sweet dreams and fever dreams

thermometer on blanket
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You tumble softly into clouds

Before the fever grips your brain

And all the monsters crawl to light

Scaring you, confusing too.

So I haven’t written a post in a week which is unheard of, but I had the flu so bad I started to think I wasn’t going to recover.

Last Tuesday we had to call out the ambulance because I was coughing up blood and was running a really high fever. I ended up in A&E on Friday because I was still running a fever and after five days I was starting to lose the will to live.

It was the first time I’ve had those weird fever dreams in such a long time, and the things that run through your brain are really interesting.

While I was waiting for the doctor to see me I seemed to have it in my head that I was Health Secretary. I’m guessing that watching Matt Hancock in the jungle had infiltrated my thoughts and when I found myself in a hospital setting I seemed to put the two together and began feeling like it was my job to sort waiting times when I got back to the office.

Of course, I didn’t say any of this to the doctors because I didn’t want to get locked in the psychiatric part of the hospital – but it was an interesting set of thoughts to experience.

I am no longer delusional and I am back at work. Life is good and I hope yours is too.

Much Love

Rachel xx

beautiful blackpool ballroom

palace interior
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The chandelier, a beauty

Winking at us in the reddish light

Watching as we sail across

A perfect sea, a dancing floor

Made for jive and waltzes

Flowing gowns that feather out

And final poses as the music ends.

It’s Blackpool Week on Strictly Come Dancing this week. I don’t know a lot about dancing, but even I know that Blackpool is a Mecca for balroom dancers all over the world. And so, even I find the spectacle something to behold.

There is something about that ballroom that just blows me away, and I have been meaning to go and see it for real sometime. The floor is beautiful, the architecture is breathtaking, and the chandeliers are stunning. It appears to be frozen in time, an ode to the past.

And something that is really interesting is that people say you just have to dance there. It’s as though the building itself, demands it. I love the idea that a building has such a history that it has a hold on us as humans.

It’s the same as when we step into an old National Trust property and we can feel the history. All we want to do is put on a Regency outfit and sit in the parlour drinking tea.

Much Love

R xx

walking in the footsteps of Jane

So, I’m a bit of a Jane Austen nerd and, therefore, I go all funny whenever I find myself in a place that she once roamed. I was lucky enough to go to Bath this week and I got to see some of the places that were mentioned in Northanger Abbey.

My heart skipped a beat when I first spotted the beautiful Pump House where the Bath socialites did their schmoozing back in the day. It still looks incredibly grand, with silver service waiting staff gliding around and a giant chandelier dominating the room.

We also went into the Roman Baths which was the most amazing experience. You can’t actually swim in there anymore, but you can drink the water. The people of Austen’s time would travel to Bath specifically to ‘take the water’ to cure them of all kinds of ailments.

I feel like I’ll have to go to Bath again to search out all the independent bookstores. And then I need to return to Bristol so that I can sample to arty nightlife. The city is famous for its open mic poetry nights and I’d love to go and meet some of the talented people that hang around there.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sense and sensibility or just can’t hack it?

four people walking on gray path surrounded by tall trees
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Is she sensible

And responsible

Or does she do things

For the undiluted thrill?

She’ll probably

End up doing herself

Some serious damage

If she doesn’t learn to bend

To everbody’s will.

I was supposed to be running 100 miles this weekend and instead I’m sitting on my sofa doing naff all. And I’m feeling incredibly guilty.

However, when Noah woke up this morning and saw that I had decided not to go, he said it was the most sensible thing he’s seen me do in a long time. When a seventeen year old is saying things like that, you know you can sometimes be a bit of an idiot.

Having been ill with COVID I decided that my lungs just wouldn’t be able to hold out for up to thirty hours of exercise. That is an extraordinary amount of time and I need to give myself a break.

No more feeling guilty. In fact, feel proud for not putting myself at risk like I would normally do. I’m growing up – sort of.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the vigil that got me

Watching the Queen’s children standing vigil around her coffin this evening was probably the first time that I felt truly touched and emotional since the news on Thursday.

I’ve obviously felt sad, but I really felt that human connection as I watched the four of them standing silently as the general public continued to file into the chapel.

I remember when my nan died, my aunt was so overcome that she literally threw herself on the coffin and began sobbing. Watching the sadness on Charles’ face just brought all those memories back to the surface.

People have been commenting on how ‘rude’ he was when he signed the papers in the throne room on Saturday, but I think that we were all forgetting the most important factor in all of this – he may be the King of England, but he has just lost his mum and that is crushing.

I felt a tear or two escaping as I sat and watched for those ten minutes. Moments like that are normally very personal and private and those poor people have had to play this all out very publicly.

I just hope that in between all of the many public engagements that they all need to attend, that they can grasp those few moments of quiet reflection so that they can recharge.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i felt like she needed a hug

I do apologise for all of the royal commentary at the moment, but over here we are having wall to wall coverage so it feels as though it’s the only thing anyone is talking about.

And I’m even more sorry to harp on about the ‘Fab Four’ of William, Catherine, Harry and Meghan because I know that it’s a story people can get slightly fed up with. Even I am starting to feel tired of reading the bitching that goes on between the people who support either side.

I actually love them all equally. I think that at all four of them have met different struggles along their journeys – struggles us mortals can’t really comprehend. Perhaps some have made some mistakes along the way, but that is what is both beautiful and messy about being human.

The moment yesterday, that caught my attention the most, was the moment when a fourteen year old local girl asked Meghan if she could hug her. When she was later interviewed by the media she said that she did it because she wanted Meghan to know that she was welcome here, after everything that she has been through.

I can only imagine the fear that Meghan must have felt yesterday and I think she’s really brave for stepping out in front of a media that has been really nasty to her. And I’m sure that if she heard what that girl said, it would have helped her feel loved.

It was interesting to look at the photo of the hug and see just how tightly Meghan was holding onto the girl. She needed that hug, and I’m glad that a little angel was put in the crowd to give her what she needed.

Much Love

Rachel xx

we do funny things in grief

grayscale photo of an angel statue
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Some of the analysis of today’s events has been quite interesting to read. There are obviously so many people ready to jump to conclusions and read into just the smallest of words or mannerisms.

This can be problematic because the people that we are watching closely – the royals – are grieving for a mother and grandmother. And none of us ever act normally when we are gripped by grief.

Today, Kate and William invited Harry and Megan to come on the walkabout outside Windsor Castle and the whole world seemed to have an opinionon everything they saw.

I read anger into almost anything, probably because of a strict upbringing; if I did even the smallest thing wrong my mother would fly off the handle. I am aware that I am overly sensitive on this front, and very often, I am way off the mark and the person who scowled at me was just squinting in the sun.

But I couldn’t help but notice the distance between Kate and William as they walked down the driveway. I hope that my damaged little brain is just overreacting again, because I idolise Kate and William.

Grief does funny things to the way we behave, and perhaps Kate just powers through the sadness, and that’s how she copes. My dad is the most unemotional person in the world and when his dad passed away it hit him so hard that he couldn’t work for six moths. The reaction was totally unexpected, but what can be expected when you’ve lost somebody you’ve known forever?

I hope that they are all OK and my thoughts and prayers are with the whole family.

Much Love

Rachel xx

starting to show some promise…

I ran a marathon today, and I signed up for it because I know I’m too lazy to do that kind of distance on my own. So I only paid up last week, and I chose this particular one because of that exceptionally cool medal in the picture.

It was run at Denbies Vineyard again, a really beautiful place to run laps. On a lovely day like today you could be fooled into thinking that you are running in Italy or the South of France. And now that we are at the end of August, the grapes are getting to the point where they are ready to be harvested.

The event I did was a 7 hour timed event so people could do as little or as much as they wanted in that time. I knew from the start that I was going to do the marathon distance so I had the eight laps to aim for and it meant that I could do the maths and pace the race nicely.

Now, I am normally a runner that crosses the line towards the back of the pack so I was really surprised by my result today. Out of fifteen women that completed the marathon, I went and came fourth, so I’m feeling like I’m a proper runner as I sit here writing this.

But, oh, those hills! It was a bloody tough course and it was therefore a really slow time. And it was pretty warm too, so conditions out there were pretty difficult. I needed a good quarter of an hour to sit down and collect myself at the the end of the run.

I hope you guys have all had a fabulous Sunday and that you have achieved something you’re proud of (even if it’s just managing to do the dishes – housework is hard).

Much Love

Rachel xx

a window into your life

person holding black android smartphone
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A ten minute window into your life

Through double glazing with the sound turned on,

You show me what you think, you do for work,

And then I scroll and see another life

All sealed up within the shiny phone screen

Safely distanced from the world

But also showing in your bedroom space,

I love this oversharing craze.

So, I’m absolutely hooked on TikTok live at the moment. There is something so mesmerising about just scrolling and randomly landing on each Live and being able to look into their world.

And if I don’t like what they are offering, I just continue scrolling until I find something interesting.

Yesterday, I was scrolling and I fell upon some guy who was dressed as a vampire. He had blood all round his mouth and he was speaking in a Eastern European accent, saying that he was craving more blood.

I then continued on and watched a mum from Louisiana selling some jewellery and asking people to join her MLM team.

I also watched somebody doing prank calls, somebody who suffered with tourettes and somebody doing readings using divining sticks. I mean, how can any TV station live up to that variety?

I have always had a strange addiction to anything that falls into the reality TV category and so TikTok Live right up my street. I believe that the draw is that I get to see how weird other people are and so I can compare my own quirks with these people.

I’m also extremely nosy, so looking into people’s bedrooms and living rooms and gardens is one of my favourite things in life.

Once I get back to work, I’m going to have to stop and probably go cold turkey because I just won’t have time to watch a fifteen year old Goth apply her make up for thirty minutes.

Expect serious withdrawal symptoms!

Much Love

Rachel xx

the day the weather broke

heavy clouds
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We’d sat in shady corners while

The sun pressed hard against our skin,

No let up for so many weeks, so when

The weather finally broke that day

We stepped outside, the pitter-patter

Of the rain felt icy on my nose- eyes closed,

Face turned to the angry sky that growls

With fury at our careless ways.

Things have to change,

We cannot bear that heat again, the fumes

On days when reading novels hurts

And only coffees with the clink of ice

Can calm those itching nerves.

The weather has finally changed over here in the UK. We have had about two weeks of back to back sunshine and I am a typical Brit in that I cannot bear any weather over about twenty degrees.

Now that the weather has broken, it feels like I have taken a deep breath of fresh air after weeks of being starved of oxygen. It feels like the end of a panic attack when the fog has cleared and life feels manageable again.

But this heatwave has left a bad taste in all of our mouths because we can see how climate change is having a real impact on our lives – and that is scary.

I hope that we can turn this around because I actually felt quite afraid as the heat blazed on and on. It felt like there was never going to be an end to that oppressive heat. I don’t want this to continue and I pray that we can find some answers, and soon.

Much Love

Rachel xx