Plans and lists.

I usually write this blog on a Sunday morning.  I also write any other time if I have something to say.  But I am not expecting to be writing next Sunday morning, because, all things being equal, the S&H and family are coming to visit for the first time in eighteen months.

Well, that’s the plan.

However, the S&H is getting his first Covid vaccination the previous day, let’s hope he doesn’t have an adverse reaction.  They live in Wales and we live in England and the rules are different and can change at any time.  The Covid variants spreading like blazes in other parts of the country, brought back by international travellers, could cause an emergency lockdown and so on and on and on.

It’s a bit Pollyanna but the only way to save your mental health in all of this is to cultivate a win-win attitude.  I am thinking that if they suddenly can’t come, I won’t have to cook lunch for seven, but I will tidy up, so I’ll have a nice clean house.  I won’t have to worry about the OH suddenly turning nasty.  This is happening ever more regularly.  I can still see them virtually, thank goodness for video conferencing.

This is happening with everything.  In case you are struggling for positives here are a few to borrow until you can think of some for yourself.

If you can’t go shopping you save money. If you can spend money, you are helping the economy.

If you lockdown and don’t see people, you are helping to stop the spread of the virus.

If you can only talk to loved ones by email or telephone at least you can do that and cheer them up.

And so on.

I still find the most helpful tool for getting through this and every other negative circumstance in my life is the gratitude list. Every night, before I go to sleep I rehearse in my head the good things that have happened in the day.  They might be just a very nice conversation with someone.  It isn’t until you are lonely, or living with someone incapable of producing two cheerful sentences on the trot that you realise what a blessing a positive interchange can be.

It could be almost any encounter with nature, including the blackbird singing in the garden.  A couple of days ago I was digging in the soil, assisted by the robin, who was carefully ignoring the big worms in favour of collecting small grubs and insects, so he must be feeding youngsters.  From my window I watch the bluetit fluttering up and down the rainwater pipe, checking for anything tasty hiding behind the pipe.  I also watch next door’s cat.


Here he is keeping an eye on his own garden from the roof of my shed.  The fence you can see behind him belongs to the garden at the bottom of mine.  They did not like the OH putting up a shed, so installed garden fencing with arched canes on the top.  Every morning when I open the sitting room curtains, the cat, who has been waiting, rushes up and down every one of the fence loops until he gets to the end, then drops into my garden, rushes to see me, remembers half way he’s a cat, licks his paw and strolls off round the back of the shed.  After he has had a nice drink out of the rainwater barrel he goes home for breakfast and then reappears on the shed roof.

Last week we had a note through the door about a lost cat and the following day another note to say it had been found and all was well.

I am still putting the library out on the drive and still have at least once a week a cheerful conversation with  library users and have had three actual notes of thanks put through the door.

From the beginning of the Awfulness there has not been a day when I couldn’t find something for the gratitude list at the end of it.  That year has included postponed cancer check-ups. verbal attacks, health panics and good old too much month at the end of the money.

The gratitude list gets easier the more you practise doing it.  It can have a transformative effect on your life.  I am grateful I know about it (and that is item one on the list tonight.)


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