Get creative as Marie walks into the hills with her dog for daily exercise
Life,  Random Musings

Two Cairns and a Mountain

Here we are again. Can you believe it’s May already? April has been a pretty stunning month, all things considered. Our garden is coming on a treat. And given our growing season is quite short, it’s been a bonus to see the plants getting a head start. Living at one thousand feet on the edge of the Cairngorms brings its challenges. This weeks rain has helped too, I can tell just from the lawn, the growing season is here. Yet, like a lot of people, I hit a bit of a wall this week. I can’t put my finger on it. I feel weary. My motivation has left the building. Anyway, I decided, if I was going to lift my spirits, then it was time to get creative in lockdown.

Bag a Munro in Your Back Garden

For anyone out there who isn’t sure what a Munro is – it is a mountain with a summit above 3000 feet. And just about two weeks ago Chest Heart Stroke Scotland decided to set up a May Day Munro Challenge. Their aim, to get someone up all 282 of them! Virtually.

It’s been a hoot watching the ingenuity. There were folk climbing up and down ladders. Many, many stair treads were pounded. Others hammed up the whole achievement, using old images of themselves tackling their Munro in real life, in some dim and distant past. Writing an entirely realistic story of travel, preparation, elation, completion – while actually completing their steps in the lounge or around the garden. Genius! Those guys know how to get creative in lockdown. And then there were folk like us, all conventional like, using our daily exercise to achieve the steps.

Both Mr Smith and I registered for our respective Munros. Carin Bannoch for me and Benn Eighe for him. We are lucky to be surrounded by cairns. None more than a mile or so from our own house, as the crow flies. And conveniently situated in a nice wee loop, accessible from our back gate. Apart from a couple of hares, a buzzard and a plover, we saw nobody. It was quite a heave to the first one, but once there I felt the Adrenalin kick in.

And I have to confess, when we got home my energy levels were off the chart. I set about the house chores like a woman possessed. I could even have walked again – after my lunch had settled.

If you want to be cheered up by some of the best bits then all the ‘baggers’ have posted to this public Facebook Group.

Life In Black and White

This week Mr Smith and I also set about entering a couple of photo competitions. We are no pros, not by any stretch. Two calendar sales do ‘not an income make.’ But as enthusiastic amateurs we decided, having lost out photography trip to India, it was time to get back in the saddle and revisit our stockpile of photographs from previous trips. We have also been trying some new techniques too. Taking images which most would have long since deleted – and turning them black and white.

‘Quiet please – I’m hunting’ – Image by author

And it has got me feeling the urge to do more. Travel is a long, long way away – so for now how else are we going to keep our spirits up while we await a safe passage to our favourite continent? Get creative of course.

When Will It Be Safe To Travel?

Now there is a question on everyone’s lips I guess.

I was reading in the paper yesterday (I haven’t done that for a very very long time) that suggested the Government did too good a job with the whole Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives strapline. So much so that 60% when surveyed said they would still be too afraid to get back to normal if restrictions are lifted. So their next challenge will be about building confidence against balancing risk.

I hear you, folks. I am really scared about this thing that is out there. Unless I have already had it and never knew, then I am still at risk. And with underlying health conditions, I am just not prepared to take the chance.

We were chatting about this last night. And specifically in respect of travel. The whole airport and plane thing freaks me out now. Just think about how many hands touch those security trays you have to put all your bits and bobs in? Yes, I can go scrub up – but the number of touchpoints is insane. So the aviation industry is going to have to get pretty creative – and do a damn good PR job to get me to relax. The BBC carried a really interesting article [here] about the possibilities today. Hypothetical perhaps, but even if some it sounds far fetched, I believe more is needed. So much more. But that is a whole article in itself. Something to keep me busy another day.

So Back To Those Blues

How is everyone else feeling? I have heard so many people say this week they seem to have hit a wall. Tiredness out of nowhere. Low mood. No motivation. I hold my hands up – that is me. Despite my energy giving walk on Friday, I still don’t feel much like mentally giving myself to anything much. Does anyone feel bad if they are not ‘doing’ something?

I am seemingly surrounded by people using this lockdown to get creative – in business or simply doing the stuff they haven’t had time to do – or to learn something new. Looking on I think ‘where is your energy coming from? I have no gas in my tank.’ But I think that is okay, isn’t it?

I feel sure some of it is weather related. The change in temperature had me reaching for my winter clothes again this week. And the days themselves were darker too. I also wonder – April brought about so much new vigour and enthusiasm, maybe I used it all up. Perhaps there is a feeling of the best bits of the year disappearing – because, as I wrote here last week, time really does seem to be flying by.

What’s Next?

Maybe I just need a project. Gardening has stopped now. Though I pray that it will be possible for nurseries to open for click and collect. I am convinced that is more than possible – and safe if done properly. Strict rules on travel distance, no car sharing, even a simple booked ‘drive-thru’ slot where nobody meets anybody else. Genius! I should join the COBRA meeting.

Meanwhile we have taken advantage of Farrow and Ball’s online shop and ordered paint for a much needed bedroom makeover. I have a vision. A vision of Africa. Because if we cannot go to the mountain then the mountain shall come to us.

I hope you continue to get creative in these times. To find and hold onto your energy. Stay safe and well and we may soon see you on the other side – although possibly through a perspex screen. And guess what – I got through a whole piece without mentioning food!

Marie also writes for Medium as @marietsmith

Any links which take you to my Medium stories, from this blog, are entirely free reads – so fill your boots. Clap too if you feel the urge, because even unpaid reaction helps a story gain traction.