Only Human After All

It’s now February 2021.

I had the Oxford jabsy vaccination yesterday.

It’s 5am. Our cat Rambo is pestering me in bed, and being a pesky annoyance harassing us for the last few nights lots…in his springtime excitement

My arm is hurting. Otherwise – feeling pretty good so far. Bar lethargic today and needed an afternoon kip.

I received a shielding letter yesterday – even though I’ve been very safe, careful and home working for the majority of the pandemic. I have some box ticking underlying health conditions. (Which I’m working on to improve, with support from my health providers)

Yes sometimes in moments my worse fears have been present. To my knowledge I haven’t had COVID or needed to test for it. But for all I know maybe I have? I’ve had the odd few days in the last year of feeling a bit rough, some sinus headaches, weather changes and a nasty UTI when Tipsy our cat got ill and put to sleep.

All those other viruses did not just go away. Bar getting it from the local cob shop. We’ve been pretty lucky when ‘super spreading’ has been allegedly rife everywhere.

We had a good virtual catch up via Zoom with friends last night. Netflix binge watching recommendations were plentiful. Along with a hilarious sleepwalking ‘checkout operator’ In bed story. Involving the contents of bedside cabinet being scanned into ‘under the covers.’ The realisation that nearly a year of this has gone by. Reminiscent recalls of those old times of hugs, holidays and socialising in the flesh. Wow! Facebook memory lane!

Watched a really funny film ‘Booksmart.’ Our sense of humour too.

With an easing of lockdown in the UK on the horizon. We are accepting – this year will, in many ways be restricted with movement and interaction with loved ones. This thing can’t last forever… well we will see!

Making the most of a crazy circumstance been the enabler for us : A productive working from home regime with the many facets of what we do.

Indeed opportunities knocked, were manifested and embraced. Adapt and conquer, or don’t.

With an improved and growing international reach of my Music. Ange’s businesses in the world of Tarot, book publishing, herbs, oils & candles are thriving.

Survival – financially, physically, practically and emotionally was the goal from lockdown 1. Yes we did it.

Be in no doubt, we have had our ‘moments.’ Some domestic arguments, irritated each other at times.

But perseverance and positive thinking remains the dominant thing. Days job stresses are my main trigger, followed by the approach to perimenopausal beginnings. Yes some low days. (See previous blog) But mainly good and productive days.

From the start of lockdown 1. I made a promise to myself to be productive with my passion – music. An album ‘GODS’ some enriching and ongoing collaborative work. I’m now working on a new album Goddess 2 for 2022. Let us not forget, the release of our live, raw improvised album via Stinking Rita band – Live From Studio Five (recorded in between lockdown restrictions last year in a rehearsal studio)

Spare time from full time day jobsy in the NHS & studying for a CIPS qualification is spent musically. (Bar killing a few zombie hoards on the PlayStation) it has become a productive Groundhog Day.

Leisure time is spent holidaying and exploring otherworldly interests and posting cooking videos via YouTube.

After a brief cold spell. We are venturing out locally for nature walks- the cross trainer has been my winter mode of good sweats.

Ange & I have indeed become weary and frustrated of our lack of freedom to travel – but have been good girls with the imposed ‘rules.’ The long dark winter months are never a favourite time of the year. Switching off the horrors, speculations of the media and reading books, listening to podcasts has been the way for me to distract from the shite of what we are presented with.

Disconnection has been healthy for me – as am not a social butterfly. Becoming even less so over the years. Keeping good friends close and everyone else at a distance virtually is good for me. Yes you can see my activities and sharings, (a record of memories for Clange)

I don’t look much at what others are up to, which in some ways is disconnecting.

In our home environment – we are de cluttering slowly. Filling every wall space left in the house with wall tapestries. Mystical additions to salt lamps with mellow lighting has improved our surroundings and limited space.

I did have a very busy and in some ways shitty dark January- good riddance you sticky stinky arsehole with fleas and piles!

Even my sad lamp stuttered. But a Gousto delivered meals regime of some very nice food, cooked live on Facebook & YouTube 4 nights a week by Ange is like eating out, at home.

https://youtube.com/channel/UCPQcD0P6MHFET1ksQ0XT2fA

Whilst not costing us the earth. Our food waste has definitely declined. It’s just the extra cardboard packaging. (That we recycle)

This new, free from supermarket visits life is great. Once a month, a staple goods online delivery. Weekly fresh food from Gousto & our farm shop. Has saved time & money for us.

We have enjoyed some weekend takeaway deliveries from ‘Filthy Vegan.’ A monster kebab with hot sauce!

As a regime of gradual and healthy weight loss fills us with wellbeing. (the odd blip week when the scales just say – “slightly disappointed, but don’t give up- if you don’t order naughty snacks – you can’t eat them bitches.”

Lessons… progress. Positive habit changes.

Ange did a lovely thing the other day. We are both very aware that others are not as fortunate as us. We are by no means wealthy with money. We are abundant and grateful of everything else.

We had a good month. So Ange went out and bought and donated some staple food stuffs (and a cake for the volunteers) who are providing cheap and free cooked meals at a local community centre.

Whilst also supporting animal charities, which we continue to do. It’s nice to not be selfish.

A big high five to those of you that have fund raised for good causes, volunteered, done your bit and philanthropists. Paying it forward feels good.

We were talking last night about how judgemental and dictatorial some folk have become… these post notification social media keyboard warriors, self professed experts ‘Ranting Twats’ in their chosen field of being fucking obnoxious and entitled. Yep.. we’ve all seen it and cringed, unfollowed, un friended. Not that this virtual reality of social media ‘friendships’ truly fills the void of human to human interaction.

The path to Dystopian nightmares in gaining traction. With technological distraction.

Ban your mobile phone for an hour and focus on the physical… wow… therapy for the addicts.

Weaned off the loneliness of virtual reality… now that is an impossible task for some.

I remember 10p in a phone box was the thing when I was a kid.

How times have changed.

Along with living amongst potholes, bodge jobs with no longevity of the fix, (as there is no money, a lot of wasted money in a failed energy company too. Why, when you are not experts or the monopoly in that field even attempt it!) – have a looksie too at Denmark’s plastic recycled roads. Oh and really bad inconsiderate drivers are everywhere, road hogging cyclists and a city that needs some TLC when it opens up again. I have visions of cities in the Walking Dead!

Then, there are the ones, that are able to articulate sensibly their opinions and have a decent debate, when these things differ from others. I prefer them.

Ange and I are intrigued by some Nordic areas and ways of life and are planning a visit.

We have been encouraged by ideas, proposals and support the Nottingham Green Quarter group, Nottingham Cohousing & Good Food Partneship. https://www.facebook.com/groups/nottinghamgreenquarter/?ref=share

I’m not a fan of the greyness and unsustainable greed of cities.

Ethical and sustainable approaches in business and living is paramount to our future.

Even though Ange and I are craving travel and road trips. (And are adventuring in food atm) Planning and researching is fun and fills us with excitement. Most importantly – hope.

Nearly a year of Pandemic (for whatever the real truths are around this thing) has left us restricted, grieving, struggling at times, but mainly resilient, productive and resourceful. Some have not opted for that route. I’ve interacted and listened with people who have experienced isolation, fear, rejection, mental health issues and it’s really is a sad thing.

Anxiety (I’ve had some worrying episodes) is the controlling mystery monster that never truly explains why when it exits its hole! But techniques, meditation, Reiki, reassurance, talking about it, has helped me combat that dark, bleak, empty, terrifying, panic entity in my mind.

There is also that elephant in my rooms of subconscious. The dreaming. An ocean of visual delights, horrors, strange need. My brain, soul, past lives are creating a murmuration of a party in my pants. I experience life times during those REM sleeps. The weird, the re digested is put into Claud’s mixing bowl of night movies and spat out. Recently hanging out with Tom Cruise (nothing sexual, even for a lesbian)

I don’t journal my dreams. I’ve already sought and found my mission and messages in the life (by no means does this mean I’m a complete enlightened being yet) I am cracking on with that journey. With the downs and ups that brings.

I’m now focussing on the beautiful awakenings of spring, walks by the river, blossom, the freshening of air.

The lilley pads in the lake. Those still moments of joy and breathing. Nature connection. The big wide sky. A little bit of tree hugging harmed no one and no thing.

As always – making music saved and saves me from an apocalypse in mind, soul and body parts. I can wrap myself up in it, never mind what is outside my creative cocoon.

Sobriety (mostly I have an unpleasant after effect of feeling depressed from drinking. Tea and a clearer head, has been the better version of me for a number of years) and spirituality is the path my twenty something I was weary of and uneducated in. This is now my (lot better) reality.

These thinking early woke hours, spent manifesting good things. Along with lesser times chewing over the bad and forcing myself free of those voices and frustrations. A mindfulness exorcism is something needed. Or a pep talk along the lines of ‘sort your shit out!’

Good days and bad days exist.

But…. the future, as well as the present should be embraced with all the positivity the world can muster. Survival and wellbeing. I’m sure there will be lots with a whole bucket list of regrets in hindsight, who did not invent or embrace opportunities, but dwell and place blame. Effort is sometime painful, exhausting. When I’ve failed an exam. I studied harder, sacrificed more free leisure time and retook to gain a distinction. Pleased? Accomplished? Hell yes!

But even with successes and failures. The effort of doing and trying is very rewarding. I much more enjoy the journeys than indulging the end results. As soon as one journey is finished, I don’t want to remain still, but embark on another.

With a daily routine of gratitude and appreciating loved ones and all that extra time with our cats. We journey on in this….adventure.

I am only human here…. after all. (Please excuse typos.. you get the gust)

My music links https://linktr.ee/earthtreehealing

Rambo #hurtstits
Rambo #hurtsboobies

Coping in the darkness

Lately I’ve had times of waking in the early hours. Staring into my minds pit of darkness and despair. Anxiety in the pit of ones stomach. Worry of all kinds. Exploring the void in well-being created by a pandemic. I hate to use the word ‘wobble.’ But there you go.

In a lot of ways, I’m completely safe. I’m currently working from home. Bar one day a week working on site. Staying away from people, masks, social distancing, PPE. With some underlying health conditions. Is the rebellion worth the risk? For me personally – no. Along with that comes guilt, as I currently am not working on the front line at the hospital due to a very high risk assessment. Much respect goes to all the heroes. From carers to retail staff. To all the people cooking meals for people in need, animal rescuers and charities. To the good folk you would never even consider doing good.

Mask wearing really is unpleasant – for long periods of time and with physical work. It leaves me with a dry tickley throat, like I’ve inhaled fibres. But even if it offers me even a tiny bit of extra protection when near people from COVID juice – I’ll suck it up. I’ve not seen evidence that anxiety and non mask wearing stops virus spread. The evidence with masks is well….Space suits next? For all the science, opinion, conspiracy theories, truths, lies, long term study and digestion of the coronavirus pandemic. We are in stasis in the UK currently. Our freedoms, lifestyles are on hold. Fear is being fed causing long term addictions, self destruction and mental health issues.

Through medication and medical breakthroughs, living healthier, evolution, improved healthcare. Humans are able to extend their lives, living longer. With older bodies, immune systems. When is the tipping point reached in nature? What man made/discovered horrors do we bear witness to? Life is fragile. We were never designed to live forever. We will all die of something or multiple somethings. But when the heart finally stops beating. The cycle of life does not comfort lost loved ones. ‘No one here gets out alive.’

I’m a spiritual being. I take comfort that the body dying is not the end. But I fear suffering. Am empathic, which at times affects me a lot. In someways I’ve become far to sensitive in this world. That is my belief and my experiences. I live with a psychic Tarot Reader. Yet I do not dwell on my death date… just a fear of losing the physical presence of the ones I love.

Bar catching anything from the odd takeaway, home delivery. Our risk is minimal. But the odd sniffle, under the weather has still happened. Why I ask? All precautions thoroughly adhered to. I have not missed shops. I love our outdoors farm shop, and a good trott around a garden centre. Our days of supermarket shopping are well and truly over. There is a minority of dirty, personal space invaders, rude and vile individuals, who frequent these places. Who drag their feral crotch fruit goblins about causing mayhem.. best avoided. Home delivery, alongside small farm shops/local business/fresh food purchases is the Clange way of living now.

Paranoia and worry keeps a knocking…sets in again. What if I die? What if I can’t breathe? Worries about family and friends, Ange. The future. Financial survival. Holidays.

I’ve had some stinking and stonking nasty winter viruses in the past. Nothing as bad that bed rest and antibiotics haven’t cured.

I’m not going to focus on the destruction, gaslighting, manipulation, speculation done by the media in every format, including social media arguments. – as I just stick to watching nice animal stories or YouTube travel or foodie vlogs. I have also been enjoying some excellent middle earth, Nephilim/Alien/Bigfoot documentaries.

The wrongs and rights of actions by Governments. Well…..

All I have control over is how we weather this storm.

I miss our adventures. We are adventuring with Clange with home cooking. Ange is enjoying doing live cook offs. https://m.facebook.com/weareclange/

And a new YouTube channel Adventures With Clange https://youtube.com/channel/UCPQcD0P6MHFET1ksQ0XT2fA

My personal remedy. Exercise on the cross trainer, walking around the lakes. (Luckily across the road from us …#local) Cutting out snacking and sticking to healthier meals from Gousto- a Godsend has been online shopping and these delivered meals. With hardly any alcohol consumption. The body feels pretty ok atm.

With a stone in weight lost since my binge eating marathon during lockdown 1. I’m feeling a bit better in myself. Gradual and a permanent lifestyle change works for me.

Use of sad lamp, switching news off. Recording lots more music in home studio (which got me through 2020)

New album blog here >

Gods Album By Earth Tree Healing | Claudine West Music

Whilst dealing with other people’s negativity. I said at the start of this that people will be judged on their actions and behaviours. Some have truly let themselves down.

I certainly haven’t missed being in the company of these sorts.

Others have embraced a bad situation and been inspiring… the light in the dark.

In some ways lockdown has been blissful. I miss my family and friends. The last time I saw my parents, was at the end of their driveway on Xmas day. Just to collect presents. There have been no physical hugs with them since March 2020. Phone calls and ‘face time’ virtual catch ups are our only option. Ange misses her family in Portsmouth. We wait for better days and #Clange travels.

Our cat Tipsy died last November. A heartbreaking experience. A gradual deterioration of appetite and diagnosis of intestinal growth. They couldn’t operate, as her blood pressure dropped when our vet attempted surgery. We spent the last few weeks with her, in bits, comforting her. We got to stroke her in masks, at the vets door, on a trolley when they put her to sleep. She (her ashes) is now home, in her mango wood box. (A lovely bereavement card sent and signed from the staff- thank you) We miss her so much. She was the most loving cat with character, that would hold our hands with her paws. Lockdown 1 afforded me unknown extra time with her whilst working home. For that I’m truly grateful. Time is precious. Our pets are our babies. (Not that I ever wanted children, or see them as a replacement)

Tipsy & Rambo

I’ve spent too much time gaming playing Days Gone during the darkness and futility of January. Killing Zombie hoards has led to nightmares and rage. Ange is very supportive and tolerant (until she loses hers) of my shit fits.

With the end now in sight to my level 4 CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) qualification. It’s time now to knuckle down with study. This in turn has made me realise that I never, ever want to study again.

I have the mind of a creative. Not the memory of an academic. Stick to what brings you happiness and not stress Claud! (Completely grateful to my workplace though) but a struggle whilst working full time in the NHS during a pandemic!

And, most importantly to me..whilst balancing my composer work. (I’ve been truly honest, whilst fully appreciative with my tutor at college- she gets it)

So next steps for me my medication is meditation and Reiki. I’ve neglected it lately.

Take care out there

⁃ Claudine