Category Archives: change

Sunset

Don’t let the sun go down without feeling you have achieved something.

It doesn’t have to be something big, but if you have ticked one thing off your list, then see that as an accomplishment.

Setting yourself goals that are too stringent will diminish that sense of achievement.


Looking Back

I have been lax of late.

I have not posted as much as I would like to and, while CKPonderingsToo was never intended to be the daily blog that its predecessor was, I have let it slip more than I had planned.

A bit part of that has been down to the current situation; the lockdown may be easing, but it has yet to completely go. While the (current) new rules in the United Kingdom allow for more movement than we have had since mid-March, I have been reluctant to wander too far.

It’s not that I am fearful of going out, it’s just that I can’t be bothered to go any distance. Apathy replacing an urgent need to travel.

I moved from West Sussex to Somerset in February; it was something I we had been planning for a while – something like five years – and, after a long eighteen months of house-hunting, things finally came to fruition earlier this year.

It could not have been timed better – a couple of weeks later and I honestly don’t think it would have happened at all. The Coronavirus regulations were starting to come into place, and estate agents, solicitors and removal companies were shutting down. I genuinely believe we were very, very lucky with the timing.

I am a fatalist, and I feel the time was right and it was meant to be.

Glastonbury has held a place in my hear for the best part of twenty years. I do not count myself as religious, but it is my spiritual home, and I love it – and feel loved – here.

The lockdown restricted things in the same way here as it did across the country, with shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants closing. Glastonbury Abbey shut its doors, the Chalice Well Gardens fell more silent than it usually is, and National Trust properties also closed down.

Again, no different to anywhere else, but the Tor remained the only one of my regular haunts still alive and well.

(I appreciate that I am in a much better position to many, many others, who found themselves shut up in flats with no outdoor escape.)

We were all allowed one walk a day (either alone or with members of our own household), and I fell into a routine of going up the Tor, or Wearyall Hill, the Avalon Orchard or just across the fields to anywhere and nowhere.

The daily wanders were prescribed and we just did it, clinging on to that small piece of freedom, where in olden times it wasn’t unusual to not go out at all on any particular day.

At this stage there were good days and bad – the curtailment of one’s liberties were going to have an effect of some description, particularly on someone like me, who had suffered from stress-related depression in the past.

At the same time, we were making improvements to our new home.

Luckily the builders and decorators were still able to work, and adhering to social distancing rules, slowly the garage was converted, rooms decorated and carpet laid.

A lot of this led to rooms being disrupted and, although the house was liveable, there was a lot of compromise over space, nothing was tidy and, with the building work, there was a lot of dust. The time – and our home – wasn’t our own. (And, to an extent, still isn’t, as the decorators are still here.)

It will look brilliant when it’s finished, I know, but when you’re living through it and combining it with lockdown, dark clouds often obscure the sunshine.

The health of a close family member – my dad – has been on my mind. There are things going on in the background and I would love to be spending time with him.

(Again, I appreciate that this goes for everybody at the moment.)

While the move from Sussex to Somerset has not massively increased the journey time, the option to go and see him has obviously not been there. I have become a lot closer to him since Mum passed away, and am surprised how not being able to visit has affected me.

Yes, we are in contact by phone and email – and he has become a ready convert to the world of video chat! – but, as we all know, that doesn’t make up for going to Costa and having a vanilla latte with your dad.

I want to share my home with him, I want him to come down and stay with us, to share what I love about Glastonbury and Somerset with my dad. And that, at the moment, I cannot do.

All of this has combined over time to and increasing number of down days. Not full on depression – I have suffered with that in the past, and I am not in that dark a place – but a general ‘meh’ feeling.

Constant tiredness, not helped by a whacking dose of hay fever recently, brings a general apathy to the table. The fact that days rapidly turn into weeks and those into months doesn’t help.

Photography has fallen by the wayside for a number of reasons and, while I have tried to keep some regularity to it through the Mass Observation and 9-in-45 posts, the number of days when I have not taken photos outweigh the number when I have, something unthinkable even six months ago.

The garden has become my sanctuary of late, and I will happily busy myself out there for an hour or two, planting new plants, (endlessly) filling the bird feeders and generally pottering.

Life is not all bad, I know that, and I am in a lot better position than a lot of other people out there.

But I also know that this should not diminish what I am feeling. We are all getting through this thing as best we can. Some of us are doing that better than others, some are having ups and downs, some need more help to get through.

There is not intended to be any specific answer or words of wisdom in this post. It is just how I am feeling, right here, right now.


Mass Observation – RANDOM

This month’s Mass Observation post was well received, and in these weird and wonderful times, we all need a bit of colour!

Moving forward, the project for June has a new theme…

RANDOM

To take part, simply take a photo around the theme of random:

  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Sunday 31st May 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 7th June!

It would be really great to get your involvement, so please feel free to send some random shots!

Thanks.


A Walk of redemption

His dreams had been random, mixed, drifting dangerously close to nightmares, but intense enough to seem safe.

He dragged himself out of his slumber, sitting up slowly and self-consciously, reaching for his glasses and the cigarettes on his nightstand – putting the first on and lighting the second as he swung his feet off the bed and onto the floor.

As usual, the dream had had a rhythm to it. A pulsing feeling, deep inside of him that he still couldn’t shake.

His phone buzzed. One message, three words:

“WHERE ARE YOU?”

Marching through town, his body still waking up, his brain demanded the extra kick caffeine gave that nicotine always failed to. But there was no time for that; even as he passed the cafe he’d always visited in the past, he knew that, with its door barred, he would have to wait.

It was still odd to see all of the shops closed, all of the doors locked and shuttered, closed against an enemy they couldn’t see, couldn’t fight. Years back the very same windows had been smashed, the shops set on fire, but that enemy had been real, physical, visible.

Now the deserted streets stood as testament to something nobody could fight, so the people shrunk back within themselves, within their homes, vulnerable and scared.

Life still had a part to play, of course, and quite literally “while the cat’s away, the mouse will play”. With no people on the streets, wildlife started to take a hold.

“Shit,” he cried out, jumping as a cat jumped out in front of him.

It was amazing to see birds, squirrels, foxes, badgers, deer on the streets, just not when he wasn’t expecting them to appear so suddenly.

The cat, seemingly pleased the success of its game, mewed and turned back down the alley, searching for some other foe to jump out on or play with.

His phone buzzed again.

“YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!!”

He begrudged the capital letters, but appreciated the sentiment. He had promised her this one thing, to be on time for this one single appointment, and he now ran the real risk of missing it.

She had begged his help with this. He’d failed his sister so many times before that he felt guilty at letting her down once again.

It was just an appointment, just an hour out of his day, but it meant going to the one place he wanted to avoid. The one place he dreaded. It was stupid, he knew, but he would often walk three or four streets out of his way to ensure he didn’t pass that place.

He didn’t know why he hated – or feared – it. Logically he had no reason to; the people there had only ever wanted to help him, but he saw that as a failure, even though it meant the bravest thing he would ever do.

And now, after all this time, he was heading there, straight into the lion’s den.

The first time was when he was barely more than a child. All ripped jeans and a mop of blonde hair, it had been the place he had sought sanctuary when their parents had died.

Within those four walls, he was no longer an orphan, he wasn’t pitied, coo-ed over, he was just, well, a normal teenager. His mates were there, and they talked and laughed and joked as they always had done. They listened to music, played games in the same way as everyone else, and that allowed his grief to be forgotten, if only for a few hours.

But then, on that June evening, it had changed. Changed irreparably. Forever and ever, amen.

It hadn’t been his fault, not really. Not that he could remember, anyway.

And that had been the problem. He couldn’t remember. Couldn’t recall how he had suddenly found himself with blood down his favourite tee-shirt, cradling his friend’s limp body in his arms.

When they found the two of them, crouched together in the alley behind that building, he genuinely couldn’t recollect how they had got there, what had happened to his best friend, best mate, best buddy. Couldn’t remember his own name.

Psychological trauma resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder was how they had described it. An event so devastating that his brain had shut down and hidden the incident from him.

His brain had placed that evening in a wooden box, locked it, and buried it deep within itself so that he could carry on as normal, move past it, heal physically and, eventually, get on with his life.

Mundane, ordinary things became his thing; school was all but out, so he didn’t return; chores became his routine instead, and he had gained so strong a focus for him that he shut everything else out.

He never went back there, of course, and his mates, who had been their mates, stayed away following their parents’ warnings, or simply dropped away after his constant refusal to interact with them.

He became a loner and avoided socialising wherever and whenever possible. He had no recollection of that night, but he knew deep down that he was safer on his own, and had a sense that other people were safer without him.

But, with the unswerving help and support of his sister, he moved on, slowly but surely, step by step.

Then the news he’d not anticipated. News of that place. That refuge that had become his dread. The demolition was close, and he was late for it.


Lockdown Project

A bit of a different post from me today.

The lockdown in the UK came within a couple of weeks of me moving from West Sussex to Somerset. (Editor note: Oh really, CKPonderings? I hadn’t realised you’d moved, given all of the Glastonbury photos you’ve posted of late!)

There was plenty to do on the house, but the restrictions put in place by the UK government meant that we were unable to get anything started as quickly as we would have liked.

Back in West Sussex, with us both working full time, we were not able to spend as much time on the garden as I would have liked, and one of my missions for the move (and the eventual change to part-time work) was to enjoy and make the most of the new patch of land.

Glastonbury is known for its Bohemian, back to nature lifestyle, and I had in mind that I wanted to have a go at growing some vegetables and fruit, but the lockdown gave me the opportunity to speed that process up a little.


The back garden has a strip of decking across it which, even when we came to view the house, we knew had seen better days. It would need replacing or landscaping at some point, and my “Good Life” plans provided an ideal opportunity for that.

So, armed with nothing more than an idea floating around in my head, I decided that a section of decking could come up, and compost could go down and a veggie patch would be born!

Take into account, however, that I am not necessarily used to building projects, and the small tinkerings that I have attempted up to now haven’t always ended in glorious success.

The positive for this was that, whatever the outcome, the decking would ultimately have to go anyway, and, if push came to shove and the vegetables came to nothing, I would have a nice new flower bed to fill!


The decking proved to be a harder foe than I had anticipated…

As I mentioned, it had seen better days and, quite frankly, it was quicker to count the planks that were not rotten than the ones that were. However, it put up a valiant fight.

Surprisingly, it was the crumbling piece of wood that proved harder to lift than the solid ones, but, at the end of my first day of heaving, shoving, swearing and sweating, I had managed to clear around half of the 7ft x 8ft section I was planning on.


One of the things that the lockdown has taught me is to pace myself, rather than going hell for leather, trying to get everything accomplished in the quickest possible time. So, after a day off, I got back out to the project.

This time, it seemed quicker to achieve what I wanted to; the remaining planks came up a lot easier to lift, and soon I was down to the bare joists.

Mother Nature had taken its toll on the wood, and the first joists crumbled at the merest hint of a saw. Time had been ticking on, however, and I left it there for the second day’s work.


Day Three of the project and I was definitely into the swing of things by now. I had a plan: there were three joists to cut and a number of battens to remove, and if I was able to do that, I would be happy!

Again, however, six cuts with my saw and a bit of brute force meant that the decking was no more!

I had kept a number of the planks – as much as anything, the more solid ones would allow me to replace some of others that had rotted – and used five of them to edge the hole I had created. They would be no good for standing on, but they made it look a lot tidier!


God Bless Click & Collect!

A week or so ago I had ordered some compost from my local B&Q. (Well, I say ‘some’, it turned out to be nearly 1200 litres of the stuff!)

As much as anything, getting this from the shop before I started any work gave me the incentive to get going – it would be a complete waste of money buying all of that compost without then making use of it.

So, decking lifted, compost ready, the last stage of the project was in sight!


Filling the hole began, then! After the first few bags, I admit I did panic a little about whether I had, in fact, purchased enough of the black stuff, but I needn’t have worried. It turned out to be almost the perfect amount!


So, the vegetable patch is ready, and there remains only the small matter of putting some actual plants in it.

Again, with the lockdown, there are no physical shops open, but online stores are there, and I have placed an order, which should be with me at the beginning of May!

As I have already suggested, I have never undertaken this sort of project before; I am not a manual person, and, while I am not afraid of hard work, I do have a tendency to get bored easily and give up if things aren’t going the way I want them to.

I am personally impressed, therefore, at how it has turned out; it’s not perfect, but it will suit its purpose for the first year, anyway. Who knows, this could be the start of big things to come!

More, I am sure, to follow!


Another quick reminder about the May’s Mass Observation Project, then!

Take a photograph based that sums up the theme COLOUR to you, however you want to interpret it.

  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Thursday 30th April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 3rd May!

The Signs Were There


The signs were all there, no doubt about it. There was not escape and, even though he couldn’t read the language, the intent was still pretty blindingly obvious.

But how to go about it? Which was his best way out? He didn’t know who was after him, or when they would catch up, but he knew he would give escape a bloody good try, and this was where his fight back began…


Colour is also on the cards for the new Mass Observation Project, so get snapping!

Take a photograph based that sums up the theme COLOUR to you, however you want to interpret it.

  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Thursday 30th April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 3rd May!

Mass Observation – CHANGE

A new Mass Observation, and it’s time for change.

This theme resonated a lot with me; over the last six months or so I have experienced a lot of changes – familial heath issues, moving home (and county) and going from full time employment in a job I’ve done for more than a decade to semi-retirement – and it seemed apt!


Change by Postcard Cafe

Name: Postcard Cafe https://postcardcafe.wordpress.com

Location: Eyre Lane, Sheffield

Note: Street art has the capacity to change our experience of the ‘everyday’ and to lift it from the mundane into something more cheery or thought-provoking.  With it’s unapologetically bold, challenging and provocative faux official statement about social and political change this piece of billboard art does just that.  


Change by CKPonderingsToo

Name: CKPonderingsToo

Location: Burnham-on-Sea

Note: Once I had set the theme for this month’s Mass Observation post, I began to appreciate how wide-ranging an idea ‘Change’ actually was. I’ve not taken a lot of images of late, so with camera in hand I went out exploring. While I was photographing without the theme in mind, when I reviewed the images, this shot leapt out at me. It sadly represents a lot of society at the moment – endings, closures, etc. – and highlights that not all changes are for the better.


Change by Doctor Ken, Gin Sop

Name: Doctor Ken, Gin Sop

Location: Glastonbury

Note: Walking along Glastonbury High Street one afternoon, I noticed this heart-shaped stone. It was only as I looked more closely that I saw it had been broken, and had been propped up next to where it originally lay (you can see the shadow it left on the pavement to the right). Anyone who has had their heart broken knows it is a huge wrench, a massive change that, often, we have had no control over.


Change by Cap Does Craft

Name: Cap Does Craft

Location: Desktop!

Note: With the theme of change I considered many images.  One that I thought of was the ‘change your batteries’ pop up that appears occasionally on my desk top computer but thought it may not actually appear before the submissions were due.  Then of course it did appear, because computers know what we are thinking!  I had my little pocket camera to hand and took this shot.  I thought it was a light-hearted way to interpret the theme and then I changed the batteries!