Tulip Fever

Holy flip it’s January. On the one hand it feels like we’ve been living with COVID forever, but on the other it’s seems like it was only yesterday I was discussing this ‘new flu’ with a work colleague and thinking (hoping) it wouldn’t amount to anything. A year later (shit) and we have had our first COVID death in the family, with great aunty Theresa sadly passing away this weekend.

There are still the people who think it isn’t real, and I still want to cause them physical harm. I don’t for two reasons. One, I can’t afford to lose my job. Two, if I put them in hospital it’s just more strain on the NHS. I don’t know how NHS workers do it. For me the Hippocratic oath would go out the window- I personally believe if you don’t wear a mask but aren’t exempt and if you wilfully break the rules just because you’re a selfish arse then you should be banned from receiving medical care for the rest of your miserable life. Can you tell I’m angry? I’m flipping LIVID.

In areas at work where it’s difficult to social distance we have to wear masks. I reported one guy who took his mask off to eat a banana whilst standing right next to another guy also not wearing a mask. I reported him too, and it’s worth mentioning that we aren’t even allowed food in the warehouse because we have a rat problem*. The next thing I hear, the first guy has told all of my colleagues that I reported him because I’m a ‘dirty bitch and got turned on’ by him eating the banana. What a charmer. The next week he was off work when his daughter had a positive COVID test come back. This is the crap I have to deal with in my workplace and despite trying there’s actually not a damn thing I can do about it. No one will back me up because they don’t want to be a snitch. I’m told that ‘snitches get stitches’. Jesus I couldn’t make this crap up.

*I once witnessed a rat dragging off a whole banana that was bigger than itself. The rat was NOT SMALL.

The fact remains, reporting people does nothing because there are no consequences apart from they may get bored of being told off. No action is taken beyond them being spoken to. Although managers monitor certain areas at certain times of the day, as soon as the manager looks in another direction the mask comes off. On Saturday one manager asked three people sitting in a 2m space to social distance. One person stood up and moved about 6 inches to one side. The manager didn’t say anything else.

On the plus side the UK vaccination program seems to be actually going well, and now the Christmas and New Year infections are tailing off the death rate should now start falling. As the weather improves things should get even better. It just breaks my heart that things got this bad, because it didn’t have to be this way. What’s done is done though, we just have to keep going.

I did find the period after Christmas really difficult because the last thing to look forward to was over and all I could see in the future was doom and gloom. It was very hard to try and stay in the moment, and that was when I was angriest. Angry and more scared than ever that I’d take COVID home and wipe out half my family.

Still, the hardest part of the season for me wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve just finished reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and it’s such a wonderful book- it’s just full to the brim of hope. I read it for free using the BorrowBox library app, which I cannot recommend enough. Especially as actual libraries are closed for this lockdown.

The garden was such a help for me in 2020 so I was really worried I wouldn’t cope well without it, but to be honest there weren’t many times where there wasn’t something gardening-related to do to keep me occupied. I have some fun houseplant projects I’ve started, but I can’t say too much about that because I hope to give some things away as gifts later on in the year. I’ve been working on these things since November 6th!

Gradually between October and December I got HUNDREDS of bulbs planted. I just love bulbs, and I have everything crossed the tulips flower in their first year. I already have a little clump of something coming up, which I’m fairly sure is a clutch of snowdrops.

Things are generally a mystery though, because I didn’t label a thing and just scattered all the bulbs around the garden randomly. I also had a hundred or so bulbs donated from my friends mum and since even she doesn’t know what they were (she moved and dug them up from her new garden) I have no hope of identifying them till they flower.

We had a bluebell appear in the front garden a few years ago. Now it’s established I lifted and divided it. Now we have seven bluebells. Everyone knows, seven bluebells are better than one! They’re looking so lovely and healthy. What a joy!

My sowing has already begun for the year, because of course I did what any normal person would do and bought a greenhouse for my bedroom, a grow light and a heat mat. I’ve been told it looks like I’m growing something I shouldn’t, but if the police do break the door down then the only consumables I’ll be able offer is a few radishes and some rocket. In 6-8 weeks time in any case.

I started my chillies early because I did it much too late last year. They had only just started flowering when we got to autumn so there was no chance of getting fruit. This year I should be successful though, and I also had some aubergines sprout up yesterday. The excitement I felt last spring is back already, much sooner than I thought it would be. Tomorrow I’ll be sowing dahlia and echinacea seeds that came free with my Gardeners’ World magazine.

I’ve had a really great couple of weeks, art-wise. I’ve done a few bits and bobs I was really happy with, but following a prompt to draw ‘a toad sitting in a tree wearing a green hat’ was the most fun ever. I’m so proud, because up until now I could draw things I could see but would struggle to create anything truly unique. I could google tree, toad and hat and cobble a picture together, but this one was all me, drawn using my imagination, my iPad and nothing else. Apart from the absolutely inspired prompt, that is.

This is truly an arty turning point for me, and I even have a commission to draw a colleague’s gorgeous doggos. I’ve done a couple of initial sketches in preparation and I think he’s going to be chuffed. I’ll show you when I’m done!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x