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Virtual escapes

Like most of us, I’ve been in lockdown for months, but I get a lot of pleasure from some of the blogs I follow.

It’s a kind of virtual escape. 

Here’s one I enjoy  from  a woman who walks and takes photos of the wild  bushland of Tasmania — and if you’re sweltering, you might enjoy these photos of a cool temperate rainforest — wild untamed country, giant tree ferns, big rocks, and a few scatterings of snow.  

Tasmania is the southernmost part of Australia — the “small” island at the bottom of the map, “small” being a relative term — Tasmania is about the same size as Ireland or Switzerland, or the state of West Virginia in the USA. 

It’s also one of the earliest parts of the country that was colonized by Europeans, and yet  while it has some lovely historic buildings and beautiful rolling hills and farmland, it also has some of the most brilliantly wild bushland as well.

Gazing at these photos, I can almost smell the fresh, sharp smell of the native bushland plants and the cool earth. 

If you enjoyed these two photos, click on the link below and visit her blog, where there are plenty more gorgeous photos.

Split Rock Falls – The Most Beautiful Rainforest Walk

Cat entitlement

A friend of mine has a gloriously character-filled cat called Obi.
He’s also gorgeous looking, with the most amazing polished copper eyes. He has the kind of personality that demands the household fit around his needs and desires, not the other way around. (I find him totally charming and yearn for a kitten just like him, even though I’m allergic to cat fur.)

Recently my friend took delivery of a new chair, which was all wrapped in bubble wrap. The chair is to be transported to a new house, so is staying in the bubble-wrap.

My friend made a small hole in the wrapping, just to show the color and texture of the chair to her housemate.

Two hours later, my friend is working and her housemate comes in to say, “I can’t find the cat.”  (Obi is a bit of an escapologist.)

So a search ensues. They look everywhere, all through the house, out in the garden and up and down the road.

No cat. Time passes. Their worry grows.

Then they hear a rustling sound. Near the new, bubble-wrapped chair.

Actually in the bubble-wrapped chair, which he has clearly claimed for his own.

Every time I visit this cat, I come away with a renewed desire for a kitten, even though I know it’s not practical and I’ll sneeze my head off. I’ve had several cats in my life and adored each one, but they always come to me accidentally. 

But I’ll talk more about my various cats in another post.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Obi as a kitten, soaking up the sun, cats being natural heat-seeking devices.

Keeping positive

This morning, as I do most mornings, I sat down with a cup of coffee and scrolled through Facebook, catching up with friends and family, and at the end of it, I felt quite down. So many negative and gloomy posts. Okay, I understand — these are difficult times — but most of those things I can’t do anything about, except “like” or “hug” or “be angry” — and how did that impact on me?

It intensified my feeling of helplessness. And brought me down. So today I “took a 30 day snooze” from some people  on FB — even some long term friends, who constantly bewail the situation. I don’t need that negativity in my head.  

I think we need to *work* at keeping positive, to be aware of “downer” posts, to try to avoid ranting about covidiots etc, and following the figures day after day. Ask yourself, How does that serve you? Does it make you feel better or worse? I’m not asking for false cheeriness, or head-in-the-sand, just a bit of balance and maybe some mindfulness. We need to look after ourselves and to work at not being sucked down the plughole of negativity.
There’s a post here on ten things you can do. 

So I’m starting my own little personal campaign, starting with a gratitude journal — reflecting on at least one thing a day that makes me smile or feel good, even in a small way. And this morning’s small moment of gratitude was the poached egg I had on toast for breakfast. A friend of mine keeps a few hens in her back yard, and she gave me half a dozen eggs. They’re so fresh and the yolks are a rich dark gold and delicious, and they turn a simple poached egg on toast into an event.

 My second moment of gratitude was when I was working in bed on my laptop, and my dog jumped up and snuggled close. She usually curls up on that wrinkled greeenish blanket on the corner of the bed, which is her blanket. But today she was all affectionate and nudged me until I’d patted her for a few minutes, after which she settled down, warm against my leg, to snooze while I got on with my work.

Dogs are wonderful reminders of how to be happy. They live in the moment — they don’t fret about the past, or worry about the future. And small things delight them — a dog biscuit, a pat or a cuddle, a ball, a stick, a bird to be chased out of her garden, a walk — and their days are filled with many small delightful things.

It’s a lesson for us all.