I have had a week off this week. Jack was home last weekend for his 19th birthday, it was lovely to spend some time with him. We went out for lunch for his birthday, and what a fabulous afternoon it was listening to him and sharing our love for music. His friend Matt came to join us for a few drinks, and myself and Lisa sat back enjoyed their friendship. I hadn’t been in a pub since last October, it was a very strange and yet quite relaxing experience. It felt quite continental, having our drinks brought to us at the table. We used the phone app supplied by the pub chain which made it even easier, in some ways a little too easy. Due to a temporary communication breakdown, both Jack and Matt ordered drinks at the same time, which I am sure was quite irritating for the bar staff. As a consumer I was more than satisfied with the experience and would be happy for it to continue, once the pandemic has left us. However I realise as a business proposition for most bars this would be unsustainable unless they tripled the price of the drinks and food. After a long and very, very pleasant lunch we left and the boys prepared for the evening entertainment. Myself and Lisa went back home to relax in our garden.
The weather for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend was glorious, we spent our time in the garden whilst Jack nursed his hangover and caught up with friends.
On Tuesday we travelled to Chester to spend a couple days with Mum, on the way we stopped off at Manchester to pick Ben up. We took Holly (our now 13 year old Black Labrador) with us, which is always a nerve wracking experience, as she is quite frail nowadays. It is safe to say she did not enjoy the journey, even after a prolonged stop in Manchester for her to walk around have a drink and cool down, she was still very unsteady and upset with herself when arrived at Mum’s.
It was such a relief to see Mum looking well, and what a lovely feeling it was to give her a hug, I was instantly transported to my childhood. I felt safe, cared for, and loved. Life can throw what it likes at me, it can never takeaway the love I have for my Mum. It was equally heart-warming to see Mum greet Ben and Jack, she has not seen them since the autumn. We spent the afternoon and the evening in the garden drinking, laughing and catching up.
The next day Lisa and the Boys went into town and me and Mum spent the morning together, gardening, and chatting. It was such a special morning just being with each other, talking about old times as well as what the future holds. There were a lot less tears than we both anticipated, it wasn’t a time for sadness, it was a moment to celebrate the richness of our lives, and we managed to get some gardening done. In the afternoon, Lisa and the Boys came back, followed shortly after by Louise (my big Sister) and Ava (her Granddaughter). Ava is the apple of Mum’s eye, it was lovely to see them interacting with each other, she brings Mum so much joy. As one year olds do she kept us all entertained during her stay.
After a very quiet Wednesday (we were all shattered), we woke up on Thursday with a tinge of sadness, it was time for us to go back home. I have always hated saying goodbye to Mum, now it is harder than ever. I reminded myself that, the reason why I hate so much is because we had such a lovely time, and that is worth celebrating, it would be terrible if I couldn’t wait to get away. The journey back to Manchester was as always subdued. As with leaving Chester it was hard to leave Jack behind (Ben was coming back to Hull for rehearsals with Vialetters).
It was a relief to spend sometime as a family away from the pressures of everyday life, saying that the pandemic is never far away, wearing masks every time we go in to a shop, or bar. Just before we left for Chester Ben told us that there had been a mini outbreak in the bar where is girlfriend works, both Ben and Liv had done self-tests that had come back negative. When we were in Chester Ben heard that Liv had to go for a PCR test as she had come up on track and trace, thank fully that came back negative. With the Boys living in Manchester and working in bars, we all did tests before we set of to Chester and whilst we were there. Then you have the news that is littered with stories about COVID and the prospect of a third wave.
At the moment no matter what we do there is always this pandemic looming in the background. It just feels like a shadow cast over our lives. I suppose we all have had different moments over the past year and a bit when we have just had enough, when our resilience begins to crack. That is why I was grateful for the week off, but still that weight is still there on my shoulders. So I have to concentrate on small things that I can control, like going for a run, recognising and understanding my emotions, and writing this blog. All of these things put me back in control of how I respond to the events of the world around me. It gives me the mental strength just to carry on, and keep doing what I need to do. Although I do wish it would piss off now.