Tag Archives: USA

Staying in is the new going out


Someone tweeted recently was it strange to like being in ‘lockdown’ & I must admit in a strange kind of way it is growing on me. Corona virus aside it has afforded many to re engage with hobbies & tackle jobs around the homestead that have hung about waiting to be done.

Also it has slowed peoples lives down to the point where it is possible for once to just be able to take a guilt free moment to sit in the garden noticing the plants & animals for a change or picking up a pencil & drawing etc.

For me I have relinquished almost all kitchen duties to my daughter who is entertaining herself by delving into the many cookery books on the shelves. This new won freedom means not only do we now get a new variety of healthy dishes daily but I can get on uninterrupted with the projects that I had been loathe to start.

silent stones!

Headphones in place with either an audio book or music on the go I have been tackling a rebuild of a small dry stone wall surrounding a flower bed. No stranger to this form of walling as I reconstructed over fifty metres of boundary wall in the past this proved rather annoying. The stones as I told to the great amusement of the husband & daughter really weren’t ‘speaking to me!’ Mad as it sounds to wall effectively you need to be able to work the stones together to sort of interlock them & these really weren’t playing the game. Still with time on my hands & the opportunity to work in the sunshine I persevered & its now almost finished.

Inside the first layer of lime mortar applied to a wall is drying awaiting the finishing coat once the wall has dried. The corner of the room has always been damp so hopefully this will help to remedy it. The joys of living in an old property in the UK where the unseasonal rainfall has not helped.

Today I actually gave myself a day off from chores & treated myself to playing ‘Dan’ my electric guitar & attempting to refine the tune I have been writing for a while. Although never likely to derive an income from my endeavours I do find the whole process completely absorbing & as a result makes me feel very relaxed.

Below should be a link to a Tik Tok that we made & shared to Instagram hopefully you can see it & it makes you smile.

for a giggle

Hope if you are reading this you are having a good day & staying safe.

Lockdown Life


2020 was so full of promise at the start its hard to get your head around where we have all seemingly ended up. Its hard to comprehend that a world so used to running on overdrive has now been forced to stand & stare as it were while a virus sneaks about casing devastation in its wake.

Whilst volunteering at some music festivals last year I spent several hours on shift in the company of younger people & it gave me a fascinating insight to some of the complex issues that now seemed stem from an overwhelming sense of anxiety about almost everything. Indeed Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes sum it up for me in the lyrics of Crowbar ‘the next thing to arrive is a terrifying fear of how you’re supposed to live your life’.

Since then its started to make me ponder whether this is a new phenomenon or whether they are just more forthright & willing to express these feelings. I can certainly remember feelings of anxiety when having to tackle a problem I had no experience of or found myself dealing with all manner of unfamiliar situations but I don’t recall being paralysed from it.

Which brings me to the ‘hows everyone coping’ with this lockdown situation? Seems in many & varied ways but this is where perhaps our ability to adapt & how we cope mentally will be sorely tested.

Everywhere you turn there seems to be virus updates the quality of which in some cases is decidedly dubious. I for one have limited my daily intake to once a day from a reputable source. It doesn’t mean I take the issue any less seriously but I don’t need to be overdosing on it. I believe much harm to an individuals mental health can come from a rising sense of panic generated by information overload.

For me as its has always been the secret is grounding oneself in a routine or rhythm for the day or week. As my daughter wisely said just the simple act of getting up & making the bed is a simple way of defining the start of the day. Sounds crazy until you hear people trying to determine what day it is as they all start to merge. On retirement the days of my week were differentiated by the various activities I am normally involved with. With this all gone its been vital for me to start building a new reality.

So clinging to the threads of my previous ‘routine’ the day starts with a walk by myself across the fields. Breakfast & then to join my daughter for an intense 20 mins exercise programme followed by a further 20 minutes of stretching. Once done we then set about tasks we have set ourselves for the day. As she is good at cooking she has taken over in the kitchen which has freed me up to tackle some jobs around the garden which have been waiting to be done. We still interact with our social media so can communicate with friends & family whilst exploring perhaps some of the aspects that have perviously been a luxury to invest time in investigating.

We also have been spending time trying to capture some video of me attempting some of the wtfimu2 challenges that are still possible to attempt during the confinement. This enables my daughter to try out new filming techniques while I advance my skills needed to try & complete the tasks.

Today I had a visual guitar lesson via FaceTime with my guitar teacher so its quite interesting to see what can be achieved despite the restrictions. Indeed I do wonder when things ‘go back to normal’ whether some of the the things we have learnt will actually morph into some ‘new normal’.

May be firms will see the companies don’t crumble completely by its staff working from home & some of the comradeship will continue long after this. Indeed the level of international co-operation seems incredible so why can’t this be the new norm too?? Who knows perhaps some better work life balances could evolve as a result?

Hubby is busy in the garden too with sorting out the chickens & trying to develop a means of creating a supply of pellets for our biomass from sawdust. This a very eco friendly project which again is something that will enable us to use sawdust that otherwise would be a waste product.

I hope where ever you are when you are reading this you & your loved ones stay safe. Back later to update on how the lockdown is going later. Please feel free to comment on what is really helping you so far.

Cliff Edge Faces & ‘whack a mole dogs’


I had seen images of the faces carved into the cliffs many times in the past via many mediums but there is something quite awe inspiring seeing these as up close & personal as you can from the viewing gallery.

The tenacity & vision employed to create these images was immense given the difficulty carving the likenesses on such a scale given the technology of the time would have been surely tested to its extreme.

However this impressive feat has to be tempered with the fact that it was in part to celebrate key forefathers of relatively modern American history & to increase tourism to the area. It undoubtedly has fulfilled the creators intention of becoming a centre of information & draws thousands of visitors a year however for me there was just the niggling feeling that this only presented one version of the story.

When one travels & pokes about in the murky corners of a countries history particularly when so intricately linked with ones own does it seem to serve up some quite difficult issues to ponder on. Transpires that the sites history has quite a shady side given that it was once part of sacred lands of the Laokata people whose history had been almost obliterated. We had already dipped our curiosity into this subject by conversing with the descendants of Wounded Knee to discover a very different perspective of past events. I had experienced similar notions when in Australia & New Zealand for many of the same reasons & some aspects of this perplex me still.

Having explored the site & resisted ice cream we ventured into the town in search of a campsite & found one which we settled on as it was late in the day. Our neighbours were chatty & we spent a peaceful night despite being near the main street before setting off early the next day to Custer Park.

This had not been on the original schedule but we had gained some time & decided to invest it trying to spot unusual animals. Having located the visitor centre we were given the heads up on the potential location of bison & other wildlife so definitely a good place to start the day.

close up

We set off & were not disappointed as we spied these magnificent beasts & then having turned back on ourselves slightly took a less metalled road to catch a glimpse of the prairie dogs at play.

They reminded me of the ‘whack a mole’ game as they popped in & out of their holes squeaking & challenging one to guess where they would resurface. It was quite difficult capturing them as they seem to pop up & down quickly emitting a high pitched squeak as they did!

just like ‘whack a mole’

A tad disappointed not to visit the narrower sections of the Park for fear of Marthas ample proportions rendering us stuck we headed for a campsite but not before taking a short hike up a hill by what turned out to be a manmade lake.

an incredible man made lake

Our native spirit guide had its work cut out but seemed to adept at finding us a place to park each night at the most unlikely places & sometimes despite the ‘full’ sign.

Turkeys

Beers in the sunshine while wild turkeys wondered by followed by a sumptuous meal in the local restaurant meant a fairly good night sleep before we were up & on the road.

the template

We were headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial museum to sort of provide some balance to the Mount Rushmore visit. This project too is impressive given the scale & intricacy of the sculpture that is being hewn into the rock face.

a work in progress

Leaving all the history & politics aside for a moment you can’ t help but marvel at what can be achieved with vision & determination in either case. The Crazy Horse project is by no means complete & has spanned multiple generations continues to challenge those involved. The centre is interesting containing as it does a degree of information about the various tribes & what has been retained of their culture.

An Indian for my biker friends