Not the Best Time Ever

I’ve been enjoying Twitter lately, it’s been a great place to learn about flowers and animals. I headed over there yesterday to look at what wildflowers people have found. Angry botanists were going off at Chris Packham for saying the wrong thing about which flowers were planted on a roundabout (I kid you not) then I clicked on the comments for something innocuous and was slapped in the face by a load of hate directed towards trans people. I learned Covid-19 isn’t real, and that it is real but comes from 5G masts. I despair.

Over on Facebook friends amplifying the Black Lives Matter message were shouted down by the ‘yEah buT aLL LivEs MatTeR’ brigade and there’s no discussion over the matter. People are so concerned with appearing to be right rather than what is right. And the meanest people are always the loudest. I don’t get it. If someone tells you something is problematic, but you don’t believe them, then why not do a ten second Google search to find out more? Then you could say something like ‘thanks for pointing that out, I have learned why that was wrong’. We need more of that in the world. It’s ok essential to change our minds when presented with new information!

When I go back to work I may even have an opportunity to be an equalities representative for our Union where I’ll be sent off on courses so I can learn more and maybe change things for the better. My furlough has been extended till the 1st of July, so I’ll find out more then.

In the meantime I think a social media break is on the cards.

I went out in the real world last Friday to have a little socially-distanced walk with my sister and Newton. That was lovely – Newton went bananas upon seeing me and nearly knocked me over after wrapping his lead around my legs then trying to run off in the other direction. He gives me such pure happiness! But then, as we walked along the high street on our way to the park, despair kicked in again. PEOPLE JUST AREN’T SOCIAL DISTANCING! There was enough space on the pavement to leave a gap of two metres, but they just… didn’t. They seem to think this over. At the beginning of lockdown there was a feeling of unity, that this is awful but we’re all in it together. It doesn’t feel like that now, it feels like the majority of people just don’t care. Sigh.

Last night, I watched some TV with mum. We put on a documentary about the ocean which showed a necropsy of a porpoise which was just horrific. The poor creature was underweight, lactating (which means the calf is also almost certainly dead) and pregnant. What caused this? Yeah, you guessed it. Humans, and all the shite we dump into the environment. We really suck.

Just bear with me as this post continues to be a bit grim. I’ll talk about something happy soon, I promise.

Last week I decided to get my DSLR out and take a nice shot of our resident hedgehog, Wonder. After putting it onto the computer (the same PC which is now broken as it happens) and seeing it in detail, I started to worry. The poor guy was much patchier and scabbier than I first thought from seeing him on the wildlife camera, so I called a local wildlife hospital for advice.

They said to try and catch him and bring him in as it sounded like he could either have mange or ringworm, both of which have similar symptoms and wouldn’t get better on their own. The lady said if I leave my number on the admission form I could come and get him when he’s better and release him back into his little home.

I took him in last Tuesday I think (time is passing in strange ways lately and I’ve completely lost track) and rather than ring them, on Monday I decided to pop in to the hospital to see how he was doing. On Facebook they had asked for donations of old towels so I took some along, and they were also selling seedlings to raise money for the hospital. Perfect!

Well, not quite.

After purchasing my seedlings (I got several little cauliflower and aubergine plants) I had a not-so-nice conversation with the vet. He informed me that sadly they had to put the little dude to sleep. He had a head injury, an old fracture on one leg, another leg was completely dislocated, he had maggots inside him and a fused spine from another old injury. The poor thing must have been in agony.

But I just couldn’t believe that was my hedgehog. Surely they’d got him mixed up with another one? The vet told me that people often can’t believe it’s the same animal because hedgehogs will just carry on as best they can until they expend their last bit of energy and pass away. You’d never know what was really going on just by looking at them.

I know so much is going on in the world right now that a little hedgehog may seem insignificant, yet I’m heartbroken. But also grateful he’s no longer suffering. Poor fella.

That’s twice now the South Essex Wildlife Hospital have helped us out, they also came out when my brother called them about a fox that had been run over. I’m so thankful for what they do, and they’re currently (successfully) looking after a number of rescued badger cubs which are CUTE AS HELL. See, that’s happy news! The next photo is a rare example of me sharing a photo I haven’t taken myself, one from their Facebook page.

Too gorgeous not to share.

So, a garden update. I applied the nematodes yet something is having a nibble at my squash. I’m not too worried about it right now, I have a few plants so something should make it, and this first year is the beginning of my learning curve. I don’t exactly have the space to grow squash so I plan to train it up, which may mean it doesn’t get eaten as much. We shall see.

Just when I think the garden will cease being quite so magical to me, something else pops up from the compost. This week my beetroot, radishes and honesty have germinated.

The stuff I planted back in April is also causing much excitement, because I don’t know exactly what I planted and certainly can’t identify much yet. These are all mystery plants, two of which aren’t too far off flowering. I can hardly wait.

Our wildlife may have taken a sad little turn, but our garden is still so full of life. The lavateria is out, the sparrows never shut up, I saw my first ever red-tailed bumblebee, juvenile starlings and great tits have found our feeders, we’ve mercifully had a good bit of rain and everything in the garden is thankful for it, and I found an enormous moth.

Yes the world is a mess, I miss my spiky friend, and my PC is knackered. Yet still the garden keeps growing.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

This is the Life

Is anyone else already feeling massively changed by recent events? I think it’s impossible to not reevaluate what’s important to you in these circumstances, and although I suspect once this is over we’ll all fall back into our usual routines quite easily, I sincerely hope I don’t.

I think I’m a person who’s quite easily influenced by those around her, I’m a bit of a sponge in that respect, but since I’ve mostly been in my room alone (except for little Pea of course) I’ve been thinking about what I really like and what I really want. How often in life are we given the opportunity to stop and think about such things, without expectations from family, friends, partners, employers, society in general…

One thing I’ve been thinking about (which will come as a surprise to absolutely no one) is my weight. When I first started losing weight, it really was out of necessity. Life was hard. The world is not made for morbidly obese people. Our bodies aren’t made to be able to handle it. My joints hurt, bits of me rubbed till they bled, I was tired, I was miserable. Everything from using public transport to trying to get clothes that fit was a massive ordeal. Life was definitely put on hold at that time.

Now, although I’m almost four stone heavier than I was at my lowest weight in November 2018, apart from fitting into smaller clothes I can do everything now that I could do then. What’s more, I feel so much better now in every way imaginable.

I’m happier, more confident, almost as fit as I was, and more aware of who I am. This is in the middle of a global crisis. What does it say about my previous life that I’m happier now in the midst of all this terror?

When I think of my motivations to lose more weight right now, it all comes down to what other people think of me. I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. Apart from that? I feel sad about all the nice clothes I have that no longer fit me and buying new clothes is marginally less fun. That’s it.

So, I’m trying something new. My only goal between now and when I may possibly be free again at the end of June (all being well) is to be the same weight I was when we went into lockdown. As it happens, this week I’ve had an enormous gain and my clothes have again become tight, so I do want to get that off so I can feel comfortable again, then I’m just going to concentrate on enjoying my life.

I’ve spoken before about building the life I want, but everything I want is already right here. My life goals have changed from wanting the things I think I should want, to something a lot more simple. I want (NEED) to get enough sleep, and I want to enjoy doing things just for the sake of them. That really is the crux of it.

I’ve been feeling the call (or is it a shout?) to slow down for such a long time, and oh my word I’m doing pretty good at listening to that voice. I always felt such an enormous sense of urgency. Even reading a book made me feel a bit panicky, like I should be reading it quicker, as if the main reason for reading it in the first place was to tick an ‘achievement’ off a list. I never planted anything, because I was afraid it wouldn’t grow. I found it hard to draw and paint, because I was afraid it would be crap.

It was so hard for me to remember that just doing these things is fun, no matter what the end result.

I felt like I had to be skinny now, before I could enjoy the rest of life, and would put my body through all kinds of abuse to make that happen. In 2018, I was barely getting 6 hours sleep a day and mostly living off of conflict and adrenaline.

It wasn’t worth it.

I want a life that has family meals and red wine and cake and hugs and biscuits and long walks and wildflowers and birds and hedgehogs and mountains and trees, dogs, cats, friends, ice cream, beaches, good coffee, the fresh page of a journal, the smell of an old book… These are the things that are really important to me, and I can get a huge chunk of them without even leaving my back garden.

I couldn’t slow down enough to enjoy these things till now, because I always felt there wasn’t enough time. I needed to use as much of my spare time as possible on exercising, because if I didn’t exercise enough then I’d never be skinny enough. Yes, I did do most of my exercising outside, but I never allowed myself enough time to stop and take notice of things. Not properly.

This week I found out that a weed I’ve been seeing for all of my life has flowers like tiny little orchids or pitcher plants. I found a plant in the garden that has such tiny petals I couldn’t count them with the naked eye, then discovered it’s a hairy bittercress. A plant I took a picture of in a field in 2018 is a spotted orchid. These things have all made me happier than being skinny ever did.

I’m not saying things are perfect. I think I’ve had a massive breakthrough, but I have to consider the fact I might change my mind halfway through next week and decide I can’t be happy unless I fit into a size 14. There’s also the fact that my mind is naturally quite morbid. As soon as I felt I had stuff ‘figured out’, my brain said great, now you’ve got your act together you’ll probably die before you get the chance to enjoy it.

Maybe I will, but I won’t let it stop me trying.

I wasn’t intending this post to be that deep, but it just kind of… came out of me. It happens like that sometimes! I do have a few other updates, but I’ll put them in a separate post tomorrow. For now, I’m just content. Nuff said.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x