Living On Lockdown, And Other Stories

Jun porcelain tea cup, from my friend Estelle at August Moon Tea, Cheltenham

First things first: I sincerely apologise for the radio silence. I seem to have misplaced my writing mojo since my second hip surgery. I hope that everybody is as well as can be expected in these troubling times, and that you’re all staying safe! Life hasn’t changed that much for me, as in the fact that I’m usually at home anyway. The only major change has been our need to cancel our usual June visit to Cheltenham: visits to the residential unit that houses my son have been banned for the forseeable, and if the scientists are right then things won’t have changed by the time Rhys’ birthday rolls around.

Rhys himself is, apparently, coping extremely well with having his usual routine absolutely obliterated from his life. He doesn’t really understand what’s happening, but his carers are keeping him amused and he’s spent a lot of time in his garden (he’s the only ground floor resident, and so he is also the only resident with a garden of his own). He’s even had a small “disco” in his flat with a couple of his keyworkers! We’ve decided to try and make him a silly video for his birthday, so that he gets to see us, in a way.

The rest of this is going under a cut, to spare your email: this could get long!


I’m still unable to walk much. The screw removal was hoped to give me more mobility, but unfortunately my hip has decided that it’s never really going to improve. I’m on daily pain relief, and I can get around the house in a shuffling, limping, wobbly sort of fashion, but the chair is here to stay. It’s frustrating, but I try not to mind: after all, if I’d broken my neck instead it would have been far worse!

The thing that frustrates me most about the situation is that I can no longer just tidy things away if I see them out of place. I’m not terribly houseproud anyway (a home is supposed to be lived in, and living breeds clutter) but I did try my best to keep the place tidy before the ME took hold – and even then I still did little bits here and there. Now I have to rely on Dom to keep on top of things, and he has so much to do already that tidying isn’t a top priority – and every time I mention cleaning to him, I sound like a nag. He’s aware that my “nagging” is only born of frustration and that I try not to do it, but I really do get close to tears over my inability to do anything useful around here any more.


I think we’re all still in some degree of shock over how quickly this virus has spread and become a pandemic. Should our respective governments have done more to keep the public safe? Yes, of course they should have – but anybody with common sense should also have been taking steps to protect themselves and their loved ones anyway. I was self-isolating before Boris dribbled some flim-flam into a microphone about it, and the stupidity of some people around the country has astounded me. Coronovirus barbecues, seriously? This isn’t chicken pox – this virus can kill your kids! Arguably, so can chicken pox; cases of death from that are exceptionally rare though.

With that said, I feel that the UK has failed people who have no choice but to take their children outside with them. Not everybody has a friend or neighbour to watch their child for an hour, and absent parents are hardly going to start appearing now, are they. I don’t know what the answer to that particular problem is, but there has to be one, surely?


I’m coming up ten months sober, and I really do feel better for it. I sleep better (aside from the dreams I have that are caused either by medication or epilepsy), I eat more regularly because I’m actually hungry, and I don’t miss alcohol at all. One of my kidneys has even improved its function, to the surprise of my GP (I have CKD stage 3B) and my liver is normal and healthy.

I’d like to be able to tell you that I’ve lost weight, but sadly my lack of mobility means that I’ve not been so lucky. Still, at least those are healthy calories that I consume now (carrot cake counts as a vegetable, okay?) and I can actually taste my food! I still enjoy alcohol free or 0.5% beverages, but I find myself turning to those less and less. I can see me actually looking through my book of mocktails and cordials this summer, and shaking up some healthy goodness. It’s just a pity that I’ll not have my friend Alex around to share them with. Not in actual person, anyway (I can see a massive rise in videocalls for social reasons this year, even amongst the most self-conscious of individuals. Humans are, by nature, gregarious after all).

Further Education:

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to get moving with my ideas for a tea business. I realised that, to make a decent go of it, I’m going to have to learn a lot about how businesses work, and what keeps them rolling behind the scenes. My usual, exhuberant, bull-in-a-china-shop approach just won’t work for this.

So, I’ve signed up for a two year course studying IT, computers and business management with the OU, with the intention of moving on to a business management degree. This CertHE course begins on 4th April, and I have to say that I’m really looking forward to it! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, but I never really looked into it on account of my nomadic lifestyle, and then when I met Dom and settled down it had a lot to do with not really knowing which direction I wanted to go in once I realised that my epilepsy (even before breaking my hip) meant that my dreams of following in my Nan’s footsteps and becoming a nurse would never come to fruition. I know now, and at the very least it could set me up to manage a nursing home one day (that’s something else I would love to do, and I can certainly do that from a wheelchair).

The funny thing about losing your ability to walk, is that you learn to put things into perspective, and you find yourself thinking very hard about how to progress your life from this particular point. Had I not broken my hip, I would never have had the idea for a tea house or other tea related business, and I therefore may not have considered returning to part-time education. Silver linings: my Nan said there was always one to be found in the worst situation over time, and she proved to be right time and time again throughout her lifetime.

How are you and yours in 2020? I would love to hear from you!