a return to normal service

standing woman facing a speeding train
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We will now be returning to normal service

Said the man over the loud speaker,

Everyone looking at their watches, irritated

That they’re already late as a winter wind

Howls through the platform, forcing their coats

To be pulled a little tighter. The train rattles in

And the comforting hiss of hiss of the brakes

And the swish of the opening doors, it soothes

Those nerves that were ragged and frayed.

I’m one of those people who need routine and structure in their life, so when something changes, I feel a bit out of my depth. When I worked at the petrol station I always baked the croissants first, as soon as I got in they were put in the oven. When they told me I had to start baking the cookies first, I suddenly felt really wonky.

It actually frightened me how unsettled I became after such a minor change in the structure to my day. Of course, we’ve all had to get used to routines changing over the past two years so it’s something I’m grappling with all the time.

My dad contracted COVID two weeks ago and so he couldn’t come over to visit for a while. He comes over every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday without fail, and for the past few weeks that has obviously stopped.

Today, he came over for the first time since he got sick and it just felt so nice – so comforting. We sat watching Married at First Sight and laughed at all the crazies even though both of us want to be on that show.

It felt like normal service had resumed, and that is the nicest feeling in the world.

Much Love

Rachel xx

COVID is worming its way in

woman in brown dress holding white plastic bottle painting
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Its warty fingers tear at us,

Our lives, our literature

Is peppered with its ugly spores,

So normal now

What once was strange,

We’ll always know this time.

There was a time around February or early March last year where I think we all believed that COVID was serious but would probably blow over in three or four weeks. Oh how naive we were.

It’s strange because now it seems to be permeating the one place that I used to escape to: books.

I have started noticing books where the main characters have started homeworking and there are children’s books that will mark this time in history too. It seems that the bug that I thought would pass in a few weeks, is going to last for eternity in the form of pictures and words.

It was weird reading the first novel where COVID appeared and it felt like a bit of a jolt because that part of my imagination had remained untouched by the virus thus far. It almost felt as shocking as it did when we first started going into lockdowns.

I guess that goes to show just how powerful our imaginations are, and how it is almost like another ‘real life’ world that we occupy. Make sure that you fill yours with good things.

Much Love

Rachel xx

such a lovely man

a syringe and vaccine text on pink background
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He stood on the doorway, hand gel ready,

Offering sweet greetings

As we left rubbing arms

That were offered up to science.

He peeled off the stickers

And handed them out, as if we were children,

Eager for a reward for being so good.

Such a lovely man made my step a bit lighter

As I walked into rain clouds

That clung to the sky.

The weather has been awful recently and to make life even more rubbish, I had to trek across town to get my vaccination for COVID.

But really, it turned out to be a really pleasant experience. The whole thing runs like clockwork and I think that all of the volunteers should be bloody proud of themselves.

What made it even more pleasant was the man on the door on the way out. We had to sit and wait for fifteen minutes after our jab so that they could check we weren’t going to have an adverse reaction and I was really close to the exit so I got to watch this guy for a full quarter of an hour.

He stood at the door with his hand sanitiser and a sheet of stickers and smiled at everyone. I am sure he had a few people who had been rude to him through out the day, but he was the most cheerful person I had come across today.

I gladly took my sticker and wore it proudly around the supermarket as I did my grocery shopping. The volunteers are wonderful people and I think that we really need to be thankful for their efforts. Especially the efforts of the man at the exit; he is a legend.

Much Love

Rachel xx

burns night 2021

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I’ll long for Scotland from my lounge,

The purple hills and mirrored lochs

That stretch out further than the mind.

Raise a glass of single malt and sing

In stranger tongues that make no sense

And eat alone but with your friends

On Burns night twenty twenty one.

My dad is part of the Masons and they put on a lot of social events to raise money for local charities. One of the big nights that they celebrate is the annual Burns night which honours all things Scottish.

The night is always really special and we get to eat haggis that is paraded in by a man playing the bagpipes. Some of the men wear kilts and the women wear tartan sashes. And for those that drink, there is plenty of whisky to enjoy.

It makes me a little bit sad this year though. Not just because we can’t all gather to celebrate, but because last year was one of the final social events that we had before we entered this strange new world.

This time last year, we still didn’t have a clue what was on the horizon and it makes me think about how much I took for granted as I tucked into my haggis in January 2020. It’s strange to think that just eight weeks later, the idea of a social would be laughable.

I don’t drink so I can’t raise a glass tonight, but I may put on some bagpipe music and pretend with a little glass of apple juice. It will feel sad, knowing what we have lost over the last year. But maybe there can be a little glimmer of hope in there too. For now we know exactly how 2020 panned out but we also know that with a vaccine here, we may be on our way out of the other side.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i’m not sure if i should get excited about the vaccine yet

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A normal world has burst from somewhere dark,

We never thought that it would come

But a vaccine has been found to heal

The wounds this Earth has opened up

Within a year that’s better best forgotten,

To blow away with winter winds

And settle in the spring.

So we have a vaccine on the way. I am overjoyed at the fact that this could mean that there is an end in sight. However, I’m no scientist but this all seems a bit quick.

Has the vaccine been tested on enough people? Do we even have enough of the stuff to ensure that we achieve herd immunity? Will we need boosters every year and will the virus mutate?

There are so many unanswerables that I start wondering whether it would not be better to rein in my excitement and watch how this pans out. I may just be really cynical but I can’t help feeling that this is going to go quite as smoothly as we are being led to believe.

And, I will admit, that is really sad that I feel that way. I think that this post is less about the vaccine and more about the way we are all feeling after a very tough year. I can be so positive and here I am stamping on one of the few bits of good news we’ve received in 2020 (of course, I haven’t forgotten the excellent news that has come from our friends in the US very recently!)

So, I think I’d like to sign off today, making a conscious effort to be a bit more positive. It’s not a big problem, but I notice myself flagging here and there.

Let’s say cheers to the scientists who have scored a blinder and let’s hope that we’re on the other side of this pandemic by spring.

Much Love,

Rachel

vital

Isn’t it vital, he whispered to me,

That at times like this, we know we are loved?

And how do I do that? I asked,

Holding his hand firmly in mine.

One little squeeze of my fingers

And I knew what he meant.

I didn’t need letters or gifts

Or any grand gestures,

I just needed him there by my side,

Knowing the ways to comfort and love

Without moving the heavens and earth.

Just letting me know how much I mean

To him, how much I’m worth.