Monday, February 08, 2021


 Shwmae from the banks of the river Lleidi!

I didn't intend to leave it so long before blogging again, I’ve tried writing a new blog post about a dozen times throughout last year and the first weeks of this one but just could not think of what to say. I am so very tired.

At the time of writing this line I am sat wrapped in a blanket, it's -2 degrees outside and storm Darcy is coming to town. Friends have already started to post pictures of snow and I'll be honest I have snow envy. Llanelli is a tropical biome with warm air coming off the Gower estuary and basically being a kill joy! I keep checking my weather app like a gambler begging his bookie. "
22%! I've got two nieces, they want to sled! you gotta give me better odds on snow!" Usually February feels like a liminal time when you really sense the shift in seasons but it does not feel like that this year. But then time is an illusion and has been since March 2020. 

By Mythsntits -
Cerys and Nerys By mythsntits

So yeah 2020 was a thing, a whole year that both simultaneously lasted centuries and five minutes. Like that week between Xmas and New Year’s but stretched to infinity.  I pretty much spent up until September just cooking or playing in the garden that is my Veg Fort.

There was also an epic thunderstorm that I sat outside for the majority of in August. That was nice.

None of that was really worth blogging about and I really didn’t want this to become a weekly commentary on the horrors of the pandemic, there’s already plenty of that. So I plodded along like everyone else and I was thinking it was going to be a breeze, I’ve done long stretches of unemployment, I am trained for this. But then October rolled around and it was really hitting me. Not seeing friends, the knock on effects of trying to look for a job during a pandemic, gods help me I even miss going to the gym. I was climbing off the walls feeling anxious with a constant feeling of dread accompanied by a month long stretch of Insomnia. It was not nice.
Then two things happened. One – I got a stinking cold that made me sleep whether my stupid brain wanted to or not, which pretty much sent the insomnia packing (for now). And two – I went for a walk along the Mabinogion trial here in the People's Republic of Llanelli. It’s not much of a trail to be honest; it’s a path that winds through a hundred maybe hundred and fifty meters of trees.

In the summer it’s a really nice walk and when you get towards the centre of it you can almost pretend you are in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, there I am walking along feeling miserable. Beating myself up about nothing particular or within my power to change and I remembered this thing I had read about the ancient Greeks thinking their internal monologues were actually the voices of the gods. So there on the trail I start talking to myself. Or more specifically I start talking to my depression. And I take the piss out of it. I point out that Van Gogh’s depression made him cut an ear off. Mine? Gave me some sleepless nights that while uncomfortable did allow me to get through several books. I just kept pointing out all the ways the demon on my shoulder was crap at their job and should really feel ashamed. Then a woman out walking her dog came in to view while I was looking skyward and calling it a cunt and she looked terrified as she hurried passed me. And I burst out laughing because that demon wasn't even good enough to make me feel embarrassed by my little mental health snap. This didn’t magically make it all better but it definitely evaporated a chunk of the self-blame that depression loves to convince you is yours to own. I imagine I probably would have got the same result just shouting ‘FUCK’ very loudly.
So thanks to my demon roast I started to get organised a bit better. I go for an hour walk everyday which has really shown how much I need to get back to the gym. Giving a bit of attention to what I’m eating, I mostly did okay last year keeping off the weight that I’d lost but I wanted to add a few healthier bits, cut a few unhealthy bits out, nothing too grand.
Then focusing on job stuff I started a few CPD courses. I’m hoping that with all the contracting and shifting going on with non-profit comms jobs right now these courses will help keep my CV in the pile. I’m currently working through two CPD courses in HR Administration (very sexy) and Project Management. The HR stuff is purely because so many comms jobs in the third sector seem to be getting merged with really odd admin roles to save money. 
The Project Management course is just to help give context to a load of transferable skills I’ve picked up over the years, same as the Google Digital Marketing course I did last year.  I’m also working through a certificate in Digital Well-Being that’s been really interesting.
Doing these courses has given me some serious flashbacks to University. it's also made me realise how shot to shit my concentration is. So I've been utilising all and any tips to improve focus. I was looking at the Forest app as a possible tool. Basically the longer you go without looking at your phone a digital tree grows. Look at your phone and it dies! The aim is that eventually you grow a forest that represents how not distracted you were.
This month will also mean starting to do more in the Veg Fort so I’m checking my gardening excel sheets (shut up!) and planning what needs doing so that will keep me occupied. This year I'm thinking about turning the corner section of the Fort that is currently a storage area into a flower bed for plants and herbs that I can use to make my own tea. I've mentioned before that I want the Veg Fort to be as practical as possible, I'm not fussed on ornamental gardens, they're for rich people and scabs. Plus I really like the idea of growing my own tea.
I also would like to get back to blogging but I don't think it'll be on a weekly schedule. So for now - if it interests any of you - expect a monthly post. I may play around a bit, try to make these posts more of a curation of things that interest me. As the summer rolls in I'll probably post my Veg Fort updates here instead of Tumblr just because Tumblr has a limit on how many images that can be used in a post and that sucks. I'm stealing a trick from the author Robin Sloan and putting some art throughout this post so if my words bore you, you can just treat it like a mini digital gallery.
By mythsntits
Smoking Welsh Ladies By mythsntits

I may - and it's a big may given a certain global situation we're all dealing with - put up some posts from some walks I'm planning on doing. I’ve got this book called The Geology of Llanelli, it was published by my towns council in the 70’s and has no reason to exist but it does which is brilliant. And at the back the writer lists a series of walks covering what he considers to be the most interesting terrain of the town. I keep meaning to follow a few just to see how much has changed from when he wrote it but also to visit the outer edges of Llanelli which are far more rural and far enough from the centre that it’s often not thought of as Llanelli. Which sort of makes it seem more adventurous…In a when you’re a kid and you go camping in the back garden kind of way.
Okay. I'm going to call it quits there and go make a cuppa.
Brave heart, dear friends. Don't let the bastards grind you down.

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