoom! I miss my mum terribly, and she’s not a fan of video calling so we haven’t seen each other properly since my grandad’s funeral in March.

Why I don't Want to Meditate

None of this is a reasonable excuse for not meditating, but I’m not writing this blog post to make excuses. I have heard all sorts of inspirational stories from people on social media, claiming to be doing all kinds of fantastic things from home during lockdown. Some are raising money for charity. Some are making PPE for healthcare workers. Some are still working and keeping our country ticking over. I am home with the children and failing miserably at getting them to study their schoolwork. I have managed to do some decorating that I’ve been working on since last September, and for now that is more important to me than meditating. I still practise reiki every day because it is a habit. I just don’t sit down and specifically study for my coursework requirements. It’s not a priority for me, and that’s ok. When I have finished the decorating and my house is in better order, perhaps I will feel more inspired to work. Right now I’m just treading water, keeping my children fed and clean, making sure the dog has some attention, trying to get through lockdown one day at a time. How are you managing this challenging time? It’s OK to say you are struggling. We are only human. We will kick and scream and cry when it gets too much. Then we carry on. I wish you well, my friends.

Meditation @SpookyMrsGreen

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