Sat 5th May 2018

Ah well. I’ve had an alright run of pre-menstrual weeks since moving here, the usual overwhelm hasn’t been as bad as expected, even through some challenging circumstances. This week has been a different story though and although at least the suicidal thoughts have been blessedly absent this time, today the overwhelm and inability to function as a rational human has been awful. Some of my readers will be aware that I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I used to write on my silver linings blog specifically for and about this as it affected me badly during and after my last pregnancy. This fredlundhus blog is also partly therapy for my mental health, the idea was that I would be able to look back and see that actually I DID achieve something every day even if that something was getting out of bed and making sure the kids were fed and cared for. As it turns out I’ve achieved way more than I thought possible in the last few months and I now have the beginnings of a journal chronicling that.

But back to today. I have been stuck in my hermitness today. We were meant to go Out – it was Tebstrup’s village fair today, there was music and food and some other stuff and also we’d bought a “key” entry to a competition to win a lawn tractor. Which would have been amazing and very much needed!! But hermitness descended, I couldn’t figure out which way was up today, hardly dared talk to Steve about it because I was already stressed and crying within half an hour of getting up and knew I’d just end up having a go at him and crying a lot more.

But I took my coffee outside to sit with him while he finished wiring up a new extension lead (the 50m cable he bought yesterday doesn’t even get close to reaching the climbing frame!) and we talked and hugged and I’m always grateful that he notices before I do – and realises – that it’s Shark week, and the enormous amount of extra grace he extends to me when I’m being downright awful thanks to over the top hormones is amazing.

Then he sent me inside to make my rhubarb scones. Turns out when I’m stressed and ridden with anxiety I procrastinate really badly. So, just like when I made the wild garlic and cheddar scones the other week and they ended up being almost a midnight snack because I was struggling so hard to find the mental energy needed to actually create them, these scones took a while including cutting up the rhubarb far more precisely than usual, cutting up the butter into neat little cubes, everything had to be done in a certain way which took ages, but it calmed me down a bit once all the kids had been chased out of the kitchen. And the resulting scones were good too.

Steve decided he’d go to Tebstrup by himself, with any of the children if they wanted to go too, to at least see if our key would unlock the competition prize. Charley wanted to go. They took the bus, got off, Charley saw a load of motorbikes outside the village store (where the bus stopped), instantly felt really intimidated, clung to Steve, and they ended up walking the half hour route back home without doing anything else there at all rather than wait almost an hour for the next bus. Poor Charley. His legs ached when they got home.

Meanwhile at home Ben asked me to show him how to draw my swirly pictures so we spent a happy forty minutes drawing together, with Erika drawing as well. He loves drawing and he loves drawing with me and it does me good to see how happy it makes him. It was a Good Time. I decided to remove the tablecloth as well, which made drawing sort of easier because you could see where the gaps in the table were!

When Charley got home and saw the bare table he immediately thought it was for playdough so we brought the playdough out. I remembered I’d seen a small box of old Creation Station bits upstairs so I brought some of them down, plus a smaller box of Treasures – feathers, shells, pompoms, sparkly pipecleaners, googly eyes, lots of stuff to play with and they LOVED it.

I don’t understand why my brain lets me do this stuff on bad head days when I’m barely able to enjoy it, but on good head days it doesn’t often occur to me to be creative with the kids!

Once it was clear Erika wasn’t interested in napping as early as yesterday…

… I joined Steve outside. He was dealing with a cluster of dead sycamore near the brook, and I had no idea what I wanted to do, just that I needed to be outside. Smudge is still being friendly although that friendliness is from the safety of behind a plant pot or something, still not getting too close, but wanting company. The kids would appear and disappear, in and out, and Erika “helped” while I was weeding a bit of the ground elder out. A tulip came off in her hand! So it’s in a vase inside now. I didn’t realise how tough they were until I realised she was trying to knock on the door with the tulip to get in, and it survived intact!!

“It came from there, mum!”

I tried cutting up some of the tree that Steve felled a few weeks ago from inside the coldframe but realised that by lopping the smaller bits off I was heading for trouble because the main part of the trunk would come crashing down onto me before long if I carried on. So I tried stripping ivy from the old aviary but that really need crazy machete man to attack it. I did pull and strip some ivy vines for making another basket with, but this time I’m going to ret them first (as I don’t have any buckets or tubs left to soak them in, they’re just going on the grass and hoping that a few days dew will do the job) and see if it helps the finished basket hold its shape better than the unretted bramble vines did.

My muscles (!) and the loppers were needed over by the sycamores though so I got a bit of exercise helping to lift a couple of trees out, but not much. The chainsaw has made a huge difference to how much effort is required to deal with the many many dead trees.

It is just magical here. You can completely understand why Magic is a thing/belief, it is nothing short of miraculous watching each type of tree bud and then explode into leaf.

The kids wanted me inside. Steve wanted a beer in the garden but remembered he was supposed to be cooking chicken for tea. I called pizza – figured we’ll only get 2 water butts instead of the 3 I was thinking about! – and that was that. But it was too cold for beer in the garden so we had coffee to warm up while we waited for the pizza to arrive. I think we can stretch to pizza delivery once a month maybe!

And then somehow bedtime stretched out interminably and Ben remembered he’d been asking for mummy’s special microwave chocolate cakes for supper and I can hardly refuse that kind of request can I and while I was happily measuring and mixing away I heard this noise and ended up tracking it down to my scales. Where there was a freaking huge beetle thing, trying to climb the floury slopes out.

How the heck it got in there in the first place is freaking me out still but what the heck was it and why was it in my scales and uuurgh. It jumped a clear inch in the air – which I was NOT expecting – when I moved my measuring spoons out of the way so I could catch it in a glass, and I’m grateful that it was only my measuring spoon that I sent clattering across the floor in fright. Here, have some more nightmare fuel.

I hope I don’t remember any of my own dreams tonight. I think we figured out it’s some kind of long horned beetle. Not the asian long horn because it doesn’t have that starry night sky pattern/ colouring, but similar. We found peculiar grubs in one of the dead trees we brought in a few weeks ago (thankfully all that’s been burned now) but they were wood-boring grubs which looked very similar to these long horn grubs.

If they are, we could potentially have a problem on our hands in the woodland because they are tree killers. Needs more research and more careful attention to the dead trees we bring in to see if there’s any more sign of them.

But, have an extremely patient Smudge humouring that incompetent young upstart Toast as he humped her shoulderblades for well over ten minutes until she finally got frustrated and snapped at him. She was SO patient. And has been all day!!

Can’t finish on beetles in my kitchen can I 😉

If I manage to do any writing for this week I’ll put it up at some point, but I’ll at least put the days’ photographs there probably by themselves tomorrow.

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