Updated: Sep 26, 2020
I am starting to write this in the pet lamb pen on an early morning. My hands covered in straw, milk and lamb shit. Lambs scrambling all over me and chewing on my notepad. I love this, it is such a peaceful environment. Sat anywhere with animals and nature is my happy place.
At this moment, I am just making sure that the younger lambs are getting onto the milk machine okay and managing to get a belly full. I have just bottle-fed one little lamb who is a bit younger and cannot quite fight its way onto the milk machine all the time. So, I am topping it up – making sure it has a full belly too. This one and another are currently chewing on my notepad and jumper. They all love to chew anything and everything – especially wellies and fingers!
Of course, I am writing this using my big fat pen, which I love. I have put a link to the amazon seller on my ACCESSORIES page – go have a gander!
In strange times such as this 2020 quarantine, I am so lucky to live where I do. As it has just been lambing time it hasn't felt much different to usual, not having as much time to go anywhere and needing to be at the farm early morning, throughout the day, and night.
I would like to spend this post talking about isolation life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know this is a popular topic at the moment, and perhaps you feel you've heard too much about it already, but I think talking about how we are feeling in this strange situation, how we are coping, what we are struggling with and ways to help others is really important.
It has only really hit me these last couple of weeks (probably since lambing has finished), how it has really impacted me.
I should preface this by saying that I am not complaining about the situation - it is so important for us all to do our part, to stay home to save lives. However, a few things have come to me and been brought up recently, and they are starting to weigh on me a little. Through my university course, we have been offered to opt-in to work for the NHS because our placements have been postponed. Due to myself being high risk, I will not be able to do it, or at least, I will not be able to start when everyone else can. The unpredictability of not knowing if our 12-week isolation period may be extended and not knowing how high risk we actually are is so frustrating.
It is taking a lot for me to accept that I need to protect myself. I want to be helping, to be on the frontline, to be making a difference, but it is not that simple. I just cannot seem to accept that it might affect me more than others, that I am classed as vulnerable. I feel that all those putting themselves on the frontline are vulnerable, they are all putting themselves at risk – I just feel selfish that I am not doing my part out there!
So, I have been thinking… does anyone else feel like quarantine is similar to having a flare-up? Be that an arthritis flare-up or of any long-term/chronic condition. (Or farming for that matter, but that calls for a whole separate essay!)
The cancelling of plans.
Not being able to work.
One hour of exercise outside is enough.
Missing friends and family.
Finding new things to do just to distract yourself.
Feeling like you are sat on your arse all the time.
Feeling like it is the only thing being spoken about.
I am sure there are more. Feel free to share …
I have really enjoyed scrolling through various Rheumatoid Arthritis Facebook pages and reading peoples comments and posts about people are distracting themselves from the pain or from isolation. I love to give my ideas, especially as some are stuck alone and cannot go outside, some not even for walks.
I have suggested puzzles and board games before, either virtual or real-life.
When I had my most recent flare-up in January, I downloaded sudoku and some word puzzle games, like anagrams to distract me and give myself something to do in breaks from Uni work. I have to say, I got hooked and still do them every day. I seem to have a habit of solving a sudoku every morning before I get out of bed. Unless I am late up and have to jump out of bed quickly as I hear Dan (my boyfriend) come in after he's finished morning milking!
I guess what I am trying to say is that no-one is alone. You are not alone. There are people just like you that would love a chat or play a game. Everyone is missing family, friends and work. But just because the whole country is now going through a similar situation, it does not make it any easier. I saw a quote online the other day that I think sums our situation up perfectly… "NOT EVERYONE IS IN THE SAME BOAT, WE'RE ALL JUST IN THE SAME STORM". I am sure many of you can relate to that one!
It was my niece's sixth birthday the other day and all I wanted to do was go give her the biggest cuddle, and without even knowing, it got me so down. I started having negative thoughts about anything and everything.
A time like this is where talking to others really helps! I could not have escaped that negative cycle if I had not opened up to Dan. Well, to be honest, he made me open up, but I've learnt by now when he says I need to talk, I need to talk. I know it will help me. I wanted to go give my niece her birthday card myself, but I knew that it was unfair and would be too tough on myself and on the kids to not be able to go in and have a normal visit. Like everyone else, I must keep faith and keep on telling myself that I know it will all be worth it once this is over.
Little things like emails or letters in the post, sending gifts or videos are keeping us going. My sister told me that my niece chose to wear a dress last week that I bought her because she had not seen me in so long. That feeling, that smile, lasted me the whole day and every time I've thought about it since.
Alongside some funny Instagram posts and amusing my sisters with the new 'Guess the Gibberish' filter, I've joined TikTok! I have done a few videos for the kids and even got Dan on board to attempt the odd viral challenge! It has led to many laughs and been a great distraction. Social media can be damaging, but it has its upsides too and can be a great source of entertainment. (Although, I have found myself procrastinating from Uni work a little too much!). Even my Grandma was talking to me about TikTok. It made my day when I was on the phone to her and she brought it up. It is the little things in life that bring us all closer together and keep us going - we should not forget them.
I would really love to hear everyone's quarantine stories and I am sure others would appreciate it too.
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