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Beating loneliness, sisters and crazy dogs

Well, my apologies for a bit of a gap since my last blog, but it has been a pretty full-on couple of weeks!

hArt has since started a new community project in Hythe – for adults to come along and enjoy a little bit of creative work and get to know us – running from 10.30 to 12.30 weekly on Tuesdays until 24th August at the Hythe Community Centre, should you fancy coming along!

Karen will be delighted to see you there, and the sessions are free.

At home, I have been watching work progressing in my garden, which is finally being spruced up and new paving laid nearly 10 years after moving here! I will also have some raised beds, ready for some late salad and herbs this year, and I plan some proper veg production next year, something I only been able to do in random pots for a few years. It feels like a massive change, and one that I see as therapeutic – the gardening, the growing, and the cooking of home produce – what could be nicer!

I have also been able to get back to Forest dog walks with all three of my lovely canines – one of whom has had a torn muscle, which has taken nearly 5 months to get right, and another (the spaniel, of course!) had an argument with a barbed wire fence and the fence won. A trip to the vet, some stitches and two weeks off walks and with a collar on to stop the nibbling of said stitches … However, that sort of time out does make me appreciate how much I have to enjoy normally, and being back on normal walks again is such a daily pleasure.

I have also been enjoying some more social opportunities – had a great breakfast get-together with a friend last week, both for work and general catch up, a fantastic online networking opportunity that followed a day after meeting two of the same group face to face for the first time – which was huge fun! Great to actually see and talk to people you have only met through a Zoom lens. I have also had a hilarious evening playing cards with one of my sisters, and giggled my way through an evening spent helping another sister to create a (definitely unique!) birthday cake for my niece. I have three sisters all living within 7 minutes’ drive, and in so many months, we only spoke through Zoom and What’sApp, or, when allowed, met for walks one to one. Even if these restrictions have been completely understood, it has been so hard – and the fact that we can get together now feels like a luxury, so perhaps there has been a lesson learned along the way. The simplest and most valuable pleasures revolve so much around who we share them with.

Which brings me to one important point – please don’t let go of all the additional contacts you have made throughout the last 18 months or so. Lots of us have been helping out with neighbours and volunteering to shop, collecting items, taking people to appointments, and engaging with people who might be lonely, isolated and vulnerable. That situation, the loneliness and isolation and the sense of nobody really caring, is something that existed for many people before Covid-19 came and raised all these issues into the headlines. Older people, those living alone, have been noticed much more and should be a focus for those of us who might not have thought so much about them in the past.

I met a lady recently who told me she was helping two elderly people she had only met because she volunteered to deliver groceries through her village shop. She had got to know them over the months, and was pleased to help especially as she hoped that someone would be doing the same for her elderly mother and aunt elsewhere in the country. In fact, that did happen, and the two “helpers” have now buddied up online, and are planning to meet! Not only that, but the people they have helped are now also in touch with each other, so a little modern “pen pal” link seems to have been set up.

Those are the little things that we should try to keep from all this chaos and distress – keep talking, keep sharing and keep looking for the positives.

Keep well,


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