The Stress of Being Collie Dog Living With Mother Murphy"
How did that happen? We have gone from looking forward in some form or another to our Christmas and New Year celebrations to seeing January fast disappearing. Before we know it, it will be time to make the Christmas Cakes.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm finding this second lockdown very tough. Those of you who know me will also know that I love to be walking the Scottish mountains or cycling the quiet, remote roads away from travel and people. Not that I love my own company of course, it's just that I enjoy the solitude, time to breath and time to think (and time to have deep conversations with Beatrix the Collie of course). But away from the solitude of the hills, I really am a people person. I enjoy meeting new people. I love making people laugh (hopefully) and making them feel special. I love listening to people's life stories and sharing experiences and adventures.
Social media has been a godsend over this year for many of us, but it's no longer cutting the mustard for me. I'm longing to be able to have a trip down to Halifax to see my son, Benjamin, and my daughter, Chloe, and her lovely family. Little Minnie will probably be still little Minnie when I see her as she is just such a tiny, but perfect miracle. Harley came along last September but I've not seen him physically since he was born. He probably thinks that Grandma is just a phone screen saver.
We all know that stress can affect us all in different ways. My stress is causing complete exhaustion. My long, high level walks on the hills are no more (not that we could anyway!) and I am finding that a walk on the canal is leaving me drained. I had a couple of weeks over Christmas and New Year when I was in and out of the Royal Infirmary and found after that I was content to simply lie on the couch and the black cloak of depression was creeping ever nearer, very happy to wrap around me and drag me down further.
Fortunately for me, I have the fabulous Mr M here who was able to recognise my downward spiral. So he dragged me from the couch (not physically of course), made me get out of my comfy new tartan pyjamas and join him for a short walk with him and Beatrix. Then the next day, he did the same.
It doesn't take long for the fresh air to start to do it's job. Within a couple of days I was back to looking at the Campsie hills and wishing I was out on them. Then I was back to taking Beatrix out for longer walks on the canal by myself. I was coming back.
I remembered a book we had read in our book club, Mother Murphy's Tearoom Book Club (now virtual of course), The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and her follow on book, The Wild Silence. In these books, Raynor and her husband, Moth, walk the 600+ miles of the South West Coastal Path and then a tough long distance trek in Finland despite Moth's illness and found that walking helped him. I decided that if he could do that, I could get myself walking again to fitness. I declared then that no matter what I was doing or how I was feeling I was going to make myself go for a walk every day.
At the end of last week, I went for a walk on the canal with Beatrix and I just kept walking. By the time I got back it had turned dark and Mr M was donning his own coat and boots to come and find me. Me and Beatrix were soaked (Beatrix not quite so much in her new coat) but between us we had really put the world to rights. We'd discussed how I was feeling. For some reason, I found myself watching Beatrix more closely that day and it suddenly dawned on me how tough life is as a Border Collie. I realised that even though my life was sometimes stressful I was still able to relax at home. Not so for a Collie. Beatrix is always on guard. Then it came to me what my next writing project would be. I was going to write about Beatrix's life but from Beatrix's point of view. Perhaps I could turn it into a book and call it "The Stress of Being a Collie Dog Living With Mother Murphy".
As you can see from the photo, Beatrix was guarding me from the first day she became part of our family.
I'm sure that I am not the only person who is feeling that the light has been turned out at the end of the tunnel, but we need to believe it will get brighter soon. We need to look at the positives even if they are tiny. The morning has arrived. The sun is shining. The rain is refreshingly cold on your face. The morning has arrived again. We need to talk to our partners, our wives, husbands, sons, daughters and friends and not be afraid to share our feelings. We need to look out for our partners, our wives, husbands, sons, daughters and friends and notice when they need that extra hug, that extra encouragement and that extra push. Often it's those you think are ok who are struggling too.
What do I have to look forward to then? Well, we have our holiday in Grasmere in Lake District in August. We should all be able to get the vaccine over the coming months. I'm doing a sewing project with Ben on Watsap to make a meditation cushion. I have lots of very serious discussions to be had with Minnie over facetime and Harley has lots of smiles to share with me until I came see them again. Chloe is planning my birthday party for October with a Beauty and the Beast Theme. Guess who I'm going dressed as? I'm working on a new throw for our bed - a large Granny square pattern that doesn't require a great deal of concentration. I now have a new book to write. I have mountains to climb (maybe not Everest yet). I've even got the idea in my head that I'm going to swim to France but might just start with some wild swimming in Rydal Water in August!
Of course, I am very lucky to have baking as my hobby. Baking soothes the heart too - putting all those ingredients together and watching as they are transformed into a scrummy delight to be enjoyed by anybody.
For this month, I called our cake box January Comfort Box because I think you can't beat a mix of cake and biscuits treats give you that warm feeling of being cuddled. It took me a little while to get this box ready this month because I was missing that vital ingredient in my bakes of love but I've found this again.
There are lots of other treats - Jam Gift Boxes, Teas and handmade crafts in the on-line store so take a look.
I'm planning our boxes for the months to come, so if you have any requests, let us know. Have you got a favourite cake I've not made yet. Do you want something from the previous boxes to come back? What else would you like us to start doing? Leave a comment after you've read the blog and share your suggestions.